Seagate Backup Plus Unboxing Photos

A few weeks ago, I bought a 4TB Seagate Backup Plus Portable online from one of the local sellers in Manila. This drive will serve as a storage for snapshot backups of my NAS (Network-Attached Storage) at home. Below are the pictures I took during the unboxing. 🙂

The label on the box says 200GB of Cloud Storage for OneDrive is included but must be activated by June 20, 2017.

The top of the box is has a tamper-evident seal that guarantees that the initial contents of the drive came straight form the manufacturer.

The same tamper-evident seal can be found on the bottom of the box. This is how it would look like if the seal has been tampered with.

The contents of the box are the Quick Start Guide and the drive itself inside a protective plastic shell which also contains the USB cable.

Here’s the “top” of the protective plastic shell. Notice the six nubs that should somehow absorb and distribute the force should there be any impact from this side during transit. The protective shell is easy to open, much like Amazon’s frustration-free packages.

The drive is wrapped in plastic inside the plastic shell together with the USB cable.

The drive itself comes with a Micro-B SuperSpeed USB receptacle.

The included cable is a Micro-B SuperSpeed on one end and a standard Type-A on the other end.

After plugging it in on my laptop, it was recognized immediately by Windows 10 without the need to install any drivers. The OS reports that the total drive space is 3.63TB and so far, this is more than enough of what I need for my NAS but as the saying goes, “you can never have too much backups.” 🙂

How To: Auto-mount A Network Share On Raspberry Pi On Boot

Find Out What’s Available

The first thing I did was to show all the mount points available on the server where the network share is:

$ showmount -e

The result should be something like this:

Export list for

Create Mount Folder in the Raspberry Pi

Then I created a folder in /mnt so that I can mount the network share on the folder:

$ sudo mkdir /mnt/multimedia_share

OPTIONAL: Mount Manually Before Attempting To Auto-mount

I manually played around with the mounting before actually trying to get it to auto-mount. A fun exercise for n00bs like me.

If the network share allows anonymous access, the following command should “map” the network share to the /mnt/multimedia_share

$ sudo mount -t cifs -o guest // /mnt/multimedia_share

Otherwise, a mount error will be returned:

mount error(13): Permission denied
Refer to the mount.cifs(8) manual page (e.g. man mount.cifs)

If the network share requires credentials for access, the following command should be used:

$ sudo mount -t cifs -o username=user_name,password=plain_text_password // /mnt/multimedia_share

To unmount, use the following command:

$ sudo umount //

Configure Auto-mount on Boot

If we manually mount the network share, we will lose the “mapping” once the Raspberry Pi reboots. To have it mount upon boot, we have to edit the /etc/fstab file:

$ sudo nano /etc/fstab

Add the following line at the end of the file:

// /mnt/multimedia_share cifs username=user_name,password=plain_text_password,file_mode=0777,dir_mode=0777 0 0

Save the file and run the following to have the network share mounted:

$ sudo mount -a

There wouldn’t be any feedback like a success message if there are no errors. So to see if the mount was successful, run the following:

$ df -h

That command should return something like this:

Filesystem --- Size --- Used --- Avail --- Use% --- Mounted on
/dev/root --- 15G --- 2.9G --- 11G --- 21% --- /
// --- 5.4T --- 3.1T --- 2.4T --- 58% --- /mnt/multimedia_share

Note the last line where the details of the network share is displayed including the total size, used and available space.

To test if the auto-mount configuration worked, reboot the RPi:

$ sudo reboot

After it restarts, connect to the RPi and try to access the contents of the network share by going into:

$ cd /mnt/multimedia_share

7 Lessons I Learned When I Got Married

To my mind, these are the things that I learned after I got married. Well, it doesn’t really mean that everything listed here are new to me, it’s just that some of these got more emphasized in the months that came by after tying the knot.

#1: If The World Ends On 2011, 2012 Or Any Other Year, It Doesn’t Matter

On 2011, doomsayers were predicting that the world would end on May 21. For some reason, nothing happened and it got rescheduled at October 21 of the same year – just a day after my wedding. Despite not knowing what the future holds, my wedding vow went like “… to love you, take care of you and provide for our family… This is my promise, this is my vow and this is what I intend to keep for all the rest of my days in this life and the next…” To some, it might be too ideal and unrealistic but to me, it doesn’t matter what they say. I got married to the woman I love, the one I know I will grow old with, to the one whom I know I would like to be with until the end of time – either the end of my time in this world as an individual or the world’s end at a cosmic scale. Either way, I’m the happiest man dead or alive.

#2: Individual Personalities Will Clash

I grew up with only one big brother; she grew up with two big sisters and one big brother. We are both the youngest in our families (“bunso”) thus, as I am told (and I do not believe in this by the way), we always get our ways. Assuming that the last statement is true, that fact alone merits as a good excuse as to why we will always have our different views on things, different stand and different expectations. Every now and then, we get to a point where stubbornness sets in and we can’t even agree to disagree. It’s like being alone for the longest time then you bump into something in the dark and all of a sudden that something bumps back. But the kicker is that it’s ok. It’s ok to get into fights and make a mess every once in a while just as long as you both clean up the mess and try to find closure.

#3: Money Is Essential But Not The Purpose Of Life

This lesson is best explained by Twitter CEO Dick Costolo when he said that “we should think of revenue like breathing – it’s necessary for life, but it’s not the purpose of life.” Due to the nature of my family’s business, there are times when the grass is green and there are times when the well is dry (at the time of writing this, the well is not only dry, but has already accumulated dust). Maybe it serves as a reminder that the value of money is always more than what you think it is but it doesn’t mean that that is all there is to it. It’s true that money makes almost everything in the world happen. Keyword: almost. For the simple joys in life, no amount of money can ever replace rare instances where you both know that you are truly happy. Like raiding the kitchen at midnight or staying in bed on a lazy rainy Sunday afternoon or singing at the top of your lungs while on a road trip or just sitting in the park watching the leaves fall down as you welcome winter on a foreign land. Money will buy you a lot of things but money and all the things that you bought with it won’t last. Shared happy memories do.

#4: Being Married Doesn’t Mean Giving Up Time For Yourself

Social norm dictates that married couples should always be together, most especially for newlyweds. I don’t know why that is but I believe that it exists for a reason. Is it relevant at this day and age? Maybe or maybe not. But my point is that the demands of society can put most of one’s plan in the backburner. This includes personal goals and targets like a master’s degree or a solitary trip to Europe or a pilot’s license. Most often than not, when faced with a choice between an activity that involves both me and my wife on one hand and an activity that can be done with just myself on the other hand, I end up choosing the one with my wife on it. I’ll admit that during the first stages of my realization, it felt like the dreams I’ve set way back before I got married will never come true. But as they say, never say never right? What I didn’t realize back then was that my dreams are still the same. They’re still dreams, the same ones I had before getting married. They may be a lot harder to achieve now but when I do, success will be so much sweeter and more fulfilling now that I have someone to share it with. If I fail, I know that someone will always believe in me even at times when I don’t.

#5: Be Ready To Add More Rules

As you both discover more about each other in the context of married life, expect to add more rules in your relationship in every waking hour. These rules vary from the mundane to the complex such as shaving your smug face before seeing her mom or when it’s time to become that psychic mind reader once again just to know if she wants flowers, chocolates, coffee, a new bag and shoes or all of the above. [DISCLAIMER: these are out-of-this-world examples only. The names/identities of the person(s) involved are changed for their protection. Yeah, you know who you are.] But despite how crazy these rules are, you know that it goes both ways. Sooner or later you’ll realize that you have the power to do the same. What is important is to know the rules so you’ll know how to bend them and make them work in your favor. Spend an afternoon finding loop holes just for fun and have the courage to break them every now and then for sanity’s sake. The most important thing to determine is to know if the rules are worth breaking. Pfffft! Rules? They’re just guidelines anyway. 🙂

#6: Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Married Couples

The best teacher is experience. So what will you do when you don’t have any experience and you’re not sure what to do next? Ask. Just ask. There’s no definitive manual for living a married life. You play it by ear. So when you ask, listen. For sure, someone has experienced something somewhere sometime that is somewhat similar to your situation. You can learn a lot from their stories and how they handled the situation as well as from their mistakes and how they would have done things differently. Families and friends are more than happy to share a story or two especially if they went through similar situations that you’re in now. What’s good about this is that as you progress in your married life, you’ll realize that you knew that right thing to do in certain situations all along. You just needed to hear the right words to boost your confidence and the affirmation that everything is going to be alright.

#7: Parents Hit The Bull’s Eye When They Said “You’ll understand this better when you get married”

When you’re young, you’re probably curious, eager and stupid. And mostly stupid. You tend to question a lot of things on why they are the way they are. It’s not farfetched that you’ve probably heard this line a couple of times: “You’ll understand this better when you’re married.” Then it’s the end of the conversation. There are simply no words that can describe what married couples have that most single people don’t have. I cannot accurately pin point it if it’s the unspoken connection and understanding, the motivation that drives the couple on certain decisions or the trust on each other that the right thing will and shall be done.

To my Mom and Dad, thank you and I love you both. I think I understand now.

Toilet Competition Below The Fold

In today’s issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, there is a story entitled “US toilets compete for the top seat.” Its about an on-going contest to find America’s Best Restroom.

Home Grown

I viewed the ten finalists at and I must say, some of them really are good. Keyword: SOME. I don’t know why four of those entries are there nor why this story is on the front page nor why I am writing about this.

All I know is that I’ve seen better. Maybe not something that bests all 10 finalists but definitely better.


Sample? Go here: At home

Facebook Mail is here

I got a very nice surprise when I checked my “Messages” on facebook a few minutes ago.

I was prompted to create my facebook mail and was done in about 2-3 steps. This might be old news but as far as I can remember, facebook started gradually rolling this out late last year and maybe it was just really unexpected, I had to blog about it.

Anyway, what happened was there was a pop up message saying that I need to upgrade to the new “Facebook Messages”. I clicked the button and it showed my profile username ( and stated that my facebook email address will be the same as my profile username (e.g. I clicked next and was told that emails/messages from my friends would appear in “Messages” link and emails/messages from non-confrimed friends would appear on the “Other” link. After completing these steps, it displayed the different ways on how I can be contacted/sent messages.

So what changed?

Aside from the changes in the way messages are handled mentioned above, messages coming from emails and chat messages share the same interface. You can reply on either chat box or main Messages window. There is a quick reply mode where if the check box is ticked, all key presses on the enter key sends the message immediately or if unticked, gives a new line instead. You can also attach a file or take a picture or video before sending.

Just for fun, I tried sending myself an email and here’s the header details from GMail:

Over Speeding at SCTEX

So I got an over speeding ticket.

Last Saturday (March 5, 2011), I went with my fiancée’s clan for a summer outing. At around 7:30AM we were at SCTEX’s Clark South toll booth. The expressway is still very nice to drive on and is very very free from congestion. Running at a 100kph seems like 60kph as you zoom past the green scenery.


Call me crazy and irresponsible (and guilty as well) since we were on a 4-car convoy going to Subic with speeds in excess of 160kph. I was the last car on the convoy and all the while, they were moving from left to right and vice versa, weaving our way through the other cars. Most of the time I stayed on the left lane (over taking lane) even if there were no cars on the right lane (slow/cruising lane) while the other cars in our convoy kept returning to the right lane. I also noticed that there was a parked white pickup truck on the side of the road a few kilometers before the exit booth at Subic. Why am I saying all this? Because these are the tell tale signs that they’re on to you. Heh.

Upon reaching the exit booth at Subic, I was immediately flagged by the traffic enforcers and guided me to stop the car on the shoulder lane. I opened my window and was told that they detected that I was over speeding and that they’d like to see my license. I gave the apprehending officer my driver’s license and upon seeing my address, he asked me as if to confirm “Sir, taga Caloocan po kayo? (Are you from Caloocan City?)” I said yes and he walked away with my license.

A few minutes later, he returned with the traffic violation ticket already filled out and explained to me that I was caught by their speed gun running at 129kph (!?). I asked him a few questions and I learned that although the “advertised” speed limit at SCTEX is 100kph, a 15% speed allowance is given to motorists in the event that the car needs to speed up to overtake another car. I asked why was I the only one caught over speeding when in fact, there were four of us. He said some BS excuse and just offered some tips so that I won’t be caught next time (at this point I felt really weird because I was with my fiancée, her mom, her cousin and there I was guilty as hell and the guy who just apprehended me is giving me tips on how to beat their system).

I was also told that there would be a picture of my car with the speed reading superimposed on it as proof but can only be showed when I claim my license. He said that since I live in Caloocan, I will be claiming my license at the Land Transportation Office’s (LTO) main office at East Ave. in Quezon City. In lieu of my license, I was given a temporary license which is good for 3 working days. 

Claiming My License

I went to the LTO main office on Wednesday (March 9, 2011) at around 2:30PM. I asked the guard in the parking lot where to go next. I was with my dad who was going to renew his license (expired for more than a year!!!).

The processing was fast but was a bit unorganized. I went in to one building to have my violation ticket be numbered for a queue then waited for about 15 mins. before my number was called. I went to the personnel who called my number and gave me a sheet of paper with the break down of the charges that I need to pay first. PhP 1,000.00 for Reckless Driving, PhP 200.00 for Research and Legal fees and a few more (around 60.00) for computerization and training fees (!?) for a total of 1,26x.xx pesos.

The cashier is at another building and took me another 15 minutes. After I was issued a receipt, I was not told where to go next. There wasn’t any postings or directions for the next step. I went back to the first building and asked the guard where to go next.

I went to another building where the exam and film showing (a.k.a. the seminar) is held. The questionnaire is 60 items (multiple choice type of exam) and I was given three pieces of paper: (1) Pre-exam answer sheet, (2) Case details and (3) Post-seminar. The pre-exam answer sheet should be filled up using “stock knowledge” before the short film is shown. The case details was filled out with the case number, ticket violation number, license number, dates and other information related to the apprehension. The post-seminar sheet was filled out during the short film’s playback. As the instructor said, “If ever you get your answers in the pre-exam sheet wrong, write the correct answer in the post-seminar sheet.” I guess they were hoping that the mistakes made on the pre-exam sheet will be realized by the ones taking the exam due to the short film’s playback.

The film was short. I guess it was less than 30 mins. but was really boring. It starts with the history of transportation from (and I kid you not) carabaos, the naming history of the LTO and the requirements for applying for a student and non-professional license. Ok the film might not have started with saying that transportation started from carabaos but it was that freaking boring. It was very illogical as well since our violation was reckless driving and not driving without a license. The exam never had a question that touched on the name or history of the LTO nor did the short film discuss the tonnage limit per axle on an 18-wheeler truck which was a question on the exam. I think this is the “torture” part for those who violated traffic rules.

After submitting the exam, we had to wait for what seemed like eternity on the 2nd floor of the same building. And in true graduation-style roll call, we are given a certificate of exam completion and a booklet entitled “The Filipino Drivers Manual”.

Upon receiving the certificate of exam completion, I went to the 2nd floor of the 1st building that I went to where I had to surrender all certificates, tickets and receipt then wait for my name to be called. The only thing that I got back was my license and my receipt.

It was about 4:50PM when I got back to the car with my license, booklet-souvenir and my dad waiting patiently. He was done renewing his license for about 30mins already.

So if you’d want to speed up along SCTEX or NLEX, make sure you allot about half a day and PhP1,500.00 to get your license back. hahaha!

Stocks and Patience

Ever since I opened an account with an online stock broker, I quickly used up almost all of the funds that I deposited for buying stocks of other companies. I bought a few shares from a telecom giant, a couple of hundred from holding companies, a popular real estate company and a few thousand shares from a property development group.

Daily Monitoring

I monitored the stock market on a daily basis for the last week and found that I didn’t move as much as believed it would. The market fluctuated daily and even in the span of three hours – at which the market is open for trading – the fluctuations are not as big as I’ve hoped. Although the fluctuations are not of leaps and bounds, I’ve lost a couple of thousand pesos without doing anything on the first two days. On the third day, the losses ballooned to almost 10% of my initial investment. I thought that it was already on a downward trend and that the losses would soon snowball on me and eventually take my investments away.

I was caught in a dilemma. Either I cut my losses and sell the stocks now or hold on and hope for the best. I was told by my friends to hang on and that patience is a virtue. To sell the stocks now would actually be an acceptance that the investment that I had so much hope in, was gone. I listened to their advices and slept on it – hoping that the stocks that I bought will be performing better the next day.

Better Day

On the fourth day, the losses were down to 8% and on the fifth day to 5%. Over the weekend, I tried not to think about it so much because I might jinx it on the opening day of this week (heh). Last Monday was the starting day when I saw the stocks play between 3.3% and 4% until today. Last Monday was the day when I realized that investing on the stock market is not just about the money.


Its more about that darn patience that you need.

Stock Market: Day 1

The market opened at 09:30am today. Placed stock orders to my online broker for five (5) local companies for a total somewhere north of PhP50,000.00

At around 10:00am, loss value was around PhP356++. So much for beginner’s luck. Ate breakfast, took a bath then headed out to the gym.

12:00pm, the market closes. Finished my workout. Total loss value was at 842.14 (pesos not calories though).

Hopefully tomorrow is a better day.

Stock Market Adventures

Today is the day when I first opened an account with an online stockbroker. Everything happened so fast, it looks very promising.

Stockbrokers? You mean like the Wall Street movie?

Yes and no. Yes in the sense that I can now buy stocks from publicly listed companies in the Philippine Stock Exchange. No in the sense that I don’t need to call/deal or talk to a stockbroker directly.

The company that I signed-up with is CitiSecOnline. From their FAQ page:

CitisecOnline was established in 1999 with the vision of allowing a low-cost and easily accessible means to invest in the Philippine Stock Market. Over the years, it has developed a full sweep of services to empower the retail investor. These include real-time quotes, research services and reports, as well as expert-broker support, by providing him the tools to assist him make intelligent decisions. It also allows real-time execution of trades, which is the best practice in the local online trading industry. With its experience in servicing experienced investors looking for more convenient ways of stock trading, CitisecOnline is well-poised to drive the development of the online trading investor market in confluence with the increased penetration of internet access, broadband services and increasingly tech-savvy investing public.

I downloaded their application form online, filled it out and prepared the necessary photocopies of my government-issued IDs before going to their office at 2401-B East Tower Philippine Stock Exchange Center, Exchange Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City. When we got to their vicinity, the place was really busy. There were a lot of cars going by and a lot of business people walking about. We found a pay-parking lot in front of their building and tried our luck with the parking space for about twenty minutes but ended up with the valet parking.

Like Fastfood

We went directly to the 24th floor and asked the guard where we can find the new accounts section. We were brought to a cozy room with tables and chairs meant for discussing any concerns that we may have with the account officer. The account officer asked if I already have “the necessary documents for application” and I said “yes” while pulling it out from my envelope. She just replied with “please wait for a moment as I check these and have them approved” and left. After five minutes, she came back with my new account number and said that the account is now ready to be funded and can be used immediately. She asked us if we have any more clarifications and/or questions – we had none – so I guess the opening of my account is complete. All of these in under fifteen minutes. Just like that, just like ordering fastfood.

Before I can reach my car, I got an email from them reminding me of my account number and how I can fund the account with step-by-step instructions for three different big banks. I can use any of these banks to transfer my funds online – how cool is that?

Technical Problems

Being in the IT industry, I can’t help but notice that they are still using older technologies such as ASP classic and frames. Not to mention the use of tables for the site layout and some misaligned displays here and there. But what’s really puzzling me is that I was not provided with a password. There was nothing in the email they sent, not even a default random password that I will be required to change upon logging in for the first time. All I got is a username. All they’ve got is a login box and a forgot password link. I’m hesitant to use the forgot password since I never had the password. The “open an account” link leads to the list of requirements to be submitted.

Call me stupid for not knowing what to do, but I’d call myself sleepy and tired. Yeah. Whatever.

Loaded with projects

So I’ve been busy

Time passes by real quick these days. Being directly involved in three IT projects under my current employer which deals a lot with the Philippine Government is what’s really eating up my time. Fortunately, the first project that is a nationwide statistical performance reporting system is in the final stages of the knowledge transfer phase via trainings on the technologies used. We have conducted the .Net training and we will be doing the database training next week for maintenance purposes.

Projects that matter

That first project gave me a lot of insight as to how our clients expect their contractor (us) to handle each and every idea/suggestion/improvement that they want to see in their new system. I also learned that emphasizing the “must-haves” versus the “nice-to-haves” is a very important concept if you want to finish on time. It is essential that some nice-to-haves be pushed back and be implemented after the system’s deployment to production just to hit the deadlines. Even after the UAT and during the roll-out/training in regional offices, changes in the UI and processes have cropped up due to new business policies or the lack thereof. I can’t wait to see all of their suggestions and recommendations for the years to come due to the more-than-enough warranty period which is longer than what most multi-national software development companies are offering.

The second project is an enhancement of a system that was started by my current employer ten years ago at about the time when I was still in high school. This project was originally created using a portal development toolkit created by a software giant whose strength was in a relational database management system. In the decade that this system was up and running, its source code and database schema went through the hands of a couple of software development houses who never bothered to update the documentation or to document even only the changes that they introduced. I know this because when I asked for the latest user’s manual, I was given a copy of the manual that my employer gave a decade ago. Now that we have been contracted to fix the system up, we did more than what was needed to be done. Instead of just fixing bugs and/or customizing reports and/or normalizing tables and/or updating affected modules, we re-wrote the whole thing and at the same time upgraded it to a more relevant technology platform. We are now in the process of creating the necessary reports for departmental use before conducting the UAT. If there won’t be much changes, then the project will soon be ready for the public.

The third project is a bridge between the first and the second. The statistical performance data from the second system will be fed automatically to the first system so that the bureaus, departments, field and regional offices can focus on data analysis rather than waste their time waiting for the field reports to come in and consolidate those reports for submission to the higher management.

Startups left and right

I am also busy trying to create a company that is composed of my closest friends. This company will be used for a lot of things and not only for IT-related business ventures. It is always good to diversify your portfolio and to keep an eye out in different industries that is why this new company will be venturing in the stock market, financing, trade of goods and merchandise and as well as food and beverage. We have started to pool our resources and I have acquired the necessary documents from the SEC. We just have to finalize some details and we’ll be good to go.

A former non-IT boss has also invited me to help him start up a new business venture that primarily caters to the thriving tourism industry in the country. We have been on meetings for a number of times now and during those conceptualization meetings, the provisioning of the back-end system will be on me.

On my personal free time (yes, surprisingly I can call it that), I am slowly developing a system that utilizes the publicly available developer’s API in each different web categories such as social networks, entertainment, games, news, photo management and productivity. This system is not yet affiliated with or owned by any company and it will be a mash up of features and functionality from different popular websites which should make it a bit more interesting to see from a regular user’s point of view.

Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines

I hope to finish all projects from my employer before he first half of this year is over and to be able to establish the company with my friends before the first quarter is over because I really need to focus more on the thing that is really important to me – getting married. But I guess that would be for another blog post.