Internet

No more UNLI Data, but let us keep the bandwidth we paid for

When Smart and Globe started rolling-out Volume-based data subscriptions sometime last year, it was the beginning of the end for the good old unlimited data plans. Yesterday, at the Senate’s Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship public hearing on the slow internet connections in the country, both telcos have stated that they have already shifted to volume-based data plans on their mobile internet services.

The trade off is that the much criticizedFair Use Policy” would also be dropped as well. We really don’t need to worry about keeping tabs on how much data we have already consumed as telcos regularly warn us via SMS alerts whenever we are about to use up our data allocation or when the subscription is about to expire. Also, built into most Android phones is a bandwidth meter showing you how much you have already consumed.

What the Senate or regulators can do, if they are really after the welfare of us consumers is to require telcos and ISPs to let us keep the bandwidth that we paid for. At present, when you sign up for 4GB of data for 30 days but only used 3GB, the remaining 1GB will disappear once the 30 days is over. Remember that we already paid for that unused 1GB of data.

US mobile carrier T-Mobile came out with “Data Stash” where the remaining unused data allocation is carried over to the next month once the subscriber renews the subscription. So again, if you still have 1GB of unused data from your previous month, it will be added to the new 4GB of data once you renew the subscription so you’ll end up with 5GB of data in total. Astig ‘di ba?

Google

Messenger or Hangouts 4.0?

With Google updating Hangouts with new features and the material design treatment, Android users like me are asking the question: Should we now switch to Hangouts for all our messaging needs: chat, video calls and SMS/MMS?

Released to much good reviews last year, Messenger was Google’s good messaging app for SMS and MMS. While Hangouts did receive the capability to send SMS/MMS as well back in April 2014, Google actually recommends that we use Messenger for SMS over Hangouts.

I myself had set Messenger as the default SMS app on my Nexus 5 while Hangouts was used for online chat with my Google contacts. So up until Hangouts 4.0 was released, my setup was just like that. Everything was stable. I overlooked the subtle redundancy.

Now that Hangouts is also dressed in the beautiful material design, it also has new features that makes it a better messaging app, like keeping your video call connected while switching between Wi-Fi and mobile network. So we go back to the question raised earlier. While the answer seems obvious thanks to the updates to Hangouts, security concerns about Android is a compelling argument to stick to my current setup.

Hopefully, Google will finally get its act together on solving the security issues with Android and deciding on which messaging app should be the Google messaging app.

Daily Dose

Star Trek Trivia: Sulu was named after Sulu Sea

Not really a Star Trek fan and most likely fanboys already know this trivia that I found very interesting and cool:

“The problem [Roddenberry] had was to find a name for this Asian character from the 23rd century because every Asian surname is nationally specific,” said Takei. “Tanaka is Japanese. Wong is Chinese. Kim is Korean. And 20th century Asia was turbulent with warfare, colonization, rebellion, and he didn’t want to suggest that.”

As Takei described, “He had a map of Asia pinned on the wall and he was staring at it trying to get some inspiration for the Asian character. And he found, off the coast of the Philippines, the Sulu Sea. And he thought, ‘Ah, the waters of the sea touch all shores, embracing all of Asia. And that’s how my character came to have the name Sulu.”

It’s from a piece on Time.com by Nick Romano about how the best-selling Sci-Fi series dealt with the issue of gays and lesbians and diversity, in general, as told by George Takei.

Daily Dose

What if the Hiroshima bomb was dropped on Manila?

Yesterday the world commemorated the 70th anniversary of the atomic bomb being dropped on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. The nuclear bomb, dubbed “Little Boy” packed an energy equivalent to 15,000 tons of TNT. Some 90,000 to 166,000 people were killed. It ushered in the age of nuclear warfare and to date have been the only time when such devastating weapons were used in actual combat. A few days later, on August 9, 1945 a second atomic bomb, “Fat Man” was dropped in Nagasaki killing almost 80,000 people. While it was commonly believed that the atom bombs led to Japan’s surrender and ended World Ward 2, that notion has been debated and challenged.

The attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki has been seared in the collective memory of mankind, it haunts all of us as the next global conflict would be fought with nuclear weapons and the only thing that we know for sure is that the damage caused and the lives that will be lost would reach unimaginably horrific scales.

And I can’t help but ask the question: “What if the a nuclear bomb were dropped on Manila?” Thankfully, Alex Wellerstein, a historian of science at the Stevens Institute of Technology has come up with Nukemap, an app that lets you plot the area damage of a nuclear bomb over a city of your choice on Google maps.

For a simulation of a nuclear bomb hitting Manila, I chose Malacanan Palace as the hypocenter1 of the blast area for two things: killing the President would lead to a collapse of the government and second, it sits in the middle of heavily a populated area causing as much civilian casualty as possible:

A simulation showing the areas hit if a nuclear bomb that hit Hiroshima was dropped on Manila.
A simulation showing the areas hit if a nuclear bomb that hit Hiroshima was dropped on Manila.

The parameters of this simulation are as follows:
The nuclear bomb is the same one as “Little Boy” which was dropped on Hiroshima, it has a yield of 15 kT or 15,000 tons of TNT exploding in mid air at an altitude of 600m
Estimated fatalities: 386,620
Estimated injuries: 812,950

Effects of Airblast
The effects of an airblast from a nuclear bomb dropped on Manila

Aside from Malacanan Palace being wiped off the map, LRT lines 1 and 2 would be damaged as well. Most universities and colleges in the U-Belt area would also be hit. The bottom line is, Manila as ‘the gates of hell’ would take on a whole new meaning, literally. How would the remaining government officials respond? How would our allies respond? Maybe this is something we should also hold a metro-wide drill for. We’ve been preparing for natural disasters like typhoons, floods and earthquakes for some years now. Are we prepared for man-made catastrophes?

As to the question of who would drop a nuke on Manila, I leave that for another discussion at another time. For now, let’s continue to work towards a nuclear weapons-free world, it’s the rightful thing to do, specially for those who lost their lives in Hiroshima and Nagasaki 70 years ago.

Footnotes:
  1. The term hypocenter also refers to the point on the Earth’s surface directly below an atmospheric explosion[back]
Anime

OMG! American Naruto Live Action Movie Coming Soon

naruto_shock
Let me be clear that the OMG in the title was said with dread more than excitement. And the next word pretty much explains why is that so. Yeah, I know…I’m still trying to recover from the shock and despair as also try to find the words to write this news, but here’s an excerpt from Variety:

Lionsgate has signed Michael Gracey to direct an adaptation of the popular Japanese manga series “Naruto.”

The studio is in negotiations for the film rights to the “Naruto” series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto, first published in 1997. The manga, which has sold more than 200 million copies in print, follows adolescent ninja Naruto Uzumaki, who dreams of becoming the village ninja, the community’s protector and leader.

Being a Naruto fan, I should be excited as finally, the awesome Naruto universe would be brought to life on the big screen with real actors and sets and costumes and visual effects, but then the abomination that is Dragon Ball Evolution, which was the last American effort of adapting a classic anime series into a live-action film, kills the excitement and replaces it with gut-wrenching dread and literally makes me cringe.

At this point, I’m tempted to start an online petition to either stop the project so that the Naruto universe would not be ruined by Hollywood or better yet, to give the project to the studio that gave us Rurouni Kenshin which basically drove home the point that anime or manga live action adaptations is best left to Japanese hands.

I feel crossing fingers and hoping for the best would be of little help. Starting today, this has just been added to the list of things that would keep me awake at night.

Mobile Phones & Devices

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 to launch in August

SamsungGalaxyTabS29inchFans of the Samsung Galaxy Tab series rejoice, as official announcement about the newest iteration of the device has been made by Samsung – Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 will be launched worldwide in August and will come in 8-in and 9.7-inch versions:

“The Galaxy Tab S2 is not only our thinnest and lightest tablet of its size ever, it also gives users quick, easy access to a wealth of superior viewing and productivity features,” said JK Shin, CEO and President of IT & Mobile Division at Samsung Electronics. “We believe the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is the most complete personal visual device designed for consumers to carry and use anywhere.”

The Galaxy Tab S2 will come with Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box. Along with Lollipop, the Tab S2 will also come pre-installed with Microsoft Office Solutions + 100GB of cloud storage courtesy of OneDrive free for two years.

For the uber-geeks, here’s the full specs of the Galaxy Tab S2 9.7-inch

Network :LTE : 700/ 800/ 850/ 900/ 1800/ 1900/ 2100/ 2600
3G : 850/ 900/ 1900/ 2100
2G : 850/ 900/ 1800/ 1900
AP: Quad 1.9GHz + Quad 1.3GHz, Octacore application processor
Display: 9.7” 2048×1536(QXGA) Super AMOLED
OS: Android 5.0 (Lollipop)
Camera: 8MP AF(rear), 2.1MP(front)
Video: H.263, H.264(AVC), MPEG4, VC-1, WMV7, WMV8, VP8
Recording: QHD(2560×1440)@30fps
Playback: UHD(3840×2160)@30fps
Audio: MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, Vorbis, FLAC
Google Mobile Service: Chrome, Gmail, Google Search, Maps, YouTube, Hangouts, Play Store, Play Movies & TV, Play Music, Drive, Photos
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac MIMO (2.4GHz/5GHz), Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth®4.1 BLE
GPS: GPS, GLONASS
Sensor: Accelerometer, Finger Scanner, Gyroscope, Compass, Hall Sensor, RGB Sensor
Memory: 3GB(RAM) + 32/64GB internal memory; microSD up to 128GB
Dimension / Weight: 169 x 237.3 x 5.6mm, 389g(Wifi)/392g(LTE)
Battery: 5,870mAh

For the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8-inch version:

Network :LTE : 700/ 800/ 850/ 900/ 1800/ 1900/ 2100/ 2600
3G : 850/ 900/ 1900/ 2100
2G : 850/ 900/ 1800/ 1900
AP: Quad 1.9GHz + Quad 1.3GHz, Octacore application processor
Display: 8.0” 2048×1536(QXGA) Super AMOLED
OS: Android 5.0 (Lollipop)
Camera: 8MP AF(rear), 2.1MP(front)
Video: H.263, H.264(AVC), MPEG4, VC-1, WMV7, WMV8, VP8
Recording: QHD (2560×1440) @30 fps
Playback: UHD (3840×2160) @ 30fps
Audio: MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, Vorbis, FLAC
Google Mobile Service: Chrome, Gmail, Google Search, Maps, YouTube, Hangouts, Play Store, Play Movies & TV, Play Music, Drive, Photos
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac MIMO (2.4GHz/5GHz), Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth®4.1 BLE
GPS: GPS, GLONASS
Sensor: Accelerometer, Finger Scanner, Gyroscope, Compass, Hall Sensor, RGB Sensor
Memory: 3GB (RAM) + 32/64GB internal memory
microSD up to 128GB
Dimension / Weight: 134.8 x 198.6 x 5.6mm, 265g(Wifi)/ 272g(LTE)
Battery: 4,000mAh

Source: Samsung Mobile Press

Daily Dose

Blogging dinosaur, I am

The title says it all. After going through my RSS subscription list or RSS list (there, I’ve used an ancient online term twice in this sentence now) and discarding the ones that are dead a realization has finally sink in: I am an old blogger. A remnant of the good old days before status updates on Facebook and tweets on Twitter became part of the air we breathe nowadays.

Back then blog rolls were the ‘friends list’. Subscribers were the ‘followers’ and the comment thread was where all the action took place. Link backs and quotes were the “Likes” and “retweets” of today.

Sad that most of the blogs that have become part of my daily reading diet are now relics from an era that now lives only in the Internet archive or the way back machine.

That’s life, that’s the Internet and social media. Change is constant. Bloggers come and go.

Even this blog has been resurrected numerous times in the last three years. What has remained constant, apart from change is the desire to blog, to write, to post, to share ideas (both figuratively and literally thanks to social media) and to interact with fellow bloggers and netizens the world over.

So onward, I write, edit, post and share. Onward to what ever future we may live in.