Smart Communications, Inc. under-delivers on its Flexitime promise

I can’t seem to get over this issue. How can I? Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) was a disappointment, especially when it came to its Smart Bro Flexitime offering.

Just a recap on what my gripe was all about, I subscribed (and resubscribed) to Flexitime 100, a surf package that promises 15 hours internet browsing valid for 7 days at a cost of P100, but noted that my data minutes deplete faster than my actual use. On top of that, I observed that my data minutes are depleting further even if I no longer use that particular data connection.

After exchanging DM’s and replies with @SMARTCares on Twitter, they just can’t seem to help me at all. I’ve laid down my issues, complete with screenshots and everything, and they still can’t seem to get to the bottom of this mess. They said they’re investigating, but all my data minutes have already been fully wiped out (that’s according to their monitoring system, not based on my actual usage), and they still have to come up with a solution. Or, better yet, just admit that their system and this offer in particular is flawed. Read further and find out what happened next »

The battle for subcompact SUV supremacy

When I bought my Subaru XV last year (July 2014), there was really only one challenger in its segment: the Mitsubishi ASX. (I will put the Ford Ecosport in the same category as the Kia Soul and the new Hyundai i20 Cross, while the Kia Sportage with Hyundai Tucson and the old Ford Escape.)

Liana is my Subaru XV
Liana is my Subaru XV

But then, Honda introduced the HR-V early this year; and more recently, Nissan with the Juke and Cheverolet with the Trax. The Mazda CX-3 is yet unsure whether to enter the Philippine market or not. Continue reading “The battle for subcompact SUV supremacy”

The curious case of disappearing data minutes in Smart #Flexitime

I was resubscribed to Smart Flexitime 100 this week. Yes, silly me — I didn’t learn from my experience about the depleting data minutes faster than real time use. But more than the hurried diminution of data minutes during use of Smart’s (Smart Communications Inc.) internet, what irks me the most is the continued depletion of data minutes even when their internet is not in use — at all!

I was using my Smart Bro sim for the last two days while subscribed to Flexitime 100 and plugged to my 3G Wifi modem router, the Huawei E355 — a batteryless pocket wifi that can only be powered when plugged in a running USB slot: Continue reading “The curious case of disappearing data minutes in Smart #Flexitime”

The reasons you should buy a Subaru XV (Crosstrek)

Just a disclaimer, I own a Subaru XV. Even though I bought one last year, I still scrounge the internet, particularly Youtube, for the latest about the Subaru XV. Perhaps I’m just trying to reaffirm to myself that I made the right choice.

Yet, if you’re in the market for a new car, you should give the Subaru XV (or Subaru XV Crosstrek in the US) a serious consideration. Autotrader listed down the reasons you should buy one. They have separate videos for the 2014 and 2015 versions, which you may watch below:

Watch the 5 reasons to buy the 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek »

Sun Cellular’s ‘Surf Net Mega’ is for heavy users?

Here’s one of Sun Cellular’s broadband offers:

Sun Cellular, are you sure this is for heavy users?
Sun Cellular, are you sure this is for heavy users? Click on image to enlarge.

Seriously, what were you thinking Sun Cellular? Or, perhaps, more appropriately — what were you smoking? Do you even think these plans are for heavy users? Will the maximum of 1,250 MB be good for 30 days to heavy users?

Perhaps, you have a different definition for ‘heavy users’.

But now I question your understanding of your business.

The Smart Bro Flexitime Data Minutes that deplete faster than real time use

The Smart Bro Flexitime offers allow you to take full control of your time and enjoy every surfing minute.

Smart Bro Flexitime 100
Smart Bro Flexitime 100

The main feature of this offer is it’s basically internet charged by the minute — not by blocks of 15 minutes nor by volume. It is good for people who like to do ‘hit-and-run’ when it comes to internet use.

I subscribed to Smart Bro’s Flexitime 100, which allowed me 15 hours of internet access valid for 7 days. This subscription costs P100, and should translate to 900 minutes of data. Continue reading “The Smart Bro Flexitime Data Minutes that deplete faster than real time use”

VW scandal, new iPhones reviews, 2016 Subaru Crosstrek, First Gentleman

Volkswagen (VW) emission test scandal

Some people refer to it as Dieaselgate, and Volkswagen’s stock fell by as much as 38% in two days on issues of cheating on its 11 million cars’ emission tests.

Now, that leaves VW’s CEO’s position in question. Continue reading “VW scandal, new iPhones reviews, 2016 Subaru Crosstrek, First Gentleman”

The (almost) two decades old graduated tax table that defies inflation

Back in 2008 (7 years ago!), I called for a major revamp of the ‘then’ decade old and obsolete tax law, specifically for the part pertaining to individual income taxes. Since then, minor revisions were made, like the exemption of minimum wage earners and adjusting the 13th month pay and other benefits ceiling excluded from the computation of gross income.

[Read: Rappler—Aquino signs law raising tax exemption cap for bonuses.]

NIRC of 1997
National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 book July 2009 Edition by Danilo A. Duncano. This book may need revisions, but not as much as that of the law itself.

Yet, the gist of individual income taxation remains, that is — the (almost) two decades old graduated tax table that defies inflation. Continue reading “The (almost) two decades old graduated tax table that defies inflation”

Knockoffs are nowhere near the real deal

GooPhone is one of those Android device manufacturers that make clones of the iPhone. With the recent unveiling of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, GooPhone has come out with the GooPhone I6S, which is the same size and form factor as that of the iPhone 6S and made to appear to run iOS 8.

Here is the video review of the GooPhone I6S for reference:

I have tried customizing an Android device (a Samsung Galaxy S2) before, changing the launcher and icons to make it look like the latest iPhone. Then, after spending quite a number of hours customizing its appearance, it struck me–no matter how much time I spend on customization, no matter the extent of every detail I copy, it is still an Android device pretending to be an iPhone.

So, heed my advice: if you want an iPhone for a smartphone, save and spend on an iPhone. Custom-making an Android device to make it look like an iPhone is just a pathetic way of showing how much you really want an iPhone. After all, knockoffs are nowhere near the real deal.

The role of technology in chess and cheating

At the start of the 2015 World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan, where security was tight so that watches and pens were not allowed in the playing hall, GM Hikaru Nakamura of USA tweeted:

I beg to differ. The proliferation of cheating in chess tournaments was brought about by the level of sophistication in our technology today, so that watches (or smartwatches for that matter) and even pens can be used to cheat in chess games. Thus, it is not cheating per se that forced players to part with their watches and pens during games. Instead, it is advancements in technology that made cheating more accessible, thus thrust tournament organizers to be stricter about their rules.