Office Hackery

Useful Hacks, Reviews, Tips and Tricks of anything under the moon and the sun.

Smart Mirror: Coming soon in your home

Smart Mirror: Coming soon in your home
Whenever I browse my social media account, I often come accross with one or two bathroom mirror selfie shot (I don't know if thats how you call it). I don't mind people doing it and honestly it is none of my business. I'm posting about it because I gets AHA moment when I encounter posts like that. I often wonder what if there is such a smart mirror thing. It is like an ordinary mirror in your bedroom or bathroom's wall but smarter. It can take a picture of you and automatically post it in your facebook and/or instagram accounts with a caption like
"i woke up like this:-)" 
or a mirror that can record a seconds of your cute sexy act then post it in your linked snapchat. It should also able to show your calendar and daily weather while brushing your teeth. Advanced feature could be health condition detection. With just by looking at the mirror, it can detect some illness like eye irritation, skin rushes and among others then show the information in the mirror as overlay display similar to the augmented reality features of Google Glass and Smartphones. You can interact with Smart Mirror by touching it or by voice command. Pretty neat ha? I wish I can claim that Idea as mine but I can't because there is already a DIY project like it. Although it is not 100% the same with mine, it is still pretty like it. If you want to try doing similar project yourself then watch the complete video with step-by-step instruction to build it.

Hit the comment section if you have ever done similar project. As to my Aha project, I will surely update you here if I decided to make one.

photo credit: romero007 Double via photopin (license)

Microsoft Surface Studio: The iMac killer?

You must be wondering whats with the violent title. Pardon my excitement, I just can't find any better word to emphasize the design of the new Microsoft Surface Studio. Beautiful and Amazing are not enough so I will stick to killer to make it more halloween. Microsoft is telling us that this Surface Studio is an entirely new device that gives you a huge canvas for all kinds of work but it is obvious that it will compete with Apple's iMac lineup. It features a roomy and adjustable 28-inch PixelSense Display which can deliver a clarity more than 4K resolution.

Watch this video and be mesmerise.

Ofcourse such beautify design comes with a price. Pricing starts at $2,999 for a Core i5, 8GB RAM, 1TB storage, and a GTX 965M GPU, ranging up to $4,199 for a Core i7, 32GB RAM, 2TB storage, and a GTX 980M.

Saying that it will overtake the iMac is a bold statement right now. I will wait to get a hand on it before I declare my final verdict.

Happy Halloween!

How Internet will end?

Believe it or not. It can happen. Whether you're in IT field or not, you are vulnerable, we all are. Last week, several popular online services such as and Spotify were not accessible from users in some part of the world. If you're living in those affected places then you might had a feel of what it is like to live in pre-internet era. The massive outage was because of a widespread DDoS attack to a DNS company called DYN. Getting bored already? Please keep reading because this is important. Imagine a world without Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat? Can you really live without social media? if you say YES then stop reading or otherwise give me time to explain.

Understanding How It Works

Let me make it easier for you to comprehend. First lets go back to technical jargons I mentioned. First what is DDoS. That is the abbreviation for Distributed Denial of Service. It is a common type of hacking strategy for hackers to bring down internet services or just plainly any kind of computer. It is done by sending millions of request to the target computer until it choke. Take note that every type of computer has its limitation, your personal computer can hang if it is processing too much tasks beyond it was designed for. The same limitation applies to big computers or servers out there. If hackers are able to send too many requests to a target server, it will come to its tipping point and eventually shuts down. On the other hand, DNS refers to Dynamic Name Servers. It is like an address book on your mobile phone. Most of us don't remember phone numbers so we prefer looking for the names in phonebook and once we found it, phonebook can show the details of that contact including the number so you could make a call. Are you still with me? Hope so. So if DNS companies like DYN is an address book of websites in world wide web. Imagine if they get hacked (in this case using DDoS attack) and attackers were successful bringing down the DNS computers (or going back to phonebook analogy, deleted the address book). How would billion of internet users will be able to locate or access their favorite internet services? Oh yeah.. They can’t. When this happen, your smartphone will just be phone. Your computer will be standing alone. A life without internet.

Possibility because of Internet of Things

Internet of Things
I can hear you laughing now. But after the massive outage last week, it is safe to say I'm not talking shit. Dark ages for internet is not too far. Here is how may internet meet its ending. Have you heard about IoT or Internet of Things? Every gadgets now have the capability to connect to internet on their own. I’m not just talking about smartphones, computers and network devices. Most of ordinary appliances and gadgets are also now internet enabled such as digital cameras, smart watches, TVs, speakers, game consoles, refrigerators, oven, lights, and all other appliances. Internet enabled means these devices can connect to internet at ease. Now ask your self, have you recently bought a smart appliance or gadget? have you change the default admin password of it? Or have you even bother reading the manual or you just proceeded to default setup, plug and play. Yeah I understand, convenience is our priority in buying things now. We want them to work right out of the box. But this is also mankind’s weakest link.

If you are the convenient type of guy, then you might also be one of the suspected aid to the crime last week. Yes it may sound absurd but the simplest explanation of the massive downtime last week was because of 10s of millions of refrigerator, coffee maker and other smart devices attacked one of the biggest company of DNS servers. Ofcourse these smart appliances won’t start attacking on their own. These smart appliances were infected by Mirai botnet. It is a type of computer malware that turn computers including smart devices and appliances into controlled zombies. Hackers start by using piece of wizardry (coding) to search for any internet-connected device that have default settings. Once they have the list of these devices and probably included there is your smart oven, hackers can plant Mirai botnet on them. And there on they would be able to use horde of devices to attack someone else's computer which in this case the DYN’s DNS servers. Cool yeah? Not if your the victim.

How can you help?

How you can help to stop IoT attack

You don’t have to be an IT expert to help in preventing the doomsday of internet. All you need is to do the simple things.

- Read your device manual.
- Change your smart device default password.
- Keep your devices up to date as possible.
- Reset or reboot your devices from time to time. Reboot kills malware and viruses.
- Invest in highly secured home routers or modem. This is the little box provided by your Telco company when they installed your internet. I bet you didn’t waste time changing your router’s default admin password :)

In short you could be a great help to mankind if you start being more conscious to things that you connect to internet in your home.

Note 7 is dead. Switching to Sony Xperia Z5

I'm a solid fan of Samsung's phablet device, the Note. I had one since Note 3 and every year I upgrade to the newer version until Note 7. I got my Note 7 a month ago from my Globe postpaid subscription and for a few weeks, I was happy with it. In my opinion, Note 7 is by far the brightest among all the smartphones out there. It was indeed the android smartphone to beat in 2016.

The design, hardware and software are almost perfect (at least for me) until it started exploding. At first, I thought the exploding incidents were just isolated cases so I hold on to my device. When the recall program in the Philippines started (early October,) I refused to avail it. Then when the OTA update came which forcefully limit the Note 7 charging capability to only 60%, I still ignored it and blocked the update. And days went by and new exploding incidents were reported including the replacement units, it hit me, maybe switching to another phone is inevitable for me.. maybe Samsung is doomed. And viola after a day, Samsung finally stopped the sales and production of Note 7. I told myself thats it! it is time to move on. I factory reset my Note 7, put it back in its almost new box and send it home to his creator.

Note 7 is dead

My first choice for replacement was Samsung S7 or S7 Edge but I felt although these two (2) flagship are great, they are still inferior compare to Note 7 and sticking with Samsung brand will just make me miss my dead phablet even more. So after days of thinking, I jumped from Korea to Japan by getting the Sony Xperia Z5. It is not an upgrade at all. Z5 is not even comparable to Note 7.  In terms of hardware spec and software, Xperia Z5 is a a lot inferior than Note 7 but the flat design, oh, i like it more. It is like trying out a new dish. It would be unusual for your taste at first but after a few bites, eventually you might like it anyway.

Sony Xperia Z5: Replacement to Note 7

Sony Xperia Z5 Back

Sony Xperia Z5 Side

What I got is the non-premium version of Xperia Z5. I wanted to try a smaller phone so I decided to get the normal sized Z5 with the following specs:

Dimensions: 146 x 72 x 7.3 mm (5.75 x 2.83 x 0.29 in)
Weight: 154 g (5.43 oz)
Display Size: 5.2 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels (~428 ppi pixel density)
OS: Android OS v5.1.1 (Lollipop). Upgraded to v6.0 (Marshmallow)
Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8994 Snapdragon 810
CPU: Octa-core (4x1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & 4x2.0 GHz Cortex-A57)
Card slot: microSD, up to 256 GB (dedicated slot)
Internal Memory: 32 GB, 3 GB RAM
Primary Camera: 23 MP, f/2.0, 24mm, phase detection autofocus
Secondary Camera: 5.1 MP, f/2.4, 1080p, HDR
Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 2900 mAh battery

After 5 days of using the Xperia Z5, Here are the things I like and I don't like about it.

What I like about it?

  • The flat design
  • IP68 certified - dust proof and water resistant over 1.5 meter and 30 minutes
  • The expandable memory support.

What I don't like about it?

  • The software UI design. I miss the Note 7 interface already.
  • No S Pen
  • It gets too hot. (at least it doesn't explode)

I know it is unfair for Z5 to be compared to the likes of Note 7 however this post is not about comparison. It is about my experience switching from Samsung to Sony. Would I upgrade to the next big thing of Sony - the Xperia XZ? maybe. I'm not sure how Samsung can resurrect the Note brand. I hope they can because Note is a great product if it is not exploding. Until Samsung's future becomes certain, I might stick with my new found love.

Google Re-Org Illustrated

If you'll ask me now which company I love to work for, of course I'll go with the biggest and coolest there is and definitely Google is on top of my list. But because of the announcement of a massive organizational overhaul, my dream to work with Google became one step below the top. With the re-org, Google just became a subsidiary of Alphabet, a newly created company. Now I have to dream bigger and aim for Alphabet if want the coolest there is. If your curious how will the new structure will look like, here is a simple illustration.

Google Re-Org Illustrated

  • Nest is a home automation system company acquired by Google in 2014.
  • Calico is a research and development biotech company that experiments with combating aging and related diseases.
  • Sidewalk Labs is all about improving modern cities.
  • Google X is the secret laboratory of Google working on ambitious projects such as Google Glass, Project Loon, Self-driving cars and etc.
  • Fiber builds high-speed internet connections.
  • Google Capital is its investment arm, which is distinct from Google Ventures, the search giant's venture-capital investment vehicle.
  • Google includes Search, YouTube, Android, and Maps. 

Avid Note users are not happy with Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Avid Note users are not happy with Samsung Galaxy Note 5

After a very long silence due to new responsibilities from my day job, I am officially back. Although I've been so busy with work, I still monitor tech news and trends everyday so I'm definitely up-to-date with mobile world and with the recent official announcement of Samsung's latest phablet version: The Galaxy Note 5, and I can honestly say I'm not happy with it. The new Note 5 is undoubtedly more beautiful with its premium glass and metal build compare to my almost one year old  Note 4. This newest version of Note is also more faster and more powerful than ever with its Exynos 7420 64-bit octa core processor and 4GB RAM. But what I don't understand is why Samsung choose to let go of features that made it the most popular phablet in the world.

Galaxy Note 5 has no microSD

No more MicroSD

Yes. Samsung decided to go with iPhone 6 plus direction by dropping the microSD slot. Honestly this is one of major reason I choose Note 4 over iPhone 6 plus. I don't like paying for additional thousand pesos just to double my phone's storage. I wanted my new phablet to be able to use my existing microSD where I save my important files. Now with the new Note 5, Samsung is forcing me to dispose my external disk. It is not fair :-(

Galaxy Note 5 has lower-capacity battery and non-removable back

Lower-capacity Battery and Non-removable back

Ouch. From 3,220mAh, Note 5 has now 3,000mAh. Although it is just slight lower and usually not a problem with Galaxy Note because of its removable back that make switching battery easy. But the Note 5 doesn't have a removable back anymore, which means no more battery switching. Well that sucks!


These shortcomings might be just minor on paper but it is important for hardcore Note users like me. A smartphone with a microSD slot, gives me flexibility in terms of storage and transferring files. While bigger battery and removable back give me longer mobility and freedom from an electric outlet. To omit these not so minor features is a clear indication to me that Samsung is directly competing with Apple's iPhone 6 Plus. Why would they playing catchup with Apple? It should be the other way around. The Galaxy Note is the first of its kind in a crowded smartphone market. Instead of mimicking competitors, Samsung should focus on enhancing the Note's strengths and not removing them. Samsung, please try to listen to your existing users. We are using Note over other phablets in the market because of these small reasons.

Transform Windows 8 to OSX Yosemite

I am using two laptops at work. One is a Macbook Pro running the latest OS X Yosemite and the other one is a Toshiba Protege running Windows 8.1. Whenever I switch from my Macbook to Toshiba notebook, I find Windows 8 interface ugly and complex. Don't get me wrong, I use both platforms for years already and on my book, nothing beats the simplicity and pretty interface of OS X. So I decided to take action and bring OS X interface to my lousy Windows 8 workstation. Fortunately, it is easy through Mac OS X Yosemite Skin Pack.

Once you have downloaded the skinpack, just follow the installation process presented on the following video.

The Mac OS X Yosemite Skin Pack supports Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and Windows 10 technical preview. Try it yourself and let me know your experience about it.

Math Problems? There is an app for that

Can't solve a math equation? I have 3 answers for you. One, you can call your math geek friend and let him/her help you. Two, type the equation at Wolfram|Alpha and it will give you different forms of answers. And three, use PhotoMath app, the smart camera calculator. To solve a math equation using option three, just follow these easy steps:

Math Problems? There is an app for that

1. Hold your phone and place the equation inside the red frame.
2. Boom! The solution should appear below the frame.
3. You can adjust the view by swiping your finger in all directions. Keep only the part of equation you want to solve.

Based on my brief testing, the app can solve simple math equations quickly. It is not perfect and probably won't solve complex equations. But considering the idea behind the app, the potential of it really excites me. It could be a start of something bigger.