Am I in the telco’s Twilight Zone?


They say that customer satisfaction is a combination of good products plus good service. If that’s the case, then my recent (and thankfully my latest) transactions with the phone company Digitel is anything but. It all started when I tried to inquire regarding our phone subscription’s disconnection. Here’s what transpired:

Customer service hotline. Agent entertained me obviously while using a scripted set of dialogues with me being asked of several account info but when I asked if they process disconnection, he said, “Sir, we don’t do that. Call our office instead.” Just before I hung up, I asked if he knows what might be the requirements for disconnection. Valid ID lang daw. Immediately after the conversation I checked our phone directory’s yellow pages and saw a list of numbers for Cavite. Great.

I tried 2-3 numbers and all I got was a recording saying, “The number is not yet in service” or something to that effect. Feeling hopeless, I called their office of area manager‘s number with the intent to report the problems with the listed office numbers. She wasn’t around, daw. So I asked the person at the other end of the line, if she knows any available and working number. She gave one. Then I asked if she knows what the requirements for disconnection are. Valid ID lang daw.

Directory assistance hotline. After failing to contact the number that the good secretary gave me, I remembered about the directory assistance hotline. And guess what? They don’t have an updated list of working numbers for Cavite! And that’s coming from a directory assistance hotline? Goodness. What could be more ironic than that?

Trying to be composed and convincing myself that maybe I have to go to their office indeed to process the subscription disconnection, I left home with a valid ID on hand. I arrived at Digitel’s office finding just one customer. Great. A few minutes later I was already talking to the customer service agent and politely said, while hiding any hint of previous frustrations, that I wanted our line disconnected . He smiled back, checked his computer, scribbled some notes on a piece of paper, handed it over to me and said, “Sir, here’s what you need…valid ID, phone, modem, and splitter.” Ti abi. Of course, I erupted, albeit controlled, but sarcastically replied back, “So it’s just indeed about time, I get our line disconnected…”

I was back home in no time, furious. Took the phone out and the rest of the Digitel items and I was back again to their office within a few minutes. This time, my anger is showing up even if I still tried to contain it and trying to be subtle as much as I can. My sweet revenge came soon, when he handed me a form to fill in and I was suppressing my evil smile while I wrote in front of him the comment: “Customer service is poor.” I could have written “sucks” but then again I did not – still trying to be civil despite all that.

Well, finally it’s goodbye Digitel for us. Hello, PLDT. In fact, I was there this morning to have our NDD activated. I was entertained by two well dressed employees…who doesn’t seem to know what they’re doing…and I eventually found out about them when my wife read the remark on the copy of the service request form at home. They’re OJTs. Man, am I in the twilight zone of the telecommunications world? Tsk, tsk, tsk.




 Mood: 3/10 Honks (back to dealing with registered a new domain. hopefully this one will do the trick.)

Digital manhole

What happened to me yesterday was like walking on the flooded Manila streets and disappearing all of a sudden after stepping on what is supposed to be a covered manhole. It came without a warning. All the files (musics, videos & podcasts) that I’ve been downloading to my Nokia 5800 for days got sucked into a digital manhole never to be heard or seen again.

I don’t know what caused the snafu, but I have a hint that it’s mainly because the cellphone was multitasking like it never did before – at least under my control. At one point it was downloading a Sesame Street podcast, downloading a full track music and a video from Universal Records, playing an mp3 track and sending an SMS. If that isn’t phone efficiency, what is? But just like man, phones do break down when pushed to its limit. And yesterday, mine just snapped and froze as if in fear or protest.

Now, I’m back to square one. Goodbye Elmo, Big Bird, Lars Ulrich, All the small things, Fergie, Gwen, Sting, Lady Gaga, Diana Krall, Boomtown Rats, Akon, Bryan Adams, Kjwan, Grammar Girl feed, Bob Marley, Venus/Serena (whatever) Williams, Sarah Jessica Parker, Bon Jovi, Boyzone…My only consolation right now is that I still have 400 plus more credits to recover them. Yet then again, it will take several nights again before they once again fill my Nokia 5800. This time I swear I’d be gentle. This time I think I’d have to skip replying back to my classmates while I’m downloading a podcast, a full track music, a full track video, and while playing an mp3 track all at the same time. Ti abi.


Another thing I discovered last night, while tinkering with my phone is that it has several access point in priority order. This means that when one Internet access point like the Wireless LAN doesn’t work (or connection gets cut off), the phone shifts to the next and this is bad news if it’s the service providers inet because it automatically deducts whatever credit is left – like one merciless leech. This discovery sent shivers and goosebumps as I realized that call center agents who have sampled my “constructive confrontation” may be after all right with their explanations – except maybe that they weren’t able to get the exact facts straight when I talked to them. Well, that’s learning for both of us. Once again, next time I’d be gentle. Hahaha.



Mood: 3/10 Honks! (going out to court)

Nokia 5800 firmware update done


I’ve just finished updating my Nokia 5800’s firmware from V11.0.008 to 21.0.025. It took me approximately 3 hours using the following setup: a Lenovo S10 and a DSL connection speed of just around 125 kbps. That’s not bad compared to the Nokia Care center’s (in selected malls) 2-hour commitment – i.e., if you’re the only customer at that time. As recommended before updating the firmware, I backed up all my files thru the Nokia Suite but so far the installation went fine, albeit being slow, and luckily none of the files and settings were corrupted or changed. My cellphone is now with my personal QA test personnel, my wife. She’s installing an application daw so that she can take a look at her farm using my phone – which by the way is the main reason why she’s been reminding me to update its firmware. Women. Hahahaha.


This morning, as the rain poured hard and with nothing to do at home other than the usual baby stuffs, we took turns checking the music downloading capability of this bum tool (no pun intended). Since we purchased this a month ago, today was the only time that we got to open the packet that contains the instruction on how to access the site where free 500 full track musics can be downloaded and which surprised me because it took only around 4-5 minutes for each track to be completely saved. The list of available music though are limited only to that of Universal Records label. But if you’re a fan of Bryan Adams, Metallica, Bjork, Boomtown Rats, and Bob Marley just to name a few, then I guess you’re in for a treat.



Mood: 2/10 Honks! (our baby boy can now kiss good night)

Marcus in Manila

Marcus in Manila

Originally uploaded by akonnamgapictures

It’s another trip to the Metro but this time with Marcus tagging along with us since this time we’re just claiming one NBI clearance that was supposed to be released yesterday but then Pres. GMA’s SONA stopped almost everything: work and classes – including mine.

This shot was taken by my wife at the backseat (while stuck in traffic in front of the National Museum) with Marcus wide-eyed as this is his first time to be here. If not for the crazy weather we could have given him a “tour” of the place including that of the Calesa ride which he missed the last time when my wifey and I was here to apply for our much needed clearance.

Wifey used my Nokia 5800 to take this picture and tonight I tried using it from upload to blogging but unfortunately I was only able to upload this pic to flickr and no more. The Blog This menu isn’t available when using the cellphone via WiFi. The upload speed though is remarkable and my wife and I even agree that it can put to shame both our PC and netbook in terms of loading pictures to the web.

So the longer I get to use my first touch phone, the more I appreciate that I was right when I said before that the Nokia 5800 is the perfect bum tool. And sometimes indeed, the best things in life are cheap. Agree?

Mood: 4/10 Honks! (anxious about the scheduled brownout later tonight from 11pm-6am)

The Missing Horse


Originally uploaded by akonnamgapictures

This is one of the shots I took during our first calesa ride from Carriedo to SM Manila – unlucky horse, huh?. I’m calling this the missing horse because for unknown reasons it just won’t appear in my PC even after all of its batch have been uploaded. The only thing I did with this image is to rename it from my cellphone and I suspect that the Nokia Photos suite has some bugs in it that makes it not recognize any renamed file. Anyway, I’ll figure it out later including how to upload using Bluetooth. Maybe, something from my Information Technology class will tell me how to. Got to go, I need to be the first one in the classroom.

The Nokia 5800: a perfect bum tool

This lovely piece of cellphone, coming from the Finnish company, has been with me for more than a week already after I succumbed to my wife’s persistent request to have my almost 3-year old Motorola L6 replaced. Besides, the old cellphone is becoming to be a cause of a failure-to-communicate symptom since its speaker conked out due to countless falls and misuse; and needless to say, in my current bum status, not clearly hearing an initial job interview over the phone is a no-no – justification, justification, justification.

So far since I bought it though, I haven’t had any calls. But why should I care, this phone after all isn’t just a phone. If there’s one phone that will make one happy even while his much awaited calls seem unlikely to happen, it is the Nokia 5800. There’s just so much to this phone that job hunt frustrations can be easily forgotten and that killing time can become a habit.

But as much as I’d like to give it a technical review, I’d rather direct you to tech sites like Yugatech who has a very subjective review of it and instead I’ll post briefly what I like and don’t like about it.

The touch pad meets my expectations although I’ve read that upgrading the firmware version from V11 to V21 will improve the touch pad’s response. Right now I care less (and might not care about it in the near future after learning from Nokia Care that it will take at least 2 hours to do the upgrade).

This model is part of Nokia’s ExpressMusic series and true enough, the sound is incredibly crisp (either using the earphone or the loudspeaker). I don’t recommend connecting it though as an input to the car’s stereo as the MP3 quality varies and that it affects the volume of each music that other than watching out for potholes while driving, one might have to deal with adjusting the music volume all at the same time – very dangerous.

The 3.2 MP camera is great for shots under bright light - daytime and just like any other low quality/resolution cam, it doesnt perform well under low light condition.

The 3.2 MP camera is great for shots under bright light - e.g., daytime - and just like any other low quality/resolution cam, it doesn't perform well under low light condition.

The Nokia 5800 comes with a 3.2 MP camera that by today’s standard is mediocre. But ever remember the phrase, “you get what you paid for”? Well, you should. Paying P14,900 for a phone one shouldn’t expect an SLR-like quality. Duh! Don’t get me wrong though, for a bum, for a blogger (both of which best describes me), this is heaven sent. I just hate it though that there’s no option to turn the camera shutter sound totally off (there are 3 other settings but none makes shooting discreet). It’s a skeuomorph and I don’t like it.

I love most of the videos (mp4 format) that comes along with this phone. The resolution is unbelievable. Even those I’ve shot came out almost at par with my Sony handheld video recorder. However, I discovered that the mp4 format has to be converted at least to wmw for it to be viewed once it is transferred to the PC. Good thing I was able to download a freeware from that converts mp4 to wmv in a breeze. Check out

Others raise their eyebrows at the guitar pick that comes along with the strap for the cellphone. Me? I don’t, I actually would prefer using it over the stylus, except when I’m in the mood to kill time by texting using the handwriting feature – which I’m now starting to learn and appreciate.

Well, this is all the feedback I’ve got for now. With the hectic time I have right now both at school and at home where my favorite photo subjects are – my wife and kid, it might take me another week more to discover and learn the other features that this perfect bum tool has. I’m just wishing though that next time I’d hear another lovely HR voice saying, “…Mr. Nacionales, this is to inform you that you are scheduled for an interview on…” When that time comes, I’m quite sure she’d hear me clearly say, “Yes…I’m coming”.




Mood: 3/10 Honks!

Gotcha brother!

Just recently I was printing several pages of school term finals paper when I encountered once again my printer’s low/replace ink prompt. Having solved this problem before, I confidently opened the ink slots and tried shaking the cartridges just like what I did a couple of months ago. But despite number of attempts, the printer this time seemed to have known what I’m trying to do – fool him – and he’s trying to put up a good fight by displaying the error again and again which frustrated me more every after each try.

After stepping back and trying to think, logically and technically this time, if what seems to be the real problem and what might solve it, I peeked inside the ink slots and immediately saw what needs to be done. There it was staring right back at me – optical sensors. I almost cursed myself for not having thought about it the first time I encountered this problem.

Arrays of optical sensors which detect if ink is still present in the cartridge.

So what’s the fix? All it took me was a black marker pen to block the transparent window making the optical sensor “sense” that the cartridge is still full. And this time, the solution worked like magic. Now I’ve got unlimited ink…well, hopefully I won’t get caught unprepared when it actually runs out of ink while I’m in the middle of printing a much needed school essay. 

By marking the transparent window, the optical sensor will "think" that the cartridge still has enough ink.



Warning: this solution will just work temporarily. This is one flaw I’ve noted regarding the design of this printer because it prompts an empty ink when in fact there’s still about one-fourth (that’s approx P100 being wasted) available ink that may be used for several print-outs. Make sure to check every now and then if the ink cartridge is about to go totally empty.


Honk: 2/10 Honks! (just had buko pie for lunch)


DCP-150C ink replacement


On April 2008, we bought the Brother multi-printer DCP-150C and since then we enjoyed using it to print documents and pictures. Both printouts so far are satisfactory or have met my expectations especially coming from a cheaper printer compared to its counterparts in the market. In fact the pictures we printed (and framed) still have its vibrant colors as if it was just newly printed.

But just like everything else, this one too has its own flaws and one of it I think is its ink management system. Although the reason why I chose this multi-printer among the other brands is because of its separate color cartridge (black, yellow, cyan and magenta) just like the costly Canon printers, it seems that the software that comes with the package erroneously detects the right amount of ink per cartridge. And I can prove that.

A couple of weeks ago the printer prompted me that its black and magenta inks are already empty, and despite budget protest, the need to print something made me buy two new original OEM cartridges. My curiosity about accuracy of the ink status monitor’s report led me to pry and tinker with the old cartridges. Well, I was right. The magenta is approximately at its one-third level but the black is indeed really empty.

L-R: whole cartridge, open case, main ink container
L-R: whole cartridge, open case, main ink container

Due to our current austerity measures and the thought of throwing the old magenta away, I tried putting it back together and thankfully I was able to do a good job of closing it neatly with just some minor nicks on the cartridge’s body.

This is the printers ink cartridge compartment.
This is the printer’s ink cartridge compartment.


Seeing that there’s nothing electronic that will “tell” the system that it was opened, I decided to take a chance of putting the old magenta back, while I opened the newly purchased black ink’s package and then inserted both to their respective slots in the printer. Anxiously, I then turned on the multi-printer with my eye on the ink status monitor window wondering what will appear next. Surprise! The software detected a fresh and full magenta ink. I fooled it.

Magenta: fooled as full.
Magenta: fooled as full.

Though I’d like to be technical about the whole ink level sensing thing and spare some time investigating why it behaved that way, I choose this time to be a plain consumer (read: lazy) and just assume what went right and what made it work. And so I think that if there is indeed a flaw with the Brother’s ink management system, it is what made me insert just one fresh ink and yet having the “high-tech” machine thinking that it now has two new full inks. Gotcha Brother, I saved Php375 (USD7). Big deal, huh?



Mood: 3/10 Honks!

Dirty days are here

It is at this point that I really wish I can play the theme from the movie Psycho. Because frankly speaking when my wife and I decided to have a baby, the thing which I had the most concern is dealing with the baby’s poop and especially when the time will come for him to be potty-trained.

Gladly, I was able to get over with being squeamish about the poop thing and surprisingly it happened on the baby’s day one at home. I think I just saw the need to help my wife (even if I know that she’s tended several of her baby nieces/nephews before) that I composed myself and braved seeing the unlucky diaper being opened and wiping the just as unlucky wet wipes.

I havent read it from cover to cover, but I will if everything else fails.

I haven't read it from cover to cover, but I will if everything else fails.

If athletes prepare both their minds and body before an event, I did the same thing myself just for this potty training day. Good thing wifey was understanding enough to buy me a small booklet (before the baby came) which is all about getting prepared for the “P-Day” and I actually don’t know  if it’s consoling to read from the book, that sometimes it will be a hit or miss and that sometimes it will just be messy. What do you think? Wait, I can’t answer, I’m gasping.

The unlucky fixtures. It just sucks to be them.

The unlucky fixtures. It just sucks to be them.

Also among the preparations I did was to equip myself with as much resources or tools as possible. As a matter of fact, just few days ago we bought a soft toilet seat for the baby and the next day I installed a bidet spray to make the cleaning easier. Now the only thing left to be done is to see if every bit of preparation will be of help. All fingers, and toes, crossed here.

Today is supposed to be training day one but so far our baby hasn’t shown any hint that he’s ready to make a test run. I’m (with wifey just as excited) now on a waiting game for that dreaded time and as much as I’d like to make my escape just in case, the excuse-me-wifey-but-I got-to-work excuse isn’t just possible anymore. So once again, all there is for me to do when that time of the day eventually comes is to focus, breathe in, breathe out and firmly hope that soon enough the training will sink in and that soon enough he will learn how to do it on his own without me at the “observation” end.


This whole preparation thing got me into meet two bidet products, and even if I’d love to review other items and write other topics, I’m posting this nevertheless.

The good bidet:

Brand: Rinse Tech

Type: Bidet spray

Price: Php875 at Ace Hardware

Material: Stainless

Comment: Easy to install. Really drip free as indicated in the package.

The bad bidet

Brand: Rosco

Type: Fixed/bowl-mounted bidet

Price: Php290 at Ace Hardware

Material: Plastic

Comment: Do not buy. This is cheap but it doesn’t fit “any” standard bowl as indicated in the package. And even if it fits, I don’t think this is a good choice of bidet. Trust me.


By the way, I learned that bidet is actually pronounced as (bi-day) contrary to what I’ve known for a long time since I got to use it at work.

Ok. Enough of this dirty talk.

Im ready, Dad. Are you?

I'm ready, Dad. Are you?


Mood: 3/10 Honks!

Lenovo S10 is it


The box...

The box...

What started months ago as just as a (one of) wants to have a replacement for my company issued laptop eventually became a need. And after careful review and consideration of several laptops and netbooks it all led me to just two choices to pick from: HP Mini 2140 and Lenovo S10.

These two netbooks if compared spec by spec is almost very similar to each other. Each has its own appeal though like the HP Mini is much hyped for its keyboard size, which I agree that it is indeed its strongest advantage among the other mini-laptops of the same price range; the Lenovo meanwhile has IBM behind its back to make almost everyone familiar with it to trust the Lenovo’s quality without any doubt. It is these hype and appeal that made it harder for me to pick between the two. So what was the tie-breaker that made me pick the Lenovo over the HP Mini? It’s the battery capacity.

...the contents (I havent read the manuals yet)...

...the contents (I haven't read the manuals yet)...

At first, to be honest, I was about to choose the HP Mini just because I think it looks better than the Lenovo. But when I learned that the Lenovo has 6-cell battery vs. the HP Mini’s 3-cell battery, I decided that it has to be it despite having a higher price tag of Php24K+(USD500). Paying Php1000 (USD20) more for an extended battery life I think is just fair enough.

There are obvious things though that has to be dealt with since there are laptop features that are not available in netbooks because of its compact size. Like most netbooks, the Lenovo S10 has no optical drive which I don’t know yet if it’s still possible to watch videos coming from CDs or DVDs by transferring it to a USB thumb drive. I’ll find out soon.

...the user. Actually, hes more of a QA tester.

...the user. Actually, he's more of a QA tester.

Currently, I’m also trying to adjust to some keyboard keys (especially hitting the right shift key) orientation although there’s not much significant change in my typing speed – I think I’m still at around 50 wpm. Likewise, the small touchpad area and the left/right buttons that feels a little bit hard (I don’t know if it’s because it is still new) isn’t much of a big deal either; thanks to almost a year of dealing with my previous company’s Ergonomic Advisor that made me get used to keyboard shortcuts.

This Lenovo small wonder is just two days old and I’m quite sure that I have months ahead to test and explore what it is really made of. Right now, I’m enjoying using it as so far it has met most of my expectations. Hopefully, it stays up like one good friend – through good and bad times. “Welcome home, my blogging buddy.”






Mood: 2/10 Honks!