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Date: Tuesday, 23 Sep 2014 08:00

For those wondering, this is a dummy iPhone 6 Plus unit which we got from the store, alongside our real iPhone and iPhone Plus 6 units. Pam’s reaction: priceless!

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Geek, Art Samaniego, iphone drop test, P..."
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Date: Tuesday, 23 Sep 2014 07:05

Art Samaniego, TechNews editor for Manila Bulletin — and myself — just got back from Hong Kong over the weekend to purchase the first units of iPhones. We were able to play with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Here’s our 2AM hands on — we’re totally spent from a day of walking. Apologies with the background noise — those are LEGO bricks being stacked. HEHE!

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Geek, Art Samaniego, Hands On, iphone 6,..."
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Date: Tuesday, 23 Sep 2014 07:00

Does this sound familiar? You’re standing in the middle of the grocery store, staring into your cart and frantically trying to remember what else you have to buy. You know you should have made a list, but you got distracted by a client and suddenly, as you’re staring into the contents of your cart you gasp. You gasp because you suddenly remember that, even though you finished it way faster than you thought you would, you forgot to send that finished work project off to your boss before you left the office for the day…and you left your work phone in your desk.

There are just too many details. Keeping track of all of them in your head just isn’t going to work anymore.
We all wish that we could be more organized, both professionally and personally. We long to be able to remember exactly what we need at the store and to never miss deadlines or lose important documents. Luckily, there are apps for that. The trick, really, isn’t deciding that you’re ready to use an app to help organize your life. The trick is finding the right app for the job.
Sometimes finding the right app is easy. There are organizational and cloud apps for almost every type of profession out there. Musicians, for example, can use Music Journal to help them track their compositions, practice time and pieces which pieces need the most work. Construction companies have been using cloud-based document management software by companies like ProCore to organize documents safely.
Personal life apps, on the other hand, are another story. There are so many out there, figuring out which app will work best for you is really more a matter of taste than it is anything else. Even so, here are some of the most popular apps that you can use to help you track your details.
Remember the Milk
Remember the Milk is often considered the “industry standard” for personal detail organization. It’s great because in addition to being available for all of the different operating systems and devices, it also syncs across all of those devices. The app is fairly basic but if you don’t need a lot of bells and/or whistles, this is a great place to start working on organizing all of your details. If nothing else, it will help you figure out what you do and don’t want in other apps.
Evernote has gotten a lot of recognition and attention over the last couple of years or so. It’s a subscription based service (there is a free option for people who don’t need a lot of detail tracking or who simply want to keep some lists in a single place) that serves as a single catch all for everything. It’s basically an organizational app. The great thing about Evernote is that, in addition to keeping track of simple lists, it also helps you track and organize research and notes across a variety of projects and ideas. It also integrates with a variety of other apps if you really want to turbocharge your organization metrics.
Trello is sort of like a virtual bulletin board. You set up cards for different projects and then organize them according to priority. You can add notes and other stuff to each card. It’s also possible to invite other people to a board or card, which allows you to better organize your group projects. Some people also really like basecamp because it offers a lot of the same functionality.

These are just some of the apps that you can use to help better organize your life. It’s also worth noting that, for some people, apps aren’t really the way to go. You might feel more comfortable using a notebook that you can divide into different sections. Some people use both. Remember: if one method doesn’t work, another will! Good luck!

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "General, evernote, remember the milk, tr..."
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Date: Tuesday, 23 Sep 2014 06:51

Does your main business involve shipping physical goods? Do you want memorable packaging? If not, then your business is missing out on a great opportunity to acquire new customers.
To break through the clutter of the hundreds of other competing products in this day and age, it pays to be different. Innovative and creative input in packaging can make your product stand out, build your brand, and add some personality to your business. Whether you sell offshore or in the local market customers will initially judge your product by its packaging.

So, how do you create memorable packaging? Here are some tips to help your product packaging grab the attention of customers and even delight them:

Focus on the design
Most businesses dealing in physical products think first about the product then packaging, but packaging should not be an afterthought. Some companies think of creative, playful design to give customers a clue to what’s inside the package.
For example, when Apple developed packaging for its iPads, it choose a life-size image of the product inside, and it’s exactly what the customers expect to get their hands on. It’s a simple and a great design on a product box that’s beautiful and customers don’t even have to hide it in the cupboard.

Add a fun, custom aspect
Fun packaging doesn’t just have to be for businesses selling to the kids. A more subtle and custom approach is, however, required when adding this aspect in packaging geared towards adult customers. The fun animals present on wine labels (frogs, swans, and other critters) show how businesses can stand out from more conventional wine labels.
Similarly, cardboard boxes can be customized with logos, artwork and colors in several different options depending on the needs of a business. Fun and creative boxes, combined with high-quality color definition and your firm’s logo printed, can create a memorable and friendly experience for end-customers.

Aim for sustainability and functionality
Make your customers feel good about their purchases by using sustainable material such as recyclable paper; this is also a great way to send an environmentally friendly message about your brand. For products that are themselves organic in nature, it is a must that their packaging should follow suit.
Customers also love packaging that’s functional because of the added value it provides. Boxerchips Co., a chip maker from Dublin, Ireland, makes its package open up to function as a serving bowl. Customers who have used the product inside are able to use these bowls for serving snacks and cereals to their family. This kind of packaging may not only give your product box a new function, but may also encourage repeat purchases.

Try something new
If you’re competing in an industry full of big players, you may need to try a new concept. For example, you can combine two concepts together to come up with a unique, eye-catching packaging. That’s what Anheuser Busch did by combining beer in aluminum cans and glass bottles – they created an aluminum bottle. It was eye-catching and 100 percent recyclable.
You can also look at the nature for inspiration when it comes to creating innovative packaging. Consider the pine cone, pea-pod, banana – nature’s packaging can be elegant and efficient. There are colors, concepts and shapes you can borrow from nature’s example.

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "General, digital packaging"
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Date: Monday, 22 Sep 2014 08:22

There are many strategies to having a successful video interview. I have heard and read about all the steps one should take during this process, from the background of the room that you are in to the children making noise in the background. At the end of it all, this is what I have found, video interviewing is about you and your presentation. It’s about how you feel about yourself. You are who you think you are and others will think that too. Fortunately, video conferencing by Blue Jeans network makes the technology that helps you look good.

First Impressions Are Still Important
Most people think about what they look like when they go outside their homes, especially to an interview. Yet when it comes to working from the comforts of your home, they seem to forget that technology brings the outside world in, and allows you to have that same face to faceexperience. Your first impression is still important and even more so when you are preparing for an interview remotely. The term dress for success is not dead. You should shower. Yes, I said shower. It is amazing how fresh you will feel and look after taking care of your hygiene. After all, how many days have you been working (or not) in your pajamas? It will show. Dress the part. Dress the way you would if you were going to an outside face to face appointment.Dress from your head to your toes. Sources from The College of Education at The University of Texas say that 55% of another person’s perception of you is based on how you look. There are some awesome tips on this site to help you make your decision on what to wear and help you to look good.

Two Things You Need to Know – No Matter What the Job
So now you look good and you are ready for your video interview. You know that you are qualified for the position. You have practiced and are ready for anything. Or are you? One thing you need to know, which you may not have considered, is the company that you are interviewing with. Do you know anything more about them other than they have a job opening? You should. Research the company you are applying to. Learn as much about who they are and what they are looking for as you can. What are their core values? Can you keep them? These are questions that you must know the answers to. Cynthia Brodrick of Bankrate.com believes that preparation and planning for that first impression should be done long before your interview. I agree. As soon as you know you have an interview you should start to prepare. It will be noticed.


The second interview technique that you should know is yourself. Prepare yourself. You know that you are qualified. But the company doesn’t. Use this video interview process to show them you know who you are. Make it easy for them to know you. It is amazing that almost every company asks the same type of questions and most times the questions do not pertain to the technicalities of the job function. Your resume has already told them what you know about that.They are looking to find out who you are. So tell them. You should have your references and accomplishments handy just in case they ask you about them. You should also know why you want the job? Have an answer for what you can do for them as well as what you expect them to do for you. Try hard for it to be more than the paycheck. After all this, make sure you have at least two questions that you can ask them. They will be impressed.

It’s Not Their Office – It’s Your Office
Think of it this way. You are not going out to their office, you are inviting them into yours. So what image do you want to present?Remember to look around the area where you will be holding your interview and determine what can be seen. Now do you really want your perspective employer to see that? For example, the mail that has piled up waiting for you to do something with it. I had an interview where the mail, a lot of it, was on the side and I realized that it could be seen in the middle of the interview.It was too late to move it now.It became a distraction to me. My focus changed from the camera to the mail. This was not good. Holding an interview via a video conference by BlueJeans can help you by giving insight into the logistics of your interview. Study to show yourself ready for the job you are going after and know the company, know yourself and know your office. You will nail your video conference interview. Go get that job!

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "General, video conferencing"
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Date: Thursday, 18 Sep 2014 00:51

While there is a steady choir of voices bemoaning the future of reading in the digital age, the news is not all bad. According to a 2013 poll commissioned by USA Today and Bookish, the number of e-reader owners is on the rise and a significant percentage of them say they’ve actually been reading more since getting their gadgets.

Despite bleak prophecies, print books will always have their aficionados and there is no reason to assume e-books will ever replace “traditional” books completely. However, there is a growing sense that, rather than taking anything away from the reading experience, e-book reading devices and tablets make it easier for us to get lost in a book and actually give us an incentive to read faster.

Here are 7 reasons why the future of reading might actually be brighter with 7-inch Android tablets.

1. A library on the go
Admittedly, a paperback book doesn’t weigh an awful lot, but, when you’re travelling for extended periods of time, you might need to take more than one book along, for work or for pleasure. With a 7-inch tablet, you’ve got a whole portable library, pared down to the size and weight of an average paperback.

2. Tailor-made to fit your reading personality
What is your reading personality? Are you the kind of person who obstinately plods even through the most tedious tomes or the kind who likes to “zap” between books, depending on their mood? A tablet allows you the freedom to devour one book after the next or to juggle several books at once. Furthermore, tablets created with reading in mind, like the Samsung Nook, will offer you a steady supply of personalized recommendations, to ensure you never run out of reading material.

3. Eco-friendly
If you’re a serial reader, as well as an eco-conscious person, you probably feel somewhat torn between your lust for books and guilt about the ecological footprint of the publishing industry. With a tablet, you can do all the reading and book “hoarding” you like without feeling guilty about the trees cut down to “feed” your habit.

4. A solution for lighter living
Speaking of hoarding, there comes a time when you simply run out of room for your books, especially when you’re living in a small space. Admittedly, there will always be those dog-eared books we can’t bear to part with. However, you can save some space – and nurture the joy of reading in others – by regularly donating some of your printed books to charity and opting for digital versions instead. In this way, a tablet would allow you not only to travel light, but, ultimately, to lead a lighter life, helping you declutter your home and organize your living space more efficiently.

5. Better visibility
Remember the times when we used to read under the covers with a torch, while our parents believed us to be fast asleep? With a tablet you no longer need such sneaky techniques, as it offers enhanced visibility in low light, as well as direct sunlight. This means you can go on reading until the wee hours without worrying about disturbing your bedmate.

6. An ideal tool for research
Different reading strategies apply depending on whether you read for pleasure or with a research purpose in mind. While efficiency is hardly a consideration in the case of leisure reading, it is certainly of the essence when reading to gather information. This is yet another situation in which a tablet’s reading features come in handy, allowing you to highlight and annotate certain passages and bookmark them for future use. While these techniques are merely latter-day versions of ancient reading practices, they allow us to chart our way faster and more effectively through a text.

7. The perfect lure for reluctant young readers
Even though there will never be a shortage of exquisite children’s books, it can be quite a challenge to spark kids’ interest in reading, with so many temptations about. Rather than trying to “shelter” your child from the onslaught of technology, which is already a lost battle, you can encourage them to use technology for good. Many tablets offer access to enhanced children’s books (check out Barnes & Noble’s NOOK Kids Read and Play collection, for instance), which encourage children to engage with books in a more interactive fashion. However, don’t rely on e-books alone if you want to nurture your kid’s taste for reading.

To sum up, it seems that the advent of e-book readers and tablets custom-made for reading, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook, doesn’t herald doom or a paradigm shift in the way we engage with a written text. It just provides us with the tools to read faster and more extensively in the privacy of our homes or on the move, without depriving us of the enjoyable aspect of the reading experience.

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "General, Audiobooks, digital library, eb..."
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Date: Monday, 15 Sep 2014 11:00

Take your music everywhere, even in the game with the new Powerbeats2 Wireless Headphones. Inspired by LeBron James, Powerbeats2 is exceptionally light and delivers the power of dual-driver acoustics to propel you through whatever you’re into; whether it’s a walk in the park or a rigorous workout.

Designed to endure
The IPX-4 sweat- and water-resistance rating means Powerbeats2 Wireless are tough from ear bud to the tangle-free cable wrap around. The RemoteTalk also comes with an over-molding for a no-slip grip when you’re changing volume, switching tracks, and making hands-free calls.

More freedom
From the street to the court, Powerbeats2 Wireless gives you the freedom to take your workout anywhere. It lets you connect up to 30 feet from your Bluetooth-enabled iPhone, iPad, or iPod—so you can move freely and stay focused on whatever you’re up to. The rechargeable battery gives you 6 hours of playback and when you run out of juice, a quick 15-minute quick charge provides an extra hour of non-stop playback. That’s more than enough music to last through your game!

Made to perform
Designed with your active lifestyle in mind, Powerbeats2 Wireless is lightweight and compact with a flexible ear hook to ensure a comfortable and secure fit no matter what the action is.

Powerbeats2 Wireless comes in Black, White, Red, Blue and Pink-Gray variants and is retailed at Php 12,500. Experience the Beats premium sound performance on and off the court! Get your own Powerbeats2 Wireless Headphones now! Call MSI-ECS at 688-3180 or email marketing@msi-ecs.com.ph for availability or visit any authorized MSI-ECS reseller.

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Press, dr dre, MSI ECS, powerbeats2"
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Date: Friday, 05 Sep 2014 00:28

Do you find your calls cutting out all too frequently? As most of us rely on our mobile phones for daily business communication, a low signal can put more than just our social lives at risk. If it’s hard to get more than just one or two bars on your cell phone signal, you can try utilizing the following tricks to boost your reception.

Move outside.
The obvious first step to take when your bars are low is to switch up your location. Try moving towards the window, or outside if possible. The building itself could be blocking your cell phone signal. Intersections tend to provide better reception within cities. It can be helpful to download a signal map tool for your phone. This helps point you in the direction of the nearest base station with Nokia Networks or other cell phone tower.

Keep your batteries charged.
Another quick and easy solution is to ensure that your phone is able to work at its peak capacity by keeping its battery charged. Cell phones consume power rapidly when connecting, transmitting, and maintaining a call. If your battery is starting to run out, you may experience a higher number of dropped calls as a result. Before you move down this list to the more expensive options, try charging the battery whenever you’re not using your phone.

Take care when holding the phone.
Did you know that the way you hold your phone can impact your signal? With smartphone antennae located inside the main case of the phone these days, you may not notice when you’re blocking it with your hand. Try holding your phone in different positions to see if you can find a sweet spot.

Use a network extending device.
If you’ve tried the more obvious tricks above and you’re still not getting a signal, it’s highly likely that you’re simply in an area without adequate coverage. You can improve the range of your phone by purchasing a Network Extender or Smart Signal Booster, which acts as a sort of miniature cell tower within your home. These may connect to your Internet connection, or require the installation of an outside antenna. Some are carrier-specific, while others can simply be plugged in and are known as “plug and play.” Cellular repeaters are another option to explore to extend your network.

Change your network.
Sometimes it’s the network itself that is the problem, because most operate independently with their own frequencies and cell phone towers. If you’re not having luck with one carrier, you could switch to another with more towers in your area. .

Host your own cell site.
If you want to ensure that you benefit from crystal-clear reception, why not consider hosting your own cell phone tower? This doesn’t provide an immediate solution, because you’ll need to register your property through a third party first and then be selected by a carrier.

Finally, if you find yourself in a remote location, you may have better luck using the local WiFi signal instead. You can always make your most important calls using services like Skype, Viber, or Whatsapp provided that you have access to reliable WiFi. However, in most cases you can improve the quality of your calls with a few tweaks.

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "General, boost mobile phone signal, tips..."
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Date: Wednesday, 27 Aug 2014 11:00

I started blogging ‘professionally’ sometime in 2006. That year — and the couple of years after were of a different era. It truly was a different time: Our Awesome Planet had a day job. Yugatech had little to no access to tech companies. Coy and AJ were still alive and rocking it. How time flies. These were the days before social media. Before Twitter and Facebook. Before ‘Trending’ and #hashtags. Blogging — online publishing in general was a cottage industry and it was a steep hill to surmount.

In light of recent events, I decided to republish a portion of the closing remarks I gave during the 2nd Philippine Blog Awards, with some edits to the flow.


- Begin -

Tonight, I’d like to share three head fakes that I have personally learned from blogging in celebration of our notion of freedoms which this country enjoys to an awesome extent.

The first head fake:

Blogging teaches us to distinguish our temperament from character. There are many metaphysical truths to the human being, and the concept of temperament and character are perhaps the most interesting. Temperament, simply defined, is who we are while character is defined as who we want to become. Temperament is losing it, and flaming others in comments. Character is sincerely apologizing afterwards. In public.

The second head fake: Blogging teaches us to deal. Yes, to deal. Not really to deal with critics. Not really to deal with PR contacts. Not really to deal with making money online; but to deal. This is the art of dealing with everything. If there is one thing I admire with seasoned bloggers, it is their ability to deal with the impediments that come their way. You will agree with me when I say that the local blogosphere is very colorful, as we are involved in real conversations with fellow bloggers, PR contacts and ad agencies, restaurants, government, NGO’s, multinationals — the list goes on. I admire bloggers who have the ability to deal with the politics of human design and more importantly, how they resolve it. That they can survive criticism, the pointing of hands, the flame bait, the mob, and come back to post the next day, with a more firm resolve.


This brings me to my last point, because “dealing with something” is never complete without conviction.

The third and last head fake: Blogging helps us reaffirm our personal convictions. It is with this affirmation that we form insight on our concept of truth.

“But what is truth?”, asked Pontius Pilate.

What is the truth behind pay-per-post, behind controversies of SEO and the “nofollow” variable, about link-selling or blog advertising, or even attending blog events for loot?

The truth is conviction. If there was a right answer, we wouldn’t be blogging. Rather, what is important is that when we are asked what our personal convictions are about these things, we tell the unbiased truth, and unlike Pilate, we should not wash our hands. As bloggers, we value our convictions and integrity the most.

Character. The Art of Dealing. Conviction. These are three things that sum the totality of my message: It is not about how well we blog – it is about how well we live our life.


The Original Post from 2008: ‘Closing Remarks’ from the 2nd Philippine Blog Awards

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Digressions, Blogging, gatecrashing, pat..."
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Date: Tuesday, 26 Aug 2014 09:20

“Then comes the zenith of man’s pleasure.
Then comes the julep ­­– the mint julep.
Who has not tasted one has lived in vain.
The honey of Hymettus brought no such solace to the soul;
the nectar of the gods is tame beside it.
It is the very dream of drinks,
the vision of sweet quaffings.

The Bourbon and the mint are lovers.
In the same land they live,
on the same food are they fostered.
The mint dips its infant leaf
into the same stream
that makes the Bourbon what it is.
The corn grows in the level lands
through which small streams meander.
By the brook-side the mint grows.
As the little wavelets pass,
they glide up to kiss the feet of the growing mint,
and the mint bends to salute them.
Gracious and kind it is,
living only for the sake of others.
Like a woman’s heart
it gives its sweetest aroma when bruised.
Among the first to greet the spring, it comes.
Beside the gurgling brooks that make music in the fields,
it lives and thrives.
When the bluegrass begins to shoot its gentle sprays to sun,
mint comes, and its sweetest soul drinks at the crystal brook.
It is virgin then.
But soon it must be married to old Bourbon.
His great heart, his warmth of temperament,
and that affinity which no one understands,
demands the wedding.

How shall it be?

Take from the cold spring some water,
pure as angels are;
mix it with sugar till it seems like oil.
Then take a glass
and crush your mint within it with a spoon
– crush it around the borders of the glass
and leave no place untouched.
Then throw the mint away
– it is a sacrifice.
Fill with cracked ice the glass;
pour in the quantity of Bourbon which you want.
It trickles slowly through the ice.
Let it have time to cool,
then pour your sugared water over it.
No spoon is needed;
no stirring allowed
– just let it stand a moment.
Then around the brim place sprigs of mint,
so that the one who drinks may find taste and odor at one draft.

“Then when it is made, sip it slowly.
August suns are shining,
the breath of the south wind is upon you.
It is fragrant, cold and sweet – it is seductive.
No maiden’s kiss is tenderer or more refreshing,
no maiden’s touch could be more passionate.
Sip it and dream – you cannot dream amiss.
Sip it and dream – it is a dream itself.
No other land can give so sweet solace for your cares;
no other liquor soothes you in melancholy days

Sip it and say there is no solace for the soul,
no tonic for the body like old Bourbon whiskey.”

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Digressions, Chris McMillian, mint julep..."
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Date: Thursday, 21 Aug 2014 15:21

Mediocrity is for the second best. Brick and mortar stores attract thousands of new customers, and guess what? They buy those products that capture their attention and stand out from the crowd. If you don’t have the right product placement, or don’t make your products stand out in a competitive environment, you’re toast. All is not lost, however.

If you make an honest effort to push your comfort zone, and take measures to bring your product(s) in front of the consumers, you can differentiate your company from the competition and enjoy decent revenue. So what can be done to represent your products in brick & mortar stores in the best way possible? Here are some key measures that can help:

Appealing product descriptions
Take a deep look at your product descriptions and think about what you’re selling and your target customers. You’ll have to do your best to prove to customers that the item you’re selling will actually give them the ethereal feeling they have always dreamed about in a physical offering.
A good product description includes an eye-catching logo that is the first-attention-getter, followed by something in-between, such as words that reveal the characteristics of your item and the ways in which it would make a difference in the customer’s life.

Floor displays
A portable custom cardboard display could be a viable option if you’re selling items like books, DVDs or CDs. Such floor displays offer point of sale opportunities and brand differentiation through product placement.
The floor display strategy is already utilized in some big name brick and mortar stores such as Sam’s Cub and Costco. Some options can be used to enable consumers to shop from all four sides of the display, which is a great way to maximize product promotion in a store.

Display cases
Like floor displays, display cases serve a critical function in promoting your product. A high-priced product can be placed in a lighted display to draw shoppers to it. The display can also act as a countertop interaction area for added convenience.
For example, a gemstone or an expensive watch can be placed in a lighted display, and if a consumer takes interest, the store associate can quickly pull out the product to physically show the customer. Display cases can also act as an impulse buy area when placed near the cash-register, and a store associate can further enhance its effectiveness by answering customer queries and facilitating engagement.

If you’re selling products that complement other products in a store, then placing your items next to them could be a great way to grab consumer attention. For example, dips can be placed beside nachos because consumer purchasing the nachos is likely to give attention to the dip.
Likewise, products that are dependent on seasons can be placed next to the tills to incite impulse buying. For example, placing umbrellas next to the tills on a rainy day is likely to appeal to customers and could turn out to be a great recipe to increase revenue. Promotional items can be placed at the end of aisles, where they can grab attention as shoppers walk towards an aisle.

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "General, Guest Post"
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Date: Friday, 04 Jul 2014 12:00

Last week, I bought a prepaid SmartBro LTE WiFi dongle for my wife (yes, folks even though Smart is a site sponsor, I spend my money on their services — even without discounts). I was surprised to find out two things:

1. Upon inserting the SIM card and turning on the pocket LTE device, you’re taken to a brand new splash screen — the SmartBro Dashboard which serves as a placeholder for brand new accounts and for times when you’ve reached zero balance on prepaid. Your mobile number is displayed prominently on the upper left hand side of the dashboard which makes it super convenient in case you need to reload credits and you misplaced the number somewhere.



The dashboard also enables a service called Load Protect, which defaults you to the P5.00 for 15 minutes of browsing when you’re not subscribed to a plan.

2. The MY.SMART.COM.PH portal has been revamped. It was down last week and for those who make use of this site regularly, you will now find that all the services for SmartBro prepaid has been moved to the dashboard. So in a way it is more intuitive since you don’t need to launch the website anymore and log into your account.


Above: The my.smart.com.ph portal only displays information on all the accounts (prepaid and postpaid) that you handle. For prepaid, you will only be able to subscribe to new services using the SmartBro dashboard.

So, to summarize:

1. The new #SmartBroDashboard pops up on your browser when you have no balance or when you have a new SmartBro account.
2. This service is available for both prepaid and postpaid plans, but the latter has not been implemented.
3. You can subscribe to all your bucket plans from the Dashboard and monitor your usage. You no longer need to do this from the my.smart.com.ph portal.

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Press, #SmartBroDashboard, my.smart.com...."
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Date: Monday, 30 Jun 2014 12:30

It’s a rather annoying fact of life that we often have to haul ourselves out of a nice warm bed to start our day. We’re cruelly yanked from dreamland by the electronic beep of an alarm and have maybe one or two blissful confused seconds before we need to get up and start our day, whether it’s off to work or off to school, and “Mom, just five more minutes” is a common phrase shouted at mothers across the world as they try to get their kids out of bed. Technology has made this process easier for many of us and those who work at home are subject to understandable envy. They get to log into their office intranet from their home computer, meaning their commute is just the 12 seconds or so it takes to walk to their desk. Education has also been revolutionized by technology, particularly video conferencing, meaning that while the trip to the classroom or lecture hall is still necessary, it’s possible to beam an educator or more usually, a guest lecturer, right into the room.

The concept of the virtual meeting is also beginning to shape the way that training is delivered to new employees at an organization. The fact that the medium can be used to deliver straightforward information in the manner of an instructional video, as well as allowing for an interactive question and answer session with a trainer, means that imparting relevant information to new employees via video conferencing is quickly becoming an efficient training method. While standard consumer video conferencing systems are generally not up to the job, there are a number of systems specifically developed for the corporate arena, such as those offered by Blue Jeans Group video conferencing which make the job of bringing new employees up to speed… well, rather speedy actually.

Video Conferencing for Learning
A quick Google search for “training via video conference” demonstrates just how quickly education is moving into the video conferencing arena. A vast number of freelance educators have set up businesses that have been developed specifically to exploit this method of communication. A lot of it seems very casual – usually people with varying qualifications who have set themselves up to offer lessons in an area that is generally best taught verbally, such as a foreign language. If you want to learn French via video conferencing, you can find a wide variety of options online, usually at a far more attractive price than if you were going to a traditional school or community college. The instructor has minimal overheads, and any training materials are delivered to the student in an entirely electronic format. There’s no classroom or workspace to rent and the cost of data streaming is usually covered by the teachers existing bandwidth allowance, which can even be cheaper than something used solely for recreational use, since the internet has now become a tax deductible business expense.

Training New Staff via Video Conferencing
A number of medium to large companies, generally with a diverse workforce still have a group of dedicated trainers who oversee new employee induction and training. Let’s look at retail as an example. A trainer might head from city to city on a periodic basis, conducting training sessions that might go from anywhere from a day to a couple of weeks. In larger companies these trainers might well be based in a permanent office, without the necessity of travel, but a large company with multiple outlets across the country will generally have to send the trainer to a number of different destinations. The trainer covers corporate culture, company expectations, as well as educating new employees on the actual requirements of the position, not to mention company etiquette and any technical training, such as operation of the Point of Sale system. There are often Team Building “fun” exercises which are met with amusement and/or eye rolling by the assembled group of new employees. Is this process still necessary in this day and age? Blue Jeans Group video conferencing allows trainers to work from a centralized office, still delivering the same relevant content, slashing the required time and labor, not to mention travel costs. Video conferencing allows for multiple participants and so new employees can be patched into the training session from the comfort of their own computers.

Final Thoughts
Distance education has made use of video conferencing ever since the technology became viable and corporations are slowly beginning to learn the benefits of the medium for training new employees. It allows a trainer to instruct groups of varying sizes without leaving the office, and without the employee needing to travel. Material can be delivered via email or displayed on a screen and the method also gives the options of learning at their own pace and asking follow up questions as needed. Give it a try when it comes to training new employees, and you’ll be pleased the results.

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "General, bluejeans virtual meeting, skyp..."
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Date: Monday, 30 Jun 2014 11:00

Finally, we’re set to announce the winners of our #DearDadPH competition! It was a tough choice, which is why the judging process took longer than expected and we actually added a consolation prize to accommodate more winners.

Please refer to the chart below and the list of winners. We will contact you individually this week to get your details. Many thanks!

First Place
@fibiruth (Instagram)

Second Place
@fritzie_gomez (Instagram)

Third Place
@im_kaye (Twitter)

Consolation Prizes
@khaziee15 (Instagram)
@annncherryp (Instagram)
@shaneen_LA (Twitter)
@001jaam (Instagram)
@minapalencia (Instagram)

#DearDadPH Winners

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Geek, #dearDadPH, #deardadph twitter ins..."
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Date: Friday, 27 Jun 2014 05:43

Local Businesses are usually small and may not have big budgets to allocate towards marketing and promotion. However, there are certain tools that can be freely employed and results can be just as good without causing any gaping holes in your pockets. Here are some quick tips to help achieve success for the small local businesses in 2014.

Know about your competition
In order to succeed in business, however big or small, one needs to equip themselves with as much knowledge as possible. In order to attract customers who frequent other stores is to know what they are doing different. As and when you gain more information, your business gets collective insight about the industry best practices that can be incorporated in your own business to get serve your customers better.

Add value to the customer experience
With so much competition these days, it is only a matter of time when your customers move on to some other service provider or brand if they do not have a good experience. Give your customers an exceptional experience by going the extra mile. They may not remember your product but sure enough they will remember your good service. To attract more customers and retain the old ones, create events and reward and recognition for your loyal ones to stay and new ones to come. You can also plan co-marketing an event with other local business owners to attract more people and cover wider customer base.

Have promotional activities
Do plan consistent promotional activities in the closer areas so that more people can be made aware about your product and services. For example, if you are computer protection service provider, you can immitate the models of other companies like Trend Micro who offer free month internet security to get more people to try their product. Use the power of social marketing to connect with your potential customers if you are running a business online.

Spread the word
Increase the traffic to your stores or website by running small time events and promotions. This will create a buzz for your business before you get started. Start at least 45 days in advance with the promotion of your business. Make aggressive approach one week before the event when you start posting links on Facebook and other social networking websites. Also re-post reminders just one day before the actual event to remind people.

Encourage other local business owners to share your activities
This is one of the best ways to gain attention on the social media pages. You can share the activities of the other local businesses through your page which will get you more followers and traffic. This will also ensure that the other businesses are also promoting you so you enjoy double attention from different set of users. You can end up being a valuable resource for many customers who rely on your page for information. Post other interesting stories related to your industry to make up for an interesting read. These are some quick and ingenious ways to get started and gain market intelligence and expertise in your domain.

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "General"
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Date: Friday, 27 Jun 2014 04:59

Out now on the Google Play Store and the local iTunes Store is the BFF Timeout App, a collaboration between McDonald’s and Coca-Cola Philippines.

What it is: a gaming app that turns the “real life vs digital life” predicament into a game, by letting you go on a digital timeout, that is, stay offline for as long as possible. Engage with your phone, and you’re the ditcher.

How it works: The app adds up real life friends on Facebook and the game starts once everyone has pushed the big red Timeout button. As long as anyone interacts with their Android or iOS device, the game ends. To make it more enticing for people, you can ladder up against your friends to see who can go on a digital timeout the longest.


Download the BFF Timeout App now and see how long you can go. You might even win a trip for four to Palawan, Singapore, or Japan for spending time offline. Visit www.bfftimeout.com to find out more.

But please, if you need to check that email your boss sent, go.

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Press, BFFTimeOut, McDonald's"
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Date: Tuesday, 17 Jun 2014 09:32

Small businesses are using the power of PayPal every day for their important transactions and are always under the threat of being attacked by a cyber thief if they are not adequately protected. Here are some top tips to protect your account from being hacked.

Always display the complete email address of the sender
Do not open any emails that do not give complete email address of the sender. Unless you check the source of an email and determine its authenticity, do not download any links as they may be a virus.

Do not share sensitive data on a website if not required
Service providers like PayPal are very particular about the sensitive information of their businesses. They can store all the payment related information and do not have to share it with any website they are transacting with. These precautions are necessary to keep the account safe so that you can focus on your business rather than worry about a security leak.

Get an Antivirus protection
This is the gospel of the cyber world. If you are using the internet for your daily activities, it is imperative that you get an antivirus protection on your machines. Opt for the free antivirus resources which are readily available for download and can be used for a trial period of thirty days before buying the full version.

Activate the firewall settings
You can limit the traffic network by closing the ports that you don’t need. By activating the firewall on your system, you can prevent the hackers from entering your network. It also helps in blocking the websites that are suspicious in nature.

Use smart and tricky passwords
The information of all the businesses must be protected and the passwords will always play a crucial role in doing that. Use a hard to guess combination for your password which is easy to remember but hard to deduce. Also avoid using the same password for more than one application or a site.

Provide Limited access to the sensitive data
The phishing attacks are so common these days that the naïve employees can fall prey to it if they don’t know about these scams. This is why it is important to limit the access of your employees to the sensitive information unless absolutely necessary. When too many people have access to important information, then the probability of being exposed to threat also increases. Always provide the information security training to the employees so that they know how to protect themselves or the company data.

Keep security a priority
Regardless of the size of the company, the top bosses should take personal interest into the safety of the company’s data and provide adequate support to the IT department so that they can bring in the measures of safety.

Back up your important information
The information that is vital to your company must be protected and backed up periodically. You can use the cloud network support or the off-site back up to automatically restore all the data at a scheduled time each day or week. This should be done as frequently as possible so that in case of an unforeseen circumstance, the data can be restored from its last saving point.

Always activate screen lock
If your system is inactive for a certain period of time, your computer screens will automatically lock themselves. This prevents any unauthorized access to the machine.

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "General"
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Date: Friday, 06 Jun 2014 06:22

Hey guys! I’m giving away a Genius Energy Mouse. The tech industry is fond of hybrid gadgets. Genius for instance went above and beyond the curve to design a wireless mouse with one additional feature: it doubles as a 2000mAh charger for your smartphone.

The Genius giveaway is part of my Father’s Day #DearDadPH contest. To win this, simply tweet a sweet message to your father using the hashtag #DearDadPH. Contest ongoing till June 15. Check out the link for the full mechanics and prizes.

genius mouse charger 2

The problem with most RFID mice is that they require AAA batteries to operate. Because the Energy Mouse is also a charger, it gets its juice from a micro USB cable, which is a tad more convenient than rummaging for batteries. The back of the mouse has the USB port for your smartphone.

In terms of performance, the mouse itself fits well on a medium sized palm. I’ve been using mice under the Elephant brand for the past 2 years — they’re more meant for gaming. Switching was no problem.

For those wondering, 2000mAh is roughly a full charge for most mid-range smartphones so the Energy Mouse is really meant for emergency purposes. In my use, it is a mouse, first and a charger, second.

genius mouse charger 3

If you’re after something with a much bigger charge, I’m also excited to give away a 8000mAh Powerbank from Genius! That’s right! Be one of the lucky winners in our #DearDadPH contest and you get to keep both the Energy Mouse and the 8000mAh Powerbank for you and your dad! How’s that for a great Father’s Day gift?

genius 800mah 2

The 8000mAh portable charger from Genius can charge two devices (one using USB 2.0) simultaneously. That’s roughly 2 days worth of juice stored in this thing.

genius 8000mah

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Geek, Energy Mouse, Genius"
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Date: Monday, 02 Jun 2014 07:57

Hey kids, want to screw around the Internet? Thanks to Krispy Kreme, I’m giving away 25 boxes of sugar donuts. You see, last month KK had a Mother’s Day promo that let you customize messages to your moms through donuts. For the next two weeks, they’re letting the web go wherever it wants to go with the hashtag #JoyinaBox. Want a box of donuts with letters on them? Pay attention:

Step 1

Like their pages!


Step 2

Share your 20 character message and tag me on Twitter @jayvee with the hashtag #JoyinaBox. Or you can leave your entry on the comment form below. I’ll choose 25 winners who get to have boxes delivered to them through Krispy Kreme PH.

NSFW? Well. Not like I can stop you right?

Only till June 15 guys!

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Press, #joyinabox, krispy kreme"
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Date: Thursday, 22 May 2014 06:01

What is Dark Souls? In sum, it is a microcosm of the human condition. Of why we love to torture ourselves. Of why we are enamored by archetypes of the starving artist or the underpaid worker. And yet we trudge along to the very end of our day and die. No, not sleep. Die — to be reborn again the very next day.


This is Dark Souls. The achievement text comes out the very first time you die. It is unforgiving. Death is at the very center of the game, and the tutorial mostly just teaches you how to hold your sword. AND DIE!!!!

“You know nothing, Jon Snow.” This is Dark Souls.

The first time I died, I was flattened by what seemed like a cross between an elephant and a gopher.
The second time I died, I fell off a cliff.
The third time I died, I was speared by an arrow to the eye socket.
The fourth time I died, I didn’t realize pigs were deadly.
The fifth time I died, I fell into a well.
The sixth time I died, I fell into the ocean.
The seventh time I died, I was cleaved in half.

dark souls 2

This is Dark Souls. After every death, I learned a little bit more and vowed (to my keyboard and mouse) that things will get better. And they did. Until I died again.

3 little pigs

Dark Souls II is available on PC and Consoles. On PC you can buy it via Steam for USD $49.99.

A special heads up to Sophia Lek for making my life a little bit more frustrating with a copy of the game.

Author: "Jayvee Fernandez" Tags: "Geek, Dark Souls, From Games, Gaming, Na..."
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