TechnoStorm: Janette Toral answers your tech questions

Technostorm Ask The Expert
BERLIN, GERMANY - AUGUST 31: To visitors use a Sony Slider Hybrid PC tablet computer during the Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) 2012 consumer electronics trade fair on August 31, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. Microsoft, Samsung, Sony, Panasonic and Philips are amongst many of the brands showcasing their latest consumer electronics hardware, software and gadgets to members of the public from August 31 to September 5. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)

Janette Toral on bank apps, best laptops, SLRs, tablets, smartphones.

An app to transfer funds?
Ramon asks: I would like to know if there’s already an application that will help me transfer fund from one bank to another. I have two accounts from different banks and I find it time consuming to deposit money over the counter.

JANETTE: Hi Ramon. Some banks offer interbank fund transfers (e.g. Unionbank) as part of their e-banking service while some do it at the bank network level (e.g. BancNet).

Although fund transfers between banks belonging to the same network usually works okay, it can be a hassle to have accounts in two banks on different banking networks.

To work around this limitation, here’s a non-high tech solution: if you and your relatives need to transfer funds to each other’s accounts, either switch to their bank or banking network or ask them to switch to yours.


The best laptop for 30k
Jude asks: I want to change my Compaq (Presario CQ43) laptop as it’s not performing well. Can you recommend me any particular brand which is better but with price range up to 30k only. Many thanks.

JANETTE: Hi Jude. What type of applications do you need to run concurrently? I suggest checking the memory requirements of the applications you frequently use to find the laptop best suited to your needs. Personally, I like Toshiba and Apple for performance and durability. Tried a  Samsung but I wasn’t too happy with the sound quality. Offhand, you can check out this model that falls close to your budget. Or, depending on your system requirements, this other model also seems like a good deal.


Secure online stores
Rom Bitz asks: What site can u recommend if we are looking for (low in cost, safe when using credit cards and no record on shipping defects) gadgets and contraptions?

JANETTE: Hi Rom. If buying local and online, I suggest transacting with merchant partners of your credit card provider. For instance, BDO has great installment deals and offerings for online purchases made through partner sites. They have been vetted and had gone through due diligence. You can also check out, (those that carry the Trusted Seller seal) and (all merchants there are required to be registered businesses) for competitive offerings.


Tips for first-time buyers of SLRs
Cristina asks: Hi Ms. Janette. I’m planning to buy my first SLR camera, what kind/ model should I buy? (25k-35k) Thanks a lot.

JANETTE: Hi Cristina. I noticed that people often buy cameras according to their preferences. Therefore, they focus on the that is most important for them (zoom, video recording quality, weight or portability). I suggest checking out this list in Multiply to see which camera fits your need and budget.

Personally, I am biased toward small but powerful cameras. I like cameras I can easily put inside my bag. But when I shoot photos or videos, it has to be impressive enough as well. When buying however, be sure to read the fine print. You can be quoted the base price only, which may be cheap, but in order to make it work the way you want to, you may need to shell out more money for add-ons (lens, battery, etc.) which can be twice the price of the camera.


Best tablet for a third-grader
Karen Gatus asks: Hi Janette, my son is a 3rd grader here in Cebu and their school plans to have e-books by next school year.  I am really  for it to ease out loads of 9 books which my son needs to carry everyday on his backpack.  My concern is, the one quoted for us to choose by a local book publisher to support the e-book were Galaxy tab and iPad which are quite hefty on our very tight budget. Is there a tech/gadget that (costs less)?

JANETTE: Hi Karen. I assume that when they recommended the Galaxy Tab, what they were saying then is that it would run on any Android device. Kindly confirm if that is true and ask where you can download the application for purposes of testing. That way, you can check if it will work on your target device. If it is an Android device, there are low-cost Android tablets that are within  P6,000 range. I suggest checking them out here. As your son is just in third grade, I think the simpler and more rigid the tablet device is, the better.


I can’t read French, how to reset back to English?
Genica Garcia asks: Yung tita ko po merong Toshiba na cellphone TG01 yung model kaya lang yung language is in French? Paano po yun mapapalitan kasi nagsearch ako sa net wala talaga akong makiatng matinong sagot. Pleae help.

JANETTE: Hi Genica. It will be hard to illustrate that without knowledge of the language. Three ways to go about it: First, download a copy of the user manual. I searched for it online and saw several manual editions for it. Usually, where the menus are positioned in English is the same for the other language. Just look for the one where the "language" is set. Second, look for someone who knows how to read French and your last alternative is to bring it to a computer shop who can reset it for you (restore factory settings and set it to English).


Smartphone with a decent camera
Bryan asks: Hi. I am a college student and considering Sony Xperia P as my first smartphone. Is its camera okay because I wanted a phone with a decent camera for taking pictures during class discussions. Can it capture clear photos even in low lights? What are the phone’s pros and cons? And also, what are other alternative smartphones I can consider in its price range? Thank you very much. :)

JANETTE: Hi Bryan. I haven't tried Song Xperia P but the reviews look interesting enough. Based on experience, nothing beats actual usage to see if a phone camera feature is good or not. This is also critical to me as I capture workout and event photos which usually happens  at night or very early morning. This also made me prefer using the iPhone4 than the Samsung Galaxy S2 for taking night time photos.

There are a few phones notable for their quality photo taking capabilities. I suggest checking them out here.

From there, zoom in to your top 3 based on features that is most important for you and make a decision from there. If the price is slightly above your price range, I suggest exploring a second-hand unit.


The best computer for school
Loren asks: Which is better to use in the education setting (K-12), Apple or PC? Why?

JANETTE: Hi Loren. I think kids today need to be exposed to as much of the free productive applications that are available out there that they can use whether on a PC or Mac. That way, they won't need to be hardware dependent.

Furthermore, the decision to go for a PC or Mac is also dependent on the software that you shall use for training the kids. I suggest getting the most cost-effective solution that can also lead to a revenue yield for the school that can cover maintenance and related expenses (and get return-on-investment value).


Janette C. Toral  is a writer, consultant, trainer, blogger, policy lobbyist, DigitalFilipino Club community owner, angel investor and entrepreneur. She writes and publishes books on blogging, the latest being “Blogging from Home.” She founded the Philippine Internet Commerce Society in 1997 and established in 2003. The site serves as an e-commerce advocacy platform with close to 100 members. Follow Janette on Twitter @digitalfilipino, like her on, and visit her blogs and


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