Monday, February 13, 2012

JT's Manukan Grille @ Katipunan

We had lunch today at Joel Torre's JT Grille along Katipunan.  I've read good reviews about it and it seems to be opening more and more branches, so I've always been curious to try it.  The restaurant is in the 2nd floor of the building so it was not easy to find.  We had to ask the guards to figure out how to get there.

There were not that many diners when we got there, but service was really slow.  There seems to be only 3 x staff manning the entire restaurant operation.  We had to follow up several times just to get hot water.  When the waiter delivered the plates, a cockroach-like insect jumped into the table and freaked out Cols.

When the food finally arrived after a long wait, I was filled with excitement.  Sad to say, I was a bit disappointed after the first bite.  It did not taste any more special than any other inasals I've eaten.  Granted that it is much better than Mang Inasal, which has really gone downhill in quality since Jollibee bought it.  But its nothing really special to write home about.

Wi-Tribe @ Marikina

I went to the Wi-Tribe sales office at Ayala Ave this afternoon to apply for a postpaid 4G service for the new  office.  They have a spacious retail outlet there with 3 customer service desks which always has a long queue of customers.  I've been there 3 to 4 times already and I always just leave because of the queue.  I had no choice this time because I wanted to avail of their ongoing promo up to Feb 15 where new subscribers will have no lock-in period.

I considered PLDT's wired DSL service but I was turned off by the 24-month lock-in period.  I really do not understand the logic for lock-in period since PLDT requires you to buy the Zyxel DSL modem anyway and its not as if they are subsidizing it.  And even when you terminate the service, you cannot return the unit and get back your money.  Its considered "sold".  Furthermore, if you apply for a DSL service again elsewhere, you also cannot use that old modem.  You have to buy another new one (even if it is exactly the same unit/model).

I availed of the up-to-2mbps 4G service for Php998 per month.  The bundle comes with a router/wifi access point all-in-one unit for free (take that, PLDT!).  I am not sure if this is just part of the ongoing promo or whether they are really giving away those units to all subscribers.  The packaging is very well thought out and polished -- from the box to the manuals.  Everything is Wi-Tribe branded -- even the http admin page of the router.  You don't see a Zyxel brand unlike the PLDT offering.

The 4G modem/router/wifi access point is really plug-and-play.  You take it out of the box; plug it to the power outlet; get your wifi device to connect to it; and you're up and running!  Of course, there are more "advanced" settings like security, firewall, DDNS, DHCP, etc. that more advanced users would want to tinker around with.  But for ordinary users, its a no-brainer.

Now as to the performance.... well, here in our 2nd floor master bedroom in Loyola Grand Villas, I only get 2 bars out of 4 in the signal strength indicator.  And sometimes, the 2nd light would even blink on and off.  So maybe its more of 1.5 ~ 2 out of 4 only.  In terms of surfing speed, it does not seem to be that much faster compared to our entry level PLDT MyDSL 384kbps.

Caitlin thinks the YouTube streams are not any faster. And forget about BitTorrent.  Wi-Tribe seem to be filtering or throttling it.  I tried to download 4 torrents and none of them can seem to get a session started.  Since Wi-Tribe switched their billing model from data-throughput based, to now "unlimited", I guess they did some engineering in the back-end to prevent abuse.  But what about users who really want to download?  Should they avoid Wi-Tribe altogether?