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, August 24, 2005

Snapshooting 101

I just wrote my first Snapshooting article on Pinoy.Tech.Blog. It's the first of three which I'll be publishing in the next days.

I’m not a professional photographer. Call me a veteran amateur snapshot photographer instead.

I’ve been using ordinary cameras since I was a kid. None of those high-tech large lensed cameras. But I make do with whatever camera I get my hands on. And I think the tips and tricks I’ve developed are worth sharing. If you’re an amateur photographer with an ordinary digital camera, and want to improve the composition of your photos, check these out and see if they’re helpful.

ka edong


Happy Birthday!

It is *not* my birthday.

But today, my Google Adsense is one year old.

I referred to Google Adsense at first as "passive income" when I told a friend about it last year.

And after one year, I haven't reached that elusive US$100! hahaha! I'm up to a measely US$88.78 total and at this rate, it'll take me until Christmas before I get that cheque!

I haven't been putting much time into improving my Google revenue. But with Abe and Marc's infectious articles on pushing for Google revenue, I am starting bit by bit to spruce up some of my Google ads.

I failed to celebrate my Technobiography Birthday (April 11) and my Gmail birthday (19 June 2005).

I made sure to make a post about my Google Adsense birthday.

Happy Birthday, my google adsense! Blowout naman diyan!


ka edong
(what's that smell? \c")/


Monday, August 22, 2005

Looking for PESO Teammates

I've been blogging on Pinoy.Tech.Blog the past week. And doing other stuff too, of course. That explains why Technobiography hasn't been updated much lately.

But here's one for anybody interested. And I mean interested and committed. I'm joining the Philippine Emerging Startup Open. Basically, it's a "pagalingan ng business plan" contest.

Some say Filipinos are good at planning, but not good at implementing. Well I say, plan first and if the plan makes the investors smile, you're off to a good start.

The prize for the best business plan: capital infusion from investors. It has to be a technology-enabled business plan.

I have a business in mind and I'm looking for teammates work with me. Are you up to it?

I'm searching for teammates:
1.) with a finance/banking background
2.) non-techie business management student comfortable making presentations

I will be the techie-na-rin in the group.

I'm a also open to having a fourth teammate based outside the
Philippines. Consider this an experiment in online team collaboration.
Drop me an email if you're interested. Tell me something about yourself and what you'd like to gain from joining the team and the PESO challenge.

ka edong


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Pyramid Scam, m-Commerce Style

I've concluded that this get rich quick e-mail is a scam.
I've written about it at Pinoy.Tech.Blog (check there if there's a discussion going). I'm providing additional reference emails on this post.

ka edong
From : *e** **o** <********>
Reply-To : <*******>
Sent : Thursday, August 11, 2005 7:36 PM
To : <*******>
Subject : Earn W/ Your G-Cash & Smart Money Account




SIMPLY EMAIL *******, subject "MOBILECASH"

and ill send the manual to your email address for free...

Once you read the manual, you'll find out, why your g-cash/smart money account can generate you millions passively and legally provided you do your part... It will let you earn even while you sleep...

Ask for the e-book now, , and dare to do something, only few dares to try...

Here's a favorite quote of mine: "the difference between the millionaires and the poor is simple, millionaires dared to do what others fear to even hear or see.."

Ask for the e-book now, and make a change, just read it, if you think it make sense, then good for you, if you don't see the gold in it..then you may discard it..



*e** **o**


This manual comes free to every Filipino with an email, and g-cash or smart money account...

****MobileCash is not associated with Globe and Smart Telecoms. FYI****
His reply after I told him I was interested and skeptical:

>From: ********* ********
>Subject: MobileCash Philippines ebook attached...
>Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 11:35:28 +0800
>Here's the MobileCash Philippines manual...
>This ebook will show you the MobileCash Profit System that let's you earn
>passive income through your g-cash/smart money account. When I received
>ebook report, I was really sceptical bout the whole thing, but a friend of
>mine who is using the system for self employment testified that MobileCash
>Profit System is legitimate and that it works. So, I gave it a try, few
>weeks after using the system discussed in the MobileCash Manual, I was
>surprised how much money my g-cash account is turning in. I really thought
>that this is just globe and smart's gimmik to turn in more sales, but when
>kept on receiving money transfer confirmation on my cellphone, this system
>has turned me into a believer myself...
>I just couldn't believe how much money I'm making now, and that's passive
>Click on the attachment and download it, it's a small pdf file that you can
>save on a diskette, read it thouroughly and understand the whole concept.
>This works, and i can testify that, it's working for me... as what the
>manual says, "see for yourself"...
> mobilecashV010.pdf
Finally, my second reply which has not received any responses from the email sender:
Hi ****,

Thanks for your reply.
I browsed through the PDF file.

Basically, my question is: Where does the money come from?

And so far, the answer I have found is: The money comes from new members.

If you could point out otherwise, I would like to hear it.

I won't burden you with freshman questions. Reply only if you still have the
patience to answer my questions.

Normally, I just trash this kind of email. But this concerns my area of
study (m-commerce, I'm sure you've found that out through my blog) and it is
coming from a fellow IT professional, thus I am not dismissing it too

My interest is to understand.

Thanks and peace,


Read: m-Commerce Pyramid Scheme?
on Pinoy.Tech.Blog: A Pyramid Scam, m-Commerce style


Monday, August 15, 2005

m-Commerce Pyramid Scheme?

Scheme, Scam, Spam -- they all sound the same.

I'm used to deleting spam from my public hotmail email box. But one email caught my attention:
Sender: *e** **o**
Subject: Earn W/ Your G-Cash & Smart Money Account
The subject caught my attention not because of the promise of "quick cash" but because G-Cash and Smart Money are within my field of consultancy.

I investigated further and found myself browsing through a 17 page PDF file. The "eBook" was screaming with all caps and so many exclamation points that my heartbeat went up!

I didn't have the time to read the fine print. But with all that I had seen, I still didn't find the legitimate business model.

I sent a reply and told the sender that I'm both interested and skeptical. He replied quickly (less than half an hour) saying he too was skeptical at first. But he continues to say that he started to believe when cash (G-Cash and Smart Money) was flowing into his cellphone.

I sent a second reply with excerpts copied below:
Hi *e**,
Basically, my question is: Where does the money come from?

And so far, the answer I have found is: The money comes from new members.

If you could point out otherwise, I would like to hear it.

Normally, I just trash this kind of email. But this concerns my area of
study (m-commerce, I'm sure you've found that out through my blog) and it is
coming from a fellow IT professional, thus I am not dismissing it too

My interest is to understand.

Thanks and peace,

After around 6 hours I haven't heard from him.

If and when I do, I'll write about it.

In the meantime, I hesitantly give out their URL (http : / / mobilecashphilippines . com) . I don't want to help advertise what I perceive is a pyramid scam scheme. I do not have enough info nor time either to definitively declare this as a scam. So I am opening it up to readers who have the time to read through the get rich quick website.

I am giving my fellow IT person the benefit of the doubt. But so far, I see more to doubt than to benefit.

If I don't receive an email from this person, I feel it is safe to say that the money indeed comes from the new "members" of the pyramid scam scheme.

m-commerce users beware!

ka edong
Read: Pyramid Scam, m-commerce style
Text Scam (?) - "tonights lotto draw"


Maiden issue on Pinoy.Tech.Blog

And nooooowwwww.....
Ka Edong's fiiiiiiirrrrsst artiiiiicccclllle on Pinoy.Tech.Blooooooogggggg.....


EZ does it on MRT and Buses!


Shucks, it wasn't as is-peck-ta-kyular as I would have wanted. But, hey, let's not get tooooo pressured, okay?

I have some snapshot photography tips too on draft mode. Watch out for those posts.


ka edong


Friday, August 12, 2005

Pinoy.Tech.Blog: We have lift-off!

My email box has been a-buzz these past two weeks. A large part of it is because of the planning and discussion for Pinoy.TechBlog.

And finally, while I was in Singapore, Pinoy.Tech.Blog was launched! So fast! Yan ang speed of bits and bytes, yan ang kailangan ng Pilipinas sa ganitong panahon!

Pinoy.Tech.Blog is the premiere group blog for technology in the Philippines. Expect to have real-world gadget reviews, tips and tricks, digital photography, media and a whole onslaught of everything tech in the Philippines.

I am honored to be included in this elite team of bloggers. It won’t be a walk in the park writing for Pinoy.Tech.Blog. For one, I will have to uphold a higher standard of writing compared to my own Technobiography blog.

I have yet to post my first article there. Now, which of my many stories shall I call my debut article on Pinoy.Tech.Blog?

Mga kablog sa Pinoy.Tech.Blog, this is the start of what could be something big.

To infinity and beyond!


Ka edong

Yet to blog:
EZ card
Got to get WP
Singapore National Library
Internet vendo
WiFi Hunting: Singapo
atmbp (at marami pang iba)


The iBook has landed!

My ex-online friend, Nocs (no longer just an online friend), asked me to buy an iBook for him. We got a good deal in Singapore. But we got crap when we reached Customs at Clark International Airport.

We were being unexpectedly charged 10% VAT for the brand-new iBook. This despite Nocs’ past experiences of having two hand-carried laptops brought into the country without tax. All the excitement of delivering his baby lappy top was doused when I had to leave baby iBook in the hands (in the holding room, actually) of the customs officials.

I’m crossing my fingers that Nocs gets his baby lappy top without problems today.


Photo bug

My name is Edwin S. Soriano and I am a photo bug. So much so that during our wedding, I kept directing our photographers on how to take shots of my beautiful bride and myself.

While we were in Singapore, I realized that ... my veteran amateur photographer skills (I’ve been an amateur instamatic photographer since I was a kid) are something that I could share. I’m no expert, but there are things other people can learn from me.

So I’ve compiled a few digital photography tips and tricks (including samples) during our Singapore trip which I will share through Technobiography in the coming weeks.


Singapore at 40


That’s the word I use to describe my experience in Singapore. Inspiring because in the span of 40 years of independence (Singapore was “booted out” of the Malaysian Federation in 1965), they’ve grown from third world to first world. They pulled it off despite the lack of natural resources, despite being a very young country, despite being a small country (Davao is bigger than Singapore), despite the many races that thrive in Singapore (Singaporeans are a mix of Chinese 77%, Malays ~12%, Indians ~7% and Eurasians and other minorities).

They made it! They made it work! And impressively!

Maya and I saw a photo exhibit at the Singapore National library. And from the photos, we saw that just 20 years ago, there was a lot of crime and many gangs, people didn’t have food and homes, the Singapore river was polluted. But now there is an almost zero crime rate, 90% of their people live in subsidized housing (their flats always have a swimming pool nearby) and the Singapore River is host to tourists and promenading lovers.

My dad’s take on Singapore is: “They had no choice. It was a matter of pride.”

And I feel it. I feel the Singapore pride. Not the pompous pride. But the pride that tells me: “Singaporeans have excelled despite the odds.”

They made it! They made it work! And impressively!

The Philippines too can make it! Yes, we can! and I won't hear otherwise.


"Biyahe Tayo" Blog

It’s our second trip together, Maya and I, to a foreign country. In 2003, we went to Hong Kong. It’s a lot of fun going on a tour. There’s a lot to learn and experience in traveling.

Among other places, we’ve also gone to Cagayan de Oro, Bohol and Davao together. Maya has traveled most parts of Mindanao in connection with her work. I’ve gone to Cuyo, Palawan and to Sagada. These are some of the places we plan to blog about in the future.

I also realized that when planning a tour, it’s important to have enough relevant information about a place. For us, first-timers in Singapore, it would have been nice if we got some tips from fellow travelers who have gone ahead of us. In turn, Maya and I would like to share some of our travel tips for those who will come after us.

So, watch out for Biyahe Tayo! (, our latest blog. You’ll soon find some travel tips and info there.


I'm back, with more shorts!

I’m back!

Maya and I went to Singapore for a tour and for some business in between. I have sooooo many stories to share, so many reflections, so many pictures, so many stuff. Too many, in fact, that I’ll have to write shorter articles in the meantime. And I’ll also have to be more selective of writing the stories that matter.

Let’s start the shorts…


Friday, August 05, 2005

shorts b4 i leave

Let me slip in a blog post before I go offline for a few days.

I was blog hopping this afternoon. In particular, taking a look at websites linking to Technobiography. Found some interesting stuff via Who Links To Me and some via Technorati.

Dexter says: This blog was inspired by Ka Edong's Technobiography, a great pinoy site for learning and knowing about anything and everything mobile.
I'm touched. Really!

Two blogs written in Chinese link to me. Hmmm.... that's curious. Exotic animal kaya ang hitsura ko?

First is Shen Chihwei's Slip into the Underworld. Most of it is written in Chinese, I don't know what to make of it. I wonder how Shen Chihwei found me.

Second is Timothy and Jacy's House. I found this on their side bar:
First thing I did was send an e-mail asking my Chinese classmate, Li Ling, to translate it for me.

But on second thought, why not search the web for an online translator? This is what I got from 1-800-Translate:
Chinese: 最新科技介紹
English: The latest science and technology introduce
Not bad. Not bad. Correctly if I'm wrong, but this sounds so much like Li Ling! ;-)

Thanks for the links, folks!

Before I leave, my to blog list (I'm going to sound like Sacha for a while):
  • Website archives
  • What to do with m-commerce
  • Profile for Abe, Pinoy Tech Blog
  • Tech blogs to sing about
  • Travel stories
  • Nocs gets a lappy! (top, not dance!)
  • BPI buhay
  • Smart Money, not an international card?
  • Trying out Smart/Globe international remittances
  • ICT4D!
See you next week, folks!

ka edong


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

SM at SM - Smart Money at SM Malls

I was at SM the other night with my wife. When we were about to pay for our purchase, I noticed a small sign at the cashier’s desk. It said I could pay for my purchases at SM using Smart Money. I had seen something similar at Robinson’s Movie World.

On a Saturday evening, with my phone in my pocket and some time to spare, I’m in a good mood to try out this Smart Money service. Ma-subukan nga....

The SM at SM transaction

The Smart Money sign had simple payment instructions in SMS format. The format was “[unique cashier account number] [amount]” send to an access number. (I swapped phones with my brother that day, and I don’t have the exact smart money message in my phone. I’ll provide a sample message next time).

I was ready to send. But was the cashier ready to receive?

When I told the cashier that I’ll pay via Smart Money, she asked her colleague if she had seen a Smart Money transaction before. After a short discussion, the cashier left her post and walked away to what I presumed was a supervisor or a help desk. The customers behind me were getting impatient with the un-necessary delay - I could have paid cash, afterall. In my mind, I said, “Back-off, emkonomist at work!”. The cashier came back around 5 minutes later with a brand new Smart Money card in her hand.

And then we continued our transaction. She punched in my purchase, I sent the Smart Money payment via an SMS message, she validated the payment on her machine and I received a transaction receipt on my phone. She also asked me to sign a duplicate credit card receipt – the same piece of paper we sign when we make credit card purchases. Lastly, she issued me a tape receipt for my purchase. I don’t recall how the cashier used her Smart Money card.

Some observations…


Transaction handled well. The cashier handled the Smart Money transaction rather well. It appeared to be the first time the cashier was conducting a Smart Money transaction. I was expecting some transaction bloopers during that transaction. But the transaction went well. Seems like the SM cashiers have been trained well.

Quick Transaction. The core transaction was rather quick. Excluding the time when the cashier had to get her Smart Money card, the core transaction was done within a minute or less. After sending my Smart Money payment SMS, I received a transaction receipt within 30 seconds or so. I presume the cashier “received” my Smart Money payment within the same amount of time.

Simple Instructions. I had to read the purchase instructions twice. I was expecting to make the purchase via the SIM Tool Kit or STK (Smart Money menu). But the purchase was done via SMS. The upside of it was the relative simplicity of the instructions and the transaction. If the transaction was via the STK, the instructions would sound something like this:

“On you Smart cellphone, go to your Smart Menu. Select Smart Money. Select Transfer. Select Others” …. etc. etc.

That’s a lot more complicated than the simple SMS instructions. But there are downsides.

Not good

Tawagin ang Guard! The downside is the apparent lack of security of the transaction. One of the distinguishing characteristics of Smart Money is their ultra-high-tech encryption of transactions via the STK. Smart says they use a security standard that is comparable to the standard used by banks.

But in this SMS transaction, I do not see how any security or encryption was implemented.

Why no PIN? On top of that, the SM purchase did not require a PIN. Where are the security measures then? Well, one is when I was asked for a written signature. But unlike in a credit card purchase, my signature was not compared to any specimen signature for purposes of validation.

What are the implications? If a person who has P10,000 of Smart Money loses his phone, his Smart Money can be used for purchasing products at SM, and it would be easy to get away. There are no PINs required and a bogus signature isn’t being verified anyway.

Of course, a cellphone owner can report the loss of a cellphone. I wonder if reporting a lost phone will automatically suspend the associated Smart Money account. I hope so because if I lose my phone (knock on wood), reporting to Smart Money will not be on the top of my head.

The verdict

All in all, I see the emergence of Smart Money purchases at SM as a positive step. What I see is a development of the service much longed for after a deep slumber on the part of Smart Money. It tells me that Smart Money is back in the m-commerce game 8 months after G-Cash started kicking butt.

The simplified transaction is definitely a welcome improvement. Although I observed a security risk, I think many regular users of Smart Money won’t mind the doing the un-encrypted SMS transactions. But the lack of PIN – this opens up the doors to more ways for criminals to exploit a lost cellphone.

Is it “User beware”? Or should it be “Smart beware”?

Ka edong

Search Technobiography: Smart Money, G-Cash


Monday, August 01, 2005

m-Commerce: a Building Material (Part V)

M-Commerce is a building material. A material for nation-building, that is.

I realized this with most powerfully a few months ago when I went on my four-day cross country sojourn from Davao to Manila via boat + bus + jeep + tricycle + tsinelas.

It was a time for me to see the Philippines. It was a time for me to learn. It was a time for me to reflect. It was a time for me to renew my acquaintance with the Filipino.

Let me take you through some parts of my journey. Let’s travel...


My wife and I were traveling from Davao to Cagayan De Oro. At one point, we passed through BUDA (Bukidnon-Davao highway) amidst a vast valley with winding roads. I watched with awe how vast our country was outside of Manila. I kept telling my wife, “Ang lawak pala ng Pilipinas! Hindi lang pala Manila ang Pilipinas!” Of course I was just exaggerating my ignorance. But at the same time, it underlined for me how much of the Philippines I had not yet visited.

It also sent me the message that without these winding roads nestled in these boondocks, it would be so difficult for the countryside to develop. Without these roads, trade between cities will be more costly and would take a lot more time. Without these roads, the many neighboring communities would be left behind - mapag-iiwanan ng panahon.

bridge to Sogod from LiloanBridges

I found myself crossing many bridges along the way. And each time I crossed a bridge, I took a look at the surrounding terrain. I tried to imagine what the place was like before the bridge was built. How did people get across the river or leap to the next island? How did they transport their goods? How did they get their food, their news, or their education before this bridge was made?

Our bridges connected our islands, overcame cliffs, leapt over rivers. And if these bridges weren't there, we would remain separated by rivers and seas, separated by distance, separated by mis-communication, separated by time.

Roll-On, Roll-Off piers

I took two ferry rides in my journey from Davao to Manila. All four piers I passed through were Roll-On, Roll-Off (RoRo) piers. I took pleasure watching buses and trucks and cars taking a piggy-back ride on the ship. Watching all the trade goods (fish, rice, vegetables, handicraft, motorcycles) get on the ship helped me realize the benefits of the RoRo: how goods would be shipped more quickly and with less cost.

Let me illustrate further. I remember one time in 1999 at Puerto Princesa, Palawan when our ship couldn’t set sail because it was raining. The captain was waiting for the rain to stop. They had a shipment of rice that had yet to be loaded into the ship. But the kargadors needed to carry the bags of rice one by one into the ship. Because of the rains, they couldn’t transfer the bags of rice, lest the rice get wet and spoiled. If the ship sailed without the rice, there would be a rice shortage at the ship’s destination: Cuyo.

That was before the RoRo piers. Now with RoRo and the Nautical highway, trade and commerce is made simpler, easier, quicker. All these "er"s put together improves our economy and improves more lives.

Nation building

Roads, bridges and the RoRo piers – all of these facilitate transport. All these facilitate trade and commerce through safer, quicker, more affordable transactions. All these help build a nation.

Somewhere out there, there are people who helped build these structures and systems. There were people – laborers, foremen, engineers, architects and visionaries – who helped built these structures. People who worked at improving the infrastructure that would pave the way for further development. All these people helped to build a nation.

m-Commerce for Nation building

m-Commerce facilitates trade transactions through over-the-air payment. Imagine being able to send money from Davao to Manila with just a click on your cellphone. m-Commerce helps in making trade transactions faster.

As roads, bridges and piers help to build our country by facilitating trade, so it is with m-Commerce. M-Commerce facilitates trade and commerce through quicker and cheaper transactions.

As laborers and engineers help build our country by creating roads, bridges and piers, so it is with us who work to improve m-commerce in the Philippines. We are building the next highway that will improve the Philippine economy and the lives of our fellow Filipinos.

Let’s build!

ka edong

m-Commerce: Smart Money Revisited (Part 1),
m-Commerce: Smart Money Revisited again (Part 2),
Adbertisement Muna, G-Cash Revisited (Part 3), Mano y Mano - comparison of Smart Money and G-Cash
Search Technobiography:
Smart Padala, Smart Money, G-Cash