Accessibility = Disconnectivity

I tell my good friends that whenever they learn that I just wrote a new entry on my blog, it’s usually a bad sign. Bad in the sense that, I’m depressed and I can’t find anyone (any of them friend for that matter) to talk to, that is why I just choose to write. They’re all busy with their own lives I suppose, as I am with mine.

But this time, that’s just partly true. I can’t find anyone to talk to right now but I’m not sad. Neither sad nor happy, just my normal self.

Communication has changed a lot. I remember several years ago, maybe in 2000-2008(?), I get annoyed by friends who send me tons of forwarded messages, quotes, jokes, “chain” texts and all. I thought it was really thoughtless of them. But now, or just a couple of years back, with the advent of mobile internet and social media, my friends rarely send me any form of message at all. Fact is if you browse my cellphone right now, you would see it’s 85% work–related, 14% about my bills notifications and condo sellers. Just 1% are personal messages-usually from family, who ask me to buy things from the supermarket, or relatives who inform me they, or their wives gave birth.

E-mails these days are just mainly for work. I bet no two friends are using their emails right now to communicate with each other. Personal emails are now just for 1) verification of your registration to social networks and apps; 2) additional storage for some of your old digital photos and files (mostly top secret files, yes?); 3) ebooks you bought from an instagram seller for P5.00. Other than those I can’t think of any other use for emails. Maybe to send out resumes. Mark this an X when trying to reach a friend.

Messengers? Who uses messengers? Ahhhhhh… I know . Usually messenger users are not friends. It can be a “court” scene, hehe. Or just young couples flirting with each other.

Internet-based sms are the same as regular sms. If friends won’t spend a single peso to text you, they won’t bother to viber you or imessage you. But I guess they’ll call 😉

Video call. Ah, finally something that’s still used today thanks to Skype and Facetime. Not widely used, but it’s one form of communication that has substance. Sometimes when friends videocall me and my father sees me talking to someone, my father always assumes it’s an overseas call, and I couldn’t convince him otherwise. I love it when I get videocalls. It’s really sweet.

Recently I read about a blog of someone who just deleted his facebook account. I want to do it too if not for older relatives who communicate with me there. I’m seeing a huge shift in our social landscape lately. If I am right, this shift will be more beneficial to us than we think. Evolution has caught up with time. And the way we communicate has evolved so fast that we choose not to communicate at all. At least not to people we are very very close with.

My obvious conclusion: The more accessible social platforms become, the less we become sociable. The more covenient it is to communicate, the less often we do.

The route I have to take: (TRY to) lessen my online social presence, and invest more on physical presence. Who wants pizza? 😉

What to expect from 4G (LTE) when 3G failed to meet expectations after 7 long years

As much as I’d want to let you know of the technical details of it all, I can only speak in generics.

At the end of this article you should be able to answer the following:

 

 

 

 

 

  1. What’s the difference between 3G and 4G (LTE)?
  2. What happens to 3G devices when the telecom networks upgrade to 4G?
  3. Should we pay the price for the expensive 4G connectivity?
  4. Should we upgrade our devices to 4G/LTE capable ones?

With a little Googling I found out that 4G technically never exists (as of writing). It’s because the standards group (I forgot what they are called, IMT or something) decided that those claiming to be 4G today did not pass their specifications. Regardless, they became lenient on this standard just to differentiate the faster mobile telecommunication system. Under this definition, LTE (Long Term Evolution – yeah what a name) and WiMax2 (not the first wimax generation) fall under the toned-down “4G.”

The difference is that 3G is more inclined to greater voice quality while 4G is keen on delivering faster internet data. 4G offers up to 3 to 10x faster mobile data speed and claims that you’ll experience smoother video streaming even in high-definition (imagine no buffering).

Of course this is not possible without the telecom companies establishing new 4G infrastructures. Billions of pesos (maybe dollars, I have yet to check) have been/are being spent by Smart and Globe for this LTE network alone.

Looking back, 3G has been introduced in the Philippines since 2005. From then until now, those of you who have used broadband sticks for their laptops or browsed the web on their phones (while stationary or mobile) are witnesses on how this technology essentially sucks. Seven years and look at where we are now – areas with dead GSM (let’s call this 1G) signal, barely a good 100 kbps speed while on the road. It’s ugly.

Look, when you buy a 3G phone, or most likely the smartphone you have since 2008, already has built-in 3G antenna that’s capable of speeds from 3mbps to 15 mbps. Did Globe or Smart ever capitalized on that? Did they achieve that speed? NO. I bet your device never even reached 1mbps at most times.

But that’s not actually to be blamed on the telecom companies (both here and abroad). I have read somewhere that the 3G infrastructure posed this limitation no matter how much they upgrade their networks. I know it doesn’t make sense, but that’s what it is.

So as 4G arrives, that limitation is overcome. But not without the high price.

So what happens to your 3G device as both Globe and Smart starts upgrading to 4G? Nothing. Do not fear obsolescence just yet. In fact, 3G is in it for the long term TOO. This is because of the backwards compatibility of the 4G standard. That means if you’re not in an LTE-covered area, but have 3G coverage, your 4G device will switch to 3G (fortunately or unfortunately depends on your circumstance).

Should we pay the price? “We” being the average mid-income consumer, should not. At least not yet. It’s too expensive, and worse, it is capped. Picture this:

The 3G (wimax) plan I used to have offers an unlimited data. That means I can download maybe 30-50 gigabyte (or more) worth of apps, songs, ebooks, movies in a month. But it will also mean my PC is open 24/7 and my torrent client is smartly lined up and organized as downloading will be very very slow. Compare that to 4G (LTE) with a monthly cap of at most 15gigabyte but with 10 times the download speed. You can download 5-6 movies in 3 hours and you’re a goner for the rest of the month. You’ll be stuck to their minimum speed (maybe 200kbps?) until your cap is reset the next month.

That’s a choice between 3 hours of ecstasy or 30 days mediocre connectivity (I like using ‘mediocre’ because depending on how you say it, “joke” can come out of it).

Should we upgrade to 4G/LTE device? This of course is extremely based on your capacity to buy or pay. We all want what’s new out there!! Don’t make me start with the iPhone 5!

Prolonging the Weekend

I knew that that afternoon caffeine fix would double my heartbeat by now and might even prevent me from rendering sleep. I drank it anyway – brewed it myself. As a consequence I am now forcing myself to drink several glasses of water.

Whether or not I drink coffee though (which some scientists say doesn’t really keep you from falling asleep) I have this End-of-the-Weekend syndrome wherein I tend to stay up longer the night before the first workday. It’s what I call making the most of time.

I gobble up the tech news on my Flipboard and even care to read repetitive articles on the same topic. I am addicted to tech news, particularly in gadget news, and whenever something I’ve never read pops out on the daily homepage (i.e. Yahoo), I go back to my aggregated news and wonder “how can I have missed that?” I hate being late with the news even if nothing socially relevant happens to me by being updated. The last thing on earth that could happen is find some girl addicted to the same news as me, and we come together and discover from each other what we already know. Hmmm…women are generally not of the techie kind so chance of that happening is absolutely nil.

I play on the iPad too, like a 7-year old boy who just played Playstation for the first time. I enjoy games on the device as much as I’d love to eat.

If not that, I’m usually just thinking – staring at something even if in the dark until I fall asleep. If I’m lucky, some of the things I thought about prior to sleeping are continued in the dream. It usually makes me a bit optimistic in the morning – until traffic comes in on the way to work.

Whatever it is that I do, as long as I exceed my usual sleeping time, I consider it time well-spent even if what I do is do nothing. The payoff is of course in the morning when I wake up feeling deprived from sleep and being late for work and making excuses to your boss.

I manage to write another entry for my primary reader: Me. This gives me a sense of accomplishment tonight. Time well-spent.

Why you don’t need a wifi camera

Overheard my officemates a few lunches ago talking about a 14MP wifi camera from Samsung.

Ah, err, well, if I’m not mistaken the wifi camera existed even earlier than 2010. It’s not “new” technology. But what I really what to point to out is, unless you’re allergic to wires and cables, you don’t need one.

The wifi camera won’t let you browse the web on itself. What it does is limited to:

1. Instant uploading of photos/videos to your social networks. (What’s the emergency? And do you even have enough battery to do so)
2. Wireless transfer of photos/videos (When you’re already at home/office, everything you need is already there. It might be the only exercise you have left. Go find that cable!)
3. Using your iPhone as wireless shutter for your camera, depends on brand and availability of the ios app. (Err, there’s also something called a timer, so just hold that smile a little longer and count with me. 1..2..3!)

That’s it. I hope I’ve saved you a few thousand pesos, until the wifi in a wifi camera finally makes practical sense.

Facebook is no longer as cool as Facebook

Thanks to other social platforms that emerged, I have found my share of internet space besides Facebook (for long lost relatives and former enemies to find me).

I’ve noticed very little activity now on fb and most could totally survive a day without it. The rest of the other platforms, though not as huge and famous, still serve their own purposes.

I have:

Twitter – for my little life events, rants, darkest secrets, loud murmurs, non-sense
Instagram – for social photo sharing
Wordpress – for this blog

..and I wanted to keep them all apart (to each his own), sticking to the design of each platform. I don’t buy the idea of fusing everything in one place. So I try.

Are there more non-redundant platforms that are worth a try? Tumblr? Posterous? What else is out there?

 

 

Globe, you broke my heart

You kind of have a monopoly here, Globe. This isn’t like Starbucks wherein, if I wasn’t satisfied with the service or the price of their coffee, I could just walk away and run to Gloria Jean’s instead, and still serve that almost same amount gratification. Sure I could buy an iPhone from local online sellers. There are lots of them here. And they’re even cheaper. But here’s why I chose Globe:

  1. For some weird reason it’s the only network that emits signal this part of Pasig. So that leaves me without choice.
  2. If I buy a unit locally, let’s say, a 16gig iphone 4s for P30K, I’d still have to subscribe to a data plan. The cheapest of which is a Plan P999. So, with a little math, taking into consideration a 2-year span I would have to spend:

P30,000 – handset
P23,976 – unlimited data plan (that’s P999 x 24 months)
Total = P53,976

This doesn’t even include prepaid load expenses (P300x 24 months = P7200, which should give me a grand total of P61,176)

Whereas, Globe offering its hmmm….mid-range price for the 16gig handset:

P1799 x 24 months = P43,176
Cashout = P4800
Total = P47,976 (this includes consumable load of P800, plus useful freebies)

POTENTIAL SAVINGS in 2 years: P13,200 (plus you get to call your loved ones every time!)

You can do the same math with SMART but Globe will still turn out to be cheaper by a few thousand bucks. So what did I just prove here? It proves that, for a practical guy like me, I’d choose only the best offer.  So this is why I’m a bit of a Globe slave. I am not rich. The very few pesos I can save mean a lot.

So why an iPhone? I could have availed of the cheaper Nokia phones. A blackberry could have been cheaper and also in style. But I’m just a big Apple fan. I have used an iMac G3 and an iMac G4 (before intel came). I’ve used a macmini, and always crave for a macbook pro. I owned a first generation iPad before it launched in the Philippines. I’m just a sucker for anything Apple.

Here’s when you broke my heart, Globe. When I applied for the Globe handset online on Dec. 22, 2011 (hey that was still last year!), I was only contacted January 7. But I was still hopeful and excited. On January 10, I received a call saying that my handset was ready and that it will be delivered on January 14. But when that day came, I received a call from Globe saying, they won’t be delivering the phone because I was scheduled for a 3rd week delivery. I couldn’t wait. I followed up every day since. And just today, I was told by Globe that they don’t have an inkling when my phone will be delivered.

To sum up, that’s from a 2nd week delivery to 3rd week delivery to “we can’t say when” delivery. C’mon Globe. You can do better than that.

I understand that there is low or no supply and there is high demand. I could imagine the chaos caused by people like me who would insist that you deliver. But understand too, that when you can’t deliver, you break a heart.

…but after all is said and done, I would still be waiting. Helplessly. But hoping—to no longer be a slave.

Celebrating My Very Few Gadgets

I’m supposed to blog about the disadvantages of having ‘less ice’ on your soda. But that would come out later I think.

This month I’m celebrating the 2nd year of my Nokia 5800’s existence. I’ve never acquired a gadget that lasted this long. Either they were worn out before they even reach 6 months, or they were stolen. That phone by the way, is annoyingly ubiquitous. Even the fishball vendor has one. It’s the 3310 of this generation! Urgh.

That’s also the reason why I like to flaunt it’s scratches, it’s fading back. The glossy coat is barely even there. I wanted to show off. That I have this phone for a long time now. And that I never waited for the price to lower before buying it. BUT NOT WITHOUT CAREFUL RESEARCH!

Part of my addiction to gadgets is the thrill of studying the features. How flexible can it be? How would it fit my pocket and lifestyle? Is it even hackable? Does it have software support? Is the OS upgradeable? Does it spit out money? Hehe.. ALL those things. The basics. Technical specifications. Connectivity. Interface. Reviews. I’m all addicted to those. To me, it’s the most crucial part. There are tons of choices out there!

Okay, so I realized that my careful study has become fruitful. Take note, I am not the type who is careful about stuff. I already dropped my ipad twice. The first time, thank God, it was inside a bag (yeah, but still!). The second time was when it slipped through my hands as I fell asleep. My phone also had it’s share of misfortunes. It already fell off more than a dozen times. I sat on it once! And it has endured soaking itself in my sweat when on my pocket. It’s been flashed (phone operating system modified) 4 times. That’s a lot of hardware and software abuse don’t you think?

Well the lesson is entirely about: choosing what fits you and knowing you can maximize and abuse ALL its features! I’d say I did and still do. The life of my unstolen gadgets is a proof of that. Now I want to buy a new phone, but find no reason to do so. Mine still does what it should. No limitations. So choose wisely! You’ll soon realize that you will end up saving more.

I’m free for consultations 😉