TechnoStorm: Jing Garcia answers your questions

Jing Garcia takes a crack at answering your tech and gadget questions. Here are the best ones:

Addison asks: Which is better among the two, the Myphone a858 or the Cherry Mobile w100? I’m so curious about it because, they’re much CHEAPER than the other smartphones in the market like the Samsung smartphone. Thanks in advance.

Jing Garcia: Hi Addison. Quite a difficult question there since both phones are almost identical in specs: 1GHz processor (Mediatek for the A858, Snapdragon for the W100), same 3.5-inch screen size, similar connectivity options (3G, WiFi, Bluetooth), same 512mb internal memory, dual-sim capability and the two are popular local brands.

Maybe the price is the only difference. Upon checking, the Cherry Mobile model is said to be cheaper by almost P1,000. But you need to check the latter first, because pricing often changes due to
competition. Nonetheless, what I do look for on any gadget I buy and should be considered by everyone as important is after-sales support.

Always check if the dealer will accept the warranty if something goes wrong with the mobile phone or do you have to bring it to a service center located on the other side of the city. People tend to buy the cheapest or even the most expensive device or appliance without even knowing if the after-sales support will add to their expense in the end.

Bernie Barbas asks: May I know what is your suggested free antivirus? The most powerful one. Thank you!

Jing Garcia: Hi Bernie. To tell you frankly, I’m not much of a user of free  anti-virus programs, even though they are widely available online. But now that you’ve asked for it, here are some of my choices:

AVG has always been free and I know a lot of people use it on their PC; the other is PANDA, which I personally use in one of my PCs and find quite effective, though I’m not really sure if it’s the best.

For the paid ones, since many are quite affordable nowadays (less than P2,000 for a year’s subscription)  there’s Kaspersky as the “new kid on the block"  making waves in terms of popularity. For Mac users, Sophos is a free Anti-virus program. (Yes, virus on Macs may be rare but they often end up as “carriers” of Windows-based viruses).

But what I do use and pay for is ESET NOD32. I’ve been using it for several years now mainly because it’s light on the load of any PC running Windows. The “big names” anti-virus software programs, for me, are usually “bloatwares”  – they tend to provide you so many (and oftentimes confusing) features, where at most the only thing you need is the anti-virus functionality.

Still, the trick about viruses is prevention rather than cure – sound familiar, huh? Always be aware where and when you can get these malicious software or malwares – from USB drives, unsolicited emails
(spam), shared links, downloaded files or media.

Ivy asks: How can I put a password to safe lock my photos and videos on my android phone? My phone is an LG L7 P705 model. Thanks.

Jing Garcia: Hi Ivy. There’s an app in Google Play called PhotoVault, where you can select photos in your gallery to be protected from curios eyes. There’s another one called Photo Gallery Lock, which
could also lock photos, as well as videos. While the Master Vault Lock will provide another way to lock away your confidential files. And the Smart App protector will lock the apps (including  your gallery). Most of these apps are free, with available option for “Pro” version (read: paid apps). Nonetheless, the free version will always work, but just like anything with a digital lock, don’t forget the password.

Rolan Mendoza asks: Can I produce a good quality recording without using audio interface to my computer?

Jing Garcia: Yes you can, Rolan! Nowadays, new computers (both desktops and laptops) are already equipped with built-in sound cards with specs that equal CD or even DVD audio sound quality. Although
nothing beats a dedicated sound card/module when it comes to professional quality recording, but they tend to be pricey for a complete setup. So, if you’re stuck with the built-in soundcard of
your computer, make sure the drivers are working perfectly with the OS you’re currently using.

And one of the most notable problems with built-in audio is “latency”, especially when you’re already doing multiple tracks. Latency happens when an audio signal enters the PC and gets a bit of delay due to the digital processing. The delay maybe just milliseconds, but in a multitrack environment, the music will end up out of sync.

But behold! There is a simple solution for this and it’s called ASIO4ALL – a free software that could cure latency problem for most soundcards, particularly the built-in ones. It brings down audio
latency below 10 milliseconds or more. Of course, the lower the audio latency, the better.

Lancelot Bisares asks: Hi. Our file server hard drive space is almost full. No options for adding additional drive. What is my other option that will not cost a lot of money? Thanks.

Jing Garcia: Hi Lancelot. I hope you gave more details about your file server – the OS running on it, the number of drives already inside, age/make of the server (since I need to know why there’s no option for additional drives; economical issue or the lack of I/O ports?) and how large the data space size you need – 100Gb, 1TB?

Anyway, I’ll go along with your question since you mentioned about cost. Early on, when I run out of HHD space what I do is cannibalize old desktop computers or even unused laptops and take out the HDD
inside. No matter the size of the drive, it’s still additional drive space. You could either buy a USB HD enclosure (no more than P1,000) and connect that to your server. However, this depends if your server OS could recognize the USB drive and share the external device within the network. I know the newer server OS like Ubuntu 10.xx up configured with Samba and Windows can do that. So, you need to check that first.

Now, I do wonder why you can’t add additional drives inside the server. Is this a proprietary server? A blade perhaps? Or one of those enterprise Xeon- or Opteron-based machines with non-standard
commercial ATX motherboards? But if it’s one of those DIY x86 file servers, then it would be easy enough to slide in an HDD through a parallel or the newer SATA connections. Hope that helps.

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Jing Garcia, a veteran tech journalist, is currently the news and content  editor for Infotech and motoring sections at  InterAksyon.com - the online news portal of News5. Prior to that, he was tech editor of Tech Times, the infotech section of the The Manila Times and online IT news websites Techbytes.ph. He is also a sound artist and a multi-award winning recording producer. 

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