Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Cignal Digital TV Review

For a long time we've contemplated having a cable tv connection. But the problem is we are so far from the street that regular cable companies would usually say that it is impractical because they would need a very long cable to service us and that the quality degrades as the cable gets longer.

So one day someone came along offering Satellite based TV (Cignal) and we decided to subscribe.

Cignal Digital TV

Advantages

1. No more need for long cables because the service is satellite based.

2. Video quality is better than other cable providers. You are only given a few HD channel depending upon your subscription but even the normal channels look so good, you would think they are also HD.

3. Comprehensive Channel Guide that is built into your remote control. You will find a button on your remote that reads “Guide”. After you press it. It will list the current channel you are watching and you will see what program or movie will come next and the hours. You can slide the guide using your remote to see the schedule up to 4 days.

You can also slide through the guide downwards or upwards to check the schedules of other channels.
It is a really neat feature.

4. Favorite Channels. You can select your favorite channels by pressing the red button on your remote. I think you can select up to 10. The advantage of these feature is that you don't have to slide through all the channels to get to those channels you visit frequently. For example, if your kids like to watch Disney Juniour, you don't have to go through say 51 channels to get to Disney Junior. Of course, you can just type the channel number. But the advantage of the “Favorite Channel” feature is that it also comes with a guide. So you know what will come after “Tayo the Little Bus” or Pororo.

Disadvantages

1. 24 – 48 hours before activation. If you are feeling eager to watch your favorite shows, unfortunately, you will have to wait a while. If discrepancies or problems are found on the documents you passed, you will wait even longer. We waited 4 days.

2. Weird / Somewhat unreasonable identity check. After we paid we waited for 48 hours and then the agent call saying my account could not be activated because the signature on the ID I submitted and my signature in the application were different.

This would have be easily solved if they called me on the contact numbers I provided and just asked me If I was really this person. Or they could just have verified with me through the email that I used to submit the applications.

Anyway, the problem was eventually resolved but I ended waiting 4 days before I could enjoy their service.
But once the service was activated everything was good and we are very satisfied so far.

Conclusion

Would I recommend it? Yes. Do get it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

LED Monitor Review: LG FLATRON E2041

My Old AOC CRT Monitor began to show signs of dying. It would occasionally black out for a few seconds. Sometimes lightning streaks  would run across the screen.

I bought that monitor way back in 2006. It served me well for 5 years. It was very durable and AOC is a good brand.

And so I had no choice but to buy myself a new monitor. I would have preferred another CRT Monitor but they were no longer available. Even the more recent LCD screens are being phased out in favor a the newer LED monitors.

LG FLATRON E2041

(This was not my first choice but it was the next best thing available in the computer store I visited).



1600 X 900 Resolution (16:9 Aspect Ratio)
Contrast Ratio: 5,000,000:1
Brightness: 250 Cd/m2
Dimensions W/Stand (WHD): 17.44" X 13.78" X 6.54"

My Feedback

This monitor comes with two connectors VGA and DVI.

It comes with a CD that is supposed to contain the manual and monitor drivers. However, when you install the monitor driver contained in the CD it will always give you an "Installation Aborted" error.

An Amazon customer wrote about this problem. But don't worry. The monitor is plug and play. It works fine with the default Windows 7 driver.

Content of the CD

What you will actually find in the CD are PDF manuals. But I did not find them helpful. Explanation on the various features and functions of the monitor are very sparse.

And the CD also contains a color calibration file, E2041 ICC Profile. But I also ended up using the default Windows 7 calibration because the one given by LG was too dark.  You could not distinguish the lighter shadows from the dark shadows.

The CD also contained the monitor driver setup information. It is a text file. If you are an expert in Windows Registry editing, perhaps you can enter it manually. Otherwise, don't touch it. You will do fine without it.

Monitor Control Panel

The Monitor Control Panel is found at the right lower side of your monitor. They have no label. You will have to refer on the display on your screen when you are using them (this had me confused at first).

Overall Experience

It is a pretty good monitor. LED is really better than LCD. Picture quality does not change even if  I view it at different angles or when I am far from the screen.

I would still say that CRT monitors produce crisper images but LED monitors are one step closer compared to LCDs.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Privacy and Your Digital Identity

If someone had access to everything you have posted all over the internet they will know who you really are - perhaps even more than many of your close friends.

Imagine me as this person. I know who your elementary, highschool, and college classmates. I know who your former and current officemates are. I know your preferences and your interest based on the websites you visit.

I know your hobbies based on the photos that you shared and the organizations and clubs that you've joined. I know your favorite hangouts based on the statuses that you posted.

I know your Social Security Number, your Bank account, and your Credit Card information – every data about you.

I could use this information for something harmless as giving them to commercial companies so they could send you offers that you will probably like because they are based on your personal data.

Or this data could get leaked to individuals who have more malicious intention.

What are the bad ways your personal data can be used against you?

1. Stalking
2. Criminal Intent (Kidnapping, Theft, Robbery, Murder, etc.)
3. Slander / Mud Slinging / Destroying your Reputation

You would probably say I am just paranoid.

Just the past week we've heard that someone hacked into Sony's Playstation Network and into the members personal details. It is not stated whether credit card information were leaked but it is not far fetched.

And then Facebook admitted that they have been leaking personal data to third parties for years. And only because it was revealed by Symantec, the security company.

Facebook also admitted to hiring a PR company to run a negative campaign against Google. If a company would stoop so low as hire a company to do something unethical, could you ever trust them with your personal information?

Apple is also being sued because of the Ipad and Iphones location tracking because they store the information in their databases and it can be restored using itunes. The main concern was, what if someone hacked into these databases?

Lately, I have been weary with this Internet companies since they seem to bent on using their customers' data to every profitable way they can imagine. And hackers have become bolder and more sophisticated in their methods. So right now I am being more careful with the information I share. For starters I think there will be no more personal social network accounts for me. They actually do more harm to me than good.

Again am I being overly paranoid?

I have a former classmate who works abroad. She often receives SMS messages from relatives asking her to send money. The sender even used some personal information that only my classmate and her relatives will know. My classmate is fortunately a cautious person. She called her relative and she found out that her relative did not send any such SMS.

Now who would get a hold of her Cellphone and some information about her. The only thing she could recall is the company she hired to send a package to her country.