Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tips: Recover Hard Disk Space from Itunes

Itunes is taking a lot of space on my Sony Vaio Laptop. I have three IOS devices in the house ie 1 iphone and 2 ipads. I have to put in a lot of kid's apps and movies for my young boys. This took about 20Gb of space on my working hard drive. I have searched the net for quick tips on reducing occupied space by itunes. Here is a quick one I came across > Itunes Tip

Apparently, Itunes keeps several backups of your IOS devices. If my guess is right, Itunes creates a backup every time there are changes in your IOS devices ie new mp3, video, apps. I does not seem to delete the old backup. So this tip allows you to delete old IOS device backups. The following is the steps for you to delete old IOS backups in Windows.

1. Open Itunes.

2. Under Edit, select Preferences.

3. Preferences Window appears. Select Devices Tab. It will list all your backups of your IOS devices.

4. Select old backup files you think you can dispose and click on Delete Backup.

The procedure above easily cleared my laptop 2Gb of space. I would like to give a word of caution on deleting backups. You should carefully delete old backups which you think you have minimal changes in your IOS devices.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Tips: National Bookstore BPI Card Epson Ink etc

Apart from the grocery store Pioneer Center, we frequent also Robinson's Forum supermarket. We buy our groceries at Robinson's mainly because they have a lot of stuff there that are packaged. For example, just today, we bought sachet of 1 liter Nestea Ice Tea with free 2liter plastic bottle. Now that's sulit. We also bought this plastic jar of knorr cubes.

There is also a CDR King store at Robinson's Forum where I buy compatible ink (73N) for my epson printer. Unfortunately, they ran out of stock. So I went to National Bookstore and I found out they have also a compatible ink 73N cartridge. It costed 165Pesos per catridge. As an additional bonus, when I used my BPI credit card, I got a free 3xsachet of nescafe because of charging a purchase of more than 500Pesos. I checked BPI's website and they have an ongoing promo until Dec 12 with National Bookstore, Best Seller and Powerbooks. Check it out, use your BPI credit and get a free Nestle Nescafe 3-in-1.

Thank you BPI, Nestle and National Bookstore.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Compact SUV: Honda Mazda Toyota Hyundai Kia Ford

A lot of motorists today prefer compact SUVs. SUV's got big engines that burns fuel like it's no tomorrow.
Sedans' have too low ground clearance you will think twice to cross the flooded streets of Metro Manila during hard rains. Compact SUVs are just right for these conditions. It has the good visibility of the big SUV and the driving comfort of the sedans.

I stumbled upon the review of Car and driver of current Compact SUVs. I summarized it in the table below.

Here are my personal comments on these Compact SUVs:

  • The Mazda CX5 has a great interior and exterior design. The only problem I noticed was the second row backseat cannot be reclined further backwards.
  • The Toyota RAV4 is too old design and it is very expensive  here in the Philippines. You would rather buy an SUV instead. Although definitely it has the most spacious interior. 
  • I find short head clearance in both the Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson. It makes me uncomfortable. My Mazda 2 has better head clearance.
  • The Honda CRV's exterior design is too bland for me. I wish they have designed better similar to the way they design the comfort of the SUV.
 I hope this post will help should you be in the situation of buying a compact SUV. What I recommend is to test drive each vehicle. At the end it is gonna be driving experience and of course affordability that will influence your choice.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Toyota Recalls

Toyota recalls 7.4 million vehicles worldwide for a a faulty power window switch at the driver side. According to this report on Philstar, grease was not applied evenly that causes friction and smoke. The affected cars include those from 2005 to 2010, with the following models:

In the Philippines, Toyota will be recalling 22,000 units where they shall inspect the power window master switch and apply special grease, or if necessary replace the faulty component. This is at no cost to the customer.  I think the best thing to do is to contact your local Toyota dealers and have your car scheduled for appointment for this.

I remember there is also recent Toyota recall in 2010 with regards to sudden acceleration wherein it involved 6.67 million cars. Based on an MSN Auto report, this sudden acceleration report is the fourth largest auto recall in history. Certainly, this new recall of Toyota will place it as third in world displacing GM. Below is the 11 largest auto recall in history with this new Toyota recall. You can find the information here at MSN Auto.

The number of units affected are so huge, I can't even imagine how much do these companies will spend just to correct them in terms of man-hours and component/material costs. But then again recalls are indications of auto companies' commitment to their customers despite the inconvenience for the vehicle owners. I think that's one of the reasons motorists are loyal to a brand like Toyota.

2013 Toyota Corolla Altis

We have seen the new Honda Civic this year which is a refresh on the front facia and rear. It has an econ feature that tells if you are wasting fuel.  Here is the link for Honda Philippines. The rear looks like that of the Mercedez Benz C180.  There is one comment that the Civic's front does not "rhyme" with its rear. They don't connect.

Launched also this year is the new Ford Focus with great features. It boast of the automatic parallel parking feature.

I am eager to find out what will be the new Toyota Corolla Altis. I found these images for the upcoming Altis that will be released in 2013. Images care of this website.

The designs have greatly improved and definitely better that the current model. It has the genes of the new Camry. I have been waiting for Toyota to get its design roots from where Lexus is and its about time. I hope they bring this new Toyota Altis with 5-6 speed A/T with the dual VVTI 1.6liter engine. That should be worth waiting for next year.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

House Makeover and Google Sketch

We have had home improvements these year and one of the difficulties we encountered was getting an architect to design the improvements. We were able to talk to two architects however they don't seem to have interest in these small projects. So I personally created the designs.

I have finished an engineering degree and I had 6 units of engineering drafting and that's about it for my experience in architectural design. What I needed to do first was to check for designs over the internet. Next was to find a free/trial software I could play around with. There were several software to choose from but it was a good thing that Google had a free CAD software, Google Sketch. Google sketch was simple to use and with just one tutorial and about 2-3 hours or so I was able to produce a gate design for our house.

Here is our old rusted gate.

Here is the gate design care of Google Sketch.

Here is the outcome and our new gate.

I was an instant CAD expert. Thank you Google Sketch.

Donaire TKO's Nishioka at the Ninth Round

A great win again for the Nonito Donaire, the Filipino Flash, as he TKO's Toshiaki Nishioka one minute and 54 seconds of the ninth round of their fight  at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California October 14, 2012. The referee stopped the fight after Donaire knocked out Nishioka the second time on the ninth round. Nishioka was downed the first time during the 6th round.  Here is a highlight video shared thru YouTube.

Donaire's impressive win is on the Philippine Daily Inquirer's headline and you can read the details here. I think Donaire has improved significantly his technique comparing from his previous fight. He has become a technical fighter. While Nishioko was concentrating to defend himself from Donaire's left, Donaire was patient enough to deliver his right for a knock out on the ninth round. I believe patience and smart thinking was the key to his win.

A few or seldom do boxers of today have the patience to wait for that right timing and opening to go for the knock out. Every boxers are rushing in the early rounds to get a knock out which I think the boxing fans and audience wants. I guess they want to give what the fans want. But in this case, boxers loose steam and strength towards the late rounds and end up with a boring fight.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Metro Manila Number Coding

By November 23, 2012, it would be the 17th anniversary of Metro Manila  Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP), or more popularly named Number Coding. It's now a very very old solution to Metro Manila's traffic congestion woes. At its conception in 1995, there are about 1 million motor vehicles in MetroManila that will be addressed by the number coding.  However over the years, motor vehicle registrations have increased more than 50%, ie 1.7 million in 2010. Do you think the number coding will be able to control this figure?

Based from my experience during the early years of implementation, the number coding really reduced the traffic volume on EDSA. However, the coding scheme also benefited car dealers as people resorted to buying their second cars for the days that their primary car is prohibited from the roads. Maybe that's reason for the huge increase in motor vehicle registrations. What makes it worse today is the easy affordability now of new cars and the availability of mini/sub-compact cars.

Well the good news is that the new government today are looking at long term infrastructure to address traffic congestion like the proposed elevated EDSA, expansions of the light rail transit networks.

Actually there was a comment before, that you would not even fit all the vehicles on the roads of MetroManila because of the huge volume. Even in private residences alone, people have their 2nd/3rd/4th vehicles parked along the side of the road. As a result, the two-lane road reduces to one lane. The sad part is these owners of the parked vehicles along the road even put up no parking signs as if they own that part of the road.

For me, the real reason for our road traffic congestion is there is too much motor vehicles in the Metro. The government should look into minimizing the increase of vehicles. Maybe we should follow the likes of Singapore who auctions the license to own motor vehicles. In Hongkong, you can only own a motor vehicle if you have your own parking area. This is what I like most so we can have our roads cleared of illegally parked cars.

Hunger Games

There was big fuzz on the movie The Hunger Games when it aired this March of 2012. We were curious and just let it passed since we were all hype and waiting for the Avengers movie. This weekend, we found time to  watch the Hunger Games. The movie for me is essentially in the same line as the movies The Running Man and The Truman Show where people are taken advantage in games or shows for ratings. It is like those reality TV shows but for these movies, players are manipulated. The plot of survival and reality shows are what's in these days.

The Running Man Trailer care of YouTube.

Ateneo Blue Eagles UAAP 75th Men's Basketball Champion

The Ateneo Blue Eagles completed 5 streak championship for the Senior Men's Basketball Tournament under the 75th UAAP Season. Congratulations to you coming from the the other side of the court. I am not a fan of UAAP basketball but a follower of professional basketball especially of the NBA.  But there is nothing more passionate and emotional than the university competition on the basketball court be it in UAAP or NCAA.

I happened to write this blog because of this morning's trip. It is the usual Saturday morning walk at the Fort Global City. Our 1 year old son likes to walk on the beautiful grass and landscape of the Fort Street. After about 45 mins, we proceeded to our usual breakfast at Jollibee and along our way we saw lots of people lining up for Mind Museum.

During breakfast at Jollibee, I can't help but overhear two gentlemen conversing about the UAAP men's basketball championship. I guess they weren't cheering for Ateneo and most likely are not of blue blood. They mentioned that FEU still has the longest basketball winning streak in UAAP. Well the soonest I got home, I searched for historical stats for the UAAP Basketball championship and here is what Wikipedia has to say....

The top 3 Universities with the longest winning streaks in UAAP's Men's Basketball are:
1. UE - 7
2. ADMU - 5
3. DLSU - 4

The Universities with the most number of Championships would be:
1. UST - 40
2. UE -  30
3. FEU - 29

This is still  a long way for the likes of DLSU and ADMU to catchup. Is this because DLSU and ADMU joined UAAP late? It's still a big milestone for ADMU for completing 5-peat. That's something to be really proud of.

Whitney Houston

It's no doubt at least for us in our household, Whitney Houston's voice is like no other in the world. Her voice is amazing. She hits very high notes that is so soft and beautiful to your ears. Other singers when they hit high notes, it sound so irritating to the ears. Of all the greatest hits the following songs ruled the airwaves and helped us through our love stories

1. I will always love
2. Greatest Love of All
3. How will I know
4. All the man I know
5. I wanna dance with somebody
6. Where do broken hearts do
7. Didn't we almost have it all
8. Saving all my love for you
9. I'm you baby tonight
10. So emotional
11. You're still my man

and the list could go on here: Amazon

The following Whitney songs I particularly like also.


If you say my eyes are beautiful


Beatles Here there and everywhere

I heard this song for the first time from the FM Radio on 96.3Wrock in the early 1990s. I was able to get the  name of the singer, it was George Benson. I love the jazz melody with the piano and guitar. It took some time before I was able to get a CD copy for his Tenderly Album which contained this song. In fact I think I even ordered thru Amazon in early 2000. Here is the song care of YouTube.

You can check George Benson's Tenderly which has this song in Amazon. The other famous songs by George Benson are:
1. In your eyes
2. Nothing's gonna change my love for you
3. The greatest love of all
4. Just the two of us

I didn't actually know that Here, there and everywhere was an original by the Beatles until just lately. Here is the original version of the Beatles care of YouTube.

George Benson has a very great rendition of this song and I think I will appeal to listeners in my generation. It may be a good background song for romantic events such as weddings etc.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tropicana Coco Quench

There is new beverage in town. Actually it is an old all time natural favorite and a healthy one too that we buy every weekend from buko vendors selling along side our roads. It's the coco fruit from the coco tree, it's the coconut. Now it's in a tetra pack product locally introduced by Pepsi Philippines, Tropicana Coco Quench.
It comes with two sizes, a 330ml and 1L pack.

Here are the contents/ingredients comparison of the coconut fruit and the Tropicana Product. Here you can find information here or alternative site.

Coconut Fruit
1. Coconut water (water, sugar, protein, carbohydrate, fiber, lipid, minerals, vitamins, amino acid)

1. Coconut Water (water, sugar, protein, carbohydrate, fiber, lipid, minerals, vitamins, amino acid)

2. Reconstituted Coconut Water (lesser nutritional values vs fresh coconut)
1.  Coconut raw meat (water, sugar, protein, carbohydrate, fiber, lipid, minerals, vitamins, amino acid)

1.Sodium Metabisulfite (as per Wikipedia, it is an inorganic compound, sometimes referred to as disodium/ metabisulfite used as antioxidant, disinfectant and preservative agent)

We bought one liter pack of Tropicana Coco Quench from Robinson's supermarket last weekend. Well it tasted same as the real coconut water although it is sweeter.

If you want all natural, more nutritious, with coconut meat and less expensive you would go for the buko vendors. The problem most of the time is their availability since just in the morning alone, buko vendors have sold out everything. The downside here is the consistency of the flavor and the juice can last to only about two days in the ref based from my experience.

The packed Tropicana Coco quench can offer an alternative to the unavailability of the buko. Likewise, it is also a good and healthier alternative to sports drinks. It will last a little longer but you would wonder what effects would be of the preservative used. Oh well, we eat a lot of things these days with preservatives.

Now looking at a more holistic view, it will be good for the economy for the country including our coconut farmers. Should Pepsi launch this product internationally, this would be mean increased earnings for the country and the farmers. In fact, based on Wikipedia Philippines tops the world in coconut production in 2010.

There was already an earlier coconut juice product on the grocery store shelf, the Lipa Fresh Buko, which we once in a while buy. I believe it is all natural with tidbits of coconut meat. The taste is not consistent with every bottle you drink. The shelf life is about 1 week and one and a few times, I ended up with expired ones.

Sadness Loneliness

As previously posted, I am an 80' 90's music lover and during the 1990's I really love the songs from the Backstreet Boys. The melody of the music is beautifully composed and the lyrics are lively, you practically attached your self and feel the music. Hardly you hear new songs today that's within those level of engagement. You would feel the emotion with the music. Here is a good audio compilation of their greatest hits in Amazon.

One of my favorite songs by the BB is Shape of my heart.
Here is the music video care of YouTube:

Here are the lyrics care of LYRICS007:

Brian: Mmmm...yeah, yeah
Baby, please try to forgive me
Stay here don't put out the glow
Hold me now, don't bother
If every minute it makes me weaker
You can save me from the man that I've become
Oh yeah

All (Chorus): Lookin' back on the things I've done
I was trying to be someone
I played my part and kept you in the dark
Now let me show you the shape of my heart

AJ: Sadness is beautiful
Loneliness is tragical
So help me, I can't win this war, oh no
AJ & Kevin: Touch me now, don't bother
If every second it makes me weaker
You can save me from the man I've become

All (Chorus): Lookin' back on the things I've done (Lookin'
on the things)
I was trying to be someone (Trying to be)
I played my part and kept you in the dark (AJ: In the dark)
Now let me show you the shape of my heart

Nick: I'm here with my confession
Got nothing to hide no more
I don't know where to start
But to show you the shape of my heart

All: I'm looking back on things I've done
I never wanna play the same old part
And keep you in the dark (Brian: Keep you in the dark)
Now let me show you the shape of my heart

(Chorus): Lookin' back on the things I've done (Lookin' on
the things)
I was trying to be someone (Brian: Trying to be someone)
I played my part and kept you in the dark 
Now let me show you the shape of my heart (Nick: Now let me
show you the true shape of my heart)
Lookin' back on the things I've done 
I was trying to be someone 
I played my part and kept you in the dark 
Now let me show you the shape of...

AJ: Show you the shape of my heart

The line (bold italics red) "Sadness is beautiful Loneliness is tragical"  is very striking to me.
It let's you think about the difference between sadness and loneliness. For me I rather be sad than lonely as sadness can be temporary and short. Loneliness leads to prolonged and deep sadness.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Traffic Violations

I get about 1 traffic violation every two years. For this year (hopefully no more violations), I got fined because I followed a fire truck which was on its way to an emergency situation. Actually, I gave way to the firetruck who was behind me at the traffic stop by moving to the center of the intersection so the firetruck can  pass. Then I had to clear the intersection but was confronted by the traffic officer. I reasoned with him that I had to give way to the firetruck and I had to clear the intersection. Unfortunately the traffic officer was unreasonable, so my driver's license was confiscated and I was given a traffic violation receipt (TVR).

Just this day I redeemed my driver's license from Traffic Management Pasig Office (TMPO) which was situated here near Pasig City Hall (within the Pasig City Firestation compound specifically along F Manalo St corner V. Baltazar St). The redeeming area is on the second floor of the TMPO office. I noted that there was no parking area at their office although there are adjacent open parking lots but they are full. Should you bring your car, you can park near the Pasig City Hall and can walk from there for about 5 minutes.

You wont miss the redemption area as you will see a lot of people lining up and most of them standing because of limited seats. The processing area is just along the building corridor so it would be quite hot during a sunny day. I arrived there just after lunch and it was good thing I had a face towel with me. 
The following are the procedures I have gone thru to redeem my driver's license.

1. Submit and place your TVR on a designated small plastic tray at the receiving area beside Window #1  (door on the right side of window #1, where you can find a traffic officer calling out names). Window #1 is found at the far end of the corridor
2. Wait for the traffic officer to call out your name. It took at least 60 minutes before my name was called.
3. Once your name is called by the traffic officer at receiving area, get your TVR and an attached sheet indicating the fee to be paid. 
4. Windows 2, 3 and 4 are the cashiers where to  pay the traffic violation fees. You can line up at any window.
5. Write on the attached sheet to your TVR your address and contact number. There are ball pens on the cashier windows which you can use. 
6. Pay the traffic violation fee and get the payment receipt attached with the TVR. It took about 30 minutes for this.
7. Submit the payment receipt with TVR to Window 1. Your driver's license and receipt will be issued.

The whole redemption process took about 1.5 hours. I had my driver's license released in Makati and Mandaluyong City in less than an hour when I redeemed them in the morning. Processing in MMDA is a lot longer ie 3 hours because of the volume.

Here is tip to reduce your fines to be paid. You can actually get a 20% discount by going to the 7F of the Pasig City Hall and get your TVR stamped with a discount from one of the city councilor's office. I did not bother to do it because I was on a rush.  

Friday, October 5, 2012

Baby Friendly At Home

When we bought our townhouse and all the furniture and appliances, we did not take into account that it should be safe and friendly to babies and toddlers. We bought because we like the design and its fits our  style. As soon as our two kids started walking, we realized most of our things in the house are accident prone. We got sharp corners and edges all over the place. And the thing here is we can just sell for example the huge wood sofa and change it.

One of the safety tips we considered was we bought electric stand fans instead of the desk fans. This is so that the toddlers will not be able to reach the rotating blades. Unfortunately the openings of the electric fan housing are still large that the kids' fingers will go thru. I have gone thru several big and small appliance stores to look for electric fans with small openings. There was one appliance outlet store that has this but only a desk model. It was still good then since we can use these desk fans in our bedrooms. The brand of this baby friendly electric desk fan is Asahi. I recently searched the web and Lazada, an online shopping website has it.
You can check it here >Asahi Electric Fan.

I highly recommend this cute Asahi Electric Desk fan for your baby and kid's safety. It is about 1000 Pesos if I recall and it is cheaper and more powerful than the expensive bladeless fans we see today in the stores.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Shell Fuel Nitro

The minute I arrived at home from driving my wife to work, I wanted to write about this new Shell Fuel +Nitro. I am a patron and longtime user of this local petrol fuel brand. If I am not mistaken I have been using their fuel products for more 10 years now. Well just a few days ago, I was running on empty on our Mazda 2 HB. Unfortunately the nearest preferred gasoline station was a bit far and with the traffic, I may not be able to make it. The nearest then was the Shell gas station.

Earlier, Shell has introduced their Shell Fuel Save product. There was a lot of fuzz about it and the fuel you can save. Anyhow, I asked for the Shell Fuel and the attendant offered me the new Shell Fuel Nitro+ where they have a promo at that time. The Shell Fuel Nitro+ was the same  price as the Shell Fuel save. Convinced, I had the car filled with the nitro fuel.  As I drove off, I noticed a quicker acceleration but I disregarded it till today.

It was the usual drive of 24 kilometers of traffic and I am always light on the accelerator I felt this drive today the difference in acceleration on our small hatchback. The engine power and pull is different. With the same light foot on the accelerator pedal, I was speeding up faster. I was delighted and tempted to zoom the Mazda 2 if only there was no heavy traffic. It would be a good experience to try the fuel on long trips. I am sure the difference will be significant. I will try it on next out of town trip. Meanwhile, I recommend you try Shell's Nitro fuel products.

Electrolux Vacuum Cleaner

One of the big items we got for our wedding 4 years ago was an Electrolux Z1560 Bagged Vacuum Cleaner. The unit has served us well and has not bogged down a bit. It has this very sleek design and a cool retractable ac plug. I find the vacuum cleaner very durable.You can find the product here: Electrolux.

All its accessories are still in tact despite the torture it gets being pushed and dragged around the house. Unfortunately, the vacuum bag got torn and it was difficult to find a replacement. I was thinking of ordering it in the US. It is good thing they have a customer hotline here in the Philippines and they informed where I can buy the bags. To help those who have  those Electrolux bagged vacuums, here are some information that are useful to you.

Electrolux Philippines Customer Hotline : (+632) 845-CARE (2273)
Service Partner : JFY Electronics Service Center
Address : 734 Tandang Sora corner Mindanao Avenue, Quezon City
Tel No: (+632) 4553645
You can check the map here

You have to call first to have it pre-ordered. It would take at least week to be available at the service center. Best to call after a week to check if the item has arrived. One box of vacuum bag containing 4 pieces if I recall was at 400-500Pesos.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Life's Good

Life's Good indeed. The soonest we moved into our townhouse, we bought immediately appliances which are necessity. Definitely at the top of our list were the refrigerator, washing machine and LCD TV. We purchased the Korean brand LG over its competitors. We liked the features of LG appliances and at that time they were the only ones with the neat features and good designs.

The LG fridge we bought was a two-door non-frost and had good metallic design we love. The washing machine was a top loader and fully automatic. Our LG LCD TV was 32-inches in size and was at the time the only one that supported USB Video playback.  The design was also a beauty. Check out the commercial care of YouTube.

The LG appliances we bought were value for money and they have not broken down till today. And that's more than 4 years running. We are very happy with LG and we recommend that you consider buying an LG product.

Life's Good.