Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My New Samsung Galaxy S Smartphone

I've been using my new Samung Galaxy S smartphone for a couple of days now and have the ff. comments:

  1. I don't really miss my old, trusty Nokia 6680. True, typing an SMS using the virtual qwerty keyboard takes a lot of getting used to. Its pretty hard to type an SMS while driving using this interface unlike the old Nokia keypad. The predictive dictionary is a big help.

  2. The phone seems to be a battery hog especially if Wi-Fi is enabled. I just left it on overnight and it was dead when I woke up in the morning. When not in use, disabling Wi-Fi seem to extend the life quite a bit. But unlike my old Nokia 6680 which can go 2 to 3 days without charging, I find myself charging the Galaxy S at least once a day.

  3. On the bright side, the Galaxy S uses a standard USB port for its power adapter. That means you can connect it to a regular PC's USB port using the provided cable to charge it. No need to connect direct to a power outlet.

  4. The unit has hanged a couple of times on me while running some apps. When it hangs, you really have to remove the battery to get it to reboot.

  5. The thin form factor still takes getting used to on my palm.

  6. The mobile signal bar seems to be low most of the time. I don't recall seeing it at full bar. Could it be that Samsung's reference for signal strength is more stringent than Nokia's?

The Galaxy S runs on Adroid 2.2 (Froyo). Not surprisingly, integration with Google Accounts is fantastic. The Calendar app syncs with Google Calendar. The GTask app from the Android Market syncs with my GMail Task. The contacts list also syncs (unnecessarily) with the GMail contacts database.

I must say that the switch to a smartphone is worth it. Its not just a phone but a full entertainment console and productivity tool all-in-one.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Not All Flash Drives Are Created Equal

I recently bought a PHP400 USB Flash Drive at the friendly neighborhood CD-R King. The drive has a capacity of 4GB. Amazing how price has gone down to P100 per GB now on flash drives. I didn't want to go with the generic house-branded CD-R King flash drive so I picked one with a slightly known name -- Ridata. I don't really know the brand well but I've seen it a few times on the blank CD/DVD labels so I took that over the more expensive brands like Kingston, Apacer, etc. I figure all flash drives are more-or-less the same.

Well, after using the Ridata USB flash drive for several weeks, I have to say that it is quite poor in performance as compared to my old Kingston flash drives. Reading and writing is slow. When you drag-and-drop files onto it in Windows Explorer, there's a 1 to 2 second lull where nothing seems to happen before you see the animated files flying between folders to indicate a file transfer.

A Pictureshop customer lent me his 8GB Sandisk USB Flash Drive a few months ago. That one was just fantastic in performance. I'm sure it costs an arm and a leg too.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Synchronizing Chrome Bookmarks

Hey, very cool! I was able to synch my Chrome bookmarks between my office PC and netbook using the sync feature. I opted not to sync my passwords, auto-fill, and extensions for now. Bookmark is more important.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

HD + Fiber Optic Cable @ Home Theater

I connected the WD TV unit to our home theater projector using the component video cables because the projector does not support HDMI. I wanted to test how HD videos appear using standard component video cables. I previously assumed that it will only work on HDMI because of all the details, but I guess not.

We watched Green Hornet in 720p HD and it was very clear. It can really spoil you from watching "standard definition" DVD rips. The audio was also fantastic using the fiber optic cable that my friend, Andrian, lent me. I connected it to the Harman Kardon receiver and the sound was very crisp.

My only complaint is that the video seem to go reddish now and then. I would need to pull the component video cable and re-connect it for the color to go back to normal. The connector seems pretty tight, but it appears like one of the Y-Pb-Pr signal loses every so often.

My Most Expensive Japanese Meal Ever

We had lunch today at Sushi Kappo Kobikicho in Legaspi Village, Makati. We were supposed to eat here last Saturday but the place is quite popular and its small 10-seater sushi bar could not fit us. So I had the reservation moved to this week.

I was fore-warned that this place was expensive. But Cols has been wanting to eat Japanese and I figured it wouldn't hurt to splurge on good Japanese food once in a while. And since this place had very good reviews, we took the plunge.

One of the house specialty is the toro (blue fin tuna). So when the manager offered it along with salmon sushi, we immediately agreed without even looking at the price. Then I ordered a meat dish and Cols had tempura. The main entrees were actually not that fantastic in my opinion. But the toro, man! That was something else. The reviewer was correct -- it really does melt in your mouth. And being first-timers, the manager was extra generous to us and gave us 10 pieces instead of the usual 8.

Finally the bill came, and I already braced myself. I was expecting our "simple" meal to be in the neighborhood of P4k. But my eyes almost popped out when I saw we racked up P7.5k, with the toro alone costing P4k already! At 10 pieces, that's P400 per piece! Ouch!

It was an experience for sure. But I don't think we'll be coming back here anytime soon. Maybe it was vaule-for-money, but somehow, it felt morally indecent to have spent that much on a meal when other people only earn that much in a month.

If its any consolation, I did use my Standard Chartered card which comes with a 3% off on restaurant spends, and a P300 gift certificate promo from Fully Booked.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Very Poor Service at Bank of Commerce

I opened a personal bank account and a corporate bank account at Bank of Commerce about a month back. I intended to use both for Dragonpay. Bank of Commerce was a small-time bank until it was bought by giant San Miguel Corporation a couple of years ago. So I figure with SMC's backing, its only a matter of time before Bank of Commerce would join the big league.

The bank staff seemed pretty excited to get me as a new client. The bank managers were very friendly. But I was caught a bit off-guard when they couldn't seem to agree on what is the correct maintaining balance for a corporate account. From P10k, to P20k to P25k, they cannot seem to agree among themselves. Maybe that should have been a sign of things to come.

When last I inquired, they told me it was P10k. So when I came to open the account about a month ago, I only brought P10k with me. Then they tell me that the minimum opening balance is P10k, but the minimum maintaining balance should be P20k to avoid getting penalized. Huh? Why didn't they just tell me P20k to begin with? Why would anyone want to open anything less than that minimum if they were going to be fined? As my voice started to increase in pitch and volume, the manager pacified me by saying that she will give me up to a month to bring my balance to P20k without any penalty, and gave me some freebie organizers. That issue was resolved for now.

From the time I opened both accounts, it took them about 10 working days to produce my ATM card. That's terrible! The major banks can give it to you in a couple of days. Some like Citibank and PSBank even give it to you on-the-spot. 10 days?! That's so 90's!

Then came the biggest problem -- the corporate Internet banking facility. They dragged this for almost a month giving me all sorts of lame excuses why it was not yet activated. Until finally, they admitted they cannot offer it. It seems that among all their corporate clients, only San Miguel was actually given this facility. No other corporate clients can actually use their corporate Internet banking. Huh?! Then why even bother to offer it at their site?

I finally got fed up today and went to the branch and closed both my personal and corporate account. I returned my unused checkbook and had them refund the cost to me and waive all early closure fees. San Miguel Corp. should do something about this. It was just a plain awful experience doing banking with Bank of Commerce.

OMG! Obama's Dead (and other gaffes)

After 10 years, the US special forces have finally tracked down Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and killed him. News of his death grabbed front page headlines in news and print everywhere. The resulting news took a hilarious turn when newscasters, podcasters, twits confused "Osama" with "Obama". Suddenly, US President Barrack Obama was killed off!

With only 1 letter separating the two names, the similarity can be quite confusing. Read this article for excerpts.