Category Archive: Technology

Happy 20th Birthday Philippine Internet!

20th Year Philippine Internet

Last night, I had the privilege to join the wonderful 20th birthday celebration of Philippine internet. The event was organised by Smart Communications.  All the influential people in the net industry was there.  I felt so honoured to be in the same room with people who made Philippines a connected country.

The Philippines got connected to the world wide web in March 29, 1994.  

Wow, twenty (20) years!!!  
Look at where we are now.  Internet has become a necessity already!  

20PHNet Panelists

It felt nice hearing the stories of people who heavily got involved in the evolution of the internet in the country.  Honestly, I was already in reminiscing mode just listening to them.  Considering how far we have become.  I can truly say that anything is indeed possible!

A timeline of the 20 years of internet in the Philippines:
source: smart.com.ph

20th birthday PH Internet cake

  • August 1986 – The first Philippine Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) are established. Star BBS and Fil-RBBS go online.
  • 1987 – The First Philippine BBS network is established -The Philippine Fidonet Exchange
  • 1991-1993 – Multinational companies like Intel, Motorola, and Texas Instruments came in to provide e-mail services.
  • June 1993 – Backed by the Department of Science and Technology and the Industrial Research Foundation, the Philnet project (now PHNET) was born.
  • July 1993 – Phase I of Philnet Project: Internet & e-mail correspondence among students of partner universities in the Philippines and the Victoria University of Technology in Australia.
  • November 1993 – Phase II of the Philnet Project: A grant-in-aid of P12.5M was provided for the use of PCASTRD-DOST and the Industrial Research Foundation (IRF).
  • March 13, 1994 – The PHnet Basic Principles and the Internet Code of Conduct were established.
  • March 29, 1994, 1:15AM – Benjie Tan of Comnet (supplier of routers to Philnet) is the first to connect to the Internet from the PLDT office in Makati.
  • March 29, 1994, 10:18AM – “We’re in.” The first public demonstration of a live Internet connection is displayed at the University of San Carlos in Cebu.
  • April 1994 – The Advance Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) under the DOST, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the University of Santo Tomas (UST) joined PHNet.
  • May 1994 – The University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) and the DOST central office joined PHNet.
  • June 1994 – Mosaic Communications (Moscom) offers dialup Internet subscriptions to the public.
  • October 1994 – The Industrial Research Foundation (IRF), Philippine Network Foundation, Inc. (PFI), Saint Louis University in Baguio (SLU) and Xavier University (XU) became a part of PHNet.
  • December 10, 1994 – The Network Assistance Group (NAG) was established to provide assistance to ISPs & member nodes.
  • March 1995 – Republic Act 7925, known as the Public Telecommunications Act of the Philippines, was passed.
  • June 1995 – Mindanao State University (MSU), the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Asian Institute of Management (AIM), and PDX became connected to PHNet.
  • June to August 1995 – Establishment of commercial ISPs such as IBM Philippines, Globe Telecom’s G-Net, Infocom’s Sequel.Net, Iphil Communications, and Tridel Net and Commercial Online services such as Virtual Asia and Cybernet Live.
  • 1996 – Entry of foreign ISPs in the Philippines such as Asia Online, a HongKong-based online service, and Pacific Internet, a Singapore-based ISP that acquired Philworld.
  • 1996 – Bayantel and Sky Internet teamed up to provide the United Network Access (UNA).
  • 1996 – The Philippine Internet Services Organization (PISO) was established.
  • 1996 – Establishment of the Philippine Internet Exchange (PHIX).
  • June 1996 – Cebu, Zamboanga, Sorsogon, Davao, Bacolod, Legaspi, Naga gained connection via the Cisco 7000 router.
  • 1997 – The International Data Corporation (IDC) estimated that there were approximately 85,000 Internet users in the Philippines in 1997.
  • 1997 – Global roaming networks allowed subscribers of local ISPs to access Net services abroad and be billed locally.
  • 1997 – The biggest television networks gained online platforms with ABS-CBN Interactive Web and GMANetwork.com.
  • 1997 – Major broadsheets such as Businessworld Online, Manila Bulletin, Philippine Star, Manila Times and the Philippine Daily Inquirer went online as well.
  • 1997 – Establishment of Philippine Network Information Center/Infrastructure Consortium (PHNIC), Philippine Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-PH), and user groups such as PhilJUG (java) , PhilPlug (Linux), ISiP (Internet Society of the Philippines), APRICOT (Asia-Pacific Region Internet Conference on Operating Technology).
  • 1998 – Bert is Evil won a Webby Award in San Francisco, making Dino Ignacio the first Filipino to win the prestigious award.
  • 1998 – San Miguel Draft Beer becomes the first fully-functional e-commerce website in the country.
  • 1999 – PinoyExchange.com forum started operations and became one of the biggest online communities.
  • 1999 – Auction sites like Ebay, eAuctions.ph, and PinoyAuctions became popular.
  • 2000 – Rise of blogging and online journals that showcase personal text-based content.
  • 2001-2003 – Increasing growth in internet usage at home with the rise of social networking sites like Friendster, MySpace, and Multiply and online gaming platforms like Level Up Games and Ragnarok.
  • January 2001 – In an event witnessed by NTC officials, Smart, in cooperation with Nokia, conducted the first successful trials on experimental 3G systems in the Philippines. The company also started rolling out base stations that were easily upgradeable to 3G technology.
  • June 2005 – Smart launches Smart Bro.
  • November 2005 – In November 2005, Smart demonstrated its readiness to offer a full range of 3G services in a live video conference call and an international roaming call at the annual conference of the Inter-Working Roaming Expert Group of the GSM Association in Cebu City. Smart was the first Philippine telco to demo its 3G technology in an international conference.
  • January 1, 2006 – This was the first time the 3G technology was demoed on television by PLDT and Smart chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan and celebrity icon Kris Aquino over the Buzz.
  • February 14, 2006 – Launch of “Smart 3G”.
  • November 2009 – Smart is the first telco that had successfully completed testing of the most advanced broadband technologies such as HSPA+, Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access or WiMAX, and Long Term Evolution or LTE in various parts of the country.
  • February 2011 – At the GSMA Mobile World Congress held at Barcelona, Smart unveiled the Netphone™ — its own line of Android-compliant, path-breaking smartphones designed for emerging markets. The Netphone™ is the world’s first smartphone backed by an operator-managed platform (SmartNet).
  • August 25, 2012 – Smart was the first to launch the country’s fastest fourth generation (4G) mobile broadband commercial service running on Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology.

My Internet Story

20th PH Internet Celebration

The first time I used the Internet was to chat with strangers. I had applications like TelNet, MiRC, ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, MSN messenger were my favorites to use. The Internet was new! So can you imagine all the yuppies chatting? I loved that I was able to gain friends by logging on the Internet. In fact, some of my friends today? I met them from the time I was chatting at MiRC.

While I was sheltered during my younger years, the Internet was the only thing that my mom allowed me to do. (Thank you, Mom!)

I would keep my daily allowance so I could buy monthly Internet load. Internet was too expensive then. I remember saving money to get PHP500, PHP1,000, and PHP2,000 prepaid Internet load cards.

Internet was too addictive that I would spend days and nights chatting.  I came to the point that I became a bit irresponsible —> not eating at the right time, skipping meals, losing sleep, and not doing anything, but logging on to the internet.

I enjoyed being connected that I even studied HTML and created several websites using only notepad.  That time, I knew that I was studying the wrong course.  The internet only came to the Philippines when I already graduated from high school.  It was too bad because I felt I wasted 4 years of my time studying Pharmacy (I initially planned to be a doctor).  During 2nd/3rd year of college, I decided that I won’t be practicing the course. I decided to just self-study and try my luck in getting experience from IT companies.

Geocities was my favourite place.  MiRC was my life back then.  The internet was my food, my happiness, and my inspiration.  Looking back, I never regretted it.

Fast forward to 2014, I still am addicted to internet.  Hey, I’m now blogging!  From notepad to Dreamweaver, now I moved to wordpress.  HTML 4 is now HTML 5.  Internet is way cheaper!  We don’t even want 2Mbps.  We want more!  We want LTE.  Now, we are expecting advanced LTE.

Internet of things is a thing now.  We look forward to more innovations.  I’m too excited and too looking forward for the next things to come!

William Torres – The Father of Philippine Internet

Father of PH Internet

One of the highlights of my evening was being able to have a picture with the father of Philippine internet!  My gosh, William Torres — The person who made it possible for the Philippines to be connected to the world wide web!  He was the first to negotiate with the US National Science Foundation to bring the internet to the Philippines.  He took the initiative to get funds from government agencies to make this possible.  He was successful and here we are :)

Happy Happy Happy Happy 20th birthday Philippine internet!  
Let’s have many many many more celebrations to come!

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Smart launches satellite-powered service to the Philippines

SmartSAT

The Philippines is prone to disasters – just ask the victims of typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).  So for Filipinos, this is not news.  And in times of disaster, connectivity, and communication is very important.  This is especially crucial for people who works in emergency units, military, media, and frontline services.

Smart Communications, Inc. is opening up its satellite-powered communication service to the public.  Now, everyone of us can subscribe to SmartSAT & be connected 24/7.  No matter where we are in the country, we are assured to have connectivity.

SmartSAT Thuraya

It’s nice to know that Smart is the only homegrown satellite brand in the Philippines.  Smart’s satellite service got even stronger when they partnered with Thuraya Telecommunications Company for the SmartSAT service.  Why?  Because the partnership with Thuraya expanded Smart’s satellite coverage to over 160 countries!

I got to know all these details at the press launch of SmartSAT two weeks ago.  Executives from both Smart and Thuraya spoke to select media people about the SmartSAT service.  We had the privilege to hear Jon Huertas, Bilal El Hamoui, Mon Isberto & Orlande Vea that day.

Smart Sat Press Briefing

SmartSAT is a prepaid service offered as a package worth Php 38,500, inclusive of special satellite SIM with initial credit load of $225 that is valid for one year. 

Rates are as follows:

  • Calls to Philippines (Smart/Sun/PLDT) – $0.57 per minute
  • Calls to Philippines (other networks) – $0.80 per minute
  • Calls to other countries – $0.57 to $5.75 depending on location
  • SMS rate – $0.23 per 160 characters
  • Data rate – $0.015 per 10 kilobytes
  • call to customer care – free

If you finished your $225 load before the first year ended, you can buy prepaid cars for 35 units (Php 1,575), 100 units (Php 4,500), and 250 units (Php 11,250).

The Php 38,500 covers the SmartSAT device, SIM card & first year of subscription.  However, if you want to extend it, you will need to pay the $250 annual subscription fee.

These are the three devices that you can choose from:
It will come to no surprise to my friends that my choice would be the SatSleeve for the iPhone :)

  • XT Satellite Phone

Thuraya XT

A stand-alone satellite phone that is suitable for use for emergency and sister response, media coverage, and outdoor recreation.  It’s ruggedised meaning it’s water splash proof, dust proof, and shock proof.

  • SatSleeve for iPhone 5/5S and Samsung Galaxy S4

SatSleeve iPhone Samsung Galaxy

With SatSleeve, you can instantly turn your iPhone or S4 into a satellite phone.

All you need to do is dock the SatSleeve to the phone in order to access satellite services (voice, SMS, & data).  It serves as an adaptor that integrates GSM and satellite mobile connectivity.  

SmartSAT iPhone sleeve

All you need is the SatSleeve mobile app that users can download via iTunes and Google Play Store for free.

SatSleeve iOS app

Interested about #SmartSAT?  Then head on over to Smart’s website to get more details about the SmartSAT here: http://www1.smart.com.ph/International/satellite-services/smart-sat/overview.

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Urbanears Humlan

Urbanears Humlan

I use headphones a lot.  I use it whenever I need to concentrate on my work.  I use it when I want to shut myself off the world.  I also use it to pump me up so that I get inspired to do whatever task I’m doing.  Music inspires me.  With a very close work environment, I need to listen to music and at the same time, not make noises to disturb my colleagues.  So I continue to find the best headphones to use everyday.

Urbanears Humlan caught my attention because of its unique feature.  When I say unique, it’s truly one of a kind!

It’s WASHABLE!!! Yes, have to put the word in all-caps :)

Urbanears Humlan is the first washable headphones available in the market.  I’m just glad that finally, a company thought of innovating something like this.

Urbanears Humlan 7

When we use headphones a lot, especially in a hot environment, sweat & dirt do stick to our accessory.  As time passes by, the headphones would smell bad and would look so dirty that it’s impossible to use anymore.  We tend to just buy ourselves new headphones and say goodbye to the old one.

Urbanears Humlan solved that problem.  We can just remove the headband & ear cushions, throw it to the laundry, then we can use the headphones again like it was new!  Super coolness to the maximum level!! :D

Urbanears Humlan 9

Urbanears Humlan 3

With the washable feature alone, I think that’s one very strong reason for us to get the Urbanears Humlan.  Besides, Urbanears make good audio accessories, you cannot go wrong with it.

Unboxing

Urbanears Humlan 2

Inside the box of the Urbanears Humlan, you’ll see the ff.: the Urbanears headphones, washable ear covers, Urbanears sticker, Urbanears catalog, & warranty card.

Technical Specifications

Urbanears Humlan 10

  • 40mm Dynamic Drivers
  • Frequency Response 20Hz-20kHz
  • Impedance 32Ω
  • Sensitivity 100dB
  • Max Input Power 100mV@1kHz

Other notable features of the Urbanears Humlan

Zoundplug for instant music sharing

Urbanears Humlan 1

There are times that I want to share the video that I’m watching on my laptop.  A laptop’s internal speaker is not really that nice especially if you are in a  noisy environment.

If ever you and your friend have your own headphones, then ZoundPlug is a great feature to use.  I used it a couple of times already.  We can share music together by plugging another pair of headphones via the empty outlet on one side of the ear cap.

Microphone & Remote for hands-free talking

Urbanears Humlan 5

A headphone without a microphone is like technology going backwards in time.  While we all use our headphones mainly for music, we tend to also use the same for calls.  We use our phones as music players anyways.  So it does really make sense for manufacturers like Urbanears to include this must-have feature: a microphone :)

The remote control helps us controls the music that we listen to faster.  With just a click of the button, we can either play or pause, and change music tracks.

Conclusion

With those 3 features: washable, ZoundPlug, & microphone + remote, I can say that Urbanears Humlan is another headphones to get.

Other things that I like about the Urbanears Humlan is its fabric cord.  I lost several headphones before because the cord got tangled and the wire got cut.  Good thing that Urbanears thought of this and this gives me assurance that I will be able to use the Humlan for a very long time :)

Urbanears Humlan 8

The listening experience is quite good too.  Though I must say, that wearing them for over an hour will give discomfort.  One thing that I do is to make the headphone fit a bit loose, and that will solve it!

Overall, I really like the Humlan and I still can’t get over the washable feature that it has!  So cool!

You can buy the Urbanears Humlan for Php 2,250 at your favourite gadget accessory stores in the Philippines.

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Monocle by Native Union

Monocle by Native Union

There are so many speakers & headphones out there in the market.  But have you seen a monocle in there?  Your answer is as good as mine.  Native Union definitely is thinking out of the box with its newest product, Native Union Monocle.

I honestly don’t know how to make out of it because I haven’t used one.  Should I hold it up using my hand then putting the speaker on my ear?  Should I just hang it around my neck (just like how it was shown in the box) and listen to whatever comes out of the speaker?  What else can I do about it?

I was clueless on how to use the product but its uniqueness couldn’t get my attention out of it.  So there, I got myself one.

What is inside the box of the Native Union Monocle?

Native Union Monocle Packaging

There are 6 colours available for the Monocle: (1) coral red (2) marine blue (3) mint (4) slate (5) brushed black diamond (6) brushed copper.  However, I’m just a super fan of red colour, thus I have chosen to have the coral red monocle.

It looked nice, even by just glancing it through the box.  The Native Union Monocle caught my attention because it’s unique!  I never thought that I could ever see a monocle in stores at this generation.  I mean monocle is an old-world accessory.  That’s why I didn’t hesitate to get one for myself.

So what’s in the box?

Native Union Monocle Contents

  • The Monocle
  • Bag Loop
  • Nylon Micro-USB Cable
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Warranty Card
  • Native Union Lookbook

My favourite activity whenever I purchase a gadget or accessory is opening the box, and discovering the contents inside.  Manufacturers are getting more and more crafty in packaging their products.

Monocle Specifications

  • Speaker – Mono speaker
  • Battery – Lithium-ion Polymer
  • Charge Time – ~70 minutes
  • Play Time – ~5 hours
  • Talk Time – ~5 hours
  • Power Supply – DC5V USB 2.0
  • Operating Temperature – 0 to 45 degrees celsius

Uses of the Native Union Monocle

The Monocle is basically a speaker-handset-speakerphone accessory.

Native Union Monocle Unit

Native Union Monocle Controls

Native Union Monocle Knob

Speaker – turn the speaker mode on by rotating the knob until the white LED light comes up.  Use the button on the side to control music (click once to play or pause, double click to move to next track, triple click to go back to previous track).

The sound that came out was okay.  However, if you want better sound then you have to daisy-chain the monocle up (you can do this up to 10 monocles).  I wish I can test this but I guess it’s pretty obvious.  Like what they, “two is always better than one.”

speakerphone – I’ll probably use this feature more for the monocle because it’s just too cute and so portable!  It would definitely be a good rescue whenever I suddenly need to go on a conference call.  The Native Union monocle has a microphone, and I tested it out, my voice came out clearly on the other line :)

handset – this is where monocle stands out.  You will probably be blown away when you saw someone wearing the Native Union monocle when talking on the phone or listening to music.  However, for the user, this might be uncomfortable to wear especially during long periods of time.  That’s why I think this is more of a show-off type of accessory.

You can listen in each other’s music or private call by linking two or more monocles together.

How to Carry the Native Union Monocle?

According to Native Union,  we should wear the monocle our way.

As for me, I carry it with me in three ways.  One is putting the cord around my neck then just hold the monocle up to my ear if I need to answer a call.  I have to put my phone on my pocket while I walk around.

Native Union Monocle Neck

Two is just I leave it on the table and use the monocle as a speakerphone or a music speaker.  It works great that way actually.

Last, but definitely not the least, is using the bag loop included.

Native Union Monocle Bag Tag

Now, I don’t need to open up space in my bag for a speaker.  All I need is just to use the bag loop and put the Native Union Monocle in it.  There is no more need to forget to bring the speaker because it’s already connected to my bag.  It was just too cute and so nice to bring around.

Native Union Monocle Bag

VERDICT

Overall, I see the Native Union Monocle as a fashion music accessory.  You wanna look different?  You wanna own a very unique device?  You want a speaker to carry around everyday?  Then this accessory by Native Union called Monocle is for you!

I think this speaker + handset + speakerphone has a decent sound output (may be better when daisy-chained, I only have one unit so wasn’t able to test).  However, with its price and excellent design, the Monocle is a beautiful accessory to keep.  You can get Monocle by Native Union at your favourite gadget accessory stores in the Philippines at Php 2,250.

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Crumpler End of Season Sale

Crumpler end of Season Sale January 2014

Looking for a bag for your laptop?  How about a bag for your camera?  Or maybe you’re currently on a look out for a backpack, an overnight bag, or even a luggage?

You’re in luck because one of the popular bag brands is having an End of Season sale this month!  Yes, Crumpler Philippines is having a sale this January 15-31, 2014.

Guess what?  30% to 80% off on their products!  Am very sure that I visit one of their branches so that I can get myself another awesome bag for my gadgets!  I’ll definitely drop by within the week so that I get first dibs! hehe!

If you’re new to Crumpler, let me share with you some reviews I’ve done for the products that I own:

Convinced now?  Then head on over to Crumpler’s branches in Metro Manila to get your dose of Crumpler bags & accessories.  See you when I see you!

——————–
Crumpler End of Season Sale
30-80% off
Participating branches: Bonifacio High Street, Robinsons Magnolia, Shangri-La Mall, Trinoma Mall
https://www.facebook.com/CrumplerPhilippines

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