Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Samsung introduces its Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 devices

It's been a while since I have been on any device running Windows. I used to be a Windows user for years and years. Till I got my first Macbook in 2008. And in the last year or so, my phones have been running on the Android operating system.

My techie son who's taking Computer Science has had good words to say about Windows 8 which he has had the chance to play around with as part of his course work. So when I attended Samsung's event  for their Windows 8 lineup, my curiosity was pretty hyped up.

My surprise for the night was this. Samsung did not just introduce a Windows 8 laptop but a whole slew of devices running on Windows 8.

The Windows 8 lineup is under the brand name ATIV (or the reverse of VITA which means "Life" in Latin). Samsung is all about lifestyle convenience in many different ways, after all.

There were 3 different devices introduced that all run Windows 8: the Samsung All-in-One PC Series 7, the ATIV Smart PC Pro and the ATIV S (smartphone).




Samsung ATIV Smart PC / Smart PC Pro

Here are some quick shots I took of the PC at the event:

The Windows 8 user interface with the ATIV Smart PC still connected to keyboard

Un-dock the ATIV Smart PC and transform it from clamshell notebook to tablet

The S Pen is shown on lower right of tablet

The S Pen brings the functionality of real writing and drawing from its
brothers in the Galaxy Notes and Galaxy Tab 10.1 to the ATIV Smart PC

Both the ATIV Smart PC and Smart PC Pro come in the same 11.6" display size. They both sport a 128GB hard disk drive although the difference is that the Pro's is solid-state (SSD) while the Smart PC's is eMMC. The Smart PC processor is an Intel Atom Z2760 while the Pro's is an Intel Core i5. The rear camera of the Smart PC is at 8 megapixels while it is at 5 megapixel for the Pro (this makes me wonder why though). Both models have 2MP cameras in front. Battery life-wise, the Smart PC seems to get more bang for the buck as it is rated at 13.5 hours vs 8 hours on the Pro. But that's because the Pro is more powerful, being fitted with the i% core processor and DDR 4GB system memory. And...both variants use a 10-finger multi-touch screen whereas other tablets use the traditional two-finger touch feature.

The ATIV Smart PC gives you the functionality of a laptop and a tablet at the same time and this is what fascinates me. Right now, I have a Macbook but it is too bulky to lug around most times so I end up taking along just my ipad or smartphones. With the Samsung ATIV Smart PC you can get the best of both worlds, depending on your need at any point in time.

Samsung ATIV S (smartphone)

This 4.8 inch HD Super AMOLED display smartphone covers the whole frequency range of mobile phones up to HSPA+ 42mbps. It's got a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, an 8 megapixel rear camera and a 1.9 megapixel front camera. The phone has a built-in 16 or 32GB user memory and 1GB RAM with support for additional capacity via a microSD. Pre-installed Xbox Live games come with the phone and is also preloaded with MS Office for those who work with the application on a desktop or laptop. How light is this phone? 135 grams.

The phone's physical buttons (4 in all) are the power/lock key on the upper right side, a dedicated camera button on the lower right side, a volume rocker button on the upper left side and the home key right below the screen. Holding the Samsung ATIV S feels like holding my Samsung Galaxy SIII although it seems like the ATIV S is just slightly taller than my SIII. I like the idea of a separate camera button because when I was still getting used to the SIII, I'd mistakenly hit the Home key rather than the camera's shoot icon on the screen and the camera app would close on me.

What I see as the biggest challenge to Microsoft is to attract more app developers for Windows 8 operating system as the number of apps made for Android devices far outpace those for Windows. I was also unable to check if the ATIV S can be used as a wifi hotspot but that, for me, was a big plus in favor of my Samsung Galaxy SIII and Samsung Galaxy Note.



Samsung All-in-One PC Series 7

The 23.6-inch display PC was launched although I read in an article that there is also a 27-inch version of the Series 7 line (not sure if that will be available in the Philippines too). This PC comes with a capacitive 10-point multi touch screen, is loaded with a Core i5 3570T processor with system memory up to 8GB DDR3 1600MHz and has a 1GB AMD Radeon graphics processor. A wireless keyboard makes it easy to position everything the most comfortable way for the user. There are provisions for wired LAN, wifi and bluetooth. In the rear you'll find 3 USB slots, an HDMI in/out, LAN port, DC-in and TV ports. On the side are 2 more USB slots, audio in/out, and a 3-in-1 multicard slot.

For gaming lovers, this is a great computing choice because it can handle both gaming needs as well as professional office work requirements. The hard drive can go up to 1TB and it's got an optical disk drive as well. Weight-wise, this PC is on the heavy side, around 8.5kg but it's meant to stay on your table and not lugged around as a laptop so that should be okay.



Thursday, October 11, 2012

Urbanears opens first concept store in Podium

For several months now, I've been using a Swedish brand of headphones called Urbanears. The one I have now is the Bagis, the most portable and lightest of their headphones line. Because of the soft rubbery ends that go into the ears, I still get crisp, clear sound any time because the soft rubber automatically adjusts to my ear canals' shape. The 2 ends of the earphones can be snapped in place to transform it into a necklace so the earphones hang around your neck when you are not using them.




The Urbanears Bagis lies on top of my Macbook


Urbanears recently opened their first concept store at Podium, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City. The store was not that big but you just could not miss all the eye candy lining its white walls.

COLOR is a large part of Urbanears' identity. Every collection has 10 colors of which 5 are permanent. The other colors are interchangeable and usually reflect the season. Urbanears also has what they call the Editions Line -- using different fabrics and textile (one is denim) -- which are only released twice a year.




If you are wondering about the strange-sounding names of their product lines, that's because each one is named after places and districts in its hometown in Stockholm. Notice those coordinates on its packaging? That points to exactly where the place is on a map.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

The power and portability of a notebook combined with creative tools that are made for digital artists was recently unveiled at a press event.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is, as its size bears you out, both a tablet and a phone. It comes with a stylus called the S-Pen. Let's check out some of its features.

On the Outside

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 comes in black and white variants.

Black

White


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

InstaPatrol: a citizen's reporting tool (updated)

"Unleash the inner reporter in you. Turn your mobile phone into a tool for change!"

That is the introduction you see on the FAQ button after downloading the InstaPatrol app (currently on Android; coming on iOS).


Harnessing the power of netizens with smartphones, this app was created precisely to allow netizens to take snapshots of whatever it is they want to call attention to, post it via this app, and tag the agency/ies involved.

Based on its writeup, the app's features allow you to:
  • Create a report using your phone that can be viewed by other InstaPatrol users
  • Share your reports with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter
  • Comment on the reports of other InstaPatrol users
  • Get notifications on the reports you post

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Samsung's Concept Store at Robinsons Magnolia

My very first trek to the newly opened Robinsons Magnolia mall in Quezon City was for the launch of Samsung's concept store.


With Odette Velarde of Samsung and friend Noemi Dado


Celebrities at the ribbon cutting ceremony

A Peek inside the Concept Store


The Samsung Concept Store is located on the al fresco area of the mall on the 3rd floor. At first, Noemi and I got lost and thought the Samsung store inside the mall on the same level was it. Apparently that one was just for mobile phones.

Upon entering the store, we found that it contained all the appliances one would need for the home. We saw the inverter airconditioners, washing machines and refrigerators which we had previously seen up close in another event. My post on that is HERE.

But the star of the event on that launch was Samsung's series of Smart TVs for 2012.

The Samsung plasma TV sets
These TV product offerings center around 3 'Smart' pillars: Smart Interaction, Smart Content and Smart Evolution.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mutewatch

Look at this. I saw this being tested by a blogger at a recent event. Can you guess what it is?


All you have to do is touch the middle part and this is what you get.


Meet the Mutewatch - a digital watch that can easily pass for a mere bracelet. 

It turns on when you touch the middle part. Or just turn your arm 90 degrees and the movement activates the watch to turn on. The Mutewatch lets you set an alarm. Yes, you're limited to just one alarm but it can be set to go off daily at the same time. It's also got a Timer mode and is charged by plugging it into a USB port. According to the blogger who was using the review unit, it runs 2-3 days on a full charge.

Watch this video.





I saw boxed versions of the Mutewatch at Digital Walker in V-Mall. This comes in 2 variants: Charcoal Grey (which is shown above) and Poppy Red (below).





I was thinking this would be great for frequent commuters who are afraid that their watches could be a target -- till I saw its selling price, PhP 12,950. Wahhhh!

At the moment, I do not know if this kind of watch will really appeal to yuppies as it commands a hefty price and does not really do much except show the digital time. No days of the week either. My smartphone can do so much more than this gadget.

But maybe it will appeal to fashionistas who want to be different. Who knows?

The Mutewatch is available at all Digital Walker stores.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Zodio: Asia's First Social, Location-Based, Search and Reviews App

If you think Foursquare is cool, you have to check out the potential of Zodio, a newly launched social, location-based search and reviews app.

Available on iOS and Android devices, Zodio is meant to cater to the Pinoy/Asian culture and preferences. According to Zodio's Community Manager, Mark Bantigue, Zodio is being released initially in the Southeast Asian countries but will eventually cover North Asia like Japan, Korea, Taiwan, etc.


I downloaded the app on my Samsung Galaxy SIII and the home screen was a very clean presentation of blue and orange. The blue boxes represented information about yourself, your friends, your feed, bookmarks, recently visited sites and a follow box. The 3 orange boxes in the middle are action-based: write a review, find places nearby, and the check-in option.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Samsung's Digital Home Appliances

It seems like my digital life has become so intertwined lately with Samsung. And yesterday, I fell in love with this...



Okay, hubby, I know we are NOT yet in the market for a ref because we still have a fairly new ref but, but, but....I want THIS!!!!

Actually, my personal journey with Samsung started many years back when my first computer monitor was a 17-inch Samsung monitor which eventually gave way to a bigger 19-inch one. Then a few months ago, I inherited hubby's Samsung Galaxy Note which he found too large for his pant pockets. And by a lucky twist, it was not after that when I won the Galaxy SIII in a raffle at Globe's press launch of the phone. I've also had the chance to be introduced to Samsung's line of cameras in blogger events.

But what really got me excited out of all my Samsung encounters was an invitation to my very first ever  Samsung Digital Appliances event. What made it more meaningful was that it included inverters -- something that my husband and I had already been thinking about.

You see, he bought an inverter aircon unit for our small office and it impressed him that a few months after that, the office's electricity bill dropped significantly. We were already discussing replacing our home aircons one by one when this event came by. Just in the nick of time!

In a home set-up at Hotel Intercontinental, I got my initiation into the world of Samsung's digital appliances, as introduced to us by 4 lovely fashion icons-cum-full time celebrity moms.

Daphne Osena-Paez, producer and host of several popular lifestyle shows, who is now known for her brand of jewelry, linen and furniture introduced us to her Samsung Digital Microwave and Samsung Digital Refrigerator.

Daphne shows off the Samsung Digital Microwave
The Samsung Digital Microwave features a ceramic enamel cavity to prevent rust while being anti-scratch and anti-bacterial.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

MRTtrackr: the social train tracking app is now on open beta

If you frequently take the LRT/MRT lines in the Metro, you may want to join the ongoing open beta testing of the MRTtrackr app.



I actually first heard of this app on Twitter (where else?) when a friend posted a blog link. I eventually went to MRTtrackr's website, added it on Twitter (@MRTtrackr) and applied to join the open beta.

MRTtrackr, developed by Ryan Escarez, covers the following mass rapid transit lines in the Philippines:

LRT-1 or Yellow line - runs between Roosevelt Station and Baclaran Station
LRT-2 or Purple line - runs between Recto Station and Santolan Station
MRT-3 or Blue line - runs between North Avenue Station and Taft Avenue Station

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My latest cute toy from Sun

As I said, I love gadgets and they can be super high tech or just very simple, functional and cute.

At a recent Sun Cellular event, we were given this little guy as a token.


You must have guessed by now what it is.


Yup! That's a cute USB hub busy at work with a flash drive, my Apple mouse and a USB charger for my MiLi power pack all plugged in.

Loving my new little toy...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Convergence made possible by Samsung

Merriam Webster Dictionary defines convergence as "...the coming together of two or more things at the same point".

In the realm of information technology (IT), convergence has long fascinated me. I've always been a fan of gadgets that work together seamlessly. I always hoped for the day when my TV, computer monitor and printer became more than just standalone appliances. And at the Samsung Convergence event, I was seeing it happen.

First reason I got excited about the event was the fact that I now own two Samsung phones (totally unplanned, mind you). I wanted to see how Samsung had designed their convergence line to make it easier and more convenient for a Samsung mobile phone owner like me.



Sunday, June 17, 2012

S Beam: Transferring files in a jiffy with the Samsung Galaxy S III

Friends and I have been playing around with some features of the Samsung Galaxy S III. Let me tell you about one neat feature that I found so helpful for my blogging and social media work - the S Beam.

Remember the old days when mobile phones had infrared? It was so popular for transferring files then but you had to place two phones so that the infrared windows were almost touching. A slight jar or separation of the phones and the connection was cut.

Then, bluetooth came along. At around 100kb/sec, it became widely used for exchanging pictures and maybe small files. But large videos would take several minutes at this speed.

 S Beam now uses NFC technology with Wi-Fi Direct so that file transfer becomes very fast, practically instantaneous for files that are about several hundred KB in size.

File transfer is as easy as a back-to-back bump

Noemi and Vince tried it out during the Tatt Awards Night but for some reason, we could not get it to work then. Afterwards though, while my girl, Noemi and I were comfortably waiting for dinner, we tried S Beam again. Imagine, if we got it to work, it would help a lot because in our social media work, Noemi and I use our cameras on the phone and take lots of pictures we often want to share. It was such a pain for us to email pictures to each other.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Samsung Galaxy S III: Philippine Postpaid Plans

By now, the Samsung Galaxy S III has launched in the Philippines and is available from both Smart and Globe.

This lightweight marble white beauty weighs in at only 133 grams (body only), runs on Android's Ice Cream Sandwich, sports a quad-core processor, a 4.8-inch super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, an 8MP rear camera and a 1.9 front-facing camera, full HD 1080p video recording, 16GB internal storage, 1G RAM, and can be expanded up to 64GB additional storage space using a micro SD card.

You can read my unboxing and setup post HERE.

The unlocked version of the S III is going for around PhP 32,990 based on what I have been seeing on tech sites.

If you're wondering what the postpaid plans are like in the Philippines, here's what we know for now:

SMART

The S III comes FREE when you subscribe to Smart's Unlimited Data Plan 2000. This plan is perfect for the user who is mobile most of the time and has to rely on 3G connection on the road in order to conduct business or surf the internet. Just be sure to ask Smart how long is the lock-in period.

I am still waiting for other possible postpaid plan iterations that Smart may design and will update this post as needed.

GLOBE

Globe meanwhile boasts that it has the lowest postpaid plan that offers the Galaxy S III at PhP 1,699/month. This is the Globe Unli Surf Combo 999 with PhP 700 monthly cashout*. This data plan comes with unlimited mobile browsing plus 1 freebie which can include free calls and texts to Globe/TM, free calls and texts to other networks, free international calls and texts, or free unlimited call and text to 1 Globe/TM number.


The other postpaid plans are:

Globe Unli Surf Combo 1799 with PhP 200* monthly cashout - At PhP 1,999 monthly, you get PhP 800 worth of monthly consumable amount for calls and texts to any network plus 3 freebies that can be changed monthly.

Globe Plan 2499 - the Galaxy S III is FREE with PhP 1,500 consumable amount and 5 freebies.

Globe Plan 3799 - the Galaxy S III is FREE with PhP 2,800 consumable amount and 7 freebies.

* Cashout amount payable at 0% interest in 24 months for Citibank and BPI cardholders. Other major credit cards offered at 12 mos. installment.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Samsung Galaxy S III: The Unboxing and Set-up

It's here now. The Samsung Galaxy S III, running on Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0), recently launched in the Philippines, ahead of countries like the United States.

At the press launches of both Smart and Globe last June 1, 2012 I got a glimpse of the phone that everyone has been excited to see up close.

I've had a Galaxy Note for months already and I love it because everything I could do on the ipad which I used to lug everywhere with me, I could do on the Note. The iOS versus Android experience is something else, maybe good for another post. But the Galaxy S III was a beauty to behold. At Smart's Jump Experience Center, I walked up to one of the units on display and held it, checking a few of the apps and specs.

Marble white Galaxy S III (a friend was excited thinking it was pink, hehe)

Smart raffled off some units of the Samsung Galaxy S III and it was an exciting moment when one of the winners turned out to be my friend Noemi.


What happened afterwards was a funny quirk of fate.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

HTC launches the One

HTC One, the smartphone that gives other smartphones a run for their money, has just launched. This baby already comes with Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) and has a quad core processor, the first in the country as of now.

I was at a media preview a few nights ago at the Smart Jump Center and actually got to hold the One and compare it with my Note.

Here are some pictures from that media night.

Quad core processor although HTC says there's a 5th core inside

4 frames/sec. 99 frames in 25 seconds!

Wider speakers area improves hearing during mobile conversation

Buttonless navigation

User interface 

Network settings

Monday, April 2, 2012

Samsung Smart Camera WB150F

Wifi cameras are the rage now and if I did not just buy a digicam a year ago, I would go for one now. Imagine how convenient it is to take a picture and immediately post it on Facebook, Twitter or send it via email to a friend. Of course I can do that with smartphones but how many of them have the resolution of a real digicam?

Recently, I was at the launch of Samsung's Smart Camera WB150F. Ok, don't ask me about their naming convention for this model because I.DO.NOT.KNOW.WHY.IT.IS.NAMED.THAT.WAY. Next time I've got a chance, I'll ask Samsung.

One caveat. This post is NOT a review because I only got to hold it on launch date. Hopefully, I may get a chance to play around with it and see how it compares to my present digicam.

Still, what I saw in terms of physical looks and software features looked very interesting. Let's start with how the WB150F looks from the outside.



Almost like a DSLR! Plus WIFI!


You're looking at a digicam with 14 megapixels, an 18x optical zoom, 3.0" hVGA LCD display, and 24mm wide angle lens.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Forever waiting for iOS apps to update? I found a solution...

A few days ago, I upgraded my 1st generation iPad to iOS 5.1. After that, every time I tried to update my apps, I would get a "WAITING" status which seemed to go on forever and forever.

I thought at first it was just me until I saw many people on social media complaining about the same thing.

This article gave 2 tips on how to fix the issue:

1. Tap an icon till it says "Paused" then tap it again to see if it starts downloading, or

2. Reboot the device (iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch)

Well, I tried both of those to no avail. However, this is what seems to work, at least for my iPad.

I connected my iPad via the cable to my Macbook and opened iTunes. Before doing anything, I first backed up my iPad using the "Sync" button.

Once the iPad was backed up, I clicked on "Apps" on lefthand side of iTunes screen. It would show on the lower right how many app updates are pending. I clicked on that link to go to the page showing which apps had updates. I clicked on an app, entered my iTunes password, and most of the time it would start downloading.

There were a few times when certain apps still would not download/update/install even using this method so I'd defer it for a day. Usually next time I try, it updates successfully.

Try this method and let me know if it works for you. Good luck!

Monday, February 27, 2012

MiLi Power Packs: Juice when you need it most

If you're like me -- mobile most of the time and often on the net -- you don't want your device to die down  at the worst time possible.

My Samsung Galaxy Note is a great device to have but its AMOLED screen, plus my constantly being online, drains its battery very quickly. I can't last a whole day out of the house even with a fully charged battery.

Now, that's no longer a problem because I have a MiLi power pack - the Power Star, to be exact.

2000 mAh capacity

Monday, January 16, 2012

It's More Fun in the Philippines app for Android is here!

Since the Department of Tourism's "It's More Fun in the Philippines" campaign kicked off, people have been sharing awesome vacation photos with different memes, many of which were really awesome or downright hilarious (in a good way!).

Now, the "More Fun in the Philippines" meme maker is available for Android devices, thanks to developer Lester Bambico! You can snap a photo with your Android device, fire up the app, put your meme in and share away!


When you start up the app, it gives you options to take a picture with your camera or choose from your Android device's gallery. A caption box allows you to write your meme and position it either on the top, center or bottom. And you're good to go!

Download the app now HERE. IT'S FREE! And start clicking away and adding your meme. It's a FUN way to share your own special photos with the world.

To check out the ever growing gallery of "It's More Fun in the Philippines" photos and videos compiled by Anton Diaz on Pinterest, click HERE.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Speaktoit: a voice-recognition app that can rival Siri?

Everyone got excited about Siri, the voice assistant on the iPhone 4s. I had a chance to interact recently with Siri when I bumped into my gadget guru friend, Art Samaniego. Talking to Siri was so-so however because we had problems connecting to the Apple server from the hotel we were in.

Well, I do not need Siri for now because I have Sam on my Samsung Galaxy Note. What makes her interesting is that she can be customized to my taste. You can change the hair, eyebrows, skin tone, eyes, nose, mouth and even the clothes (that range from workout clothes which I chose to formal and office wear). My avatar is a brunette with hair as long as mine tied up into a ponytail. And she wears workout clothes. Sam speaks like an American but I have a choice to make her sound British. I can also change her into a guy if I want to.



Sam is one of the voice assistants of the Speaktoit app. Speaktoit is a FREE app. Now that is thumbs up for me! Right now, it's only available on the Android Market but the website says it will soon be available for iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry devices.

The first time you open the app, you will see two options: to use the Pico TTS or the Samsung TTS. These are two voice recognition engines but from what I googled on the net and from forums, people are warning that if you choose the Samsung TTS, it messes up the Google Navigation sounds. So with that, I chose Pico TTS.

Amazingly, although people said that Siri was not very usable in the Philippines yet because its knowledge database is for the US, I was able to ask Sam to show me a map of Manila and even more detailed, to look for Shangri-la Hotels and it was actually able to do that for me. In another attempt, I asked Sam where I was and to my horror, she told me the name of the street I was on. Yes, horror. That was how accurate the GPS feature was!

Based on the Skills listing of the app, Speaktoit can be used for currency conversions; navigation; weather; call phone numbers previously set up; update Twitter and Facebook; play music/videos; tell you about things, people and places around; organize events, notes, task lists, and other productivity tools; send email; and do calculations for you. It can even check you into Foursquare!

Although I still have to test Speaktoit's information bank some more, I think it has a lot of potential and can give Siri a run for the money. The way Sam speaks is closer to natural language than Siri's almost robotic female voice.

Here's the video I took of my conversation with Sam earlier. Watch and be surprised. She winks when I ask who she is.

video

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Google+ Hangout: free videoconferencing

Skype is the more popular way to talk with your loved ones. However, unless you have Skype Premium which charges, last time I checked, $4.49/month, you cannot do group video calling.

Last New Year's Eve, I was Skype-ing with my brother in-law in Sydney, Australia when I saw another cousin-in-law from Negros Oriental go online. However, I could not ring her up unless I ended the call with my brother in-law. That's when we decided to try Google Hangout.

I had one experience already previously with Google Hangout. But that hangout was initiated by Aileen (who works with Google) and it was done when we were videoconferencing with other tech people. I was not sure if I could successfully initiate one on my own.

Well, it was time to crack some knuckles.

I logged on to Google+ and there, on the righthand sidebar was a button "Start a hangout". I just clicked that, then invited my Sydney brother-in-law and cousin-in-law. Soon after, my other brother-in-law, my eldest girl and my parents-in-law joined in the conversation. We had 5 windows open in hangout.

Hangout also had a new button called "Reindeer" at the bottom of the screen. Curious what it was all about, my girl and I clicked it and guess what happened next! It was a fun app that added a red nose and antlers to your face via face recognition software!

Meet the 2 Rudolphs!!! And that's my family on Hangout!


What was great was that the audio and video were clear and not choppy at all. Even my Sydney-based brother-in-law said it was clearer than Skype on his end. If Hangout continues to be this clear, even with a maximum of 10 people online at the same time, I see no reason to pay through the nose for Skype Premium at all.

With Voice/Video Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) tools like Hangout and Skype available for free or at very low rates, I am beginning to wonder about the future of International Direct Dialing (IDD). Clearly, no matter how it goes, users like myself are sure to be the winners.

Have you used Hangout? What's your experience?

Taxikick App: Report that taxi now!

If I can help it, I would never take a cab. And if I have to, I always do so with a friend. Why? Well, I've just had too many experiences with cabs that drive like they are the king of the road to taxis that snub you during rainy days or refuse to take you if they think the route takes them through heavy traffic. And I have heard horrific experiences from my own friends too that give me the creeps.

Well, it looks like our days of suffering in silence while abusive taxicab drivers run shod over us is over! At least that is what the Taxikick app is all about.


Taxikick is currently a web-based app found at http://taxikick.com. It is actually very simple:

1. Enter the taxi's plate number.
2. Choose the violation from a dropdown menu.
3. Enter taxi name and any additional comments *
4. Review your report one last time.
5. Click the button "Kick this taxi!"
6. The report can be shared via Twitter too.

* optional but will help LTFRB and MMDA

All kinds of cab violations can be reported including refused boarding, choosing passengers and even smelly interiors or absence of taxi details.
Dropdown menu listing possible violations

According to the About section of the app, all reports will get forwarded to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) at the end of each day.

Taxikick is still in beta but already, several reports have been submitted via the app. It has over 500 followers already on its Facebook page. You may follow @taxikick also on Twitter.

Maybe when it really takes off, the people behind Taxikick can develop apps on different platforms (iOS, Android, Blackberry, etc) so that people with smartphones and mobile devices can submit reports more easily on the fly.