Cloud Ninety Nine

September 30th, 2013

I received several notices from Rackspace that the VM that hosts this blog had a high rate of swapping. Having faith in the nginx and stripped down Apache formula will work, I just ignored the notices until the VM was suspended (Rackspace will suspend the VM on the third notice).

Although I’ve been paying less since the migration from Slicehost to Rackspace Cloud, I do miss logging into the remote console and see a kernel panic when your Slice runs out of memory.

So I took this chance to try out Amazon AWS‘s MySQL RDS and shut down the MySQL server on the VM. As with other AWS services, it was pretty straightforward. For those that want to know, I took a reserved micro instance at $25/year.

P.S. Five months ago, I started a draft post on a quick update. I didn’t finish it. Hah! Let’s see when I actually will!

Wallaby: FLA to HTML5 Converter

March 9th, 2011


I failed to mention in recent posts that about a year ago, I started exploring Adobe Flex. Just a heads up so no one would be surprised by posts on Flash or Flex. Majority of my recent work was developed on the Flash platform.

Adobe released Wallaby, a technology preview that converts Adobe Flash CS5 files to a mixture of HTML5, CSS3, Javascript and SVG. The release notes shows that support is currently limited. Majority of the features are partially or not supported, specially with ActionScript. It is free to download for Windows and Mac. If you don’t have Adobe CS5, Lee Brimelow posted a demo.

With Adobe Flash iPhone Packager and this out in the wild, an Adobe HTML5 authoring tool is not so far away.

Public Forum on Broadband and Bandwidth

February 20th, 2011

Yesterday afternoon, February 19, I attended a public forum with the House of Representative’s Committee on ICT on Internet broadband and bandwidth. MINT College graciously provided the venue. The forum was attended by some bloggers, members of Computer Professionals Union (CPU), I-Café Pilipinas, Philippine Flash Actionscripters (Phlashers), notable people like Dr. William Torres “Father of Philippine Internet” and Tunde Fafungwa of Kitskoo.

The committee is composed of Hon. Tiñga as chairman, Hon. Palatino and Hon. Tinio. Hon. Bondoc joined later, sharing her experience of getting billed about P100,000 because of data usage incurred by her iPhone. NTC Commissioner Cordoba was present, and so did some Globe representatives who did not participate.

Most of the issues are being worked on by NTC and there are some solutions mentioned by the Committee on ICT. I’m not much of a note-taker but I tried my best. Following are what I’ve gathered from the forum.

  • SLA for Consumers – A service level agreement similar to business and corporate accounts should be made available. In response to complains about ISPs deceiving “Up to XXkbps” service with no minimum speed, the agreement to the consumer will provide a Committed Information Rate (CIR) or a minimum speed of something like 80%. Bandwidth capping should also fall here although not entirely discussed in the forum. Rebates were also raised and the committee and NTC said that it’s being looked at and will also be brought up to DTI.
  • Overbilling – NTC has a draft on mobile data charges to protect postpaid and, to be added, prepaid subscribers. Talks with manufacturers and distributors to disable mobile data before shipping smartphones are ongoing. NTC will also start information campaigns about mobile data and how to disable it.[1]
  • Overbooking – ISPs are accused that networks are beyond capacity. NTC is conducting an “Infrastructure Audit” which should conclude in a month or two.
  • Prevent exclusivity – to encourage a healthy competition among providers, exclusive areas from buildings to cities (e.g. Fort Bonifacio) should bare no exclusivity with one or more ISPs. In a related note with competition, there is an upcoming FTTH player and the NTC has done all it can to reduce the paperwork to get the new provider up and running.
  • Creation of another and a true Internet Exchange – Mr. Fafungwa has a paper on keeping domestic traffic domestic (read it here) and a representative of CPU suggested the creation of another Internet Exchange maintained by the government. The Philippines currently has two Internet Exchanges, BayanTel and PLDT.
  • Provision of utility corridors – Mr. Fafungwa mentioned utility corridors that should house utility cables and pipes such as power, water, data and voice cables. I stood up to raise its importance as I have blogged or tweeted about it several times before. Their advantages such as less risk from typhoons and better aesthetics against overhead cables have several advantages which should justify their high cost. Hon. Tiñga raised the concern of control over these utility corridors.
  • Number portability and lock-in periods – To add to healthy competition, number portability similar to FCC’s rules should be made available and lock-in contracts be abolished. Hon. Bondoc aired her inconveniences on these issues and hesitation to switch providers.
  • Testing method – a couple of slides in the opening mentioned the Philippines’ rank in an average broadband speed index. I believe this was not discussed enough as there must be a standardized method of testing the broadband speed to enable consumers to prove that their connection is not delivering.
  • Moving of broadband services from VAS – a blogger brought up that broadband services should not be considered a value-added service. There must have been an argument by a telco that data services is considered VAS and does not fall into regulation.

As I mentioned to Hon. Palatino, I prepared my concerns and suggestions the night before but as I listened through the resolutions, I felt that work is already being done and felt some inner peace. I’m trying to keep an open mind, viewing it both from the eyes of consumers and ISPs. Running undersea cables are not cheap and a risky investment, considering our geographic location. Network infrastructure is not built overnight but cheating consumers is not a valid solution.

At Roofcamp, I was told that telcos will simply go around these solutions. I received the same presumption when I posted the event page on Facebook. I’d like to keep a positive outlook and rather do something about it than complaining on social networks. Though work is not yet over, I would like to give the ICT Committee and NTC a pat on the back.

Attendees will be notified of a public online venue where the people can participate in writing these laws. As stated by the ICT Committee, the next hearing might be online. NTC will also have a public hearing on March 18, 2011 (details to follow as soon as NTC’s website starts working again).

Update: According to Rom Feria, DOST-ASTI has an Internet Exchange.

[1] I think this happens mostly to iPhone users. Yay for Android and not so good for telcos!

Dyson Bladeless Fan Clone

January 4th, 2011

How much are you willing to pay for a fan? Out of curiosity, I bought a rip off of a Dyson bladeless fan. Or in a more futuristic tone, an “air multiplier”.

Watching the viral video with the balloon had me searching for a China copy. A couple of months later, I found myself making an order for the 12″ from Wuyi Jushin Tools via AliExpress at USD110 including shipping via UPS Expedited. It arrived yesterday morning, 10 days after making the order.

Bladeless fans have good selling points besides looking clean and modern. They are child-safe as blades are not exposed. Maintenance is simple by wiping the ring and clearing the holes at the base. And mentioned somewhere online, it blocks less light in the room without the blades.

The material is glossy plastic and the color is white. Not silver/iron as seen in the product page and on the box. It seems to function exactly like a Dyson Air Multiplier. The overall construction feels durable unlike what you would expect in most plastic products manufactured in China.

When set at maximum power, it’s slightly noisier than an ordinary stand fan of the same diameter but the pitch and frequency of the sound is not as disturbing. The air that it blows does feel soft and smoother. Having a dimmer switch is a cool bonus.

Below are photos of the unboxing and a clip of the fan in operation. Does this fan qualify for a space on an end table of your living room?

1mbps Mobile Internet

November 25th, 2010

To get Internet access in our house in Sta. Rosa, I use my phone’s mobile hotspot feature (available in Android 2.2) with my netbook. One night, I streamed music on, watched a video on Facebook and loaded a photo album with background music all at the same time.

As soon as I noticed what I just did, I stopped and closed everything and did a speed test. I didn’t know mobile Internet in the Philippines with SMART 3G can reach this speed. If only we can get this kind of speed everywhere and all the time.

SMART Bro 3G Speedtest

Unfortunately, 3G went down when I woke up the following morning.

Waze: Community GPS Navigation (in the Philippines)

November 24th, 2010

Waze is a community-powered GPS navigation app for smartphones. It has been featured on the iTunes app store and The New York Times. It has been estimated to have more than 500,000 downloads on the Android.

Waze Logo

Social media components have been integrated with features like Foursquare check-ins (where you get a badge) and sharing with Facebook friends. The act of driving with Waze turned on–wazing–is challenged by incorporating a scoring mechanism by driving around with Waze. The more you drive, the more points you get. You also get the chance to encounter bonuses, for example, cookies on roads you’ve never driven before. It’s just like a real-life driving version of Pac-Man (called road munching).

Its features are at par with most navigation services/devices:

  • 3D maps
  • Real-time traffic (based on community usage)
  • Social network integration including Foursquare and Facebook
  • Turn-by-turn directions
  • Available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry

Why you (Filipino drivers) should start wazing

We need more wazers. More people driving means better traffic updates. Running the app while you drive sends traffic automatically. The app is designed to operate hands free and there’s an option to send data anonymously. Once you sign up, please join the Philippine Wazers group.

Waze Screenshots

Screenshots of Waze in night mode. Top: Pop up screen when stopped shows nearby traffic reports and conditions. Bottom: 3D map of Makati City

We need more mappers. The Philippine map on Waze needs A LOT of work. I’ve spent a sleepless night updating the Makati area and surely the job can’t be done by one man. All you need to participate is a computer with internet access. Yes, mapping is done on a PC with Cartouche, the editor.

Cartouche Screenshot

Cartouche Screenshot

We need more Area Managers. As more people drive and use Waze, new roads are added to the system which needs to be labelled and updated accordingly in addition to the current ones uploaded. See the steps to become an area manager to update the map without having to drive on the road you want to edit. Do check out the naming convention and standards too.

Using Waze (in the Philippines)

Safety first. Buy a car mount holder. You can get one from CDR-King. There’s one on Amazon that also serves as an FM transmitter and micro-USB charger.

CDR-King Carmount

CDR-King Carmount

Get unlimited data. Maximize your smartphone with data plans and promos available locally. SMART prepaid and postpaid subscribers send UNLISURF 1200 to 211 (rates on SMART’s website). Globe postpaid subscribers send SUPERSURF ON to 8888 and prepaid subscribers SUPERSURF 220 to 8888 (rates on Globe’s website).

That’s it and I’m hoping to see you on Waze. Or if you’re already on Waze, chit chat and say hi! If you have any questions about Waze, feel free to ask in the comments below.

Cherry Mobile’s First Batch of Droids

October 16th, 2010

кухненски масиThree new Android devices were launched by all-Filipino mobile phone manufacturer—Cherry Mobile. What’s most interesting in their new products is the Superion, a 7-inch tablet. It retails at PHP19,900 (USD460) which is almost half of Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Trying out the Superion

It already runs on Android 2.2 “Froyo” (complete specs). I got to play around with it a little and it works quite well. Reggie Ramos, Product Development Manager of Cherry Mobile, actually made his first Skype call on the device with me using SMART 3G. The Superion will be in stores in the next few days (within a week).

It’s quite responsive as one might think that its 600MHz CPU wouldn’t meet demands. It was probably a compromise for battery life and, of course, cost. It’s also worth noting that Cherry Mobile partnered with Qualcomm for the processors. Which would mean why the two handsets, the Nova and Magnum also sport Qualcomm CPUs.

The Nova is their entry level device which retails just about the same as the Samsung Galaxy 5 and almost a third of the HTC Wildfire. The Magnum is for the HD junkie with 720p video recording, HDMI output and a 1GHz CPU.

I’m considering the thought of giving my parents a tablet as a holiday gift and the Superion cuts the list along with the iPad and Kindle.

Día del Galeón

October 6th, 2010

Ever wondered how international trade happened during the Spanish colonization? Galeón Andalucí­a, a 17th century replica, arrived this morning at Pier 13, South Harbor, Manila from Hong Kong. The floating museum is open to the public starting today until Saturday (October 9th). Admission is free.

For more details, visit the Día Del Galeón Festival blog.

Location Map
Google Maps


Cebu Pacific Flight Safety Instructions

October 3rd, 2010

Here’s a viral video. 3 million views in 3 days.

Cebu Pacific is a pioneer budget airline in the Philippines. The fourteen year old airline has routes to almost any city across the nation. Their international routes are all in Asia. As with most budget airlines, all flights are single class and fares don’t include meals. They market a no-frills and fun trip as sampled in the clip above.

I have flown Cebu Pacific on two round-trip flights, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur. With an airline code of 5J, the airline would occasionally launch discount promo fares such as “Piso Fares” (One Peso Fare) on their website. Their flights were what you would expect with a budget airline, just like when my sister and I flew with AirAsia last December.

Air New Zealand has a safety instructions video with staff wearing nothing but body paint. “Bare Essentials of Safety” was released last year.

Google Technology User Group Philippines Meet Up

September 30th, 2010

Proximity Philippines is hosting this month’s GTUG Philippines‘ meet up!

Thursday 6PM, October 14, 2010
BBDO Guerrero / Proximity Philippines
11/F Insular Life Building
Ayala Ave cor. Paseo de Roxas
Makati City

View Larger Map

There will be lightning talks on Google Apps, HTML5 and Android. Sharing highly encouraged, barcamp stylee! What’s more is there’s food. So this is not worth missing.

Sign up now.