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Daily dose

[FACT CHECK] Apolinario Mabini was not a student of Juan Ponce Enrile

Yes, it’s a meme. It’s satire. It’s funny AF. And here it is below in all its glory:

Screen grab from The Third Pinoy Season Facebook page

Humor aside, I’m a bit concerned that there would be someone who would actually think this is true. Unbelievable as it may sound but we’ve reached this point in our civilization that there are people who think everything on the internet is true.

So let’s break this meme down.

Quick facts about the two persons involved:

Juan Ponce Enrile – Born 14 February 1924 (age 95 years)

Apolinario Mabini – Born: 23 July 1864, Tanauan, Batangas
Died: 13 May 1903, Manila

Was Apolinario Mabini a lawyer? Yes. He earned his Law degree at University of Sto Tomas in 1894*.

Did Juan Ponce Enrile taught law? Yes. He was taught Law at the Far Eastern University Institute of Law in the 1960s before he became involved with former dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Was Apolinario Mabini a former student of Juan Ponce Enrile? No. Apolinario Mabini was already a lawyer in 1894, thirty years before Juan Ponce Enrile was born.

Hope this sets the record straight. Still, hats off to JPE, he’s almost a century old and I think he’ll see two more Presidents until he kicks the bucket.


  1. *
    Zaide, Gregorio F. (1984), Philippine History and Government, National Bookstore Printing Press
  2. Wikipedia contributors. (2019, March 14). Juan Ponce Enrile. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 03:58, March 24, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Juan_Ponce_Enrile&oldid=887724006
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Daily dose

Facebook passwords stored in plaintext – change it now

Have you changed your Facebook & Instagram password lately? If not it’s time to do so now. News has gone viral that Facebook has stored millions of passwords in plain text format making it readily accessible to its thousands of employees for a long time now.

Krebs on Security got hold of a Facebook employee and here are the basics:

  • Facebook employees built applications that logged unencrypted password data for Facebook users and stored it in plain text on internal company servers.
  • So far, it’s estimated that 200 and 600 million Facebook users had their account passwords stored in plaint text and searchable by Facebook employees.

It’s very basic that for services like Facebook, user account passwords are stored in a secure way – passwords are scrambled using cryptography aka hashing then stored in its servers. Once hashed, the passwords are virtually impossible to crack even with a powerful computer.

What Facebook discovered is that passwords were stored without being scrambled or hashed. This is like typing your Facebook account password in a text file using Notepad. Naming the file ‘FACEBOOK PASSWORD’ then saving it on a share folder. If you want to go offline, it’s like writing down your Facebook password on a sticky note then putting it on the fridge door.

Fortunately, for now, Facebook has found no indication that the passwords were abused by its employees nor has it been accessed outside its network. Either way, the best thing to do now is change your Facebook and Instagram passwords. And for goodness’ sake don’t save it on your computer or device. Use a password manager app if you’re having trouble remembering your password for each social media account.

Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Featured image by Mark Burnett

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Videos

Surviving in a falling elevator – Debunked

A week ago, 12 people were injured when an office elevator in PBCom tower, Makati City malfunctioned and descended rapidly. Tips on how to survive in a falling elevator came to mind as I work on the 38th floor of one the tallest office buildings in Makati, but would those really work? This video by Debunked has the answers:

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Daily dose

Problems with GCash? You’ll need a lot of patience

Since November last year, I’ve been using GCash whenever possible – paying bills, online and even daily purchases. It’s been a great experience as the service has been reliable and convenient. Until last Friday, March 1.

I needed to pay for my PLDT bill and the idea of cashing in at 7-Eleven came to mind. At first I tried to use the Gcash app to generate a code but it failed and so I decided to use the CLiQQ stand instead. Walked up to the kiosk, generated a receipt, queued up at the counter, handed over the cash and walked out the 7-eleven store after taking the receipt.

An hour has passed and already done with buying the things I needed to cook dinner, I checked my Gcash balance and my cash in has not yet been credited to my wallet. No confirmation SMS that the transaction was successful.

Calmly, I searched for Gcash’s Customer Support hotline when I got home. Made 4 calls to 2882 yet all I got was a pre-recorded message saying that there is no one available to assist and that a call back was scheduled instead.

That’s when I started to get really worried. It seems that Globe’s customer service has not improved that much. Not enough representatives to answer customer calls and responses took longer than what is reasonable. Even the GCash Care on Messenger took hours to get any real reply. Emails to support@gcash.com was even worse with nothing more than canned responses acknowledging my first email.

Then the callback from 2882 finally came – Saturday evening, a full 24 hours after I first reported my concern. They advised of the following:

gcash_chat
GCash Care took more than 24 hours to take action on my concern.

The transaction failed on 7-Eleven’s side – there seems to be an issue with their ‘connection’ to GCash that cashing in is still unavailable.

Bring the receipt with me and ask for a refund. However, this needed to be worked on by 7-Eleven customer service which took another day.

Finally, after 3 days, I was able to get the refund from 7-Eleven. So much for trying the ‘convenience’ of reloading GCash via 7-Eleven stores.

Lessons learned:

  • Always keep the receipt – it’s proof of your transaction
  • GCash transactions generate SMS confirmation/alerts within minutes. If no SMS comes in, then it’s most likely that something went wrong with your transaction.
  • Have patience. Tons of it. Dealing with GCash customer support will definitely take a lot of time and if you have an urgent need for the money or the transaction, it will really cause a lot of stress.

It will also help move things along if you contact the customer support of the other organization involved in the GCash transaction, in my case 7-eleven. This experience has left me with the feeling that GCash has real limits contrary to what their marketing team says: things could easily go wrong any time. Despite the modern tools and services we have today, integration and synergy between separate digital services is still a work in progress.

How’s your GCash experience so far? If you’d had similar or worse issue, feel free to share in the comments below.

Disclaimer

The author is not connected in any way to Globe, Inc, Mynt or GCash.

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Daily dose

Scientific names of Vegetables in Bahay Kubo

Most Filipinos grew up learning the song “Bahay Kubo” (Nipa Hut) as it’s one of the staples of folk songs taught to children. Remembering all the vegetables mentioned in the lyrics is often given as a trivia challenge especially to adults just to test how well they still know the song. Being able to list all is already an amazing feat.

A more difficult challenge, even for geeks, is knowing the scientific names of each vegetable. I remember kicking off our Taxonomy class with this homework back in college and it was quite a daunting yet fun challenge.

So to help out anyone, call it a public service, I share to you a table of all the vegetables in the song “Bahay Kubo” along with its respective scientific name.

Filipino nameEnglish nameScientific name
SingkamasJamaicaPachyrrizus erosus
TalongEggplantSolanum melongena
SigarilyasWinged beanPsophocarpus tetragonolobus
ManiPeanutArachis hypogaea
SitawString beansPhaseolus vulgaris
BatawHyacinth beanDolichos lablab
PataniLima beanPhaseolus lunatus
KundolWinter melonBenincasa hispida
PatolaAngled luffa/Chinese okraLuffa acutangula
UpoBottle gourdLagenaria siceraria
KalabasaSquashCucurbita maxima
LabanosRadishRaphanus sativus
MustasaMustardBrassica juncea
SibuyasOnionAllium cepa
KamatisTomatoLycopersicum esculentum
BawangGarlicAllium sativum
LuyaGingerZingiber officinale
LingaSesame seedSesamum indicum

The basic rule for writing a scientific name

  1. Use both genus and species name: Felis catus.
  2. Italicize the whole name.
  3. Capitalize only the genus name. (In the past you would capitalize the species designation if it was derived from a proper name, e.g., Megalonyx Jeffersonii, but now the species designation is always lowercased: Megalonyx jeffersonii.)

Hope this helps!

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Daily dose

New beginnings…Part 2

After four months of absence I’ve returned to blogging. Welcome to the new Ctrl + Alt + J! I must admit that it’s not been an easy path to this very first post. Since 2015, I’ve been battling a severe case of writer’s bloc, blogger’s bloc or fatigue. The steam has ran out. The engines have stopped. Drafts were not even being finished. Social media took up most of my time and energies. Around me my fellow bloggers have moved on to bigger roles in other platforms. Some like myself have just simply faded in the digital background.

Thankfully, the passion never died. The urge was still there. The need to express, examine, question and engage kept burning no matter how small the flame was. On the technical side, I’ve lost the original domain this blog was on and came to be known for. Fellow bloggers and the very few long-time readers would have noticed the subtle difference in what’s seen on your browser’s address bar as you’ve landed on this blog.

Also lost are 6 years of blog posts, comments, tags, links and other content. Saddening, true but I’m looking at it from a ‘clean slate’ angle. To truly move forward sometimes it’s best to just simply let go of the past. So you’d notice an empty or non-existent archives page. Soon though, there will be one and it will be filled with new stuff as the days will go on.

The best bit about this new version of Ctrl + Alt + J is that it’s now a secure corner of the web. That’s literally secure because you’d see in your browser’s address bar the “https://” protocol preceding my new domain. It’s my gift and commitment to you my dear readers so that you’d have a secure connection to this blog. Thank you for reading up to this point and I’d give your time back now as you’ve reached the end of this post. Hope to see you around in the many more posts to come along.