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Archive for the 'Cars & Gadgets' Category


Hassle-Free LTO Registration

I had my car insurance agent to assist me with car registration renewal for the past 7 years — it was a service bundled to my insurance coverage.  However, I’ll be migrating to another country so I had to give up my car insurance for 2009…  no insurance means no free car registration assistance for me.  I panicked because the car will be left with my mom and she’s not very fond of filing with government offices.  I asked friends how they do theirs and they’re all reliant on insurance companies as well.

I did an intensive research before I met Raffy.  He assists busy people in renewing car registration and transferring of car ownership, among other things.  Finding him is a great relief.  You’ll get  more information on what he does in his Multiply site.


Compact USB HD Camcorder

I’ve always wanted a compact camcorder to document my travel adventures, and the Flip Mino has been one of my serious considerations.  It has everything I’m looking for in a camcorder — lightweight, portable, good video quality, and can be mounted anywhere using my handy Gorillapod.  The only reason why I was apprehensive about buying it for my birthday last year is that it wasn’t available in high definition.


But now that the Flip Mino HD is out, I’ll sure be getting one.  I love the fact that it works both for the MAC and the PC, and can be customized to suit my personality.  It can shoot in 720p which is 1280×720 in 16:9 cinematic wide screen, and there is 4GB of onboard memory that can record about 60 minutes of continuous video.  Battery life lasts for 2 hours.  It’s really a good investment at $230 (or P14,400).


Avoiding/Minimizing Accidents

Each day, hundreds of people are involved in vehicular accidents.  It is one of the most dangerous things a person could come in contact with during her life, and it is every driver’s interest to do all she can to prevent or at least minimize it.

When it looks like a collision may happen, many drivers panic and fail to act. In some cases they do act, but do something that does not help to reduce the chance of the collision. There almost always is something you can do to avoid the accident, or reduce the results of the accident. In avoiding a collision, drivers have three options: (1) stop, (2) turn, and (3) speed up.

Speeding Up

Sometimes it is best or necessary to speed up to avoid a collision.  This may happen when another vehicle is about to hit you from the side or from behind and there is room to the front of you to get out of danger. Be sure to slow down once the danger has passed.

Protect Yourself in Collisions

You may not always be able to avoid a collision. The most important thing you can do is to use your lap and shoulder belts. Other than your seat belts, there are a couple of other things that could help prevent more serious injuries.

Hit From the Rear

If your vehicle is hit from the rear, your body will be thrown back towards the rear of your vehicle. Press yourself against the back of your seat and put your head against the head restraint. Be ready to apply your brakes so that you will not be pushed into another vehicle.

Hit From the Side

If your vehicle is hit from the side, your body will be thrown towards the side that is hit. Front air bags will not help in this situation. Your lap and shoulder belts are needed to help keep you behind the wheel. Get ready to steer or brake to prevent your vehicle from hitting something else.

Hit From the Front

If your vehicle is about to be hit from the front, it is important to try and have a “glancing blow” rather than being struck head on. This means that if a collision is going to happen, try and turn the vehicle. At worse, you hit with a glancing blow, and you might miss it. If your vehicle has an air bag, it will inflate. It also will deflate following the accident, so be ready to keep your vehicle from hitting something else. You must use your lap and shoulder belts to keep you behind the wheel, and to protect you if your vehicle has a second collision.

(Thanks to IDT for the life-saving tips)


Defensive Driving

When I took driving lessons, defensive driving was my first exercise.  Here’s sharing with you some tips courtesy of IDT:


To be a good driver, you must know what is happening around your vehicle. You must look ahead, to the sides, and behind the vehicle. Scanning helps you to see problems ahead, vehicles and people that may be in the road by the time you reach them, signs warning of problems ahead, and signs giving you directions.  Searching and scanning critical areas should be done in a regular sequence. A visual search pattern, such as in the guidelines described below, helps you adjust to any unusual events.  Whenever there is a lot of activity along the side of the road, there is a good chance that someone will cross or enter the road. Therefore, it is very important to look to the sides when you are near shopping centers and parking lots, road work areas, busy sidewalks, and playgrounds and schoolyards.

Looking Ahead

In order to avoid last-minute braking or the need to turn, you should look down the road at least 10 seconds ahead of your vehicle.  By looking well ahead and being ready to stop or change lanes if needed, you can drive more safely, save on fuel, help keep traffic moving at a steady pace, and allow yourself time to better see things around your vehicle and along the side of the road.  Looking well down the road will also help you to steer straighter with less weaving.  In the city, 10 seconds is about one block.  When you drive in city traffic, you should try to look at least one block ahead.  On the highway, 10 seconds is about four city blocks or a quarter to one-third of a mile.

How do you know how many seconds you are looking ahead? Here is how to figure if you are looking 10 seconds ahead:

  • Find a non-moving object like a sign or telephonepole near the road about as far ahead as you are looking
  • Start counting one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand,three-one-thousand, etc., until you reach the object
  • The number of seconds you have counted is thenumber of seconds ahead that you were looking

You can be a safer driver by looking well ahead. You can avoid the need to stop or turn quickly. By looking well ahead, you can save on fuel. Every time you have to stop quickly, it takes time and fuel to get your car back up to speed. Traffic would flow more smoothly if everyone looked well ahead. Making driving changes before the last moment gives drivers behind you more time to react.  As your speed increases, it is most important to look farther ahead.

Look to the Sides

Since other vehicles or pedestrians may cross or enter your path anytime, you should look to the sides to make sure no one is coming. This is especially true at intersections and railroad crossings.


Intersections are any place where traffic merges or crosses.  They include: cross streets, side streets, driveways, and shopping center or parking lot entrances. Before you enter an intersection, look left, right and left again for approaching vehicles and/or crossing pedestrians. If stopped, look left, right and left again just before you start moving. Look across the intersection before you start to move to make sure the path is clear through the intersection.

Railroad Crossing

As you approach any railroad crossing, look both ways on the tracks to make sure a train is not coming. Do not assume a train is not coming even if you have never seen one at that crossing before. That is one of the leading causes of fatalities at railroad crossings. At crossings with more than one track, wait until the passing train is well down the track before starting to cross. Another train that might have been hidden by the one that just passed could be coming.

Look Behind

Besides watching traffic ahead of you, you must check traffic behind you. You need to check your mirrors more often when traffic is heavy. This is the only way you will know if someone is following too closely or coming up too fast and will give you time to do something about it. It is very important to look in your mirrors for vehicles when you change lanes, slow down, back up, or are driving down a long or steep hill.


Password Protect Your USB Drive



Cruzer Crossfire was my first ever “personal” flash drive, but an eccentric computer program crashed it.  I emailed SanDisk USA for a replacement (still under warranty then) and they gladly replaced it.  However, I didn’t get the same kind — what they mailed me was a Cruzer Freedom.  It works well but I just loved the compactness of the Crossfire so I went to buy a second one in one of my trips to Singapore.

I guess I’m not meant to own a Crossfire.  Not too long after that purchase, a client borrowed it in order to transfer files from one laptop to another… and the next thing I knew, I already lost it.  I had my most recent resume with photo and financial documents saved in there and that bothered me the most.  I wished flash drives can be personalized or can be password protected.

securestix-boxSome computer geek might have read my mind.  Just recently, I learned from a friend that a software has been designed to protect confidential files on a USB drive. It’s amazing because the files are locked and hidden from view, so a potential thief wouldn’t even know that they existed on your device or on the computer unless they had this software.  And even then, they’d need your password to unlock it.  How I wish I had this before I lost my Crossfire.  You can’t buy peace of mind.

If you wish to know more about this product or purchase the software online, click here.