Saturday, November 22, 2014

'Tis the Season to be Jolly with Taiwan Excellence's Christmas Contest

We, Filipinos, love the Christmas season. 

We put-up our Christmas tree, reward carolers for singing Christmas songs, religiously attend simbang gabi, and prepare Noche Buena feasts. It’s a long-standing tradition that’s been followed even before I was born. 

Gift-giving has also played a crucial part of this country’s Yuletide season. Most of you may remember bringing canned goods and packed noodles to school in celebration of White Gifts Sunday. Although a Methodist started this tradition, some schools in the Philippines continue to honor it. And just like us, Taiwan Excellence recognizes how special Christmas is for us. This is why they have offered to fulfill 10 Filipino’s “Grown-up Wish list” through the Taiwan Excellence- Made to Enjoy Christmas Contest.

Taiwan Excellence-Made to Enjoy Christmas Contest Flyer

And let’s face it! The act of giving is far more rewarding than the act of receiving. 

Made to Enjoy Christmas Contest Details

By simply visiting and registering in the Made To Enjoy The Life website, you will have the opportunity to win your loved one a special present this Christmas. All it takes is choosing a Taiwan Excellence product and sharing your reason for choosing that person.

Taiwan Excellence Products

Have you joined the contest yet? If you haven't, do so now. You might be one of the ten lucky winners to give your special loved one the gift they solely deserve. As an added bonus, Iya Villania-Arellano, Taiwan Excellence Celebrity Endorser, might be the secret Santa to deliver it at their doorstep.

The Taiwan Excellence seal is found in Taiwanese brands that excel in quality, innovation, and good value for money. Products you may have already used include Acer, Asus, MSI, and even Pacific. These four are just some of the ones well-known worldwide.

With the assistance TAITRA, the Taiwan Excellence campaign was launched in the Philippines with the purpose of providing Filipinos better Taiwan-made products, or as Taiwan has put it: Bringing Excellent Lifestyle in the Philippines.
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Friday, November 14, 2014

Digitally Transforming the Filipino Haggling Tradition

Yesterday, my sister and I went to Divisoria. We were searching for a certain curtain design for their bedroom. As you all know, Divisoria is the place to go when buying anything and everything at an extremely cheap price. The streets were lined with stalls that were filled with hanging Christmas decors, drapes, and--I repeat--anything under the sun.

The Divisoria Experience

After having to deal with the traffic from Recto to Divi, we maneuvered the busy stalls of Puregold to reach Tabora. In Tabora, we checked every single stall, kiosk, and selling space that sold curtains. To our dismay, we didn't find the particular design. Although a little disappointed, we got some great deals on a few yards of U.S. cotton textile. Yes, like any other Filipino, we ended up haggling for the 7 yards of Winnie the Pooh and some other cartoony-designed bed sheet-to-be.

U.S. Cotton sheets cost 85-130 php/yard

Haggling has always been part of our culture. We always here phrases like "Last price?" or "No Discount?" or "I'll buy it by bulk if you give it to me at _____". Honestly, even online sellers from OLX/ Sulit, Ayos Dito, and eBay receive text messages like the ones I mentioned above. It's a typical behavior that's neither good nor bad, depending on the haggler's technique and style.

Selling on eBay used to be as easy as bidding and winning.
Filipino Online Shopping

Nowadays, a lot of us have enjoyed the benefits of buying online. For one, you wouldn't have to deal with the heat, the crowded streets, and the pollution of going to Divi. You also save on precious time and fare because the items get delivered at your doorstep (especially in the Manila area). Some online items are even being sold at a cheaper price than in malls. So, it's really no surprise that a lot of us are now going to websites like Lazada and Zalora.

My first Lazada purchase...
Can't Haggle When it's Sold Online

However, like buying an item from a mall or a superstore, all prices are fixed. There's no haggling allowed, because all prices are final. We don't get the opportunity to talk to the online shop's owner, and it can be a bit frustrating at times. Fortunately for us, we are a resourceful race. Some of us wait for sales or marked-downs; others end up using coupons (usually encoded prior to online checkout).

All it Takes is a Keyphrase

iPrice is a site for the thrifty, budget-conscious Filipino. When all the coupons are at your fingertips, readily available at a click of a button, online shopping definitely gets better. So why bother scouring every single blog/website via Google Search when you can go to a single website for the keywords that can slash a price down to a better bargain?

Is Using a Coupon the Same as Haggling?

It's not. However, these two techniques result to a single outcome. We get what we want at a bargain deal.

Some helpful links:

My Lazada Buying Experience
How to Commute to Divisoria
The EBAY Experience: Pros, Cons and some Tips in Buying and Selling
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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Taiwan Excellence to the Philippines: A Tech-Savvy Blogger's Perspective

What does Asus, Acer, D-Link, and Transcend have in common? They're all brands proudly based in Taiwan. These four powerhouses are also names normally sought after by consumers looking for cheap yet reliable electronic gadgets and devices. Ironically, some people still believe that these brands are from the US. For that said reason, it's important for the world to learn about Taiwan Excellence.

Taiwan Excellence to the World

The Taiwan Excellence Award is given to companies who continually challenge themselves in creating innovative and high-quality products that stand out in the industry. Among Taiwan's forerunners are Asus and Acer. Both are well-known for building laptops, tablets, and even mobile phones with specifications as powerful as their US counterparts.

These brands don't stop at competitive pricing and ingenuity. They broaden their reach by creating ads and marketing strategies focused on the masses, rather than just the Tech community.

An Act of Ingenuity

Back in the days, when people asked what router worked best with PLDT DSL, most computer stores would immediately point to D-Link. Compatibility-wise, D-Link was easier to set-up compared to Netgear and Cisco. This, alone, made Taiwan's brand a highly-recommended product to multiple subscribers. Not only was D-Link able to ensure its product's purchase, but is also created a demand that no other brand could supply.

Customer Loyalty

When memory cards were first sold, Transcend was among the brands that stood out. It went neck-and-neck against SanDisk, Imation, and Kingston. Years later, some users still rely on Transcend because they're cheap and durable. While others have switched due to preference, there's no denying that the brand has now garnered continued patronage for its continued excellent quality and performance.

Bottom Line
There are so many times where people assume that a good electronics brand can only come from the "Land of the Free". Now, Filipinos can rely on brands that are closer to home.

With a design inspired by the spirit of fulfillment in their traditional culture, the Taiwan Excellence Seal provides the world a means to recognize brands and products that are, in fact, made in Taiwan.

Disclaimer: Although this post is sponsored, my opinions are my own.
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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Get Ichabod's Voice Commands on your Waze (Philippines)

Say what? A gross invitation to indulgence?!?

I just found out through CNET that Sleepy Hollow fans can now make use of Ichabod's voice to help you drive safely through the streets of Manila.

Waze Application for Android, Samsung Galaxy 4
To get Ichabod Crane's (Tom Mison) voice on your Waze, all you have to do is open your Waze, tap on the cloud-like icon at the bottom and go to your settings (cog-shaped icon).

Ichabod Crane's voice is now available in Waze worldwide. Enjoy old English phrases as spoken by Tom Mison based on his 18th Century Colonial American era.
Under settings, just tap on Sound. Tap on Navigation Guidance and select English (US) - Ichabod Crane.

And even in online gaming, Ichabod Crane strikes again with a bucket if filthy curse words that sound more adorable than babies and puppies combined.
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Saturday, November 1, 2014

MyPhone A919 Duo: Easiest Way to Root and Install a Faster ROM (Xperia Mizwa Final)

MyPhone A919 Duo Running on Xperia Mizwa (Gaming+Battery Friendly) ROM.
Before anything else, let me list some basic points.

1. You will be expected to download some files from XDAForum and MyPhone A919 Duo User's Facebook Page.

2. You will need internet to download a couple of programs from the Google Play Store.

3. This process will require rooting and installing of CWM recovery before installing any ROM because you might end up getting the message "Signature Verification Failed".

4. You do not need to download any flashing software for this installation. 

Some terms to understand before we start.
  • XDAForums- This is where new custom ROMs are released. Whenever people want to try something new with their phone (e.g. make it look cooler, make it run faster, or make it more customizable), this is where they usually go to download and try new Android OS.
  • CWM (ClockworkMod) recovery- This like a computer's BIOS. It's where the magic happens without having to rely on the phone's stock rom.
  • Stock ROM- This is your phone's original system. Meaning, if your phone was running with unRooted ICS or JB, then that's what your stock ROM is.

Note: Stock ROMs are usually unrooted. This means you can't change their system files and pre-installed software easily. You can't remove the add-ons the company has installed in your phone, and you can change permissions for rooted applications.

  • Root- If you're simply the type who likes to install APKs, then rooting isn't necessary. However, if you're the adventurous type who prefers tweaking your system, boosting your RAM permanently, changing where your applications are automatically installed, or simply into wreaking havoc to your phone, then be my guest.

DISCLAIMER: This said, please remember that I will not be responsible for bricking your phone. And yes, I've rendered a MyPhone useless. It was bricked because I installed the wrong recovery.img. Fortunately, this following procedures won't be as complex.

  • Superuser- This grants an application permission to change some of your system settings. One of the most practical reasons why people install Superuser is to allow a rooted application to do some juju on your phone e.g. remove bloatware or software installed by MyPhone.
  • Boromir- the exploit used to install superuser into your phone. Boromir is probably some character in Lord of the Rings.

1. Procedures in Rooting your MyPhone A919 Duo

1.1. Download Framaroot from the XDAForums. 

Question: Does Framaroot work for all Android devices? The answer is NO. For instance, the Lenovo IdeaPad K1 does not budge with Framaroot. It will simply show you that now exploit is available for it

1.2. Copy Framaroot from the Downloads folder of your computer to your SD card.

Side Note: While you're at it, you might as well download Final Mizwa (Battery and Gaming-Friendly ROM) and the recovery image we will be using.  You might as well copy this two files into your SD card.

Google docs showing the contents of Final Mizwa Click on the image to view in actual size.

My Google Chrome Downloads tab. Click on the image to see original size.

For backing up files, I manually copied my files from the phone to the SD card. Or you could try Wondershare's Dr. Fone for Android for your images and videos. I used SMS Backup for my messages.

1.3. Assuming you've copied all the necessary files into your SD Card--NOT YOUR PHONE MEMORY (Framaroot, Recovery Image, and Final Mizwa), then disconnect your phone from your computer, and we shall start the rooting process of our MyPhone A919 duo.

Conditions to ensure Framaroot (and the rest of the apps) will be installed smoothly:
a) USB Debugging must be checked. ( Go to Settings>Developer Options> USB debugging) 
b). Unknown Sources must be checked (Go to Settings> Security> (Under Device Administration) Unknown Sources.

1.4. Go to your File Manager and look for Framaroot.  If you saved it directly into the SD Card, then once you tapped into the SD Card, you'll immediately find Framaroot. Install it and open it.

Framaroot will have to editable segments. One will have "Install SU" and the word "Boromir" will also pop out. Don't change a thing, but tap on Boromir.

Once done, a pop-up message suggesting its success will show-up in your screen.

Note: In some occassions, Superuser doesn't show up in your App Menu. No worries, just go to Google Playstore and download it there.

Now that we're done rooting your device, the next thing to do is to install CWM recovery. In this part, I don't suggest downloading ROM Manager because it will simply tell you that it's still going to use the phone's recovery instead of CWM.

2. Procedure on Installing ClockwordMod Recovery and Installing Final Mizwa ROM in MyPhone A919 Duo

2.1. Go back to Google Playstore and download Mobileuncle MTK Tools.

2.2. Install and open it.

Note: There will be instances that MobileUncle MTK Tools require Superuser permissions. Just tap on ALLOW.

2.3. Once the application has opened, look for Recovery Update and tap it.

2.4. Under Recovery Update, locate your recovery.img file under SD Card. It's the file that you copied into your SD Card, found usually under Recovery file in SD Card. Check out the image from CaraKamu's blog.

Now, it should ask you to reboot your phone. Do it.

CWM-based Recovery v6.0.2.8. Click the image to view actual size.

Tada! We're in CWM Recovery.  Use the Volume buttons to move the selector up or down and the Power button to select the highlighted text (the text with blue background). Most people will usually install the ROM without formatting the system. This is fine because Xperia Mizwa does that for us. The following is optional:

2.4.a. Wipe Cache Partition
2.4.b. Under Advance, Wipe Dalvik Cache
2.4.c. Under Mount and Storage, Format System. Then, Format Data. Then, Format Cache.
2.4.d. To be on the safe side, I also do wipe data/ factory reset.

2.5. Select Install zip from SD Card.

Note: As an extra precaution prior to installing Mizwa Xperia Final, Before selecting "choose a zip from sdcard", select toggle signature verification and press the Power button twice. This should give you a message at the bottom. 

2.5.a Signature Check: Disabled.
2.5.b After doing the Toggle signature verification, select "choose a zip from sdcard". If you copied Final directly into the main folder of the SD Card (some people call it the root folder), then just locate it and select the file.

Note: Expect to select Yes a couple of times before finally achieving the screenshot below.

Now, we wait...

As you could see, formatting the partition is already done by the Xperia Mizwa ROM. The portion shown above "Installing: /sdcard/Final Mizwa" is done by following items 2.4.a to 2.5.a. Click on the image to view actual size.
And we're done. Bask in the glory of the XPERIA loading screen. 


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