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Philippine Mobile Prefixes

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Main Post Title

Don’t Make Me Think! by Steve Krug

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Just read this book – Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug – in two nights straight and even if the 2nd edition was in 2005, the wisdom that I got from it is still relevant.

And in the footnotes I came to discover “new” reads:

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A Collection of Information Sources

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The Elements of User Experience by Jesse James Garrett

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I am re-reading the book The Elements of User Experience by Jesse James Garrett to update and realign myself with the basics of my design work.

My primary goal is to establish a system that could aid in producing visual designs that are anchored to an abstract entity such as an Information Architecture document. Could this be possible? We will find out in this journey as I modify and add to this knowledge.

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The Metro

A symbol of development and prosperity – where people flock to work, play, and live.

The Aide

The very least, a sweeper – someone who belongs to the streets to keep it clean – a person who encounters and faces the very least of the dirt that otherwise would hinder us from living in a clean environment.

Both of these terms come together to form an initiative to help the government formulate solutions primarily with the help of the internet.

From information dissemination to accessible web content and information to automated processes – MetroAide aims to take advantage of the internet to enable the Filipino people avail of the government’s services.

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The Why Test

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300 Whys

You really want to know?

If 5 won’t do, ask 300 times.

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Subsidize Traffic

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Traffic along a road with streaks of light due to long camera exposure. Photo by Brad Fickeisen
Traffic along a road with streaks of light due to long camera exposure. Photo by Brad Fickeisen

Metro Manila traffic is as bad as it is. We motorists make it worse when we employ “offensive driving” instead of defensive driving.

All types of vehicles, from the most expensive to the rusted ones, can get stuck altogether in the sweltering heat of the sun or the drenching gush of rain.

The least one could do is treat others as their road peers instead of road rivals. In doing so, we tend to subsidize traffic.

But how can one subsidize traffic, thus, improving the overall condition of it?

  • Stay on your lane
  • Let overtakers get ahead
  • Give way to lane skippers

Stay on your lane

You may skip from lane to lane as long as you don’t disrupt the flow in that lane. Disrupting the flow could mean inserting your vehicle in an exact space in between two vehicles in that lane. If you don’t want the cognitive load of deciding where the fastest lane is – stay on your lane.

Let overtakers get ahead

You’re maybe racing with time to a destination but don’t race with overtakers. They might be in a “number two” emergency situation, you never know.

Give way to lane skippers

And if there are cars inserting themselves into your lane, slow down and just let them. If you don’t, two lanes are disrupted – theirs and yours. If you do, then congratulations, you subsidized traffic!

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How Meralco Will Make Bill Payments Even Easier

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Update – 31 August 2017

Meralco + Bayad Center = Success!

With an overdue bill on hand, I went to Bayad Center to pay for my Meralco bill. And I was able to do so.

On April 8, 2014 I wrote out my frustration about failing to pay my electricity bill – I discovered it saved as draft, unpublished.

Now, here it is – has anything changed?

Meralco + BPI Express Online = Fail

It’s the start of the month again, I logged in to BPI Express Online to pay my Meralco bill. But I remembered that Meralco updated the Account Number of my account making my current enrollment in BPI invalid. Countless times, I tried to enroll my new Account Number to no avail.

Meralco + BPI = Fail

So, I went to a nearby BPI branch to pay the bill. But lucky me, the teller said that they don’t accept overdue payments. You know, when you’re paying the bill past the due date stated on the bill? I looked at my bill and drat, yes, due date was yesterday – April 6, Sunday.

Meralco + LBC = Fail

I headed to an LBC across the street – still, they don’t accept overdue payments. It’s as if Meralco automatically becomes unlisted in their roster of “accepted bills” after the bill’s due date.

Meralco punishes you for not paying on time

Apparently, overdue payments are only accepted at Meralco Business Centers. So I remotely asked my wife to pay the bill at the nearest business center. It was near, all right and if she had free time. But the line was long – like 45-minutes long. That night after work, I dared myself to come home.

Online payments = FTW; Old Business Centers = WTF

Let me clarify – old business centers as the only acceptable payment center is WTF.

The main benefit of online payment of bills is that wherever you are, whatever you do, you can make the payment. It goes the same with Third Part Agents (TPAs) such as banks (BPI, BDO) and payment centers (LBC, Bayad Center) – chances are they are just around the corner, competing for customers like us. Unlike the handful Meralco Business Centers that would require you to book a flight to get there.

The Problem

Meralco does not have a well-rounded grace period in bill payments. After the stated due date, it then limits you to paying only at any of their Business Centers. But chances are, there’s only one in your area. And like I said, one must take a trip to reach it.

The Solution

Don’t limit customers who are so willing to pay their bills – anywhere, anyhow they want.

I interviewed Meralco’s customer service via Facebook Messenger and found out about their schedule from meter reading to billing to letting you live by the candlelight.

The person behind the screen also explained the reason behind the problem: it takes 3 days for TPAs (third party agents like BPI, Bayad Center) to report the payment to Meralco – and I assume, if they didn’t have some kind of ban, by the time Meralco receives your payment, you already duped them into thinking that you deserved that glowing television light despite being an overdue payee.

Let’s see how Meralco could afford being forgiving by allowing TPAs to accept late payments (with a grace period, of course).

I dub it the Meralco Billing Schedule (this is the normal process as I calculated it):

  • March 27: Meter reading
  • March 30: Bill delivery – 3 days after meter reading
  • April 6: Bill due date – 7 days after bill delivery or 10 days after meter reading
  • April 9: Notice of disconnection – 3 days after bill due date
  • April 15: Order of disconnection – 6 days after notice of disconnection

As you can see, there is a total of 9 days before the SWAT comes barging in your front yard and disconnecting you from a line more important than online.

Meralco could still afford to let TPAs accept payments up to 3 days after issuing the notice of disconnection (April 12). That will leave the required 3 days of TPA reporting of payments.

I talked to a colleague a month ago – he’s working on a bill payment system wherein Meralco is one of the billers. To my surprise, it is still fashionable in this day and age to prolong the suffering of people already without TV and fridge.

How I prevented this anomaly from happening ever again? I enrolled all my bills in Citi One Bill.