Sunday, September 30, 2007
The latest incarnation of Microsoft's Halo franchise, earned $170 million in 24 hours, the largest
opening day in the history of the entertainment industry. The Xbox 360 title beat previous records set by blockbuster theatrical releases like “Spider-man 3” and novels such as “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”
Hail to the Master Chief!
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Apple has released a statement saying that iPhone unlocking programs cause irreparable damage to the phones and voids their warranty. The company is poised to crack down on iPhone unlocking, by cutting off unlocked phones from future upgrades, suing the crackers, or both.
Reportedly, Apple gets a cut of AT&T's exorbitant fees (especially for international users who have to go with roaming charges). It's understandable why they don't want people unlocking their phones to switch to local networks.
Not so long ago, however, Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were the ones screwing AT&T, assembling and selling "blue boxes" that enable people to get free long distance charges. Reportedly, some of the proceeds of these sales enabled them to start up Apple in Woz's garage.
It's just what Lessig said in the opening chapters of "Free Culture": Yesterday's pirates become
today's captains of industry, and it'd be their turn to hunt down the next generation of entrepreneurs.
It's available at http://www.legaltechnology.com/casestudies/aicasestudy.doc.
The legal industry is a superb example of a sector that can add value to its customers and save time and money by using artificial intelligence applications such as that described here. It can be of benefit both internally and externally. Internally it can be used to manage the large amounts of information and data that are constantly being generated. It can also be used as a staff resource, for example as a training tool, to manage role handover and to minimise the amount of disruption that occurs either during holidays or when a member of staff leaves. It doesn’t matter is the respondent is there or not, people can continue to get answers to their questions through Metafaq.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The offer is really a lot of money, much more than what Google paid for YouTube. Damn. It must have been a wrong decision for me to waste away my computer engineering degree, and then got shafted to comparative literature. With the purchase of MySpace and this impending purchase of Facebook, the internet social networking revolution is just starting to explode. The internet world is becoming just one big media for advertising, just like television. The difference may just be that in the internet, the content is more and more becoming consumer generated. More power to the consumer.
With more and more people going into the technology sector and the nursing sector, what will our labor force look like in the future? Will we be just a factory for labor for the world marketplace? With the Filipinos propensity for social networking, maybe we could also provide labor to foreigners by maintaining their sites for them.
* ABC is streaming its primetime line-up (with ads) through AOL. (Remember AOL?)
* Fox is putting seven of its shows on iTunes.
* NBC is launching a download service for its popular shows.
Are traditional media outfits starting to learn (finally), or is it a case of too little, too late? None of the new options are more compelling than using a DVR (or BitTorrent).
Monday, September 24, 2007
Yeah right..I've heard they are rebuilding another site, of course with a different address. I've also heard that the publicity garnered by the name "boybastos" led to spin-offs site like "boysubasta" supposedly an ingenious (or flat out moronic?) mock of yahoo auctions or e-bay. Haha.
The gender gap stems from women's low (or non-existent) confidence in their computer skills. Confidence, of course, affects the results of one' work, regardless of gender. Prompted by these findings, some have now considered gender as a major factor in human-computer interaction and software design.
Perhaps this is an indication of the rather unsettling fact that while technology has broken down most barriers, it has in fact reinforced some, particularly that of economic status as well as gender. While the solution to this issue has yet to be formulated, it good to know some people are actually trying to do something about it.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Verizon, ever the beacon of free enterprise (and one party in the duopoly), says that this condition is "arbitrary" and "capricious", and is suing the FCC.
Google, which has earlier announced its intention to join the auction, has responded elegantly:
The nation's spectrum airwaves are not the birthright of any one company. They are a unique and valuable public resource that belong to all Americans. The FCC's auction rules are designed to allow U.S. consumers -- for the first time -- to use their handsets with any network they desire, and download and use the lawful software applications of their choice.
It's regrettable that Verizon has decided to use the court system to try to prevent consumers from having any choice of innovative services. Once again, it is American consumers who lose from these tactics.
Spectrum allocation and the rules governing them isn't front center of most p0licy discussion. Stations and telcos are cutting up the spectrum pie, and we're not sure that it's being done in a way that serves the public interest the most.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
In the UK, a series of trials were held in public schools where they tested the viability of the "Dance Dance Revolution" game as a form of exercise. These tests were aimed at girls who weren't inclined towards traditional sports, and may eventually be introduced as an alternative to PE classes.
Hmmm. Kailan kaya magkaka Wii Boxing na PE classes? :D
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
There have many studies that seem to suggest that the exposure to violence of children could prove very harmful to them in the long run. When I read the article in the link, I breathed a sigh of relief. I've always believed in freedom of expression. To curtial it for me would mean the death of democracy. To ban violence in videogames is not the answer in addressing the issue of violence in society. Parents always have a choice in what to buy for their children. People have the power not to buy these kinds of video games, if they think that it would be bad for their kids. I hope that this kind of legislative measure would not reach our shores.
I remember this bit that Drew Carey wrote in his book Dirty Jokes and Beer. He was lamenting the fact that on national television, one could not hear dirty words being uttered. This surprises him because the general audience of network television he thinks are those that hear dirty words all the time, and much more so, are exposed to so much violence. He laments the fact that in order to hear how people really talk and act in real life, he has pay for the privilege of that by subscribing to cable.
Maybe, those that buy those violent video games are those kids from the middle class to affluent neighborhoods. Their parents bought them those games because these parents were busy earning money. Then these kids grew up so maladjusted, they thought killing their classmates was okay. Maybe what should be legislated then is that there should be a mandatory dinner time for all families to be together eh?
But mandating a technology or a set of applications is simply dangerous, and is wrong from a policy perspective. What if some other new, yet proprietary software is introduced in the future by Microsoft or another company that is better and cheaper than FOSS? Remember, free and open does not mean free as in no cost.
And, the fact remains that FOSS doesn't always work with many peripherals - printers, webcams, scanners, etc. Government may actually end up spending more looking for software drivers, or purchasing new equipment to work with it, not to mention retraining expenses.
The best option is still free choice - commit to the principle of technology neutrality and let FOSS compete on its own merits. Otherwise, government could end up being legislatively constrained and having no choice if FOSS turns out to be less than ideal.
Solon sees uphill battle in pushing for FOSS bill again
By Erwin Oliva
Last updated 06:22pm (Mla time) 09/18/2007
MANILA, Philippines -- Bayan Muna Representative Teodoro Casino expects an uphill battle in the passage of a controversial bill that hopes to mandate government use of free and open source software (FOSS).
Casino said he has refiled House Bill 1716 after the bill was overtaken by the adjournment of the 13th Congress, which conducted at least one hearing sometime in December last year.
"This bill faces a stiff battle in the legislature. Just to illustrate, our e-Learning Center in Congress is paid for by Microsoft. The House leadership is planning to provide all Congressmen and women with free laptops, bundled with proprietary software, of course. They have the money and the pull to demolish or water down the FOSS bill," Casino said in a speech during the Software Freedom Day in UP Diliman, Quezon City.
The bill, which aims to promote the development and use of FOSS in the Philippines, faces strong opposition because it mandates government to migrate to FOSS and employ open standards in all its digital information and communication systems.
It also calls on private educational institutions to use and teach FOSS.
Section 5 of the bill indicates that the government shall use only information and communications technology goods and services that comply with open standards.
This provision also states that all government communication and data intended for public consumption shall be encoded in open standard data format, and that government shall apply only FOSS or FOSS solutions in all ICT projects and activities.
"When we were drafting the bill, we reached a crossroad on this issue. There were two roads to take: one, the well-paved road of 'free choice' which would allow government agencies free reign in choosing between FOSS and proprietary software; or two, the less-traveled path of making a clear, unequivocal choice for FOSS," Casino said.
"To tell you the truth, it was easy to decide where to go. Taking the well-paved road of 'free choice' would render our bill as nothing more than a promotional brochure for FOSS. After all, no amount of promotion or inter-office memoranda encouraging the use of FOSS can face up to the massive, multi-billion dollar, Hollywood-style glitz and glamour of proprietary software marketing," the solon said.
He said that the "less-traveled path of mandating FOSS would give the law the necessary tools and teeth to make that radical shift toward cyber freedom and democracy."
Casino believes that mandating FOSS use is more beneficial to government and the country.
"Truth to tell, the ordinary rank and file in a government office do not have the luxury of 'free choice' between Open Office and Microsoft. They simply use the software provided to them by the office. The default software is usually proprietary, like Microsoft, and the ordinary office worker will resist migration to FOSS, unless ordered to do so simply because it will entail the inconvenience of relearning what he or she has been so used to since college. When I was in college, what we used was Wordstar. Does anyone remember that?" he said.
The solon stressed that choosing which software to use for government is not a simple consumer preference issue.
"[It is] a policy issue that can't be left to each and every individual worker to decide. The FOSS bill is premised on the assumption that the use of FOSS is more beneficial to the government and the country, and so, in the exercise of government's right to 'freely choose' what is best for it and the country, we choose to use FOSS," he added.
Casino clarified that his FOSS bill does not prohibit the use of proprietary software in government.
Section 5.5 of the bill states that the use of proprietary software in "extraordinary circumstances where no FOSS equivalent meets the needs of a particular government agency or program."
Word processing, spreadsheet or Internet browsing applications are the most common software in government.
"I cannot see why we can't immediately migrate to Open Office. I've done it. My office has done it. The Supreme Court has done it. Many LGUs have done it already. But for specialized applications, the case can be argued that no equivalent FOSS can be had. But this has to be justified through an open, public hearing called for that purpose. So you see, 'free choice' is not at all hampered. We just want to make sure that free choice is also an informed choice," he said.
Monday, September 17, 2007
This is very interesting for me because in the Philippines, I have yet to see a case filed against either Smart or Globe for violations against the Revised Penal Code on monopolies. What is more interesting about the Microsoft case is that they were also ordered to share the code that they use to other corporations. I think this is a way that would create an environment that is more conducive to innovation in the field of software.
Now, if a case is to be filed against Globe or Smart for unfair competition, or monopolizing the telecommunications industry, would it work out here in our environment? Will the NTC have the gall and the will to pursue such an action? The bottom line is that both entities are virtually controlling the telecommunications sector in the Philippines. As a Globe subscriber, I was just informed by Globe that I would receive a rebate of 800 pesos per month for 24 months because of my loyalty to Globe. I thought that this was not really something alluring for me as a consumer because in the first place this does not entail any capital outlay for Globe. What they pay for is the bandwidth. The cost of this is not even disclosed to the public. That is why efforts have to be made in order for the millions of texters in the Philippines to know the real cost of the services that these two firms offer. And this is through an anti-trust case.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
True to its form, it comes up with a physical product - the Ringle. Basically, it's a cd with one hit single plus a ringtone version, plus two extra songs (presumably too weak to merit their own Ringle). - all for $6.98. (Note that the iTunes usually sells songs/ringtunes for under $2).
It's an idea so monumentally stupid, and symptomatic of the recording industry's refusal to move on from a dead-end format (the cd, which at least justifies their price structure).
But then again, if this doesn't work, they can always resort to suing the fans. Things might be a bit difficult for them, though. A federal appeals court ruled that RIAA's "insta-lawsuit" strategy - churning out thousands of unspecific, boilerplate "John Doe "complaints, is illegal. Now isn't it sweet that they'd have to make a specific case just for you?
China lost volumes of top secret data thanks to hackers. Interestingly enough, China is suspected of having infiltrated the computer networks of Western countries.
Vice Minister of Information Industry Lou Qinjian suggested several counter measures such as toughened censorship, new security bodies and commercial controls.
So who exactly hacked China's system? Lou claims that the US, in connivance with other "hostile" powers, infiltrated their network. It appears to Lou that the US and its cohorts have the means (superior technology) and the motivation (political infiltrattion).
The US of course, vehemently denies the accusations.
Monday, September 10, 2007
The code was proposed due to threats made to blogger Kathy Sierra (who supposedly received death threats and derogratory remarks via blogs).
The idea of the code was first reported by BBC News, who quoted O'Reilly saying,
"I do think we need some code of conduct around what is acceptable behaviour, I would hope that it doesn't come through any kind of regulation it would come through self-regulation."
It included a list of seven proposed ideas that would serve as framework for the Code of Conduct:
1. Take responsibility not just for your own words, but for the comments you allow on your blog.
2. Label your tolerance level for abusive comments.
3. Consider eliminating anonymous comments.
4. Ignore the trolls.
5. Take the conversation offline, and talk directly, or find an intermediary who can do so.
6. If you know someone who is behaving badly, tell them so.
7. Don't say anything online that you wouldn't say in person.
Honestly the idea is commendable but enforcement (as usual) poses a difficult scenario.
It's a step closer to a definite determination that blogs are fully covered by free-press constitutional protection (Including, one would hope, the scienter standards in New York v. Sullivan).
The First Amendment (which the Philippines adopted) was conceptualized with the "lone pamphleteer" of America's bygone revolutionary era in mind - untrained, unprofessional, and every so often uncouth. Bloggers are the true heirs of this tradition, and not polished corporate-owned media.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
For years, bigwigs in the music industry have been trying to deter netizens from sharing mp3 songs using P2P programs such as Limewire through all sorts of means—all to no avail. This time, maybe they can bank on this piece of news to scare away netizens from constant file sharing:
Associated Press recently reported that a Seattle man has been arrested in what the US Justice Department described as its first case against someone accused of using file-sharing digital data to commit identity theft. The man, Gregory Thomas Kopiloff, used Limewire's file-sharing program "to troll other people's computers for financial information, which he used to open credit cards for an online shopping spree."
“Authorities said they have identified least 83 victims — most of whom have teenage children and did not know the file-sharing software was on their computer. But investigators also said they believe the number of people affected was in the hundreds — and that in all they lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
“Each day, computer users inadvertently share hundreds of thousands of sensitive files through such programs, from banking statements and medical records to tax returns and legal documents …Typically the mistakes occur when a user downloads file-sharing software and accidentally allows it to share all files on a computer, rather than just music files, for example.
“‘If you are running file-sharing software, you are giving criminals the keys to your computer," said assistant U.S. attorney Kathryn Warma. "Criminals are getting access to incredibly valuable information.’” Read the rest of the article here.
Scary. If anything, this piece of news should keep Limewire and other users of P2P sharing programs vigilant when using said programs. Most of the victims identified are teenagers who are not aware of potential risks of us ing said programs, so adults and parents must especially instruct their children of potential hazards and means to keep the data stored in their computers safe from cyber-sleuths.
To be safe, double check and ensure that all you are sharing are merely music files. As an ardent Limewire user, I did just that as soon as I finished reading the news article.
Friday, September 7, 2007
I think that he is right. if the guy is not violating the Anti-Violence against Women and Children Act, which is the special law aimed for the protection of women against sexual exploitation, or the Revised Penal Code, then he should not be arrested. What he was doing was I believe within the purview of the coverage of free speech. Pornography I think is the main driver of internet commerce. I toyed with the idea before of the feasibility of putting up such a website in the Philippines, but I did not know how to go about it. Now this guy does it. This should be a good test case in the Philippines on whether or not pornography is free speech.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
LEGARDA BATS FOR DICT. Opposition Senator Loren Legarda talks about her bill creating the Department of Information and Communications Technology during an interview with reporters just after her speech at the Philippine Internet Commerce Society general membership meeting at the Peninsula Manila in Makati City, Philippines.
Bootleg versions of Southpark, mashups and spoofs (see below) have long been available online, and it's ironic that the show's creators are playing catchup to the viral video phenomenon.
An interesting feature of the deal, rare in the entertainment industry, is that the creators get a share of the revenue (instead of a salary) and retain ownership of their work. In traditional deals, entertainment execs can justify getting a lions share plus copyrights because of the capital requirements of distribution in a mass-media setting. With digital distribution, that logic begins to disappear.
"When is enough preservation too much? Many legal professionals cringed when Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Chooljian of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, held that the duty to preserve required the activation of a logging function to enable the retention of serve log data in random access memory, where the information that would be captured by that step was predictably at the heart of a highly contested copyright infringement case. See Columbia Pictures Industries v. Justin Bunnell, Case No. CV 06-1093 FMC(JCx), 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 46364 (May 29, 2007).
Critics charge that the decision misconstrues the intent of the 2006 electronic data discovery amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and presages an unwarranted expansion of data preservation requirements.
At the heart of the complaints about Columbia Pictures is the contention that information in RAM is typically so ephemeral or transitory that it shouldn't be deemed to be "stored" within the meaning of amended Rule 34(a), which applies the discovery rules to "electronically stored information." Chooljian rejected that argument by holding that Rule 34 did, in fact, apply because of a 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals copyright decision holding that information in RAM was sufficiently fixed to constitute more than a transitory existence."
"When federal investigators July 25 seized the computer of a Cobb County, Ga., man indicted in connection with prescription drug sales on the Internet, they used a search warrant to gain access to the computer's files.
The seized computer on which defendant Christopher Stoufflet intermingled his business and his personal affairs contained -- in addition to business records from his defunct online pharmacy that were already in federal prosecutors' hands -- privileged correspondence with his attorneys.
Stoufflet's lawyer, Don Samuel of Atlanta's Garland, Samuel & Loeb, quickly asked a federal magistrate judge to bar prosecutors from mining those legal communications, as well as other personal correspondence, calendars, journals or photos unrelated to Stoufflet's criminal case.
But U.S. District Magistrate Judge Alan J. Baverman rejected the defense motion.
Prosecutors insist they will review everything on the computer -- but have assured the magistrate judge they will use a team of lawyers separate from those prosecuting Stoufflet to avoid any violation of attorney-client privilege.
Samuel said the computer seizure raises broader, still unresolved legal questions about the expanding nature of search warrants in the Internet age.
"The problem with seizing computers is the misperception that it is no different than any other container, like a briefcase," Samuel said.
But unlike a briefcase, a typical laptop computer may contain as much as 40 million pages of information, he said. Even if some of those computer files are not specifically listed in the search warrant affidavit, federal authorities have routinely argued that, on a seized computer, all files can be reviewed legally and used in building a criminal case because they are considered "in plain view" of authorities, Samuel added.
"The courts ought to recognize it's a flawed analogy and stop issuing warrants as if it's just a briefcase," the defense lawyer concluded. What once were constitutional limitations on search warrants, he added, "have become distorted beyond anybody's wildest dreams."
Monday, September 3, 2007
The interesting thing about is that while we may already have the Rules on Electronic Evidence, there is still a problem because the Supreme Court has yet to issue guidelines on this section:
SEC. 3. Proof of electronically notarized document. - A document electronically notarized in accordance with the rules promulgated by the Supreme Court shall be considered as a public document and proved as a notarial document under the Rules of Court.
Law enforcers usually charge cybersex operators with Republic Act 9208 or the Human Trafficking Act. However, these laws are not enough to cover all instances of cybersex crimes. In fact, as mentioned by Efren Meneses of the Antifraud and Computer Crimes Division of the National Bureau of Investigation, they often do a lot of legal circumvention in these types of cases (read full article)
Though it would be good to have an anti cybersex crimes law, drafters must ensure that this law would be flexible enough to adapt to technological developments. Otherwise, the cybercreeps will always be one step ahead.
Sunday, September 2, 2007
Japan have started research on a new network technology to replace the Internet due to growing quality and security problems.
The Japanese Ministry is now working to set up a research organization by next year. It will request a budget for such project.
Among the concerns researchers may address is the need to set up an ecological network that consumes low levels of energy. And with the arrival of hackers and spammers, and the proliferation of laptops and other mobile devices, scientists are starting to believe a totally new network is needed.
It is said that the new network may run parallel with the Internet or eventually replace it, or parts of the research could go into a major overhaul of the existing architecture.