EDSA may soon be the world's first Wi-Fi highway when Aeonic Seiche WiFi Philippines, Inc. completes its Seiche Tunnel Wi-Fi service. According to PWIT, service will be from Balintawak to Roxas Blvd. But as of today, it's only from Kamuning to Ortigas. More information can be found here.
Time to save for a wi-fi enabled phone, EDSA is just a few meters away from our house :~)
Look at what Rocky and I found in a Korean auction warehouse in Quezon City:
It's a Nintendo Famicom and a Japanese version of the SEGA Saturn. We were actually looking for supplies for our planned store when I saw those red and white colors piled in one corner. Rocky immediately grab the unit with the least dirt. On the other side, I saw the only SEGA Saturn on the shelf. Without hesitation, I picked it up.
The SEGA Saturn doesn't come with a power cord, AV cables and games. Same case with the Nintendo Family Computer. You could tell how the previous owners abused these consoles with the amount of dirt on their surface. The list price of the SEGA Saturn is P1500 and P500 for the Nintendo Famicom. Good thing Rocky's mom is with us. So after haggling the cashier, we got both systems for... TADAAAA!! P500!!!! Not bad eh? I've been looking for a Famicom for ages! The only problem is where to find some AV cables and games for the SEGA Saturn to check if this thing actually works. :D
About those dirt, they're no match for Mr. Fantastik :D
BTW, I finally decided to buy a brand new motherboard and resurrect my PC. It's an ASUS P4V800D-X.
Here's Karlo installing the board.. faster slave! Biro lang. :D
So have you ditched your Globe Telecom SIM Card and switched to Smart or SUN? If you have chosen Smart, good. Smart has one of the nationwidest but SUN is different. In most places, especially indoors, SUN has a very poor signal. Now is you chance to let SUN know where you needed their precious signal.
Today marks my 7th year with Destiny Cable. So is my martyrdom with this ISP worth it despite the problems I've faced in the past? My answer: YES.
When I applied for Destiny 7 years ago, broadband access was limited and dial up was still king. It was a rough ride I tell you, Destiny started out with uncapped speeds. Then it was capped at 512kbps. It was then reduced to 256kbps during the exodus of SkyCable and Home Cable subscribers after the Star's Channels were pulled of from their listings. The speed was returned to its 512kbps when subscribers started transferring again to SKY and with the launch of much cheaper DSL services from PLDT and Bayantel.
I've already considered switching to PLDT or BayanTel a few times already but I still sticked with Destiny. From a monthly bill of P2500, our bill is now at P999/month. And with the recently upgraded accounts to No-Speed limit, what could you ask for? Can't believe it? Look:
Actually, the fastest speed I got from Destiny was 4.3Mbps a few years ago. :D Hey Destiny, how about a loyalty award? I became part of DEWD (Destiny's External Web Development) and became one of the DOGZ admin without any fees remember? :~)
Just to give you an idea on how far Benguet is from Quezon City, look at the image above. I haven't been to Benguet but according to Kuya Noli, it's an approx. 8-hour drive.
Google just sent the copy of my stolen check and according to the stamps and computer prints on the check, it was deposited last February 15, 2007 at the La Trinidad, Benguet branch of Allied Bank.
I've already called the branch and according to Allona, the person I talked to, my check was deposited by a Money Changer. The money changer apparently bought my check from the person who "stole" it. Deja vu?
The bank said that they will immediately notify the account holder (money changer) and would contact me again in a few days. She was even surprised when I gave my phone number as the area code is (2). I asked her, "Hindi ba kayo nagtaka at Quezon City yung address nung check at dyan pa umabot sa Benguet?". She keeps on apologizing and said that she would do her best to help me. She also said that I shouldn't be worried and I will get my money back once they've notified the account holder and receive a notice from Citibank. Not to be worried? Suuure... my Adsense check for this month might already be in the hands of these postal bastards and I should be worried? Everyone using the Philippine Postal Service should be worried.
If banks like these allow for 2nd endorsements of checks as easy as this, you're better of sending your money without even enclosing it in envelopes via Phipost. My check is in US Dollars, they should have atleast required the money changer to submit a copy of the ID the supposedly seller/owner of my check. That way, we could post the face of that damn bastard and trace where the hell he lives. Or better yet, banks should not accept 2nd endorsement checks especially if the check is in foreign currency or the one depositing it is a Money Changer.
My Adsense checks usually arrives every 20th-23rd of every month. My check was deposited much more early than it usually arrives, so my current check for this month might already be in the hands of those Philpost bastards.
It doesn't matter if your check is in Philippine Peso or US Dollars to be stolen and en-cashed. The only solution is to have your checks delivered via secured shipping, as in Adsense's case --secured $24 mail from DHL. Following Yuga's advice, I've already set my payments on hold, maybe about 3 months, and have joined the DHL club.
I've already removed Philpost as one of our available shipping methods on our online store, and I hope that everyone who reads this post will stop using this useless and service.
Sending something via Philpost is like giving your things away for free.
Just noticed that Destiny Cable Internet is now using OpenDNS. I've verified it with Karlo and some of my friends from DOGZ. Now with OpenDNS, Destiny has just become more n00b friendly... opendns blocks phishing sites :P
Piracy is not new here in the Philippines, so when GoNintendo reader Micael sent a photo of fake Nintendo DS games to the GoNintendo staff, I wasn't surprised at first look. Pirated DVD movies, Audio CDs, PlayStation 2, XBOX, GameBoy games, etc. are normally found in Quiapo. You don't need a sixth sense to find them, just open your eyes and look around. They're everywhere in Quiapo! You can also find them on some stairways of the Metro Rail Transit in EDSA, wet markets, footbridges, and other places that people frequently visit.
Gameshops located within shopping malls like SM and Robinson's sells them underground. You'll see nothing displayed, until you ask one of their salesperson. The salesperson will then get folder or bundle of fake PS2 and XBOX games they're selling. Picture below is one shop located at SM North EDSA:
It was only when I enlarged the picture (fig.1) Micael sent that made may jaw drop. The fake Nintendo DS games are on display freely at the newly opened Toys 'R Us store here in the Philippines. Does the management know about this? Maybe, maybe not. As I've said, video game piracy is not new here so allow me to take you down in history with my personal experience. When my uncle gave me a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) as a present when I was 4 yrs old, the only game I have is the bundled Super Mario Bros. / Duckhunt game. Since the Philippines is closer to Japan than the United States, NES game cartridges were rare and expensive compared to its Japanese counterpart, the Famicom or Family Computer.
Since Famicom games cartridges are incompatible, I purchased a cartridge converter that allowed me to play Japanese carts on my US 8-bit game system. Normally, Famicom cartridges retailed around P75 - P300 (approx. US$3 - US$12 during that time) per game and rare NES cartridges are at P2500 - P3500 (approx. US$100 - US$140 during that time) each! So the most logical thing to do back then was to buy a converter (maybe considered the father of current modchips eh?). The photo above (fig.2) is a converter for my Japanese Super Famicom, similar on how the NES-Famcom converter works.
Above (fig.3) is a Famicom game my father bought at one of the game shops in Quiapo. Since there's no internet yet during those days, gamers rely on video game magazine for news. And video game piracy was not yet an issue during that time. We really don't know if the cartridges we're buying are legit or not. Apparently, the above cartridge is fake and I just learned about that a few years ago. I've also bought several (25/50/100)-in-1 Famicom carts and later learned that they're also fake.
Fast forward to my Super Famicom days (Japanese version of Super Nintendo Entertainment System). When I got my Super Famicom, I immediately went to the local Astrovision shop and bought a copy of then popular arcade game, Street Fighter II (fig.4). I'm still clueless on identifying a legit cartidge from not when the day I bought it. There was a manual included and the box seemed authentic. And surprisingly, the cartridge fits into Candice's Super NES.
During the NES-Super NES /Famicom-Super Famicom era here, the shop to go to was Hot Shots GameCenter in Raon, Astrovision in SM City North EDSA - Annex, and Video City in SM City North EDSA. Normally, Super Famicom cartridges retails at P1000 - P1500 (approx. US$40 - US$60 during that time). I don't know if they knew that the cartridges they're selling are original or pirated, neither do I.
When I bought my Street Fighter II Turbo (fig.5) in Japan, that's when I learned on how to detect an original copy from not. As you can see on the photo, the package contains a manual, 3 leaflets from Capcom, and the game cartridge is wrapped in plastic. Original Super Famicom cartridges would not fit into any Super NES console without using the converter. So by that time, 100% of the cartridges I bought before my Street Fighter II Turbo are all fake since all of them fit in Candice's Super NES!
When the era of PlayStation arrived, modchips started to pop and replace the old physical converter for the Super Famicom and Famicom game systems. The initial function of a modchip is to allow US gamers to play Japanese games and vice versa. But there was another feature that would live on upto this day. It is to allow everyone to play backup and pirated copies of PS1, PS2, XBOX, and XBOX360 games.
This era marked the start of rampant pirated Dreamcast, PlayStation 1, PlayStation 2, and XBOX games being sold in the Philippines. For just P70 - P120 each (approx. US$1.43 - US$2.45 today), you can buy yourself a bootleg copy of a game. Above photo (fig.6) is a stall in one of the malls located at Caloocan City selling pirated PlayStation, PlayStation 2, GameBoy and XBOX games.
Above photo is taken last December 26, 2005 at Star City theme park. Fake DVD movies and games are openly sold.
Fake PC softwares are also openly sold at around P75 - P100 (approx. US$1.53 - US$2.04) per disc.
Games are not the biggest problem of the Optical Media Board but the rampant piracy of DVD movies.
Local movies get pirated even before they get an official DVD release. They come bundled too.
An entire floor of a building in Manila has stalls of pirated DVDs.
Karaoke DVDs are being sold for only P50 each (approx. US$1.02).
Lots of pirated DVD movies.
As you can see on the photo above, building owners tolerate DVD piracy. The encircled part reads:
1st Offense - fine of P2,000.00 and cut-off electricity for 1 day. 2nd Offense - fine of P5,000.00 and stall closed for 1 week. 3rd Offense - eviction from Good Earth Plaza and forfeiture of deposits.
DVD Prices on the Photo:
8 in 1 DVD movie - P60 (approx. US$1.22) Mini-DVD movie - P50 (approx. US$1.02) Single DVD movie with Case - P40 (approx. US$0.82) Concerts 8 in 1 DVD - P70 (approx. US$1.43) Single Concert DVD - P50 (approx. US$1.02)
and more pirated DVD movies...
...and still more.
Piracy is not limited to optical media. As you can see on the photo above, it's a PS2 controller that I bought at eBay. The seller said that it was an authentic and brand new controller. Guess what, it's fake.
There are also fake iPods, wallets, bags, shoes, medicines, food, cellphones, etc. Remember the Robo Watch in the 1980's? Well it also got pirated and was sold here. Even TV shows are pirated here. You may get the impression that the Philippines is the center and source of piracy... you're wrong. According to the merchants at Quiapo, they usually get their supplies from China or Malaysia. So why is piracy so rampant here? Number 1, they're too expensive for the average Juan to buy.
When I bought Glen's GameCube last year, I tried to look for The Legend Zelda: Twilight Princess on video gameshops. But the game is either out of stock or simply damn expensive. On one store I've asked, they were selling their only copy for P5500 (approx. US$112.24)! Other games were also priced a lot higher than their original price. Old GameCube games are priced from P2500 - P4000 (approx. US$51.02 - US$81.63) and their game collection is very limited and the games are old.
Piracy is not limited in the Philippines, it is everywhere. If you have a computer with a broadband connection, you don't need to shop for fake DVD movies and video games. All you need is to download them from torrent sites.
The only difference of piracy in the Philippines and other parts of Asia is that it is being openly tolerated, unlike in USA and other countries.
Now let me leave you guys with one of the very first article that we published at GameOPS.net a few years back. This was written by Rocky:
Video Game Piracy: A Welcome Solution? Four to five years running, we look into what piracy has done in the Philippines.
Let's face it, over the span of 4 to 6 years, piracy has become rampant here in the Philippines. Starting from the more affordable 200 peso PS CD's to its present low rates of P35 per disc. In other parts of the globe, piracy has been cut to bare minimum and almost non-existent perhaps so why is it here piracy is even endorsed and can be seen almost anywhere.
We ask ourselves Filipinos what do we see in piracy? Aside from their availability (arriving earlier than original games), the price factor is indeed a big deal. May sense nga naman, why buy the real thing when there's something just like it and cheaper pa.
Being a former piracy fan myself, it really was hard letting go. But in the end, values got the better of me. I found out how much it affected game companies, in order for them to continue bringing us quality games. They need our money for funding. At our present rate, if we continue buying pirated CD's it will ultimately end in more closed companies (like SNK America) and being a true game fan, I really don't want that to happen. So it's up to you gamers, is this just a fad or is it really game over?
Posted by Rocky Opina October 5, 2000 (C)2000 www.gameops.net
Speaking of GamOPS, we're planning on reviving it. Really. :D
Philippine Entertainment Portal recently interviewed Super Twins director, Dominic Zapata to clear things out regarding the costumeripoff of Super Twins. Here's the snippet:
...Prior to the start of series, many have been pointing out that Super Twins is a rip-off of anime series such as Sailor Moon and Amazing Twins. The show's director, Dominic Zapata, cleared things out by saying, "If you find similarities, it is outright coincidental. Hindi po ako nakakapanood ng Sailor Moon and Amazing Twins.
"Sabi ng lawyer, you shouldn't have access to these things. It's not something na nagawa na dati-[it has] a new story, nice drama and solid characters." ...
So having at least 5 points of costume similarity is coincidental?
Though Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto didn't show how the game will be actually played, the video is enough to make every Nintendo die hard drool.
In the mean time, maybe I'll try to collect the other stars from Super Mario 64. I only collected 105 out of 120. If my N64 still works, maybe I'll also try to defeat Ganon one more time in Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. :~) (Via Mike)
If you haven't seen this guy yet, better head to YouTube and watch one of his videos. Hard Gay is teh coolness.
Razor Ramon Hard Gay (レイザーラモン HG, Reizā Ramon HG?, occasionally HG, Razor Ramon Sumitani or just Hard Gay) is the performing name of Masaki Sumitani (住谷正樹, Sumitani Masaki?), a Japanese comedian, wrestler and tarento ("talent"). His act gained national attention and popularity when featured on the "Bakushō Mondai no Bakuten!" (Daibakuten) Saturday variety show on TBS Television in Japan, in 2005. He should not be confused with American professional wrestler Scott Hall, whose use of the "Razor Ramon" stage name predates Sumitani's. Although the WWE has trademarked the name "Razor Ramon" they have not responded against HG using the name Razor Ramon HG.
Hard Gay Ramen
Hard Gay - Father's Day
Hard Gay Goes to Yahoo! Japan - Part 1
Hard Gay Goes to Yahoo! Japan - Part 2
You can see more videos of him here. Click now hoooooooooooooooooooo!!
The group Paradox 2007 has successfully cracked the validation system of Microsoft Windows Vista enabling users to bypass the product activation requirement of Microsoft Vista. Bill Gates = PWNED... again. More info here.
I've first heard the horror stories about these lost AdSense checks from Marc's blog last year. During that time, I already received my first AdSense check but I haven't deposited it yet. And when I finally decided to open a dollar account with Banco De Oro, I was required to submit several IDs, Billing Statements, and other documents supporting my identity.
I thought that it was safe for me to choose regular postal mail since the checks are in US Dollars. Depositing and en cashing dollar checks are more difficult than checks in peso, and so I thought it was. I was wrong. My check issued last Jan. 25, 2007 should arrive this Feb. 20-25, but I haven't received any mail from Google until today. When I checked that status of the check, behold. The check was cleared on Feb. 26, 2007!
Status of my lost Adsense check:
I gave it the benefit of the doubt since I don't know a thing about checks and banks. Maybe, the date is just the date when I should deposit the check. Then I remembered the very first check I received. I got it sometime in August and just deposited it together with my Nov.2006 check on December 13, 2006. That's also the day when I opened a dollar account at Banco De Oro.
Status on the first 2 Adsense checks I received:
HOOOHKAAAY. The date is the date when the check was cleared within the bank! But still, I cannot accept reality. Reality that my check has indeed been stolen and deposited by another person. So again, I opened up my Google Adsense account and checked the status of the last checked I received.
The last Adsense check I received. Deposited last January 18, 2007:
ONLI IN DA PILIPINS. ONLI HIR. I've already emailed Google about this and I'm waiting for their instructions.
Sure there are a lot of not-so-trusty postal guys, but how the hell did they opened and deposited the check with my name on it?! When Money4Blogs issued a check with my nickname, Banco De Oro declined to accept it. Even the China Bank branch here, where we knew all the tellers and managers and also knew that my nickname is Jepoy, declined the check. They advised me to ask Money4Blog to re-issue a check with my complete name on it. So with that kind of security checks, how in the world have they opened a dollar account using my name?! AND THEY EVEN DEPOSITED A CHECK!
Anyway, I'm not yet sure if the check has indeed been stolen and deposited. Not until Google confirms it. But if ever my check ends up in Dagupan, XXX na to o kaya Imbestigador!
UPDATE (03/03/2007 09:18): Google replies:
Thank you for your email.
According to our records, your check has already been deposited.
I am requesting that a copy of your check be sent to us. Although it may take up to 10 days to receive it from the bank, I will be sure to email it to you when it becomes available. Once you have the check copy, you can confirm if the signature on the back of the check belongs to you. If not, we will be happy to help you open up an investigation with Citibank.
Suzie The Google AdSense Team
I've already put my payments on hold and asked them to cancel the last check they've mailed last Feb. 28. Look's like I'm joining the DHL Club :D
I never thought of lying again on one of these hospital beds after 17 years... But thanks to my stomach acids, I was "detained" and "padlocked" at the Emergency Room of St. Luke's Medical Center dawn of Feb 27th.
I was injected with 2 different kinds of antacids since oral antacids have no effect. But the first one they've injected me had no effect, so they injected me a different one. :-| They took some of my blood, my urine, got my ECG. Sheesh. All of these just because I failed to eat my lunch at 12nn. LESSON: Sleep early. :~)