Spy Pinay on September 3rd, 2010

I finally got an IPAD 32GB 3G model for myself last July during my trip to the US.  I’ve never regretted it since then!  This tablet has been next to me in bed all the time.  Here’s a list of my experiences so far:

  1. I have succeeded replacing the AT&T microsim with a local prepaid Globe Tattoo sim which I cut myself using a template I found somewhere.  It took awhile before I had the guts to do it but since as of now it is hard to find a prepaid microsim  anywhere.  Globe and Tattoo had publicized that they are selling them but whenever I visit their stores, they only have the postpaid versions (around 999 per month).  I am always with wifi access most of the time but I wanted to have a backup in case there is an outage (either ISP and Meralco).  The Globe tattoo prepaid 3g gets me around 300kbps speed.  I still yet have to try to see if i can put it back to a regular phone without an adapter and try subscribing to a daily unlimited plan.  20 pesos per hour seems okay enough for me for occasional use.
  2. I noticed that, it also syncs the same apps that I downloaded for the iPhone and vice versa unless I manually delete them myself before syncing.  I can set it up so that the iPhone app opens at 2x zoom by default.   The Plants and Zombies iPhone version at 2x is acceptable enough and I don’t need to buy it again.
  3. I have read and browsed for hours I am worried my  eyesight is getting worse because of it.  Thanks to these apps that make browsing from iPad so much fun: Flipboard, Vinio, and various magazine apps such as Metro, Wired, and Fortune which offer free trials.  I don’t expect to buy individual issues though but I would probably try a subscription at Vinio one of these days.
  4. I have not even tried reading ebooks yet but someday I probably will.
  5. I did not bother buying a display shield, because the one in my iPhone eventually bubbled up anyways.
  6. I find that battery gets empty after 2 days without plugging to the outlet.  I use it for up to 4 hours each day I think.
  7. Again, watching streaming video is not so enjoyable now because my home internet is not fast enough for it (Bayantel).  There is no incentive yet for me to buy US VPN service to access US streaming video sites because of this.
  8. I am ashamed to admit that I’ve had sore muscles several days at a time because of the IPAD.  It is not heavy but it is also not as light as a small paperback novel.
  9. I am considering buying a wireless keyboard for it sometime in the near future.  I would prefer to get something smaller but I am not so sure if non-apple keyboards would work with it.
  10. Tried using remote desktop app with it and it works but still I have to do some setup with my router to make my laptop accessible from the internet.  Need to make sure I do it correctly and safe first before I dive deeply into this. But yes, the plan is to have this replace my heavy Thinkpad  when I go out of town.

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Spy Pinay on September 1st, 2010

We shopped at S and R’s at Bonifacio Global City again last Saturday (our local warehouse club) and decided to have dinner at Serendra’s.  I was assigned to choose the restaurant.  I decided to pick Conti’s and try to redeem myself after having a not-so-nice dinner last weekend at a Singaporean (fast) food place located at the Araneta Coliseum.

At first we wanted to back out because we had to wait for a seat and we were 9th in queue.  We took a seat and immediately someone asked to get our orders. We took sometime to browse the menu.  Later on, we were told that there was a seat for us at the 2nd floor and that we need to take the elevator up to get there.  Over at the 2nd floor, we only saw 3 tables but outside there was a huge group of 20 somethings being served.

I wanted to order squidlets for appetizer, karekare, dalandan juice and moist chocolate cake for dessert.  It turned out that the only thing they have from my choices was the dalandan juice :(.   It was pretty disappointing that none of the food I wanted was available.  Probably the big party outside ate much of their stocks.   I ended up ordering gambas as appetizer, Barbecue Ribs plate for my main dish and the mango cake which they claim to be their house specialty.  MrC had trouble choosing but ended up ordering pasta.

The orders took a bit of time but not too long that we would starve if you know what I mean ;-).   At least they were able to serve the gambas and mushroom which I thought was really tasty, the garlic-spicy sauce was amazing I kept it as a dip for the Ribs.   For the Ribs plate, there was a choice between mashed potato and garlic rice.  Somehow, I chose garlic rice at that time.

Here’s the verdict:  MrC’s pesto pasta was really good and flavorful he was thinking about ordering takeout next time.   My Ribs was big enough to be filling and also quite tender but it was on the bland side that I had to use some of my leftover sauce from the gambas and ask for barbecue sauce.  The lady first brought me A1 sauce, so it seems they didn’t have real barbecue sauce there such as the one in Racks but anyways, she offered me Worcestershire sauce and I thought it was acceptable.   The mango cake was HUGE I mean really huge and had 3 layers made of different ingredients.  I highly recommend it!  MrC had cheesecake which he found okay too.

With regards to the service and atmosphere, I think that their branch at Serendra  is in dire need of more space but service is very good in my opinion.

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Spy Pinay on August 21st, 2010

Nope, this is not a post about an old girly tv show.  I just wanted to talk about a little visit I made to a place in New Manila called the “Gilmore” area.  It is a place full of interesting things that I look for: food, and gadgets.  One lazy day, I was thinking about shopping for an external hard drive and was craving for something nice to eat for dinner.    I thought about Gilmore.  I was not that far from this area, maybe like 2 miles? Right at that area you would find most of the stores that sell computer-related stuff at prices unmatched anywhere in the City.  You would find here known bargain computer shops such as  PC Gilmore, PC Options, and PC Express to name a few.  In this area there is a whole mini-mall full of computer stores complete with elevators and escalators to help you move around easily from store to store.

Another interesting discovery in this mall is a mysterious shop called “Our Big Little Store“.  Actually, it was really so unnoticeable that I only found out the name of the store after I went out and already bought stuff from it.  Going inside, reminded me of small Oriental or even Filipino stores abroad, stores we call “Tokos” back in the Netherlands.  It was also a surprise to see that they were also serving food deli-style and that there are dining tables hidden to the right of the store.    Their menu includes some of the most interesting I’ve found in a while:  they have Balut Soup, Pigeon Soup, soups with Chinese-sounding names I don’t recognize, Adobo Egg, huge siomais, huge fresh Lumpias, wrapped takeouts of barbecue, sushi, siopao A (Asado) and siopao B (Bola Bola) funny I was even that stupid to ask what A and B where. hehe.  Let’s just say, they will see the likes of me again  sooner than later.  At first, it was kind of chaotic for there were too many people ordering but I was patient enough to wait and I took the chance to observe a bit.  Next thing I knew,  a lady already approached me to take my order (somehow reminded me of the Apple store in New York haha) ! Wow! I’m impressed :D

A few blocks away was my next stop.  It was the JT’s Manukan Grill I have long been hearing about.  I’ve heard and read good reviews of their Chicken Inasal.  By the way this store is owned by renowned Filipino actor Joel Torre.  When I got there,  I saw that the store was in a corner and lit up well.  It was open air — beer garden style.  Anyways, I looked at the menu and was pleasantly surprised how affordable it was: 88 Pesos for a Pecho! That’s the size of half a chicken.  It did not include rice but still, it still is a bargain.  I ended up ordering  Pecho and Chicken Wings to go.  The wait took longer than expected (about 15 minutes?).   While waiting I noticed that there were several interesting stores next to it.  Next door is Ferino’s Bibingka — a favorite of me and MrC and the one next to that is a mom and pop cake shop and another one in front was a Pancit Malabon.  It is also interesting to know then that it was the same area where I bought our Christmas Lantern (Parol) last year.  What an interesting place!

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Spy Pinay on August 19th, 2010

We’re watching Arnel Pineda, the current lead singer of Journey this coming Sept 11 at MetroBar. This will be our second show watched at MetroBar. The first one was Side A last May. You are guaranteed at least 3 hours of pre-show presentations by inhouse entertainers in addition to 2+ hours of the main event. Seating is first come first served so you have to be there early in order to get good seats. The venue is not that big so most places have an acceptable view of the stage. Just be careful with sitting too near the stage because the stand up comedians will poke fun at you whether you like it or not. They also are a bit pushy when it comes to giving tips :P

Watch Arnel Pineda live at MetroBar

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Spy Pinay on August 3rd, 2010

Recently I finally took the plunge and became an online seller of Globe Prepaid load but after a few days I became a victim of buyer fraud.   It is fortunate though that my losses are still very small but the future of my business is unclear now because of this Paypal loophole being exploited by these criminals.  I am still looking for other ways to accept payments though.

What happened to me the past few days was that several Paypal accounts bought prepaid loads for the same numbers and later on I received a message
from Paypal that the payments are disputed by the buyers or that they are not authorizing those charges.  The losses would have been great had I not noticed the anomaly early.  I also noticed that the email addresses have a certain pattern to it (ex. street name + number and using free email accounts).
Not all used that pattern though but I would imagine there are ways in which someone can get hold of real email accounts and/or Paypal accounts by hacking.

I have also googled one of the phone numbers and found them on several links selling in the Classifieds Site called sulit. Beware of using Paypal.  If you sell non-tangible goods you are not protected at all!
I have also read several sites wherein even people who sell tangible or physical goods and could provide shipping documents cannot even get their money from Paypal because Paypal froze their accounts.

As of now, I am stopping my use of Paypal for my loading site and will just accept payments through other channels.  Inspite of it all, my hubby says, at least I had an exciting 2 days filled with mystery and suspense for the price of one movie theater ticket (my loss hehe), plus I learned so much about online fraud. Filthy cybercriminals! You will pay for this someday! :P

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Spy Pinay on June 9th, 2010

Consider this my first review of the IPAD after using it for a long weekend.  For your information, I don’t own this unit.   My husband’s company owns it.  I was fortunate to be able to try it for a few days while spending time by the beach.  We stayed in a beach resort with subpar wireless internet connection. Enough said.  Here are some things I realized about the IPAD:

  • Slow internet kills the experience.  Looking for apps in ITunes is extremely slow. Downloading is slow.  Browsing is slow.    You cannot appreciate your IPAD without good internet connection.  No multitasking means waiting until something finishes.  No reading on the side allowed.
  • You need a US ITunes account in order to use the App Store.  I’m glad I had one.
  • Make sure you have a protective shield for your screen.  Trust me — you would need it.
  • Make sure your IPAD has a case and is always inside a case.  Protect it from elements.
  • Protect your IPAD from kids or pets.  This gadget is not very kid safe. I know the apps are very kid-friendly but the hardware isn’t.
  • Unlike the IPhone, it has a Horizontal/Vertical lock.
  • It is actually heavier than it looks.
  • If you don’t want a stiff neck, mount it on something that would raise it to your eye level.
  • It is hard to share it with others.  Not all apps can be logged out cleanly.  Make sure you log out your Itunes account before you pass it on to someone else. ;-)
  • Most apps made for the IPAD  are more expensive than apps made for IPhone.
  • I need a  separate keyboard to type comfortably with two hands.
  • The screen is not as amazing as what Steve Jobs claimed it would be.

I am not so sure if I am getting one for myself.  However, with the prospect of IPhone OS 4 /iOS 4 iPad firmware update
coming out soon then just maybe I might just give it a second look.

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mixxy on March 1st, 2010

I broke my reliable, 1+ year old Ericsson W960i phone last January during our Boracay trip.  I forgot that it was in my pocket when I boarded a banca (boat) and waded in the waste deep water. Stupid me! Anyways, that’s the price of being careless.

After a few days of using my old phones I decided that it’s time to get me a new phone.  For the past 6 months or so, I’ve been noticing and considering the IPhone after seeing it in action when I visited my sister’s place.  It was indeed the Gadget of the Year.  First of all, it stands out from all the rest due to the large amount of applications (free and cheap) available in the App Store.  It was indeed a toy with a phone feature.  It is essentially the same as the IPod Touch but the latter has no possibility of 3G internet and phone of course.  IPod touch is half the price but knowing myself, I didn’t want to carry (and be responsible for) more than 1 gadget.

I visited a Globe Telecom store in Greenhills and was told that they are out of stock and I would need to be signed up in a queue.  She said it would take not days but months to even get one! Sheesh. Frustrating.

For days, I tried to find out ways how I could get one.. I can buy one from the US or Canada but those would be locked.  The HongKong online Apple store seemed perfect: it sold factory unlocked phones but I had no idea how to ship it here. There’s also some online stores such as the KIM Multiply store.  My hubby did not think it was wise to buy from those online stores so I scrapped the idea.  I did call them up though.  I found out their store was located in Tayuman.

And so how did I end up having one?  While browsing computer shops in Megamall I ran across two stores that sell factory unlocked phones. These are obviously gray market stuff. I was not so sure if I would trust these stores.  One managed to show a demo unit for me.  Everything seemed to be ok and authentic. The price was a bit more than Globe’s (3,000 more) but not that high.  In the end, I decided to go home first and research more about it before I make a final decision.   Also, I have to make sure I am getting the real thing  and to know that I have to know the product a bit more.

After a few days, I knew I was ready to go back to the store.  To my surprise, the sales guy wasn’t there and it was another person who seemed not to remember me from last weekend.  She told me they had no more stocks of the 16GB but only the 32GB.  So I went home quite disappointed.  At least I was able to get the phone number of the other store.

That weekend, I first called that other store and found out that they had it.  A few hours later I was there. I brought my laptop so we could activate the phone right there using my ITunes account.  Fortunately, I had been a US ITunes User for several years already. No need to create one.  I was able to download apps with no problems. While I was there, the guy from the other store found me and was so regretful seeing me buy the phone there.  I told him he wasn’t there when I came back a few days later and that they had no stock then.  So I went here instead.

Since I had my phone, I have already downloaded so many apps.. I even bought one: Plants and Zombies which was the best selling app during that time.  There’s so much cool stuff one can play with I can’t even begin to enumerate.  Maybe the next few posts I will talk about IPhone-related stuff.  Stay tuned. Gosh! I love my IPhone!

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mixxy on December 22nd, 2009

This post is long overdue but hey, it’s Christmas time and last week was quite busy.  Nevertheless here is the conclusion of my HDTV shopping adventure.

I came back Sunday last week and could not believe my eyes when I saw that the LG 32LH70YR was not anymore on display.  I asked the saleslady and she told me everything was sold out — including the one on display!  And that happened within 2 days!  Darn! Anyways, one of them told me they would have new stock by Monday.

The next day, I tried calling them about twice and later that afternoon they told me it would be Tuesday.  I tried calling other stores but either their listed phone numbers are not in service or they don’t have that model on sale. The following day, I had appointments the whole day so I wasn’t able to visit the store.  Wednesday, I immediately called them first thing in the morning and to my delight they said they had 3 in stock.  By the time, I got to the store, I found out the one I just bought was second to the last they have.  I guess this model is really popular.  The price was still 30,000 for cash buyers.  I also bought a Pioneer DV420 which upscales DVD movies to Full HD and has an HDMI cable for free all for around 5,000.

So far, after one week of owning it I am not disappointed.  I’ve watched only TV and DVD though.  One day, we will get a blueray player but we just thought this is isn’t the right time yet.  But we’ll see. We even used it as a monitor for playing games and the resolution goes up to 1920 x 1080.

mixxy on December 11th, 2009

I visited two stores last night. First, is the Western appliance store. I went there because I found out that they had the Sony KLV 32W400 in stock. When I got there, they were 30 minutes from closing. I was also glad that the unit was on display, although it was on a higher spot and mounted. Therefore I could not checkout the back. First thing I asked them was to demo it by showing a movie. It was quite disappointing that all they had was a pirated disk which will never do justice to any TV set they are selling. I tried it nevertheless. It was an action movie. Nothing spectacular but everything was fine. Next, I found the other model which was the Samsung 32B530 also on display and standing at a much nicer level than the Sony. They played another so-so pirated movie and I wasn’t so impressed by it. They told me that it’s probably the player that makes a difference. I doubt if they are telling the truth. I have learned not to believe any sales person when it comes to giving technical advice in retail store such as this.

Next stop was Sights and Sounds in Shangri-La. I took the elevator straight to the 4th Floor. After walking for sometime, I doubted if it was in the right direction. Before I finally gave up finding it, I tried walking further and there it was finally! The store was about to close also in a few minutes. Right in the middle of their store was the the LG Scarlet LH70!! People were also comparing it with the Samsung 32B530 at that time. They were playing “BlueRay quality” Batman playing from a very expensive harddrive player. Samsung seemed to be too washed out. LG had deeper blacks. It was already getting obvious that LG shows a more lifelike effect. I don’t know how it does it. This same lifelike effect can also be seen in the more expensive units in their place. At this point I have already decided to purchase the LG. However, they were about to close and I still have to withdraw from an ATM. I decided to spend a little bit of the remaining time to demo their Pioneer DVD player.

Today, even though I am feeling a bit sick with a fever and still planning to revisit the stores again but this time I will bring a DVD I own and play it again on both TV sets.

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mixxy on December 10th, 2009

We are now in the market for a new LCD TV.  After doing a bit of research about the merits of 1080p, HD Ready, and Full HD I have come up with my top 3.  We chose to shop for one with the a native resolution of 1920×1080. We wanted to purchase something that would take advantage of blueray technology and the latest in gaming consoles and would not be obsolete too soon.  As you would probably notice I am a total newbie when it comes to HD technology and even home theaters in general.  I have not shopped for anything like this since I bought myself a DVD player in 2005 or something.  Also, our budget of 40,000 pesos was able to give us more choices in the 32 inch category.  As far as I know prices of LCD has continued to be slashed down lately, also in time for the holidays.  Buying during the holidays may or or may not be good though as most people are probably thinking of buying one. So maybe, we might have trouble finding stocks.  And so, after reading forums and googling.  Here’s my top 3 choices and bullet points of their features and specs:

SONY BRAVIA KLV32W400

Street Price (Western)40000 PHP,

  • 24P True Cinema™ (24 frames per second), NTSC 3.58, PAL, SECAM, NTSC 4.43 (AV In), PAL 60 (AV In)
  • HDMI inputs = 3
  • PC inputs = 1
  • Headphone input= 1
  • PIP 1 TUNER
  • 3000:1
  • 178/178

According to Sights and Sound (a retailer),  KLV32W400 received a 5 star award competition and the best LCD TVs from What HIFI magazine review.  Also, this model was the previous top of the line for this category.  Prices was slashed big time because it was already phased out.  Some stores of Western do not even have this.  The one in Greenhills claimed to have one.   I am visiting them tonight.

LG LH70

Street Price (Sights and Sound) : 30000 PHP

  • 24P
  • Bluetooth
  • CONTRAST 100,000:1
  • VIEWING ANGLE 178/178
  • RESP TIME 2.4MS
  • HDMI = 3
  • PC = 1
  • USB = available but was locked (some said it could be hacked though)
  • SIMPLINK – through infrared other LG with Simplink active can connect to each other wirelessly
  • DIVX – can play divx recorded videos directly
  • headphone=using bluetooth
  • SMART ENERGY SAVING – it has a self adjusting backlight sensor
  • TruMotion 120Hz

SAMSUNG LN32B530
Street Price: 31000 PHP (Sight and Sounds)

  • CONTRAST 70000:1
  • HDMI = 2
  • 24P
  • PC=1
  • HEADPHONE=1

We actually do not have a DVD player now.  It’s one of those things that we had to lose while moving from place to place.  It is good to know that DVD players now offer 1080p upscaling which means your can view your old DVD’s in a new light (or quality so to speak).

Here are some DVD players with 1080p upscaling:

PHILIPS DVD DVP-3360K ( HDMI )
PhP 4,490.00 (Abensons)

PIONEER DV-410V-K BLK (HDMI)Multi-Format DVD Player Featuring HDMI®,1080p Upscaling, USB, and DivX®/WMV Playback PhP 4,990.0 (Abensons)

In my opinion.. first I will take a look at the screens but eventually..i think LG is ok since we still want to spend on an upscaling DVD player such as  the Pioneer dv-410.  But why LG over Sony?  Of course, $$$ $peaks louder but eventually my eyes will decide.  Is saving an additional 10k important to us?
As far as I can see, both the Sony and the LG have practically same features on paper.
LG uses bluetooth and that seems nice plus the writeups/reviews with photos were impressive for LG
So I guess the demo will be the dealbreaker. Hubby has let me decide which to buy among the two whether paying 10k extra for a slightly older Generation but reputable Sony Bravia is worth the extra bucks.  That model used to be very expensive.

Samsung is quite behind on features but if it’s there of course I will take a look at it and compare it with the other two.

With regards to contrast only my eye can judge i think and with proper calibration.
On another note I was surprised that the TV’s in the US are even internet capable now :P
They can even stream content from Netflix, Amazon Video On Demand, and even YouTube.

Tomorrow I will share with you my visit to Western Appliances and Sights and Sounds.

Here are some helpful links about HDTV:

HDTV: Everything You Need to Know

Understanding Resolution

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