Saturday, July 30, 2011

Smartphone Predictive Texting

Its been a couple of months since I switched from Nokia "dumb phone" to my Samsung Galaxy S smartphone. I was originally expecting to experience withdrawal symptoms after using the old mobile phone keypad with predictive texting for 15 years. But surprisingly, I'm getting the hang of qwerty typing on the lcd touchscreen surface of my smartphone.

Predictive texting on the Samsung is far more superior than in the dumb phone. I guess the manufacturerforesaw that thumb-typing on a small screen can produce a lot of wrong spellings. So the predictive texting tries to figure out what you are typing even if you occasionally hit an adjacent key and corrects it based on its dictionary.

Also unlike dumb phone predictive texting wherein you still have to type all the letters (for example, if the word has 10 letters, you still have to press 10 keys), the Samsung predictive text lets you just enter the first few letters. If you see that the word it predicted is correct, just hit space or some other punctuation and it performs auto-word completion.

If you type a new word that is not in the dictionary, it automatically adds it. It does not bring up a dialog box unlike Nokia dumb phone where you have to add the new word first.

Lastly, the predictive texting seem to learn which words you use most often and gives suggestion for auto-completion. Like in my case, just typing "Dr" automatically brings up "Dragonpay". The Nokia dumb phone dictionary is more based on just word frequency in general use and not specific to the user.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Getting Ready for Singapore

I bought Jetstar ticket online for the first time. We're planning to go to Singapore during the semestral break of the kids. Jetstar seems to have the best rate from Manila to Singapore as compared to Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific (I could never seem to catch those elusive Cebu Pacific seat sales). Jetstar flies out of NAIA unlike most other budget airlines who fly out of Clark (ex. AirAsia, Tiger Airways). And the Manila departure of 10:30am, and Singapore departure of 4:20pm, are just ideal.

While filling up the online credit card form using Google Chrome, the Jetstar site kept telling me that there were missing/invalid fields. I'm sure I filled up everything. This is reminiscent of PayEasy customers questioning us now and then about them filling up all the fields in PayEasy and yet its complaining of missing fields. So I followed the same advise I always give PayEasy customers -- try it out on Interne Explorer. Sure enough, it worked fine with IE. Very strange.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Goodbye Lullaby

Its not often that I get to hear a record album where I end up liking almost all the tracks. But Avril Lavigne's Goodbye Lullaby is one such album. Yeah, I know... Avril Lavigne is not exactly the type of singer that is supposed to appeal to 40-year-old-married-males-with-2 kids, but I actually like her music. Her genre of punk rock (with lots of angst), admittedly, is not my normal cup of tea either. But when I first saw the music video for Smile, one of the top singles from the album, I just had to hear the rest of the album.

Avril has matured a little bit with her music compared to her Under My Skin days. She still cusses a lot in her lyrics though. I believe she's a mom now and maybe that mellowed her a little bit. The title track, Goodbye Lullaby, seems to be her singing to her child (baby?).

Her acoustic rendition of the Guns 'N Roses classic, Knocking on Heaven's Door, added a nice contrasting touch to Avril's typical punk/pop-rock beat.

Darn That Landbank Dongle

I hate the whole concept of using dongles for Internet banking. Dongles are such a hassle to use. You have to run the custom program everytime to generate the unique password just to login. Then if you travel around, you have to remember to bring along the dongle. Otherwise, you cannot access your own bank account.

But some overly-protective banks require 2 factor authentication -- passwords (what you know) and physical USB dongles (what you have). Landbank is one of these paranoid banks. For corporate clients, Landbank gives up to three (3) dongles for free. They use Transcend USB flash drives with a custom Java program (on a positive note, I do get to use the 2GB storage as my general-purpose flash drive as well).

It is probably not surprising that they use Java since its supposed to be cross-platform. However, installing it on Windows does require running some batch file installer. And this is where the problem starts.

The dongle program installer that Landbank provides is not directly compatible with Windows 7. It works out-of-the-box for XP, but it completely thrashes Windows 7. It somehow disables all the USB ports after installation. And since our new home PC did not come anymore with PS/2 keyboard/mouse ports but USB ports only, even the keyboard and mouse were rendered unusable forcing me to reformat the entire PC. Jeez! I hate dongles!