HOV lane on EDSA to be implemented by the MMDA, dry run starts Dec.11

Zen Estacio, writing for Yugatech;

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has announced that a new traffic scheme will be implemented along EDSA. The fifth or left most lane on Edsa will be reserved for High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV) or vehicles with two or more passengers.

Just in time for the holiday rush! Hopefully this will encourage carpooling!

Smart to start charging Php2 per 1MB this November 28

Abe Olandres, writing for Yugatech;

Smart has announced last week that they will be changing their default data charging rate from Php5 for 15 minutes to Php2 for every 1MB. This is effective November 28, 2017. The new Php2/MB rate now removes the default time-based charging for all Smart Postpaid accounts.

Smart created a detailed help article on the new data charging rate.

We are enhancing our pay-per-use data billing model of Php 5 for every 15 minutes of data consumed to Php 2 for every 1MB consumed. With this enhancement, we will be able to better serve you and your data needs. Please read below to know the new benefits, features, and change in postpaid experience — Effective November 28, 2017

I’m pretty sure a lot of people will not be happy with the new data charging rate.

City Government of Cebu to use Uber’s system to track government vehicles and personnel

Alyza Angeles, writing for Yugatech;

Cebu City Mayor Tomas “Tommy” Osmeña announced today that the City Government of Cebu will be using Uber’s system to track the movement of government vehicles and personnel. The reason? To make sure that these government vehicles are used properly.

Here’s the full text of Cebu City Mayor Tomas “Tommy” Osmeña’s announcement.

Under this program, there will be no more overpriced vehicles with “missing” spare parts. No more “sick” drivers being paid to do nothing. No more fuel stolen from gas tanks. No more red-plate vehicles used to bring employees’ families to the beach or mall. And since Uber and Grab are available to everyone, the prices charged to government can be made very transparent. Overpricing is next to impossible, and employees are tracked wherever they go.

Good job!

Hopefully other LGU and municipalities will follow suit!

Looks like City of Cebu will be utilizing Uber for Business.

Sony launches OFW Homecoming Online Promo

Vaughn Chua, writing for Yugatech;

Sony has launched their online promo for OFWs called Sony OFW Homecoming Online Promo.

Here’s the official announce from Sony Ph’s twitter account.

I should invite my family in the Philippines to join the contest!!!

Apple acquires wireless-charging manufacturer PowerbyProxi

Zen Estacio, writing for Yugatech;

Apple recently announced that they’ve purchased, for an undisclosed amount, New Zealand based company PowerbyProxi. The tech giant confirmed the acquisition to New Zealand website Stuff.

It’s not surprising that Apple acquires a wireless-charging manufacturer, since they’ve been preaching about a “wireless” future for a couple of years now. Now that they have the capability to manufacture wireless-charger, we may soon see this (wireless-charging) feature trickle down to their other device like Macbooks.

GMA, TV5 now airing shows with closed captioning

Carl Lamiel, writing for Yugatech;

Local TV networks GMA and TV5 have started airing shows on their respective channels with closed captioning (CC) or adding soft subtitles as part of implementing rules for a newly-enacted bill which lapsed into a law last year.

Like here in KSA, there should be a way to disable CC from appearing while watching. Can anyone verify this?!

House bills seek to remove libel in Cybercrime Law

Carl Lamiel, writing for Yugatech;

A technical working group (TWG) of the House Committee on Information and Communications Technology chaired by Rep. Victor Yap (3rd District, Tarlac) is now in the process of drafting the bill consolidating House Bills 2096, 6881, 3295 and 6342 authored by Representatives Antonio Tinio (Party-list, ACT Teachers), Yap, Evelina Escudero (1st District, Sorsogon) and Rodel Batocabe (Party-list, AKO Bicol), respectively, which all aim to repeal of Section Sec. 4(c)4 and amendment of Sections 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 15, 19, 23, 24, 25, 26, and 28 of RA 10175 in their respective bills.

ASUS to terminate their ZenCircle photo sharing app on Oct.16

Zen Estacio, reporting for Yugatech;

ASUS announced through the ZenCircle website that the photo-sharing app is closing its doors on October 16, 2017.

Here’s the full text of ASUS’ announcement.

Dear ZenCirclers,

We are very thankful for your love and support through the years. Your continuous support and encouragement has shaped ZenCircle into what it is today and formed an amazing community. However, all good things must come to an end: we regret to inform you that ZenCircle will be terminated on October 16, 2017.

It has been a great journey with every one of you, exploring the world together through the photos you’ve shared. As part of the ZenUI family, we are committed to bringing you the best ZenUI user experience, and we’ll be back with more exciting features in the future. A million thanks to all of you!

Sincerely,
The ZenCircle Team

SE Asia undersea cables got cut; slower internet ensues

Carl Lamiel, writing for Yugatech;

Reports from several SouthEast Asian news sources have mentioned that the region’s Asia-American Gateway (AAG), TGA-Intra Asia (TGA-IA) and SEA-ME-WE3 (SMW3) cables all have suffered damages during the past weeks. AAG had been damaged as it was ruptured in two locations: 66 kilometers (41 miles) and 85 kilometers from its Hong Kong station. Meanwhile, TGA-IA cable’s damage was seen by experts at around 54 kilometers from the same island.

This is bad!

Sterling Paper buys Openovate, Galleon.ph

Carl Lamiel, writing for Yugatech;

Sterling has bought a total of 85% combined stake from the companies according to Openovate’s former CEO and now Chief Technology officer Christan Blanquera.

Sterling known for its papers and school supplies, and to keep with times the company ventured into other industries such as retail and leasing, BPO, and agriculture. This acquisition of Openovate could be one of the many that the company have in the pipeline.

Notable products/project of Openovate are;

  • Galleon – ecommerce site for products not available in the Philippines
  • Iris Text – a mobile app that can turn your phone into a customer support Tool.
  • Salaaap – a buy and sell site with a price comparison and product search community.
  • Aces Call Center Jobs – Job board for call centers.

Samsung Bixby now available in the Philippines

Carl Lamiel, writing for Yugatech;

Samsung‘s own virtual assistant called Bixby and its voice capabilities are now available in more countries worldwide, including the Philippines.

The Korean tech giant has just rolled out its proprietary virtual assistant onto 200 more countries, including the UK and Australia. Before the worldwide rollout, Bixby is only available in two countries — the US and in their home turf of South Korea.

It’ll be interesting how many people will be talking to their Samsung smartphones calling it Bixby!

MiCab in Manila to launch next month

Alyza Angeles, writing for Yugatech;

MiCab, a Visayas-based taxi-hailing app, will finally pave its way in Metro Manila next month.

If I were MiCab, I’ll launch the service in Manila this month!

MiCab, a homegrown ride-sharing service. The service “exclusively partner with taxi fleet companies who take pride in their service, putting the value of their vehicles and drivers top of the priority” which means none of that LTFRB-drama.

Their app is available to both iOS and Android users.

Uber rolls out Driver Profiles

Alyza Angeles, writing for Yugatech;

Basically, the new feature works just by simply tapping the photo of your driver to view his/her profile. From there, you can scroll down to see his/her achievements as well thank you notes from other riders. You can even chat your driver up and leave a thank you note after your ride.

When was the last time you saw the profile of a taxi driver?

This is just a small feature but it has a big effect on the service, which is what taxi operator needs to do. I expect Grab to follow suit or roll-out similar feature, if its not already available.

BASS app maps out if Globe or Smart is faster in your area

Abe Olandres, writing for Yugatech;

B.A.S.S. is a locally developed app for bandwidth and signal strength analyzer for mobile networks. It’s basically similar to the SpeedTest and OpenSignal app we’ve been using for years.

The main difference is that BASS specifically monitors the strength of the cellular signal and the speed of the mobile internet in the Philippines by collecting test results made by users.

From the app’s description;

Mobile app for crowd sourced volunteers to help measure the bandwidth and signal strength of carrier networks at given locations

The BASS is currently available for Android phone and can be downloaded here.

Facebook video call tablet is reportedly in the works

Joey Maceda, writing for Yugatech;

Facebook was also reportedly planning to build its own core operating system for the device, but instead might opt to use Android. The company is also testing a smart camera feature that allows the device to automatically scan for people in range and lock on to them. Facebook says that the device would make the participants of a call feel like they’re in the same room. The device hails from Building 8, the company’s experimental development lab, and could possibly be announced at the next F8 developer conference.

The social media giant may be taking a page from Amazon’s playbook, which is create a dedicated device similar to Echo, Echo Look and the Echo display.

Pangga, on-demand companionship app, is now looking for partners

Joey Maceda, writing for Yugatech;

Do you have what it takes to be a great companion? You now have the chance to put those skills to work. Pangga, a new on-demand companionship service is now looking for partners.

From their website, this is how they describe their service.

Pangga is an app-based technology platform that enables single millennials to avail a companionship service in order to build a healthy self-esteem in todays “Me Me Me Generation”.

The word Pangga is a Visayan language is an endearment word that is used to address someone whom you love. it’s close equivalent in english is “dear”, “honey”, “sweetheart” or yeah…. “love”.

Interesting concept to say the least and there are a lot of ways this app can be use for “other things” other than what the founder/developer intended it to do. The app/service is targeting a specific group of people like tourists and the Philippines being a tourist destination the service has a lot of potential.

If you are interested in trying out the service, you can send your request to download the app here.

Tesla to build the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery for South Australia

Joey Maceda, writing for Yugatech;

After a bidding war with 91 other international bidders, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is promising to supply South Australia with a 100-megawatt battery before summer. It will be providing improved energy stability for SA, as well as act as a back-up in emergency situations. South Australia has been battling power problems since a statewide blackout in September of 2016.