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How to clear app cache or app data in Android

If an app is not behaving the way you expect it – white screen when you open it, freezes every now and then, etc a basic troubleshooting fix is to clear the app cache or app data or both.

Clear app cache vs app data

App cache is the temporary data stored on your device that is used by an app in doing its tasks. Over time, apps may accumulate a lot of temporary data in its app cache which could cause issues like slow responses, freezing up, or would just not start.

Clearing the cache app means deleting the temporary data so that the app can work on a clean space.

App data means the settings, preferences or account information stored by the app in order to work properly. Clearing the app data is just like resetting it to default settings as if the app has just been installed.

You would need to provide your login information, give or deny permissions to access your data or device components, all over again after clearing the app data. So you may need to take note of the settings of an app before you clear its app data.

How to clear cache app or app data

  • Go to the Settings Menu.
  • Click on Apps.
  • Find the All tab or All apps (if it doesn’t show you all apps by default)
  • Choose an app that you want to clear the cache or data.
  • Click the button Clear Cache. For devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or newer you’ll need to click on Storage and then Clear Cache.
  • To clear the app data instead of the cache, simply select Clear Data/Storage instead.

Once done, you can relaunch the app and see if it works better. Again, you may need to re-enter your account information and give it permissions upon launch.

Hopefully this will fix your app troubles.

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Microsoft releases critical update to fix Windows flaw

Do you have Windows update enabled? If not, now is the best time to check for updates to your Windows operating system as Microsoft released a set of patches to address critical vulnerabilities for the Remote Desktop Services component of Windows.

The critical flaw could allow for remote code execution, hackers could use it to run programs on a vulnerable computer without knowledge or permission of the owner. In addition, the vulnerability is ‘wormable‘ futue malware could exploit it to spread from an affected computer to another un-patched computer without action from a user.

The following versions of Windows are affected:

  • Windows 7 SP1
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • all supported versions of Windows 10, including server versions

The update should be available on your Windows computer by now if Windows Update is set to automatically download and install.

If you have it on manual, you just launch Windows Update, click on the Check for Updates button to refresh, then click on Install to download and apply the fix to your Windows PC.

Windows Update
Windows Update will automatically download the right fix for your Windows version

You would need to restart the machine after to complete the installation of the critical fix. Go ahead, update your Windows PC now.

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Facebook voice messages transcribed by contractors

Have you ever sent a voice message through Facebook Messenger? If so, there’s a great chance that someone else might have listened to it and even made a transcription. That’s right, someone else has heard and written down those words you intended only for your friend, family or special someone. Bloomberg reports that Facebook has hired contractors to transcribe voice messages sent through its Messenger app/service.

While Facebook uses AI to mine or analyze our chat conversations in Messenger for information so that it can serve ads, give suggestions like canned responses or what emoji to reply with, it’s clear that it’s not yet good enough to analyze voice messages.

Their solution is simple – outsource it to contractors and have their workers literally listen to the voice messages and transcribe it for the AI to digest. Simple yet has ‘invasion of privacy’ written all over it. In red.

Is Facebook allowed to do this? It seems we have given it our permission to do so:

The Facebook data-use policy, revised last year to make it more understandable for the public, includes no mention of audio. It does, however, say Facebook will collect “content, communications and other information you provide” when users “message or communicate with others.”
Facebook says its “systems automatically process content and communications you and others provide to analyze context and what’s in them.” It includes no mention of other human beings screening the content. In a list of “types of third parties we share information with,” Facebook doesn’t mention a transcription team, but vaguely refers to “vendors and service providers who support our business” by “analyzing how our products are used.”

Facebook Paid Contractors to Transcribe Users’ Audio Chats by Sara Frier, Bloomberg.com

Other companies like Amazon, Google and Apple have done the same in order to improve their AI services Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri respectively but has stopped the practice after they got criticized for it. Facebook has also recently stopped it as well, for now.

I’m not yet sure how this sits with privacy laws in each country around the world. In the Philippines our own Data Privacy Act is quite stringent with this regard and will be the subject of a follow up to this post. In the meantime, bear in mind that the next time you send another voice message in Messenger, someone else could listen to it at any time and most likely, without you knowing.

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In shutting down PCSO, Duterte has helped promote jueteng

without giving details or offering any evidence of the alleged corruption in PCSO, the public headed into the weekend surprised and puzzled with the sudden shutdown of Lotto, Keno, STL and other gaming activities by PCSO.

All the Palace could say was that details will be given “in due time.” No one from the top brass of PCSO has resigned nor has given any statement to Duterte’s shutdown order, only that they will make an appeal to the President’s office.

Recall that one of PCSO’s offerings is the Small-town lottery or STL which was meant to compete and help get rid of the illegal numbers game ‘jueteng’. Now that STL has been shuttered, one would expect an increase of jueteng’s popularity as people will turn to it for their gambling fix or livelihood.

With one stroke, Duterte has indirectly boosted the illegal numbers game. He was even able to mobilize the PNP in closing down the thousands of Lotto stalls nationwide under generous media coverage.

Then there was this speech the President gave last June during an oath-taking ceremony of newly elected officials in Malacanang:

May mga jueteng na activity…Maski sinong Presidente ilagay mo dito, for as long as the economy does not really provide food on the table for so many families, hayaan mo na lang ‘yan. At least ang pera doon [There are jueteng activities. Regardless who the President is, for as long as the economy does not provide really food on the table for so many families, you just let it be. At least the money is there]

Kasi hindi ko talaga rin kaya. At pagka sinira ko ‘yan, ang papalit sa apparatus niyan, droga. So choose between the lesser evil [Because I also can not do it. And if I order the closure of jueteng, it will be replaced by the drug apparatus. So choose between the lesser evil]

So it seems that Duterte has really chosen the ‘lesser evil’ and gave jueteng a Presidential boost by shutting down its competitor. Until Duterte reveals more details or progress of his so-called investigation into the alleged corruption in PCSO, the public will just have to wait and wonder.

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GCash Login Error Code HJL3

Since last night I have been unable to login to GCash. Did not change my MPIN. Wasn’t asked to change my MPIN recently. The GCash app would not just let me login. It gave the following error message:

There seems to be a problem. Please try again later. (Code HJL3)

Contacting GCash customer support was the last thing on my mind because we all know it takes them forever to respond let alone fix an issue. So I tried a couple of workarounds to see if I can fix this by myself.

The first workaround I tried was to change the MPIN. It still did not work.

Thought about uninstalling and reinstalling the GCash app but decided on changing the mobile number first. Since I don’t have any other number registered with GCash, I just re-entered my current number. After entering the authentication code and using my new MPIN, I was finally able to login.

I’ll do some searching online for this error or report this to GCash later on, but for now, you can try the workaround if you can’t login to GCASH:

  • Tap on ‘Change’ on the GCash login screen.
  • Select Yes when asked if you are sure to change the logged in number
  • Use the number registered with GCash
  • Enter the authentication code via SMS
  • Login using your MPIN

If this doesn’t work then you’d have to report this to GCash customer support.

Anyone else who encountered this error? What fix worked for you? Do share in the comments below.

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Not for power, but clean, free & honest elections

The outcome of the recent May 13, 2019 National & Local Elections may have already been decided in favor of the Duterte administration as not one Senatorial candidate from the Opposition has won a seat, it is hard to say that it is a victory through ‘clean, honest & free elections’.

On election day itself, NAMFREL​*​ has noted the following of great concern:

Violence in Mindanao – the were incidents of violence in the towns of Datu Piang and Matanog resulting to people unable to vote and the pullout of observers.

Voter disenfranchisement – voters gave up after they were not able to find their names on the list of voters even in precincts they had previously voted.

400 to 600 Vote Counting Machines (VCM) that malfunctioned which caused delays in voting or improvised voting procedures which let to voters being unable to verify their votes. It is estimated that between 600,000 to 800,000 votes may have been compromised and this is enough to influence the results of the election.

Then for 7 hours from 6:15PM of May 13 to 1:19AM of May 14, the Comelec Transparency server did not display results due to a yet-to-be explained technical glitch. When it did, candidates of the Administration had swept the Senate race.

Although the results favoring the administration bets where somehow expected given the President’s all-time high popularity rating, what came as a surprise was a sweep of all 12 seats in the Senate. Looking at the party-list elections, the anomalies, violence and lack of transparency has raised doubts about the results.

Noticeable are the following:

Anakpawis received zero votes in precincts where the group had members registered votes, including Caloocan and Valenzuela cities.

In Cagayan province, where Anakpawis has 20,000 members, the party polled only 8,000 votes.

Kabataan partylist received fewer votes in areas where the size of its chapters should have generated higher counts, such as Samar and Benguet provinces and Malabaon City.

ACT Teachers said an area in Iloilo province where the party had consistently drawn more than 700 votes gave it just seven.

Gabriela said they received significantly fewer votes this year in areas that consistently gave it much higher votes in the past elections.

Bayan Muna also experienced the same shaving of votes in areas that have given it increasing number of votes. Although it is no. 2, the gap with the number 1(the partylist of Tulfo) is way to great a figure.

Arkibong Bayan, Facebook post, May 17, 2019

All of these cast doubt on the integrity of the elections. The COMELEC whose duty and reason for existence is the conduct of ‘clean, honest and free elections’ should take the lead in being transparent and allowing access to the election data and servers for auditing. While it’s easy to say that the Left is once more just making noise for being sore losers, it conveniently ignores the many incidents that took place throughout the country last May 13 that has now cast doubts about the results.

Others will mask their bias with wit by asking the Left to present evidence to back their claims of cheating and fraud. While it is correct that the burden of proof is on the one making the allegations, such proof will depend on how transparent the COMELEC will be since the primary source of evidence, the Automated election system, is under their control.

If the COMELEC will grant the petitions for transparency and seriously look into the allegations, it will vindicate both the poll body and most specially the administration candidates as it will remove any doubts to the new mandates they have received from the electorate. The Left is not crying foul because it wants to have more seats in government, it is only after ensuring that our elections are clean, honest and free. Consistent to their cause, the Left is fighting not to win more seats, but for the true will of the people to be heard and respected.

It is a win for all if the election results are proven to be accurate and credible. It’s a win for all if those who made election law violations will be punished. It’s a win for all if we are able to ensure the recent elections have been clean, free & honest.


  1. ​*​
    NAMFREL NOTES ON ELECTION DAY
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I love you. 3000!

Avengers: Endgame is the best movie from MCU that I have seen. How they all returned from the ‘snap’ and defeated Thanos was just awesome. Hat’s off to Robert Downey, Jr he deserved the spotlight. Looking forward to Phase 4.

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[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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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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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.