Thursday, December 11, 2008
Up to this day, I have heard of no one in the community who has filed a case. It seemed to us a daunting task with no result. Until there are improvements made, it seems to be a dead-end.
However, you can also buy in-game gold with real world money. The current going rate, last time i checked, being $16.99 for every 1000 gold. That's about 58 gold coins for every dollar. Which isn't so far behind the Philippine Peso, really.
Most of the gold that's being sold in this manner is the result of "gold farming." In third-world countries where the price of labor is cheap, enterprising people buy a few computers, secure a fast broadband connection, and hire people to do the same things in-game over and over again. Things you wouldn't do for fun but, given enough time, are certain to generate considerable quantities of gold, especially if done on an industrial scale.
The point to all this, i think, is that even in an imaginary world it is possible to generate some very real value.
Recently, companies tried to address this seeming thirst to get connected. Not satisfied with wi-fi hotspots, they have taken the battle to a whole new level. Now, internet connections can be had via a network riding on cell sites.
While such measures indeed provide ready and instant connections, there seems to be a recurring problem with the connections. In their advertisements, they boldly claim of speeds reaching up to 2 mbps, but the question of really reaching that advertised speed is such a myth.
I have been a subscriber of Bayantel for over a year now. What pisses me off is the fact that they are blatantly advertising of speeds reaching 1280 kbps, when in truth and in fact, such speed is not attained. I regularly chech the speed of my connection, and most of the time, its just around half of the speed that they claim, even during off-peak hours.
I tried to call their technical support service,I told them that I almost always barely reach half the speed that they claim to be is attainable, but to no avail. They say that such advertised speed is a maximum limit, meaning that they are not in any obligation to see to it that you do reach that speed.
Maybe, instead of allowing these service providers to advertise the seemingly impossible maximum limit of their service, regulations should be imposed, so that they do not deviate too far off from what they advertise, I mean, reaching 70-80% of their advertised speed may be acceptable, but providing only half of what they advertise is just too much.
PageRank-style rankings favor commercial sites which pay other websites to advertise and link to them. So if you're looking for free information, there is a tendency that you will be frustrated by the top results. At the other end of the spectrum, the most authoritative sources of information on the web are often poorly linked or are not available for indexing by search engines. Academic output is usually of little interest outside of small groups. In the absence of commercial interest, authoritative information generally forms part of what is known as the Deep Web, which is the term used to refer to data which is not indexable by search engines. This means that the correct information you seek may appear very far down your list of search results, or may not appear at all.
If I can't trust Google, what about Wikipedia, you say? Wikipedia refers to itself as an "open-content, collaborative encyclopedia", meaning that "anyone with an Internet connection" may alter its content. Frequent users should take note that Wikipedia expressly states that it "cannot guarantee the validity of the information" and that there is no "formal peer review" and therefore no implied warranty of fitness "for any purpose or use whatsoever".
The point of all this is that, however noble the cause of free information may be in theory, money still makes the world wide web go round. Information is a resource, with significant extraction and processing costs: writing, editing, fact-checking, reviewing and so forth. Barring major changes in the structure of society, we can only continue to expect that free information is worth exactly what you pay for it.
I suppose the bigger question pertains to the purpose of providing internet access to students and employees. If access is purely for academic reasons, then I can imagine that content control is important. But then again, with the variety of topics and subjects that are studied in our university, can one really keep track of "legitimate" academic inquiries? I think that to limit access to certain sites only can have a "chilling effect" on the possible areas of study of the students. The fact that to open access to all sites might result in indulging in non-academic pursuits does not justify the indirect curtailment of access to information.
Perhaps we can have two networks (or whatever it is called) - one for accredited or traditional academic pursuits and another for non-traditional ones. It might even result to better web traffic and prevent lag and frequent disconnection.
Or we can just stick to the existing framework. I'm just too happy that www.perezhilton.com isn't on mr. head honcho's list of blocked sites. :)
Surely it's another story once it's over. But for now, it's all about resisting the urge to be in two places at the same time. It's about giving employees a break even if there are ten million items on the to-do list. Though people can actually do more and be there even if they're in the middle of nowhere because of technology, they owe it to themselves to set those boundaries lest they crash and burn.
Last semester, my girlfriend almost missed a pleading deadline. It's not her fault, but since all OLA interns are the ones who are ultimately responsible for the cases handled by them, the mess-ups would still be attributed to us. It's 7 pm and the regular PhilPost offices are already closed. Upon desperate inquiry, we learned that there's a PhilPost kiosk in SM Mall of Asia which is open up to 10 pm. We rushed to Manila, feeling that this 4-unit course weighs like a 2,000-unit one. We were able to make it and mail the pleading out without issue. Afterwards, we treated ourselves to pearl shakes on the way to the parking lot. End of story.
I was reminded of this experience when I came across a page in the Court of Criminal Appeals in the State of Texas which allows emergency filing through email. If we had something similar like this, I imagined how less stressful life would have been. While we are taught to be prompt and to finish requires submissions ahead of time, the reality is that sometimes there is not enough time to do everything required of us. I hope that in the few years, the Rules would be amended so that we could e-file pleadings and motions.
The article made me think about two things, the first being the need for responsible journalism. A balance must be maintained between the right to information and the protection of national security. Second is the danger posed by the access to technology that everyone, including would-be criminals have. I will not delve into how technology can be used for evil purposes or that it in itself is an evil device. We all know it is also capable of the opposite. The authorities in India were stunned with the use of sophisticated technology. Now, God forbid that happens here, imagine the havoc it would wreak. The policemen here may not even know what hit them. It’s time that the police force kept abreast with modern technology. The non-pro version of Google Earth will not cost them anything anyway.
My dad is a marine engineer and this means that he’s out of the country for the most part of the year. Since the advent of the internet and his discovery of skype, we have had the opportunity to talk and see each other almost every day, albeit through our monitors. Regardless, I still get to see his face and hear his voice while he shows me what he’s having for lunch. I can hear the scratch in his voice if he’s getting a cold and he sees my sunken eyes when I haven’t had enough sleep. If only for this minute semblance of connection, I would have to say that I appreciate, and even celebrate, technology and its innovations. Especially one that is free! It really is amazing how it can make my dad, who is miles away, seem like he is right here in our living room.
Sometimes, though, I have to admit that this whole set-up makes me miss him more and makes me wish that I can hug and kiss him for real. But I guess, all things considered, this is better than nothing at all.
A: So what’s new with our batchmates?
B: I heard Ms. M got married already. I saw it in Facebook. She married a foreigner.
C: Did you see Mr. T.’s pictures with his boyfriend in Friendster? He has already admitted he’s gay.
D: Have you talked to him lately?
C: No, I just saw the pictures.
It seems that in today’s times, the latest “chismis” could be availed of through “stalker” mode. It’s easy to know so many details about a person you know from the past or a person you don’t even know through their pages in Friendster, Facebook, Multiply, etc. Take your pick. Ironically, while these networking sites inform us about friends and acquaintances, these also deter the need to connect personally. It’s as if people are contented to seeing updates on these sites instead of setting a date with people they haven’t seen in ages. The very instrument that supposedly brings people together becomes the same medium that may discourage personal get-togethers.
In the Philippines, the previous senatorial election also made use of the internet (although not as extensively as in the US). We all remember Senator Escudero's accounts in various social networking sites. He won his Senate seat by a landslide.
It's amazing and quite ironic to see that a medium viewed as modernly impersonal and somewhat robotic has made our national leaders more approachable and human. Details about their projects and advocacies have become readily available. With that, I agree with Charm, technology is indeed amazing. :)
Looking at it from the perspective of a developing country, however, it seems that the development of information and communications technology has slowed down, not in terms of the realization of new products or advances, but as regards the purposes for which they are created.
It is for this reason that I wish to see technologies developed in furtherance of the goals and ambitions of the developing countries. While it is also to our benefit that our developed counterparts continue to grow in the field and as such develop even further in consonance with the ends they seek to meet, it is quite unfortunate that developing countries take the back seat in this regard and fail to see and take advantage of the potential that is looming in the not so distant future.
Political activism has now embraced the power of information and communications technology to keep itself in tune with the changing times.
This is not the first time that technology has been harnessed in defense of the political liberty of the nation. Back in 2001, EDSA II would not be made possible if not for those who used the SMS services of their mobile phones, i.e. the so-called "text brigades" to call on each other to gather at the EDSA shrine and rally against then President Erap thus eventually resulted to his ouster.
Indeed, information and communications technology has become a very important part of our lives.
Raymond R. Roque
Blog entry #4
I didn't know whether to cry in frustration or laugh at yet another reminder of a time when music actually meant something. Anyway, that's the story of my first rick roll.
I found the experience funny in an odd sort of way and I was much more surprised to find out this was actually a well known meme. A meme is a catch phrase or concept that quickly spreads from person to person via the internet (sort of like an inside joke). This may take the form of internet phrases such as BRB, WTF, STFU, GTG, LOL, LULZ, etc. or internet pranks or gags such as the rick roll.
A lot of well known rick rolls exist on Youtube particularly the one with Obama rickrolling McCain during a speech (look it up, you'll be ROTFL). Astley even appeared live during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade to rick roll audiences with a lipsync performance of his signature hit. Heck, even Barry Manilow included this single in his latest album release.
So this made me curious as to where exactly this meme originated Research led me to a forum (which I won't name here as the contents of which are well... let's just say an acquired taste) where the practice was to alter the link to a particular picture or site of interest in such a way as to instead lead to a thread or site containing an edited picture of a duck with wheels. This was known as duck rolling. The user at that point is said to have been "Duckrolled". The practice later evolved into linking a picture or site to a video of Rick Astley singing "Never Gonna Give You Up". Hence, the term Rickroll.
So for those of you reading this. You've just been Rickrolled!
Here's a chart of what kind of internet user you are based on the number of times you've been rickrolled:
0<1 - The efficient user. You only use the net for work related activities such as sending homework, writing blogs for class, researching cases etc.
1 - The moderate user. Aside from work, you take the time to do some leisure surfing to check up on the latest trends or gossip. You might even be taking time to do some intelligent reading and just happen to stumble upon my blog. (hehe)
2 or more - The power user (a.k.a. the forum shopper, the porn afficionado, the geek, the gossip girl). you can't live without the internet. You take it with you everywhere you go. You either : a.) spend most of your time blogging your every day existence b.) regularly update your Myspace, Facebook, Friendster page c.) watch too much porn d.) are a techie and want to know about the latest piece of gadgetry you can acquire.
These are not just watches with phones. Some of them have cameras and even touch screens! You can even opt to remove the bracelet to use them as pendants like mp3 players. Yes, some phone watches have mp3 players built in too!
I want one!!! I like the white Hyundai W-100 unit. It looks like the bulky sports watches. The cheapest I have seen online cost P9,500. Perfect for kids who lose their phones every so often. I'm still asking my mom to get me one for Christmas.
These words, back when I was in college two decades ago, were transmitted by the average person using the analogue phone, a post it left on the org bulletin board, or by passing along someone’s message.
Back then those who had cellular phones (which closely resembled what a PLDT lineman uses on the job) were probably some bigwig politician’s kid or some big businessman’s scion. Or probably some government deep penetration agent.
Now, with the advent of efficient and affordable means of communication, there seems to be a disconnection.
With communication lines in relationships now governed by the quick scrolling of the keys and a click of the send button, there seems to be little need to call up someone’s parents as often, or to send little notes with flowers, or even dropping in on a friend for a quick hello.
Sadly and ironically though, technology is one reason personal communication is taken for granted and sometimes even the inbox isn’t so busy receiving the virtual substitutes.
I admit I’m not an enthusiastic social networking site member. The two accounts that I did sign up for have not been updated for months, and frankly it’s a “compliance” site. I signed up for because everyone had one and my friends insist that I make one for myself. Well, this week Jon Favreau (no, not the actor), may be having second thoughts about his Facebook account. Favreau was Obama’s speech writer during the 2008 election and has been featured by Newsweek (Jan. 2008) as a rising star. According to published reports, a picture of Favreau groping a life-size cardboard cut-out of Hilary Clinton was posted in Facebook last Friday. While the said picture was only there for two hours before being removed, it was long enough for the picture to go viral.
Incidents like this that reminds me that technology has made the world so small. With the internet, information is available on demand, communication is instantaneous and everything is within your reach. However, it also erased the partition we’ve created in our lives: school, work, family, etc. In each section, whether we admit it or not, we have different personas and as much as possible we try to keep them separate. It used to be that you can be goofy with your friends, bratty with your parents and serous with your work and it would be fine. But now everything we do (well those that we chose to post anyway) becomes available for public consumption. And we know people can’t help it but react and form opinions. So what may be hilarious to you and your friends, maybe offensive to others who see it. In Favreau’s case, he seemed to have gotten lucky as Hilary Clinton has a sense of humor. Clinton aide Philippe Reines told the Washington Post that “Sen. Clinton is pleased to learn of Jon's obvious interest in the State Department, and is currently reviewing his application."
However, since a lawyer should not encourage litigation, in the spirit of good faith, I am giving some tips on how to avoid on-line litigation, which is from legalmatch.com. First, your blog should contain some sort of disclaimer liability. Second, you should not knowingly post libelous statements. Third, you should be careful in posting materials from other websites. Fourth, you should edit blogs that can be defamatory. By taking these steps, legalmatch.com says that you limit your exposure to liability. Now, if you are still sued despite following these steps, then you can get a good lawyer to defend you, which is obviously me, two (2) years from now.(hopefully)
Uh-oh. Baby is moving about making it especially difficult for me to well, move about. It’s already 6 and I haven’t showered or eaten yet. Bad sign. I decide to work from home. I fire up my laptop, log on to my company’s remote environment. (Powered by Citrix. Find out more here.) I open my email and pull up all the documents I also log-on to webex so my client in DC can see my computer screen as I click around software we are creating for them.
Now I need to dial in. I log on to skype and make the call. I see that my boss is on-line. I inform her that I will be doing the call from home and will be in after lunch. She types back with “That’s fine. See you later.”
I stretch out in my couch, laptop on my lap, headset on, rub my belly and sigh contentedly, “yep, everything’s fine.”
As was explained in class, the invention of digital technology has allowed different types of information to be converted into electrical pulses, packaged into uniform sizes and sent through an optic fiber pipe in correct order. So, think of it as video, audio, and data information all travelling together on one superhighway in their little telecom carpool; whereas before, they took separate cars and separate routes. Well, that’s how I understand it anyway. In real life, I guess that would translate to 3G calls, Skype, and pretty much anything you can download off the Internet – music, movies, games, etc.
So what does this all mean to us? Stay tuned for more.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The nicest thing my mom thought of before she left for Thailand was getting us the Sun Unlimited Call and Text. It was compensation for lost presence. She gets to pay whenever we need to, or want to, call them. I get to call my sibling 24/7 unlimited (for as long as there is signal).
The best thing about getting Sun is that we can talk all we want for as long as we want. We can still scream at each other without worrying about how long the call is! I honestly think that my siblings, especially my sisters, and I got closer because of it. There's this comfort in knowing that they're just there and that they're just a call away.
Until now, much as I am the "ate", I still call them just to share if I had a really good or a really bad day. Load is not an issue; after all, it's unlimited.
Some audiobooks are read by the author. This fact I especially enjoy when listening to poetry anthologies, much like how my significant other enjoys listening to Hitler’s speeches (shudder). I had fun listening to the audio versions of humorist David Sedaris’s books which he read himself. It was amusing how gay he sounded, which was perfect since most of his essays are about his exciting homosexual life.
Other times the audiobook is dramatized with a full cast. This is like being in a stage play, wearing a blindfold. Or, it can be likened to those AM radio dramas, our grandparents’ version of the telenovela.
For honing my spy skills, language lessons on audiobooks are essential. As of now I can say “I would like some coffee with milk” in twelve languages. (I’m exaggerating a bit. Poetic license.)
And of course, there are the audiocodals. Now you can study in the dark, while taking a crap, dreaming awake or asleep. This is law school following you anywhere, anytime.
But the greatest advantage of audiobooks is that now, blind people can “read” books too, and more frequently, since audiobooks are more available and accessible than Braille.
Ah, technology. Amazing.
The impulse was just the same when using a credit card, spend more. But since it's debit, I don't need to worry about burdensome compounded interests monthly.
I've also signed up for online banking so that I can easily track my transactions without having to go the bank itself. Aside from tracking transactions, I can also pay bills and transfer funds by logging into my online banking account.
I'm not worrying too much about my information getting stolen because one, my deposit is in a quite measly amount and two, I haven't put any other information like other accounts with other companies etc. I haven't read about the terms and conditions regarding security and privacy but I supposed the website is secured because it opens up another window directing to eBanking and yes, the https is there with the VeriSign Secured logo.
My sister and I used the same celphone model for five years —the fat Nokia with the round keypad. I think it was the first phone to have a built-in video camera (which was really, really cool at that time). About a year or two into owning this phone, more models came out, with video cameras and mp3 players and Swiss army knives (okay, no Swiss army knives). Never mind that a vast majority of mobile phone users didn’t really need the software capabilities of a secret agent. These new celphones were skinny, slick, well-designed pieces of hardware that launched in well-dressed warehouse parties. They were cool, and three years into owning our phones, our fat Nokias with the round keypads were not so cool.
Some people would go to my sister and I (separately, of course) “Hey, why don’t you get a new phone?” My phone was fine, so was hers, and it irritated us no end. Since we seemed to get it from all sides, we came to this conclusion: our working phones had become obsolete because they were no longer cool. I remarked that maybe some people think of the celphone as a reflection of one's self, a status symbol of sorts —if my phone is cool, I am cool, too. To the contrary, I would like to think I have enough personality and I don’t need my celphone to define me.
When my celphone had reached the apex of its usability (stopped charging, died for no reason), I bought a new one. And it is pretty slick. Nonetheless, my sister and I still don’t understand why we should buy a phone when what we have works fine, and a lot of people don’t understand why we won’t buy something new just because it’s better. If I were to indulge the view that celphones are our selves, then I prefer to think of myself as my old phone —a bit worn, full of character that a lifetime spent living brings, uncommon, a little old-fashioned—you know—almost obsolete.
iReport is a journalism project by CNN that encourages people from anywhere in the world to provide pictures and videos of breaking news. It is a form of pulic journalism that allows people without professional journalism training to help spread news by tapping modern technology, using the internet as its main distribution engine.
What was the news about? The news headlined that Apple CEO Steve Jobs suffered a heart attack. The rumor was vehemently denied and the stocks stabilized afterwards. CNN removed the post and the US Securities and Exhange Commission (SEC) acted on the matter. Apple recovered. But it created quite a scare.
While the threat of malicious posts do not override the benefits of citizen journalism, it still cements fear on the minds of people who distrust the internet and anything technologically forward. Changing people's mindsets isn't easy especially when the system is circumvented at will or is still unregulated. Using something new starts when the person trusts the system, so long as that sense of security isn't addressed and fear is not abated, one would not dare enter the fray.
Baguilat, Raymond Marvic "Ice" C.
We’ve also heard of the horror stories in e-dating. We’ve heard of predators, stalkers and posers but it’s quite novel to actually find a “role-player.” What do I mean?
I have this friend who thought she’d found her tom hanks. He was a soldier soon to be shipped-off to Iraq. He lives with his sister and his 5 year old boy. He stayed friends with his best bud from High School and he looked like a decent, freedom loving american.
My friend got into a relationship with the guy and eventually met his sister, kid and friend via yahoo messenger. It was fine for a while until one day she discovered that the kid, the sister and the friend did not exist. All their accounts were just alternate log-in accounts of the guy she was e-dating.
Anyway, this Christmas, there will be no partying for our group. Instead, the remaining 5 of us will content ourselves visiting Malor’s and Ria’s family whom they left behind. Ria has instructed her mother to cook for us. I hope she also instructed her to buy gifts for us. We could then video chat with Ria and Malor as well. At least, during Christmas, we continue to be complete as a group, although cyber in nature.
As for my mother and her barkada abroad, they haven’t caught up with the Internet yet, or at least not completely. They still send each other Christmas cards with family pictures in them, and call every now and then. Although my Ninang Aleth gets in touch with me through email, she gets in touch with my mother through greeting cards and long letters.
This morning I saw my mother writing Christmas cards for her friends abroad, which she will send next week, and will get to the recipient in January, after Christmas. It’s the thought that counts, right?
Maria Cristina Yambot
Maybe pretty soon, Dean Leonen would be using such technology to divide his time speaking in all those wonderful fora we are sponsoring at the College these days. Kinda like how Obi Wan and company communicated, which Gen X’ers, and even Baby Boomers, found so cool then.
CNN did just that and was extremely proud of being the first to do so when doing the coverage of the recent US elections.
Anyways, the point is that technology has come such a long way that what was considered fiction/fantasy are now rapidly turning into reality, even here at the College of Law.
Wow, we even have wi-fi outside of the library.
From my experience, when it comes to commercial transactions made through the internet, Filipinos are cautious. And I think I understand why. For example, I myself have yet to actually buy something through the internet because I am not sure whether the object that I buy would be able to reach my physical destination, or for that matter, how and against whom would I go against (sue, maybe) if after I paid for such merchandise, it does not reach me. I refuse to pay using a credit card because somebody might hack the site, take the credit card number, and use it without my knowledge.
Given all these cautiousness, the message I received from my blockmate helps in alleviating some of the doubts I have in internet transactions. I guess this particular mode of transacting business would not prosper if it was not secure in the first place. I still need to know more about doing business through the internet. But I can now say that while I am still cautious, I am no longer afraid.
Rivera, Jan Michael A.
Telemarketers easily get contact details from referrals from a person's own circle of friends. But the thing I didn't realize is how thorough some a call center's database can be. Call centers "affiliate" and "partner up" with older, more established niche-market stores selling specific goods like specialty toys, flowers for delivery, books, hardware, etc. These stores share, swap or even sell the names and credit details of their customers. Call centers then build their database with this information through what they call "leads management."
So I guess it makes sense that I've attracted this kind of sales pitch. My last online purchases are for organic ingredients, multivitamins, and health foodstuffs. I've also made contributions to a wildlife sanctuary and recently joined a marathon, which required filling up an online information sheet.
Curiously, what made me cry (more) was not the fact that my cards were stolen, but that my phone and years worth of contacts, is now gone. I’ve relied too much in that little gadget that now I regret the day I stored my important information in it. I have practically a whole bio-data in it, complete with PIN number, account numbers, addresses.
It drives me crazy that the stranger who has my phone knows more about me than my family…and he might use it against me. I’m also scared of identity theft…it sounds so sci-fi, but with all the information in my phone, it’s possible that this person could actually assume my identity.
The convenience of having all your information neatly stored in one gadget is really a plus, but it’s also not safe. We are living in a time where we need to protect not only our physical safety, but also the safety of our “identity”. If we take the longer, more brightly lit street when going home at night, I think it’s also time, to take the more careful route in storing our personal information.
It is only but fair to reason that the use of ICT in practice in local schools is not widely implemented since it is quite apparent that there is a lack of resources to provide all students and teachers such access to ICT facilities.
So what do we do?
I earnestly believe that the key to success lies in the partial abandonment of the present form of teaching and therefore increasing our reliance on ICTs to achieve the desired results. For example, the development of interactive educational software may be used to replace textbooks in the entire Philippines. Such would significantly reduce costs and said resources can be channeled to the procurement of more computers for the students to use.
Most importantly, it would provide the Filipino students an opportunity to be equipped with level of computer literacy required in the global market. It is a drastic measure which needs to be considered by the government.
The second type of link in HTML is an IMG ("IMaGe") link. An IMG link instructs a visiting browser to supplement the text on the page with an image contained in a separate image file. However, like the HREF link, an IMG link can also reference a file from a completely different web site. An example would be a web page on art that contains images stored around the world. The web page could contain the following text: "Here it is, my favorite painting, 'Girl With a Pearl Earring' by Vermeer." Using an IMG link, the web page could then direct the visiting browser to retrieve an image of the painting from one of the National Gallery's web-pages, and place it immediately below the text. To the end-user, the integration of the two pieces of content (text and graphic) is seamless, despite the fact that they were taken from two very different sources. The user would never know (though she might suspect) that the image was not created or stored locally. In this respect, an IMG link is different from an HREF link; a user following an HREF link is usually aware that he has "changed pages," either from the different appearance of the newly accessed page, or from the change in the URL address display in the web browser. (Brad Bolin of www.bitlaw.com)
[Part I] [Part II] [Part III] [Part IV] [Part V] [Part VI] [Part VII] [Part VIII] [Part IX] [Part X]
Monday, December 8, 2008
The Electronic Commerce Act (RA8792) uses the functional equivalent approach, whereby electronic documents are given the same legal recognition and effect as written documents. The significance of this law is that equal treatment is granted to paper and electronic transactions, such that its validity isn’t dependent on the medium in which the act is contained. The payment of bills over the counter and the issuance of a written receipt, for example, is no different from the payment of bills online and the issuance of a confirmation number as evidence of the transaction. This recognition by Congress, of the development of technology, and their giving electronic transactions binding effects, has facilitated the development of the economy and paved the way for more efficient international trading.
However, RA8792 is a limited law. While it seeks to meet issues brought about by the continuous advancements in telecommunications, it fails to address other significant legal issues, such as violation of privacy and security, questions of jurisdiction and venue, intellectual property issues, and cybercrime. Cleary, while this law is a huge leap for our country, it may only be considered a foundation for the development of more legislation which will be able to address these specific legal issues.
Friday, December 5, 2008
[Part I] [Part II] [Part III] [Part IV] [Part V] [Part VI] [Part VII] [Part VIII] [Part IX] [Part X]
Thursday, December 4, 2008
In pursuit of this (ig)noble goal, Doris sends Boris numerous double entedre emails in addition to work-related emails where Boris is addressed as “My Well-Done Secretary.”
After a year of this, Boris has finally had enough. He files a sexual harassment suit against Doris, alleging that she created a hostile-work environment.
Manila, 2008: Enter the discovery lawyer. Her company has been contracted by Boris’ lawyers to find evidence which would be relevant to the case. She now has the task of going through a year’s worth of emails and other documents. She will use a discovery tool such as Attenex. Attenex has the capacity to search through thousands of electronic documents, which our discovery lawyer can easily categorize as either relevant or not relevant.
Oh by the way, our discovery lawyer earns almost twice as much as her peers employed in a top 3 firm. She has been trained in the US in the most advanced legal technology software. She has also just passed the New York bar, where her review, air fare, hotel accommodations, and per diem were paid by her LPO employer.
*Legal Process Outsourcing
Enter every otaku's dream come true, the Denno Figure Aris (Alice). The product comes with a "cyber-cube" which when viewed through a webcam, generates a digital "cyber-maid" on-screen which one can then interact with using a "cyber-stick" (no pun intended).
Crazy? Or crazy awesome? As advertised, you can peep, touch and change her clothes virtually. Couple that with the company site publisher's promise that it will "make sure spectacular", well, that's just plain "cyber-creepy".
It's not hard to imagine the possible applications, like giving cyber-hugs over video chats with loved ones or trying on those tight looking cyber-pants before actually purchasing a real pair. Still, I'm pretty sure the technology is bound to be abused in a potential wave of digital debauchery (as if the Aris figure isn't perverted enough), creating a new breed of virtual voyeurs.
Getting poked on Facebook is annoying enough, but this is just nuts.
Technology has changed how book publishing works, as it has changed everything else in the world of media. – Bruce Jackson
When Breaking Dawn, the 4th installment of the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer was announced for release, I was one of the millions who had made advance reservation arrangement for a copy of the book. When my copy was handed to me, I wasted no time and started reading. While my reaction would seem normal, the fact was I had started reading the book a day before its worldwide release. An e-book version had leaked two days before the book was officially released.
The problem of leaked eBooks has been plaguing most of the much awaited books these past years. The same thing happened with the Harry Potter series. Even before the books could get to the bookshelves on the official release date, an e-book copy could be found if you know where to look.
The debate on eBooks and its effect to publishing has been ongoing for some time now and was reopened months ago by New York Times columnist David Progue. He has been quite vocal of his stand against having his work in e-book format because of piracy. It’s understandable as the biggest concern has been how authors will get paid for their work. But as Progue took his stand, other writers fired back. Adam Engst of TidBits posted a comprehensive rebuttal and founding editor of Wired Magazine Kevin Kelly proposed an experiment to measure the effect of piracy on Progue’s work.
Some authors have taken stand by releasing their books on the internet. Laurence Lessig released his book “Free Culture” by posting it online for free downloads. Steven Poole released “Trigger Happy” on a “pay what you want” system. More than the writers themselves, the general public has also participated as the work in Project Gutenberg (PG), the digital archive, are mostly done by volunteers. As of 2007, PG has more than 25,000 titles of public domain book available for free download.
As the battle of words continued on the pros and cons of eBooks, I only have this to say: I will continue to buy paper books. “So why buy the book? You can get a free copy,” a friend had asked me when I told her. Simple, because nothing beats flipping the pages of a paperback while curled up in bed during lazy days.
The internet (and Google) is so accessible, so convenient, so inexhaustible in its variety of information both mundane and esoteric (OK, i just used Google to look for a more appropriate antonym for esoteric but I couldn't find one) that it seems to be the ultimate resource. Need the history of the Baghavad-Gita? It's online. How about the recipe for Sans Rival? That's online, too. Looking for that high school buddy you've fallen out of touch with? Guess where you'll probably find him.
The trouble is that the existence of, and access to, an inexhaustible resource will inevitably lead to the death of resourcefulness. Resourcefulness is the hallmark of all life on this planet; it is that stubbornness, that unwillingness to submit to existing conditions, that persistence in finding ways to impose its will on the world that defines a living being. It was resourcefulness, for example, that led to the invention of the internet. It was a solution to a problem. And now, by virtue of that brilliant solution, the trait of resourcefulness itself may die out.
I hope not. Somewhere inside me, and hopefully inside all of us, is an ignorant savage who wants to do things by himself and not rely on what others have done before. Somewhere inside me is the man who refuses to ask directions when lost, who throws away the assembly instructions before unpacking a do-it-yourself bookshelf; somewhere inside me is the man who wants to figure it out himself. From scratch. The hard way.
Yet, it still doesn’t hurt to be careful about communicating with strangers. Text messaging, e-mails and chatrooms are still being utilized in finding victims. It makes it easier for offenders since they can do this globally. Catching these people can only be done reactively. It must fall on the shoulders of the users to be guarded so they may not be held victim by such schemes.
I tend to think that some sort of global culture and consciousness is being formed on the internet. A culture that is based not on nationality or religion, but a culture based on shared interests, aspirations, and worldview. With the prevalence of internet communications, there is a lot more ground-level cultural exchange going on. To make an analogy of it, speciation occurs because populations are isolated from each other. But put those isolated pockets of individuals back into contact with one another and the reverse happens, people become more tolerant of their differences and more willing to embrace their commonalities. To quote Genki Sudo, "we are all one."
We observed that as mobile phones became the norm, our ritual became less and less efficient. Now they simply text the details of the meeting, and sometimes, without even knowing the person they are texting.
I was reminded of three of my high school friends who have tried online dating. The results: a break-up, an ongoing romantic long distance relationship and a marriage. This should put my mind at ease, right? Well, no.
Whenever they would sojourn into this unconventional mode of dating, I found myself paranoid for their safety. I was always the first to tell them to ask another person to accompany them during EBs and not to go to the bathroom (the guy might put a drug on their drink and the date would turn into date rape). Even though they would kid me that I’m overreacting and that I should relax, they’d follow my advice anyway. I always suspected it was because they were worried too.
While it may be said that my fears are not exclusive to online dating, I still can’t wrap my mind around this concept. While the internet provides an infinite number of potential mates and you only go as far as you let it, I still think that dating should be fun and uncomplicated. It should be about initial attraction, good conversation and sparks flying. If your worries go farther than outfit changes, conversation starters and the butterflies in your stomach, where’s the fun in that?
I tried to get out of this pit I am in but I just can’t. I even came to a point where I tried to play mind games, forcing myself to think that downloading the latest Hollywood flicks is just as wrong as murdering a person in cold blood.
It did not work. I failed, miserably.
The prevailing type of junk is technology. Rather, what used to be technology. Cellphones that don't ring, computers that don't run, trains, planes, and automobiles permanently grounded and corroded by occasional acid rain. Components without purpose. Piles and piles of this stuff all over, underwater (tankers), and in the air (satellites). Held in place by gravity, shuffled and disturbed by the elements.
The earth which has existed for billions of years quite splendidly without any intervention on our part will exist, I believe, for billions more. And these things that we made can go on without us—though these days, we act like we can't go on without them.
So what we're really saving when we save the earth is not the earth but our way of life. When we reduce, reuse, and recycle, what we have to understand that ultimately, it's not our "children's children" that benefit (who are those people anyway?) but us. By exercising caution, and using prudence in everything we do, we can survive anything. Maybe even ourselves.
However, not even ten long years working for one of the biggest banks in the country has made me a believer in online banking. Not when an honest mistake done manually can obliterate the balance of someone’s bank account. Or a simple oversight can lead to a BP 22 headache. Jurisprudence in our jurisdiction abounds with suits stemming from these simple mistakes, whether intentional or unintentional.
With unbridled technology then, imagine the damage possible. Like someone’s salary, or worse, one’s lifetime savings, funneled into a fraudster’s account. The very same technology that makes possible our comforts and conveniences also allows people with criminal intentions to conduct their evil designs with ease. Cybercrime or technocrime in real life is often stranger than what you see in movies. And oh yeah, Eagle Eye doesn’t seem such a remote possibility too.
Let me explain. Way back during my undergrad years, I decided to pick up the guitar and learn the damn thing. Why? Well honestly, it was for the chicks! C'mon guys you know this is true! This is what's known among guitar players as the "dark side of the Force" As a user of "the Force" a guitarist must balance his desire to better himself as a musician against playing songs or using riffs just to impress the babes (or the dudes if you swing that way). But hey, I digress... So anyway when I was first starting I had a difficult time learning the songs I wanted to play (to impress the girls) mainly because I was tone deaf. I couldn't distinguish an A flat minor seventh from a C augmented add 9 \ B chord. And so I turned to buying those local guitar mags with lyrics and chord charts at the back (Do they still print those?) Well, suffice to say, my skill at playing grew to a point that I no longer needed the mags and could play the songs just by hearing them. Fast forward a few years later and then you have sites like Powertab.com or GuitarPro Archive. These sites are the Online equivalent of the guitar mags of back then except that these sites usually have software that you can download which can then play a musical score for you note for note and show you how it's done on a virtual fretboard on screen. There's even an option of slowing down the piece without changing the pitch (pretty useful for shred enthusiasts). Files for this software are usually uploaded on the site by fellow guitarists who use the software to tab out their renditions of songs and share them with others. Tabbing out a song is usually done by ear (a skill which can be developed by any one with enough time and practice). This is a great help to those who haven't developed the auditory skill but would like to learn a song and thereby develop their other skills such as left hand dexterity or picking speed. For a while, all was well and good in the land of online tabs.
Don't get me wrong. Being an active musician myself, I respect the rights of musicians to earn an honest buck and I know how hard it is for a musician to eke out a living with just his music (hence, law school). But at some point, the greed just has to stop. Music is meant to be shared and enjoyed with others. To do otherwise would be no different from masturbation.
What I don't get is how the powertab and guitarpro sites are violating copyright law. These sites do not make a profit from these tabs and only serve to foster the advance of musicianship among guitarists. Most of the transcriptions are done by fellow users by ear and represent the users own interpretation of the song, they are not copied from published sheet music. To make this a violation of copyright law would make learning any song by ear and teaching the song to a friend using a real guitar a crime. How silly is that?
My take on the matter is that you can only milk The Cow so much before you kill it.
Note: I realize that I might have been using some terms which non guitarists/musicians may fail to understand so here's a quick crash course:
Chords- 1.) a group of harmonized notes
Tabs- 1.) an informal way of notation of music where instead of using notes, the author uses numbers on lines which represent the 6 strings of the guitar. the numbers represent the fret which is to be depressed. 2.) A term of endearment to call friends who are morbidly obese.
Guitar- 1.) a portable instrument which, when used correctly, can attract members of the opposite sex
Shred- 1.) a dark side power of the Force which allows the user to play a rapid burst of notes in succession. The world record for the use of such power is pegged at 28 notes per second. 2.) the best way to prepare cheese.
MPA- 1.) Music Publishers Association 2.) Evil
The Cow- 1.) Music
Taking aside the issue of due process (there was no prior consultation with the parents, students and school organizations as mandated by CHED), I highly question the wisdom of this added fee. In college, the professors are not always present: we meet once or twice in a week, or sometimes not at all. This is totally different in high school because the teachers are present everyday and they could very well inform the students of the next day’s assignment during class hours. It would be total absurdity if the teacher would prolong the waiting by telling the students that the assignment is online, instead of just writing it on the board.
Add this to the fact that not all of them have access to internet at home, nor have laptops of their own to bring to school. Imagine this situation: each student has to pay P100 a month for the operation of said policy. But in order for a student to access the assignment for tomorrow, he still has to pay P20 per hour in a computer shop before he can do so. For me, this is an absurd situation.
Maria Cristina Yambot
The idea that my personal information is floating in the air up for grabs is disconcerting. If the government regulates radio waves with respect to radio, tv, and telecommunications, should they regulate the use of Wi-Fi? Is it even practicable? I mean, what’ll they do, require a license for all people who own Wi-Fi routers and Wi-Fi capable devices? Uh, I don’t think so.
So what’s the lesson here? Pay in cash.
I've had several experiences on online shopping, but I mostly did meet-ups and COD due to lack of faith in postal services and lack of plastic cards. Though it entails more hassle, I thought it would be safer that way. I remember another Multiply seller who has Lomo cameras for sale. So I pre-ordered for a Holga and waited for almost 2 weeks. She made me go to Makati where she did most of her meet-ups. I took public transportation just to get there. We were supposed to meet at 7pm. Okay, I was an hour earlier. So I took out something to read. Then she started to send me an SMS.
Seller: Are you closer to Manila by any chance?
Me: Oh, I'm already in Glorietta.
S: I have to pick up your item from Manila pa kasi.
M: It's okay, I'm early anyway. And I can wait til around 7:30-8pm.
S: Super traffic!
M: Oh. Don't fret, you still have a lot of time.
S: It's not moving. As in deadlocked. San ka umuuwi? North?
M: East. Marikina.
S: I doubt I'd make it at 8:30 with this shithole. I'll ship the item nalang for free and I'll include 2 films!
M: Nah. I don't think shipping is a good idea.
S: Shipping is 100% safe naman. I had to park muna, I'm having dysmennorhea.
M: Sorry, I really don't trust the local postal services that's why I went here in Makati because I prefer meet-ups. I can wait until 7:30 but if you really can't make it, can we meet nalang in Marikina?
S: I'm from Paranñaque. We're from both ends. I hope you understand.
M: Yeah I do understand. I'm actually more concerned about the payment.
S: You can check the feedback on my page. And you can ask people from Lomomanila about me. How about if we meet on Monday?
M: Exams na so I wouldn't be able to make it on Monday anymore. (Meanwhile, I called up a friend who is into Lomos too ~ it turns out the seller was so unprofessional, delaying shipments of items, not replying to messages, being nice only to the male customers. What a B!)
M: I took your advice and called up someone from Lomomanila. Sorry but I will have to cancel our transaction.
S: Who did you call? You just accused me of being a fraud.
M: No, I didn't. I know you do ship and deliver the items but it just seems you don't value your clients very well as well as their time and effort. I don't have any other choice.
S: I offered to drive til 8:30, didn't I?
M: You said you DOUBT you can make it by 8:30. It doesn't sound much like an offer, does it?
S: I'm on the road still and gave you other options then bolted. Doesn't matter now, you made your choice. I hope this is not some game of retaliation.
M: I gave you an opportunity to push through with the transaction but as you've said we're in both ends. I understand the circumstances, being stuck in traffic and all. I know you may have tried your best but it's just not enough for the hassle I'm in right now.
S: Sorry, what hassle? You said you'd leave at 7:30, I had dysmennorhea attack, can't ignore it. So I parked. Tell me what I should have done. I somehow wish I could still make it up.
Argh! Everytime I remember it, it still pisses me off. I can't believe she still doesn't get it. She has no idea how much hassle she gave me! She's so arrogant and did not even apologize! She didn't think she did anything wrong. And all her excuses? So lame.
Lesson learned? Make sure you're dealing with a professional, who really values his/her customers well. A good businessperson would know that the customers should be treated nicely, even though they can be irate sometimes. Because public relations is very important in any business. A professional seller would be true to his/her words and would apologize if he/she caused any trouble. A professional seller would keep you informed of every stage of the transaction, would reply when you have queries, would accommodate you in any way possible.
I think, just like any other businesses, internet stores should likewise be regulated by the government. To protect the consumers! We should have something like Online Consumers Act. :)
I know this was just a few of the possibilities that could have happened that day. But yeah, it was my first horrible experience in dealing with a Multiply seller. However, I don't feel bad for cancelling my order (even though I was dying to get hold of a Holga then!) because I believe that seller doesn't deserve my money nor my respect at all.
In this age where speed and ease of data transmission is no longer a luxury, but indeed a necessity, one might wonder what area of commerce or industry might next benefit from the efficiency and convenience that is the by-product of this speed and ease. I personally wonder when we’ll be able to send a face-punch via e-mail, or via these awesome-sounding digital packets. Imagine the possibilities… Is the fool who took your juicebox in kindergarten living far away, farther than even the most awesome air-kick could reach? Send him an e-mail, then. To illustrate,
To: Your face
From: My foot
And if the pitiful fool’s interest is piqued (and why wouldn’t it be, body parts are communicating), he’ll open the mail. I don’t have to tell you what’s coming next. But I will. Heee-yaaaaaa!!!!
All this may sound like a nonsensical pipe dream, but it’s really hard to say what’s possible these days, or whether there’s really anything outside the realm of possibility. I’m still blown away by the fact that they let you order your own bag of custom-colored M&M’s. It truly is a golden age of technological progress.