Modular Phones

Check out Alcatel's Modular Phones

Check out Alcatel's Modular Phones

Published on March 17, 2017

Way back in 2013 the idea of modular phones got really popular. It was a pretty cool way of looking at things. Instead of buying a new phone when your old one got old and outdated, why not just replace the parts inside? The emphasis of Phonebloks was to lessen electronic waste. And since the parts were interchangeable you could take out things you didn’t need and replace them with parts you wanted more. It was a phone that could be like a PC.

It was a great idea that started with Phonebloks and was picked up by big names like Google and Motorola. While Google later on dropped the modular phone in favor of its more powerful Pixel, Motorola created the Moto-Z, which wasn’t what Phonebloks promised but was close enough.

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It featured interchangeable phone backs that could be used for different purposes. One was a battery pack for extended phone life and another was speaker for more powerful music. It wasn’t block parts, but it was something.

The most recent addition to the modular phone innovation is Alcatel’s A5 which is remarkably similar to the Moto-Z, with a big difference. A5 is by a company known for affordable yet quality phones. A5 is rumored to be only $300.

Alcatel’s A5 is simpler and doesn’t feature heavy specs. It’s a more affordable phone with interchangeable features, that are predicted to be just as affordable. Some backs include a speaker with a kickstand for portable sound system usage and a back that has dope LED lights.

So while modular phones aren’t as big as people predicted they’d be, it’s not dead yet. So it’s possible we’ll see more innovations like this in the future.

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In the meantime I might check out those LED light backs!

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iPhone 8 Connector Rumors

Is iPhone 8 gonna be Team Lightning or Team USB-C?

Is iPhone 8 gonna be Team Lightning or Team USB-C?

Published on March 14, 2017

You know what I love almost as much as new phone announcements? New phone rumors, leaks, and theories! A few days ago Apple fans and haters alike were talking about the iPhone 8 and the rumor that it was losing the Lightning cable in favor of USB-C. This was according to an exclusive story from the Wall Street Journal.


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I’m sorry to disappoint USB-C fans but according to Apple analyst Ming Chi-Kuo, what’s more likely is that they’re going to be changing is the USB port on the other end of the cable. That makes sense since Macbooks have started adding USB-C to their connection options.

USB C Macbook

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The good news is the iPhone 8 might have the rumored faster charging, thanks to USB-C’s stronger connection.Personally I’m a big fan of the lightning cable because it’s small and doesn’t take up too much space in the phone. Not to mention that it’s not a victim of the Side A, Side B problem most charger ports face due to it working no matter how many times you flip it.

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The iPhone 8 is expected to come in 2 versions. The first is expected to be the similar to the iPhone 7. The second is rumored to be a brand new redesign with an OLED screen.

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Our favorite search app has (not-so) hidden treats for the nostalgic gamer!

Google brings back arcade classics

Published on February 20, 2017

Our favorite search app has (not-so) hidden treats for the nostalgic gamer!

Whether you’re at work, doing errands, or even when you’re bored at home and there’s nothing good on TV, we all turn to our phones for a way to kill time. Luckily, Google has come up with a simple way for us to do so: putting games in Google search.

Google is giving us a huge throwback party with games that we all know and love. Some of these videogames have become icons to the gaming world and paved the way for developers today. And now, Google has given us an easy (and portable) way to play them, without busting out our dusty old Ataris!

To access any of these games, just open your Chrome app, go to Google and key in the title of the game you want to play.

Since it’s Google, you definitely need data to run these games. If you’re wondering how much it would consume, I played these games for a good 5 mins and it only consumed 4MB of my data. Perfect for when you’re stuck in line or waiting for your next appointment, and itching to do something!

Here are some of my favorites:


Atari Breakout

A huge hit during the 1970s, Breakout was developed by the founders of Apple, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. The game starts with eight layers of multi-colored bricks, and the goal is to clear every single row with just a paddle and a ball within three turns. If you miss, you lose a life. Seems simple right? Well, each color of the brick will determine the difficulty of the game.

Once you’re hitting the red row, the paddle will shrink to half its size. Not only that, your speed will slowly increase once you start hitting more bricks and after you’ve reached the orange and red layer. It’s a simple yet challenging game!!



Widely known for its pen and paper version, Tic-Tac-Toe is a two-player game that involves making patterns with Xs and Os. The objective is simple: be the first player to make a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line with just three marks. If the game finishes with no patterns, then the game is a draw.





Before Namco created Tekken, their first well-known video game was (and still is) Pac-Man. A pop culture icon in the 1980s, the game increased merchandise sales, and was turned into an animated television series. In the game, you control the emoji-looking Pac-Man and your task is to clear out the maze of dots. The real challenge of our hero is to avoid being touched by his four enemies: Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde. They will roam the maze to try and stop you from completing the game. To your advantage, there are four bigger dots that Pac-Man can consume, which will give him the ability to eat his enemies for a short while. It’s a fun and simple game that everyone can enjoy!



Remember our old PC days? Solitaire a simple one-player card game, wherein the goal is to arrange all of the cards by suit (clover, spade, heart, and diamond). It’s a fun way to test one’s patience and strategy-making! While it does involve cards, the game is for all ages so even younger kids can play it!


To access any of these games, just open your Chrome app, go to Google (Google Images for Atari Breakout) and key in the title of the game you want to play.

Since it’s Google, you definitely need data to run these games. If you’re wondering how much it would consume, I played these games for a good 5 mins and it only consumed 4MB of my data. Perfect for when you’re stuck in line or waiting for your next appointment, and itching to do something!


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6 Hidden Tricks to Try with Android Marshmallow

Find Android Marshmallow’s hidden sweet spots!

6 Hidden Tricks to Try with Android Marshmallow

Published on December 20, 2016

Find Android Marshmallow’s hidden sweet spots!

It’s only a matter of time before the latest Android OS, Nougat, comes to our phones. And as it’s always been with Android, the update will be rolled out in batches, probably by the end of October. If you’re using a Nexus, you guys always get it first so keep us posted. Next in line are the flagship models of Samsung, LG and Sony, before every other brand and model in the market.

While we wait, let’s pay homage to the current OS, Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

You were soft and fluffy, and even though you can be a bit buggy, you will surely be missed.

Before we say goodbye to Marshmallow, how’s about we get to know it a little bit more? Just like any other OS, there could be a few things about it that you’re yet to discover. Here are seven:

  1. Enable OK Google from the lock screen
    Before we say goodbye to Marshmallow, how’s about we get to know it a little bit more? Just like any other OS, there could be a few things about it that you’re yet to discover. Here are seven:

    To access just swipe the microphone icon on the bottom left of your lock screen and voice out the keywords.

    You can also start using Google Now without leaving the app that’s currently open.

    To do this, long-press the Home button. You will have to activate it once the same way.

  2. Lock screen message
    For the forgetful ones, Marshmallow lets you leave a note on the lock screen. Put it to great use! Phones get lost every day, and while I’m sincerely hoping that it doesn’t happen to any of us, it pays to give good Samaritans an idea on how to reach you just in case.

    Go to Settings > Security > Lock Screen Message.

  3. Enable System UI Tuner
    One of the best features of Android is customization. Aside from the many brands of phones to choose from, there are also hundreds of third-party apps that allow you to switch little details like fonts and icons. But did you know that with Marshmallow, you can also personalize your status bar and dropdown notifications?

    Pull down the notifications tab. Long-press on the gear icon. There should be a popup message that says your UI Tuner has been added on your Settings.


    Go to Settings and scroll down to System. If you wish to push through, confirm it with the prompt.


    Customize to your satisfaction.

  4. Google is now part of your settings
    The Android OS is a product of Google, and so it only makes sense that its controls are finally native to the Settings menu. No need to go from one Google app to another (i.e. Gmail to Google Calendar to Google Keep and back) just to change notifications; it’s all in one place!

    Go to Settings > Google.
    Tap on Smart Lock for Passwords.
    Turn Smart Lock on / off.

  5. Smart Lock for Passwords
    By turning on this feature, you are allowing passwords of your Android apps to be saved to your Google Passwords cloud. From there, you can view and delete passwords, and enable auto-log in. This will allow ease of use on the various Android devices that you use.

    Go to Settings > Google.
    Scroll down to the Personal tab.
    Tap on Google.

  6. The Marshmallow Game
    It wouldn’t be an Android OS if it didn’t have a hidden game. And since the icon is a marshmallow, expect cuteness overload as you play.

    To play the game, go to (Settings > About device) and repeatedly tap on (Android version.) An icon will show up on screen; tap once to turn it into a marshmallow. One long press and voila!

    6 You’re welcome! :)
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Ways to Waze with Less Data

Get your destination before you run out of data (and patience)

Ways to Waze with Less Data

Published on December 02, 2016

Get to your destination before you run out of data (and patience).


I speak for all drivers in Manila when I say that Waze is our best friend. Navigation apps have come and gone, but there’s nothing quite like Waze that gets us through the day-to-day traffic.

But like all friends, Waze isn’t perfect and it has some quirks that don’t always work for us. Take, for instance, the fact that it’s a data hog.

Fret not! Marty the Smarty is here to make sure that your relationship with Waze (and the drive!) stays friendly. Data-friendly, that is.

  1. Turn off 3D view.
    Tap Menu, then Settings.
    Under Quick Settings, choose Display.
    Select your ideal display: 2D, 3D or Auto.
    Auto allows the map to change from 2D to 3D when you start 3D.

    Because 3D maps are a lot more detailed, it also requires more data to load. Use the 2D map instead!

  2. Pre-load the routes.
    Open Waze and enter your destination.
    Wait for the routing to be completed.
    Pinch and drag through the routes to complete the process.
    Turn off your mobile data.

    With a pre-loaded map, you save on data and Waze will still work offline. Just don’t count on receiving any map or traffic updates.

  3. Turn it off when you’re not using it.
    To find the power button, tap on the Waze icon at the bottom left of the screen.

    Even when you’re not driving, Waze is collecting data. It’s constantly tracking and updating your location. This not only hogs your data but also you’re battery juice. Make it a habit to close the app as soon as you get to your destination so you don’t keep losing precious data.

  4. Maximize your data use by knowing how much you use.

    To see how much data you’re consuming for every trip, check out my how-to post on managing data.

Happy driving!

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Send a message to the future you with Telegram Bots!

Bot Uprising: AI, the Telegram Way

Published on September 19, 2016

Send a message to the future you with Telegram Bots!

You haven’t really used Telegram if you haven’t used Telegram Bots. With so many other chat apps, the Bots are what make Telegram different!

But wait, what are Bots exactly?

Simply put, Bots are Telegram accounts that have special functions. Some Bots teach you to do things, while others do things for you. They can also do a host of other commands including broadcast, play, and search. There’s one that even allows you to send messages to the future…no kidding!

Here are a few basic Bots to get you started:

Bots are also very easy to use!

Open Telegram.
On the search bar, type keywords to find the Bot.

Click on the Bot and hit Start.


To use search Bots on a conversation, type @bot + keyword on the message bar.

Click on the photo / video / GIF and share!

If you don’t see enough Bot that you like, you can also create your own! How cool is that?! For this, you go to the BotFather.

Get it? Get it? Well, don’t worry. He’s a lot nicer than Don Corleone.

To build your own Telegram Bot, just type @BotFather on the search bar and start the conversation. BotFather will then share the manual and quick setup instructions. There are already hundreds of user-made Bots out there, taking over Telegram chatrooms around the world! (But don’t worry, outside their function, the app makers promise that the Bots don’t have access to your messages.)

Are you already using Telegram Bots? What’s your favorite?

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New to iOS? Here are five tips to get you winging iMessage in no time.

The iOS Newbie’s Guide to iMessage

Published on August 12, 2016

New to iOS? Here are five tips to get you winging iMessage in no time.

It’s safe to say that Messages is one of the most-used apps on the iPhone. Apart from the basic SMS function, it serves as the native chat app where you can send media and messages (for free!) to other iOS users, through iMessage, as long as you’re connected to the internet. If you’re fairly new to the iOS platform, I prepared a list of tips and tricks that will get you start using iMessage in no time.

  1. Activate iMessage (and Facetime)

    First things first: If you’re activating iMessage / Facetime for the first time (or reactivating), you’ll probably get charged with an international SMS rate. Now, before you blow up on your carrier, do know that this is due to Apple routing its servers to US and Europe, hence the international rate. Supposedly, it’s only a one-time thing and is done worldwide.

    Unfortunately, the only way to avoid getting charged is to not activate these apps at all. (Boo!) I know these are vital apps for communication but with the options you have on the Apple store, you can always opt for something to use for free.
  2. Send group messages!

    Group messages can be fun! It’s a great way to get the gang together, even though you’re literally not in the same place. It’s handy for friend-terventions and planning the next, actual get-together.

    Here’s how you can make a group thread:

    Create a new message and
    add all the participants as
    Send your first message to
    the group!
    To add a label to your
    thread, tap Details.
    Enter a group name.
    To stop certain participants from receiving group messages, go to Details. Find the name of the participant and swipe left to reveal a Delete button. You can also choose to add more people to the conversation by choosing to Add Contact.
  3. Share your location

    Source: IMG: img3.jpg
    Did you know that you could also share a map of your location via iMessage? Meeting up just got a lot easier and more convenient!

    Tap Details. Under Location, choose whether to Send My Current Location or Share My Location.
    What’s the difference between the two? If you choose the first, your contact will receive your location in the form of a pin, which he or she can open for directions or to see where you are in the map. The second gives you the option to share your location for one hour, until end of day or indefinitely. Once the time elapsed, they will no longer be able to access your location.

    If you’re the receiver, the pin or map will include directions that will help you get to your friend’s location. Cool, right?
  4. Mute conversations

    As much as we enjoy receiving a flood of emoji messages from friends and family, there are times when notifications become unwelcome distraction.

    Here’s how you can mute conversations (that you can read later anyway):

    Tap Details on the top right of the conversation. Turn on Do Not Disturb.
    You will no longer be notified of new messages, but you can still find them on your inbox and reply later on. To start receiving notifications again, go to Details again and turn off Do Not Disturb.
  5. Block Sender

    Getting unwanted messages from shady, unknown sources?

    Here’s how you can block shady senders:
    Open the conversation and go to Details.
    Tap "i" next to their number.
    Scroll to the bottom and choose to "Block this Caller". This will also keep them from making phone and FaceTime calls to your number.
    Just in case you want to take a step back and unblock, go to Settings > Messages > Unblocked.
    Tap Edit and click on the next to the number you wish to unblock.

And there you have it! Now that you’re down with the basics, you can start making the most out of your iMessage experience!

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Telegram is all your favorite messaging apps, and more!

Telegram: Possibly the next big chat app?

Published on July 25, 2016

Telegram is all your favorite messaging apps, and more!

As if there are not enough chat apps to help us keep tabs with our friends, here’s another one that’s positioning itself as the next big thing: Telegram.

(No, not this telegram.)

The name may sound archaic, but there’s absolutely nothing ancient about Telegram. It might even give more popular chat apps a run for their money!

While it’s still in many ways a lot like its older cousins (desktop app, stickers, media-sharing, groups, self-destructing messages – the whole shebang), there are a few features that’s unique to Telegram:

  • The app supports video and GIF search and playback. No more switching apps just to check out the link your friend shared.
  • You can send just about any type of file to your friends – as long as it doesn’t exceed 1gb each.
  • You can make your own sticker packs, for free!
  • Telegram groups can hold up to 200 members – twice the size of what WhatsApp can accommodate.
  • And since it’s cloud-based, you don’t have to worry about the app ever hogging your phone’s memory!

If you think about it, Telegram’s kind of like Google + [insert your favorite chat app] + Snapchat + [insert your favorite cloud service] – all in one!

The only downside, and the major reason why you shouldn’t let go of Viber, is that it doesn’t support calls and video calls.

So, what do you think of Telegram? Are you and your friends planning to give it a try?

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Marty the Smarty