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Sending Bitcoin to Coins.ph

Sending Bitcoin to Coins.ph

I’ve written how easy it is to buy and sell Bitcoin using Coins.ph.

The service is also a great way to pay your bills. It offers all the mainstays such as Globe, Skycable, Meralco, Maynilad, Manila Water, etc.

If anyone wants to send me BTC here’s my address!

Recently though I had a simple question regarding sending Bitcoin to Coins.ph and I was disappointed that their customer service couldn’t give me a straight answer.

My question was if I send Bitcoin to my Coins.ph Bitcoin wallet how much do I receive?

This question came about because I noticed at the bottom of the wallet prompt there’s a discussion on the amount I send being “automatically converted.” Specifically, “Bitcoin sent to this address will be automatically converted to a specific Bitcoin Wallet value, using the current coins.ph sell rate.” Based on that text, which you can see in the screenshot, it would seem that Bitcoin is automatically converted to PHP.

I did not want that. I wanted my Bitcoin to remain as Bitcoin. Moreover I wanted to make sure that I would get the full amount of Bitcoin that I sent to my Coins.ph Bitcoin wallet (less of course the transfer fee).

So I asked, if I send .1 Bitcoin to my Bitcoin Wallet Address, how much Bitcoin will actually be credited to my wallet address?

All in all 5 different customer service reps took turns handling my question and none of them could give me a straight answer.

The answer would vacillate between the Bitcoin would automatically be converted to PHP or the Bitcoin would arrive in my Coins.ph wallet just fine. After a bit of back and forth it was clear I would not be getting a straight answer so I decided to just try it out for myself.

So, if you’re sending Bitcoin to your Coins.ph Bitcoin wallet then rest assured you will be credited the entire amount (less transfer fees). I sent .49BTC (yes I know the sign for Bitcoin is XBT but I’m old school) and I received .49 BTC.

Not sure though why customer service couldn’t give me a straight answer.

This is also my first occasion to use Coins.ph, “cash out” option where some of the pesos I have with them is deposited into an account I specify.

I’ll write tomorrow on my experience with cashing out.

 

 

Review: Coins.ph

Review: Coins.ph

I’ve written before how much easier it is now to buy Bitcoin in the Philippines.

In my quest to explore all the local options for dealing in Bitcoin I signed up to Coins.ph. As a platform for Bitcoin trading, Coins.ph is fast, convenient and trustworthy. Moreover it has the best BTC/XTC prices I’ve seen in the local market. But Coins.ph is more than just a Bitcoin trading platform. In fact, based on the feature set it currently has, it would be accurate to say it aspires to be the Paypal of the Philippines.

Here’s my experience in kicking the tires of the site’s various offerings.

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How to: Pay your St Luke’s Bill Online

How to: Pay your St Luke’s Bill Online

My grandmother (lola in Filipino) has been sick for quite awhile now. Basically it’sIMG_20160323_091324643 just old age as her organs are not working as well as they should be (particularly her heart and kidneys).

Because of her illness, my lola is frequently in St. Luke’s Global. At one point she has stayed there for 3 months straight. As such, I have a lot of experience dealing with the doctors and staff of the hospital. Overall the people at St. Luke’s strike me as very competent, professional and caring.

Long hospital stays though mean that there are constantly hospital bills that need to be paid. Fortunately St. Luke’s has an online payment system which is easy to use.

Online payment is particularly useful for:

  1. Long confinements where you have to constantly keep paying a rising hospital bill
  2. When the patient is ready to be discharged and you can’t make it to the hospital to settle the final bill.

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How to: Pay your Globe bill online

How to: Pay your Globe bill online

I hate waiting in line at banks or merchants. So whenever possible I try to pay my bills online. My globe landline bills are enrolled in an auto debit arrangement with my credit card (the bill gets charged to the card so I only need to worry about paying the credit card bill).

My mobile number though is not enrolled so I pay that online.

Fortunately Globe, whatever its other faults, has a very easy to use online payment system.

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How to: Find good reading material online

How to: Find good reading material online

Ever feel like you’re in a reading rut, browsing through the same sites, bored by the same content?

The internet is supposed to be this vast library of knowledge but finding the good stuff is surprisingly difficult. After all the net doesn’t have a personal librarian to recommend specific articles to you. Doing a google search is fine if you have an idea of what you’re looking for, but Google is useless if you just want to browse for a good read, like what you would do in a bookstore or library.

I tried using Stumbleupon to find reading recommendations but the recommendations were more miss than hit.

So, this is my method for finding good (interesting, well written, thought provoking) reading material on the internet.

Daily Sites wired-magazine-logo

I go to the following sites pretty much everyday.

  1. Aintitcoolnews – For entertainment news. This is mostly news/reviews, not gossip. Sadly not as up to date as it once was.
  2. Ars Technica – Tech news sprinkled with other related geek topics, hardware/software, copyright, games, national defense. Yes, all of those topics are now related these days.
  3. Wired – Ditto Ars Technica (I think they’re owned by the same company actually, not sure.)
  4. Slate – A decidedly liberal slant on US politics and current affairs.
  5. io9 – Sci-fi news with a sprinkling of tech.

Recommendation Sites

I go to these sites everyday too. Unlike the 5 sites above these 2 do not produce their own content. Instead they go through the net and recommend the essays and articles they find.

Both these sites are personally curated, ie. they do not use algorithms or other automated means of generating article recommendations.

  1. The Browser – Offers is an interesting mix of fairly highbrow topics such as language, economics, politics, literature, religion and music. The motto of The Browser is “Always be interesting. Never be bored.” browser
  2. Next Draft – A wide selection of topical links stitched together with snappy commentary by the blogger. Less scholarly than The Browser, which isn’t a bad thing.

Pocket

Pocket is a web service which allows you to save pages to any device for offline viewing. pocketIt’s a godsend for reading essays/articles from the internet. Usually I’m on my desktop, browsing through the sites above, saving the articles I want to read to Pocket then I read them later on my tablet or phone while I’m lounging around on the sofa or in bed.

A lot of the articles are long so sitting at your desktop reading through all of them can become tedious. A more natural and enjoyable way to read is while lazing about, untethered to the desktop. Pocket allows you to do that for the reading material you’ve found online.

I also use Pocket in conjunction with If this then that to push new comic strips to my Pocket feed every day. So in addition to all of my saved articles I have Foxtrot, Dilbert, Penny Arcade, Sin Fest, Hark a Vagrant and Pearls Before Swine, delivered to my device every day.

Pocket also has a relatively new (started last Aug 2015) Recommendations page where it tries to figure out what you like to read (based on the articles you’ve saved and other feedback you’ve given) and suggests articles based on what other people who seem to share your interests have also saved to their Pockets.

Pocket’s recommendations are interesting and I do read through a lot of them. The site has to do a better job though of cross referencing your saved items and your recommendations list as it has happened many times that I’ve already saved an article to my Pocket feed only to find it again in my recommendations list.

Yes, I’m a big Pocket fan. It’s a simple to use web service which allows me to read a ton of articles in a comfortable and leisurely manner.

I occasionally recommend articles as well through Pocket. My suggestions are not as smart as The Browser nor as funny as Next Draft. With that warning, if you swant my list of shared articles, you can follow me on Pocket.

Review: Globe Platinum Broadband (Fiber)

Review: Globe Platinum Broadband (Fiber)

How fast is Globe’s Platinum Broadband?

This is a follow up to my initial post where I explained I was with PLDT Fibr but I switched because Globe’s plans were cheaper and faster.

I’ve been on the Globe 200Mbps Fiber plan for 6 months or so and overall the speed is impressive. Videos load, for the most part, instantly.

More important to me than the streaming performance is the download speed.

While measuring download speed is always tricky, here are some numbers from a variety of sources.

With Steam I had a download speed of 23Mbps which translates into downloading a 25GB game in around 15-20 minutes.

steam download

While downloading torrents I’ve seen speeds of 8Mbps. To illustrate, that translates into the downloading of a 30 minute episode at 720p in less than 5 minutes.

globe speed testAnd of course the requisite speed test shows a download rate of around 180Mbps.

These are insanely ridiculous speeds, for the Philippines at any rate. I grew up in the age of dial up, where I had to schedule my downloads for the late night and early morning hours to get around network congestion.

The 200Mbps plan is a bit pricey, currently the monthly rate is PHP4499. Still, I chose to save on other things and splurge for fast internet.

 

Review: Online Thinkers (Philippine Web Design Team)

Review: Online Thinkers (Philippine Web Design Team)

If you’re looking for a fast, reliable and affordable web designer in the Philippines then I highly recommend Online Thinkers.

Online Thinkers was the outfit I chose to code the first version of the Alcoves

Top part of the index page of Alcoves, back in 2012.
Top part of the index page of Alcoves, back in 2012. All images of the old Alcoves site are from the Wayback Machine.

site in 2012. (We’ve since redesigned the site to allow for online booking and generally make things spiffier. I do still have a soft spot though for the old design.)

I already had the layout and general design for the site so the job of Online Thinkers was to take what I wanted and execute it well. In particular they also had to come up with appropriate graphics and create the logo I wanted.

I met with Arth, one of the heads of Online Thinkers, told him my ideas and he said no problem. After that we did most of our communication through email. He would present the drafts, I would comment on changes I wanted.

Mid part of the index page of Alcoves, back in 2012.
Mid part of the index page of Alcoves, back in 2012.

Throughout the process Arth was very accommodating and receptive to any changes I wanted done.

I tapped Online Thinkers again a couple of years later for another web idea I had. (Basically an online copy of all the official notices of government which come out in print. It didn’t amount to much.) Again Arth and his team worked very quickly and came up with a site which was exactly how I envisioned.

I have no complaints about

Bottom part of the index page of Alcoves, back in 2012.
Bottom part of the index page of Alcoves, back in 2012.

Online Thinkers and would gladly work with them again next time I am in need of web designers. They are definitely one of my recommended web outfits from the Philippines.

Note that it would be best if you already have a general idea of how you want your site to look like, including the feel and layout. The team works best under those conditions.

Waited 24 days for a Globe Tattoo Business Line

Waited 24 days for a Globe Tattoo Business Line

We’ve added new units to Alcoves and for their internet connections I decided to go with Globe. Generally Globe has faster and cheaper internet plans than PLDT.

customer-serviceI’ve written before on trying to get a Globe Tattoo bundled (landline and DSL service) line.

This time it took me around 24 days to get the line I applied for. The experience was excruciating.

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Terminating a PLDT line

Terminating a PLDT line

Background: After being a PLDT Fibr suscriber for years I decided to switch to Globe. (Their service is 10% cheaper and more than 3x faster than my PLDT Fibr plan.)

On May 7, 2015 I called up PLDT Customer Service (the regular number) to ask for the procedure for terminating a line. I asked if the best way was to just disconnect the modem, bring it to a PLDT store and transact there. The CSR guy says yes.

I then point out that I’m on Fibr and I can’t disconnect the modem from the line, the line feeding into the modem isn’t your standard lan/ethernet cable. I ask if I should just cut the Fibr cable attached to the modem. CSR gets flustered and puts me on hold. When he gets back he tells me to email a request for termination along with my ID to customercare@pldt.com.ph. I say I’ll do that, thank him and hang up.

On the same day I send a cover email to the designated address along with two attachments, my ID and letter requesting termination; all as instructed by the CSR.

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Review: PLDT Fibr

Review: PLDT Fibr

I’ve been talking a lot about telcos so I thought I would share my experience with the home broadband plans of both PLDT and Globe.

I was with PLDT Fibr for many years then switched to Globe’s Fiber offering. (The “Fibr” is not a typo, that’s how PLDT is marketing their Fiber connections. Wrong spelling is hip.)

Some background first, we’re a family of 5 and all of us use the internet to varying degrees. I download a lot of TV shows (720p or 1080p), my brother watches a lot of online videos and plays a lot of online games. My mom uploads a lot of stuff to Facebook and she’ll be the first to complain if the internet is slow.

Most of the business of Alcoves is also done online so a reliable connection is paramount.

As such we don’t mind paying for internet that is speedy. It’s a luxury but one, for us, that is well worth it.

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