Friday, February 28, 2014

Here Is Why Your Lightning Connector Breaks So Easily

Apple introduced the "Lightning Connector" along with the iPhone 5 last 2012. It replaced the old 30 pin connector we used to have for the last 10 years.

It is small and efficient. But, it is not free of any drawbacks and disadvantages.

What people commonly complain about is the fact that it breaks so easily. I will try to explain here why it does. This is by the way just my own personal observation.

I actually noticed that the Lightning Connectors differ depending on which country they are distributed.

Take a look at this comparison:

Lightning connector

The cables that came from the US have this slight bulge before the connector itself while those that were from Hong Kong and Singapore don't.

That is actually the culprit.

That part makes the whole cable less durable. The more this bulge gets bent or stressed over time, the more chances you have of breaking it.

In the Philippines, the Apple devices that Globe and Smart (our local carriers) distribute come from the US. If you bought an iPhone or iPad from these stores, you are definitely getting that less durable cable.

However, if you are buying your Apple device from stores that offer them factory unlocked (e.g. gui), there's a good chance that the device you're getting came from Hong Kong or Singapore and your lightning connector won't have that 'bulge.'

One last thing. You will also know where your device came from by looking at its wall charger:

Wall charger

USA has a different wall socket from Hong Kong. That is why they differ in wall chargers too.

I hope this clears up why your lightning connector breaks so easily.

We can also take into consideration how you take care of these cables. But, I hope this gives you an idea of which Apple cables are more durable.

Will this in any way affect your next purchase of an Apple device?

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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Quotes from the Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Rich Dad Poor Dad Robert T Kiyosaki I just finished reading this book by Robert Kiyosaki. It took me a while to actually finish it since I got a lot of stuff going on lately.

The book shows the conflicting views of Robert's rich and poor dad regarding making money and building wealth. Their contrasting views reflect that of how society looks at wealth and money differently. It is actually an eye opener for those who think of accumulating wealth the wrong way.

I love how the book gets you to the mind of the rich and how they actually make money work for them instead of the other way around. I would definitely recommend this book.


Here are some great quotes I picked up from the book:

"Children spend years in an antiquated educational system, studying subjects they will never use, preparing for a world that no longer exists."

"Learn to use your emotions to think, not think with your emotions."

"Intelligence solves problems and produces money. Money without financial intelligence is money soon gone."

"It's not how much money you make, it's how much money you keep."

"An intelligent person hires people who are more intelligent than they are."

"Employees earn and get taxed and they try to live on what is left. A corporation earns, spends everything it can, and is taxed on anything that's left. It's one of the biggest legal tax loopholes that the rich use."

"The words "I can't afford it" shut down your brain. It didn't have to think anymore. "How can I afford it" opened up the brain. Forced it to think and search for answers."

"In today's fast changing world, it's not so much what you know anymore that counts, because often what you know is old. It is how fast you learn. That skill is priceless."

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sky Walk, Whale Sharks and Museums at Cebu, Philippines

Skywalk, Whale sharks, Museums

This year went off to a great start. On the first day of 2014, me and my girlfriend decided go on an adventure.

We went to the Queen City of the South to experience some new and exciting things.

Larsian and Sky Walk


On the first night, we tested out Cebu's famous place for barbecue: Larsian sa Fuente.

Larsian sa Fuente
Dinner at Larsian sa Fuente

It is the best place for affordable and delicious grilled food. I highly recommend it to all the foodies out there. Dining in the place is an experience in itself.
Dinner cost: PHP 225.00 for the 2 of us. That's a lot of food already.

After dinner, we went to the nearby Crown Regency Hotel and Towers to experience the famous Sky Walk adventure.

Sky Walk Adventure

Overlooking Cebu from 430 feet up (the highest tower in the city) was a different kind of thrill. It was scary but so much fun!

Signature Sky Walk Pose
Sky Walk: PHP 550 per person (100 deposit for the wristband - will be refunded after use)
Socks: PHP 20 per pair
Hard copy of photo: PHP 150 per photo

Whale Shark Watching at Oslob


Early morning the next day, we headed down south to Oslob, Cebu to get to swim with their whale sharks (locally known as butanding).

Whale Shark at Oslob, Cebu

This was the most challenging thing to do for me. I do not know how to swim and the thought of swimming with whale sharks is pretty crazy enough.

Swimming with Whale Sharks
Swimming with Whale Sharks

Thank God I managed to do it. Surprisingly, the whale sharks even though they were huge were very gentle and friendly.

I slightly got seasick after the experience but it was something I would never forget for the rest of my life. I will probably try it again sometime soon. Hopefully I get to learn how to swim before that time comes.
Bus to Oslob: PHP 159 per person (one way)
Swimming with the whale sharks: PHP 550 per person (rate for the locals)
Underwater Cam Rent: 500

Tip: Bring your own underwater cam to save on expenses. It's also a bonus if you know how to operate your cam. The divers there unfortunately were not able to take good photos of us underwater.

Side Trip: Tumalog Falls and Kwartel


Because we were already in Oslob, we did not miss the chance to also visit Tumalog Falls. From the whale shark watching area, you only need to hire a habal-habal driver to get you to the place.

Tumalog Falls


The place was enchanting. It's a captivating sight of nature.

After checking the falls, we also visited the historical Kwartel at Oslob. This place though a small area is filled with some interesting bits and pieces of Philippine history. It's worth checking out.

Kwartel at Oslob, Cebu

Habal-habal ride: 350 (ride to Tumalog falls and Kwartel)
Tumalog falls entrance fee: 20 per person

Museums


On the last day of our trip, we visited two historical houses in Cebu.

First was Casa Gorordo Museum along Lopez Jaena Street. This house was built in the 1850s.

Casa Gorordo Museum at Cebu
Casa Gorordo Museum at Cebu
Casa Gorordo Museum at Cebu

The other one was the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House which is also near the area. This one is much older than the former.

Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House
Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House
Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House

Both residences showed us the rich history of the Filipino culture and people along with some interesting antiques to behold.
Casa Gorordo Entrance Fee: 40/person
Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House Entrance Fee: 25/person


I am glad my year started out with a relaxing and memorable adventure with my girlfriend. Nothing beats the enriching experience you get from a vacation especially when you are with a loved one.

To more adventures this 2014 and the years to come!

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Angelo's Ristorante: Authentic Italian Food in CDO

When in Cagayan de Oro City, you sure do not want to miss out on all the lovely food in the place. From street to international cuisine, the City of Golden Friendship is filled with a variety of choices when it comes to satisfying your taste buds.

But, if you are looking for authentic Italian food look no further than Angelo's Ristorante.

Meatballs Pasta

The place is owned and managed by Chef Angelo Obrero who took culinary studies in Italy himself. That alone is enough to make a guarantee of the authenticity of the Italian food experience you will be getting.



I have always been a 'pizza and pasta' kind of guy. I am no Italian food expert. But, the ones they are serving do not disappoint. The food is excellent.

Here are some of their best ones.

Cartoccio

Lasagna

Magherita

OssoBuco

Putanesca

QuatroFormaggi

Spumone (I love this!)


The place is located at G/F WYM Building, Fr. Masterson Avenue, Pueblo de Oro. That is the HP building uptown. On weekdays they are open at 10AM to 10PM. On weekends, they extend up to 11PM.

The Cafe Area

This oven is from Italy



I must say I really love the place and the food. I strongly recommend them to all the foodies out there.

Their food will keep you coming back. In fact, I recently just brought my girlfriend there to have dinner during our 2nd anniversary.



Chef Gelo and Chef Bling were so generous and kind enough to prepare this setup for us. It couldn't get any better than that!

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

GBG Summit and gDayX Philippines

Last weekend, I was at Manila to attend two important events for the Google Business Group communities. As the Community Co-Manager of GBG Cagayan de Oro, I represented our chapter there.

First was the GBG Community Managers' Business Summit.

Google Business Group Summit


All the challenges faced by the GBG communities this year were discussed and a lot of exciting stuff were planned for the next year.

The day after that, we all attended gDayX Philippines at Xavier School, San Juan City.

gDayX Manila Philippines

Like all the other Google events, it was filled with so much learning and networking. Not only was I able to meet people from Google, I also got to talk to experts from different fields. It is pretty amazing to see how all these people use Google technologies for business success.

It is definitely exciting to live in such times where technology is playing a great part in making businesses and industries succeed. I am glad to be part of a community that helps people understand this.

It was indeed a memorable weekend. I am now back in Cagayan de Oro City and for sure, I will be sharing all the knowledge and experiences I acquired there to our very own community here.

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Digital Analytics Fundamentals Course



I recently took the Digital Analytics Fundamentals Course provided by Google Analytics Academy.

It is an online course aimed at teaching the basics of digital analytics and how it can be used for better business performance in this digital world.

To quote the course description:
This three-week course provides a foundation for marketers and analysts seeking to understand the core principles of digital analytics and to improve business performance through better digital measurement.
This course came out after Google Analytics updated their interface. I believe it was also a way for them to easily introduce the redesign to a number of its users.

I got an 85% score on the final assessment and I passed the course.



Though there have been major differences, not much has changed in the interface. So, if you have used Google Analytics before, the learning curve for the new UI is not that steep.

If you want to learn the course yourself, Google has provided the video resources on the Google Analytics YouTube channel. Check it out there.

Enjoy learning and analyzing data!

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

In Defense of the iPhone 5c

iPhone 5c Blue

It has been a week since Apple announced not just one but two new iPhones: the iPhone 5c and the iPhone 5s. This is a major shift in their product strategy as this was the first time Apple introduced two new iPhones in one year.

Apple's flagship phone at the moment is the iPhone 5s. It is a wonderful piece of technology. But, for this post we are not going to focus on that device.

The other device that was announced, the iPhone 5c is the one that is getting a lot of mixed reviews and mostly negative buzz. So, in defense of the iPhone 5c, here are some of the reasons why I think it is still a smart move for Apple to release it.

Kids are converting to smartphones


The iPod touch was once the king of Apple's iOS devices. But, the market for it is steadily declining. The reason? The kids that prefer having them are switching to smartphones.

Study shows kids are switching to smartphones

Releasing a phone that is screaming a youthful and colorful design might just absorb that market and channel them to the iPhone. These young people who are already familiar with the iOS ecosystem will definitely prefer iPhones. After all, the starting price of $99 for the iPhone 5c is similar to the iPod touch except you get to pay the monthly contract on the iPhone.

You can also think of it this way. The iPhone 5s is the high end  model, a pro model for those who care about the recent and most powerful technology. This not for everyone. The iPhone 5c, on the other hand is for the casual smartphone users who prefer a more fun and diverse option.

Apple is after all a company that is making money 


Apple cares about margins. All the other companies that directly compete with them care about the market share. You may or may not like it but that is what separates them from the competition.

It could be very much easy for them to throw out a super cheap iPhone to compete with the low cost handset market (this is what the media expected). But, it is very obvious that they intend to maintain the 'luxury' brand they have built over the years.

A luxury brand with products that deliver excellent quality would definitely mean profit. People do not mind paying a premium for these products. In fact, as of this writing the iPhone 5c is getting sold out in China (which is quite ironic because the media was also expecting this market to demand for a 'cheap' iPhone).


Another thing to consider here is how the iPhone 5c entered the market. For 5 years, there has only been one new iPhone that people will rave about. All the other people who find the 'new' iPhone too expensive (or extravagant) for their needs will settle with the 'old' iPhone released a year ago which will be repriced for a hundred dollars less. The latter, being 'old' is obviously not that attractive.

iPhone 5c in different colorsRight now, that strategy has changed. The iPhone 5c is technically (in almost all aspects) just the iPhone 5 from a year ago repackaged in colorful cases. And, from a marketing perspective "if it looks new, it's new."

Majority of the people who are not tech nerds (that care about specs) will obviously rave about it. The manufacturing cost was also cheaper for Apple because of the hard-coated polycarbonate material it was built with. The iPhone 5 was made from iodized aluminum which was a more expensive option. See why the iPhone 5 was discontinued? High margins obviously.

All those reasons show why Apple after all is a company that is concerned about making money.


Apple cares about the user experience


I have been closely following Apple as a company since 2008 (the year I became an Apple fanboy). That means I look not at the technical specifications of each of their products. I am more concerned of their marketing strategies, their competitive edge and their vision. And yes, I am a Steve Jobs fan too. All these things made me understand why Apple is such a valuable company.

Here is the part that most critics miss: Apple is a 'user experience' company. It's not about the tech specs anymore. You just can't judge this company by looking at how the other companies' hardware have more numbers. Apple is concerned of how you will be using each of the tiny little details they pack into the phone by presenting how each of them would solve a common user problem.

Let us jump to the iPhone 5s a bit to give you an example of what I mean. When they introduced the new 64-bit A7 chip, they demoed it with Infinity Blade III to show how the users would exactly benefit from a fast processing power. The M7 Motion Co-processor (which opens up a new world of possibilities) was demoed with the Nike + Move app to show how it intelligently calculates movements without sacrificing battery life. The Touch ID has carefully thought out how we could solve the hassles of the 'PIN code age' while emphasizing security. Apple never spends too much time detailing on hardware specs that most users won't care about (or maybe even understand). Again, only the tech nerds will ask about RAM, battery size, chips and all that stuff.

That means, having said all that, the iPhone 5c was obviously released after having carefully considered the user experience people will get from it. This brings me to the last point.


"It is beautifully, unapologetically plastic"


Green plastic iPhone 5cThose are the words of Sir Jony Ive, the design genius himself. I must admit. I cringed the first time I read the rumor of a 'plastic' iPhone. This is probably the biggest drawback of the iPhone 5c. But, taking into consideration how Apple is a 'user experience' company, I do not think Apple will sacrifice the build quality of such a beautiful piece of hardware. In its video ad, it says the iPhone 5c is "plastic, perfected."

I've read tons of blogs and first impressions of tech bloggers who were there at the September 10 event. I have never read a single one that said it felt like a cheap plastic iPhone (the iPhone 3G and 3GS were plastic but never felt cheap by the way). All of them were saying how surprisingly good, solid and dense of a plastic it was.

For now, I just do not want to get my hopes up. I just think it's not worth criticizing such great marketing strategy from a very smart and valuable company. It takes a different kind of understanding to see the whole marketing picture of how Apple is trying to position itself in the competition.

I personally cannot wait to see it and hold it with my hands. It is the only way I can confirm what these tech bloggers have been saying about the device. I am most likely getting the blue one for Christmas.


How about you? What do you think of the new iPhone 5c?


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Sunday, September 08, 2013

Thoughts On The Movie 'On The Job' by Erik Matti

On The Job Movie Poster
Filipino movies have garnered such a bad reputation lately.

It might have something to do with the low budget romantic comedy, action and drama movies we have produced for the past decade or two.

Although I believe in that, I would also have to stress out that it must be because the stories we have been producing are lacking in substance. The really good films are rare and I have no idea where they can be found.

After watching On The Job, a film by Erik Matti, I felt really proud.

Watching a Filipino movie never felt this good. The story was brilliant. For me, it was an immersive experience of how dirty and corrupt our system is. The story was inspired by true events.

I feel sad that this film is not getting that much buzz locally. Our local cinemas only screened it for a week. Fortunately, they decided to give it a rerun because of popular demand. That was why I got the chance to see it. I'm glad I did.

This is the kind of movie Filipinos have to be proud of. The actors, even the ones that only had a few minutes of screen time were really good. The story was very well written. It made me think deep and ask a lot of questions. That is a good thing. It makes the movie even more memorable. The story stuck with me even after I left the cinema.

By the way, because of its brutal and intense action scenes, my girlfriend was a bit traumatized by the movie. Seriously. I had to kind of calm her down to get her back to reality.

It was a heavy movie indeed. And, I could not stress enough how good it was. It set a high bar for Filipino action films (or feature films in general). I just wish we had more movies like this.



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