Friday, February 27, 2009


Its been a working Friday night for me the past two Fridays. I hosted the 11th Philippine Web Awards last night and it was fun, to say the least. :) While getting ready to go onstage, I found myself beside this dude named Ray, whom I later on find out is the Chair of the CICT.

I asked him about the latest in his Commission and he said they were on their way out with a Cybercrime law. I asked if he thought it was necessary considering existing statutes and he said that indeed it was since the E-commerce law only punishes hacking and downloading. He also said that more than the penal provisions, the new law would look have provisions requiring providers to store data to enable to government to track and identify violators. I pointed out that the storage requirement might prove to be onerous considering the volume of the data to be stored (he said 6 months' worth!) He said that it won't be storing the data per se but only information such as the subscriber, the IP address and usage logs. I would have asked him to expound but he had to go and give his welcome remarks already.

I agree that IP addresses and user logs would be helpful in operationalizing the state's effort to catch violators. However, I am a very realistic person - so I say its all a matter of proof. I think it would be difficult to explain the concept of an IP address to a judge, more so convince him/her of its probative value considering that it is not a permanent designation. I also wonder what type of penalty would serve as a deterrent for a violator. Jail time? Permanent deprivation of internet use? The law would have to be creative, and lawyers, even more so. :)

Thursday, February 26, 2009


As the Oscars fever is still in the air, I was surfing the internet just this morning to read about the movies nominated in the Oscars. As I google the titles of nominated films, I chanced upon a website called . At first I thought it was like a Wikipedia for Hollywood movies where you can find reviews about old, recent as well as upcoming Hollywood films plus some trailers for movies to watch out for. To my delight, as it turned out, it was actually a website where you could watch movies in full! Even the movies that are yet to be shown can be watched there and FOR FREE!

Since I am a student of the law, as usual, the thoughts that ran through my mind after my excitement were first of all, is this thing legal? Why is it that producers of these movies are allowing this website to show their products even ahead of their scheduled showing? Aren't they worried that this will erode their revenues? Or are they even aware of the existence this website?

I tried to make some research about this website and found nothing that would somehow answer my queries. The website itself does not contain any information that indicate who owns it and what is it really for. Another intriguing question that I ask to myself is: How do the owners of this website obtain the videos in the first place?

Well, I can only speculate about these questions. But as of now, I will just enjoy these freebies while they last.

Raymond R. Roque

Google vs. Copyright Infringers

Taken from

“It is our policy to respond to clear notices of alleged copyright infringement... The form of notice specified below is consistent with the form suggested by the United States Digital Millennium Copyright Act but we will respond to notices of this form from other jurisdictions as well.”

“Regardless of whether we may be liable for such infringement under local country law or United States law, our response to these notices may include removing or disabling access to material claimed to be the subject of infringing activity and/or terminating subscribers...”

Interesting. Given the problem of which jurisdcition to prosecute internet-related copyright infringement, Google takes the reigns to regulate copyright infringers under their own guidelines. So even if you might not have a legal remedy, Google does what it can to help you out. Thank you, Google.


I haven't realized that blogging and generally creating online content have its risk. And one of those risks is getting your work copied by other persons, claiming it as their own, without even giving you credit for your intellectual creation. That person didn't even care to change the title I made! This article appeared in an online journal, appearing to be legit and professional.

I didn't think this would happen to me because I don't create excellent and superb articles. Apparently, no one is safe from plagiarism. What recourse do I have to take? How do I enforce my IP rights? I even checked the various terms and conditions of the websites involved.

Right now, upon advice of Sir Gigo, all I can do is inform the company to which I submitted my article or inform the other journal where the plagiarized material is posted that such article is mine and their contributor practically copy-pasted it and claimed it as his own. This concept would discourage people from making and contributing ideas online and would further hinder the development of intellectual property realm.

If there's one thing I value much, it's the ideas and articles I put my efforts into making. And I would really be pissed if someone would copy it and pass it off as their own, with just a few clicks. I hate copycats.

Hotlines and programs

Every year, the BIR requires that all companies submit their Alphabetical list (alphalist) of employees listing all their salaries and benefits received from the company throughout the year. There is a further qualification that those with ten (10) employees and above are required to submit the alphalist in diskette form, i.e. in electronic format. This electronic format will be generated from the BIR’s program where you can input the details needed and generate the needed file. They also have a separate program to validate this data.
The program came out late this year, they had to remake some of the program to accommodate the new laws and regulations involving the compensation of employees. They were only able to release the program around a week before the extended deadline. But, there had been problems. We were calling the BIR hotline but they could not help us. They directed us to another number which was busy all the time. This made us frantic because being late with the BIR means penalties. They only had one number for, let’s say, thousands of companies will call and ask for help. Just goes to show that tech support, an efficient one at that, is vital.

ICT for the Provinces

Last week's lecture reminded me of the plight my hometown, Aurora and the municipality of Casiguran, in particular. Our town, as far as I can remember, is a third class municipality which, up to now, does not yet have a 24-hour supply of electricity, landline phone, Internet, (although some use their cellphones to connect online) and...well, Jollibee (the true test of progress). Eight years ago, people from our town could only talk to their relatives in Manila through AZCOM. Only incoming calls are allowed. AZCOM is akin to a public "call center." The place is buzzing all the time with rumors of whose kid in Manila was knocked. No secret is safe because the parties can only talk to one another with the assistance of the operator. Then came RCPI call centers which sort of addressed the issue of privacy since a private booth is provided for each caller and the operator is no longer needed to facilitate the conversation. Out of frustration, however, my mother bought a satellite phone which allows her to directly contact us when I was studying here in Manila. The phone is pretty cool too since you can make long distance calls out of the country directly without the assistance of an operator. The phone billing, however, is ridiculous. We were charged for both outgoing and incoming calls. And then...Smart came. I can almost remember the incredulous look on everyone's faces when they first saw the signal bars on their spanking new cellphones. The impact of cellular phone technology on the lives of the people in our municipality is immeasurable even for the old people who are generally afraid of any form of technology.Now if only we can ask Ka--- to stop bombing the cell site...but that would have to be for another blog.

Judith Alejo

Homeostasis Writ Large

Adaptability. It is often mentioned as one of the traits employers look for in potential employees. Flexibility is desirable- after all, the only constant thing in this world is change. Flexibility may as well be the slogan of globalization. Interconnectedness allows variety and discourse, which may lead to change that ultimately forces people to adapt.

The French, after fighting so hard to keep their language from the infiltration of English, are now giving up the fight. The Education Minister increased English-language teaching in the curriculum because according to him, the French not learning English is a big disadvantage to international competition. China has embraced capitalism after decades of living free from want and bereft of individual possessions. A magazine article mentioned something to the effect that speaking English need not make the French less French and buying designer bags does not make the Chinese less Chinese. Adapt or die, read one of the headlines in the same magazine.

My friend and I had a discussion about whether we are willing to adapt to how (in)justice is run in the country and how some law firms operate to win their cases. This friend said that hirability is increased by one's willingness to somewhat bend principles. Although adaptability may be desirable and at most times highly useful, where do you draw the line? When it comes to principles, how far can one adapt and not lose herself in the process? Do you simply adapt or do you help in creating the change that people can try adapting to?

"Man's chief moral deficiency appears to be not his indiscretions but his reticence."
- Hannah Arendt


Last February 25, 2009, the UP College of Law held its first ever automated elections. The online ballots contained the names of the candidates grouped according to the positions they're running for and their respective parties. Small boxes on the left side of every name was to be clicked to vote for that individual. It was very organized. This was the first time the college wasn't the last to submit the tallied votes. This was also the first time in my three years in the Electoral and Judicial Tribunal that we adjourned earlier than 11pm.

While talking to other law students, some mentioned that they would actually place some sort of means to be able to cheat in the elections if they made the program. It was very enterprising of him, I thought. And it was very much possible.

This coming 2010 national elections where automated elections have long been discussed as an option, how can we secure the e-ballota system would be uncrackable?

Giulia Pineda

Gapminder - Having Fun with Statistics

Boston: After attending 4 solid days of power point presentations which had graphs upon graphs of what seemed (yes I wasn't altogether certain) to be statistics on things ranging from the airborne particles and pollutants which composed the so-called Asian Brown Cloud to statistics on how Indian women in Calcutta utilized public transportation --- I was ready to barf.

The presentations ranged from mildly amusing to major snoozefests.

As I was vainly trying to focus on one of the snoozers, someone said from behind the room "not another set of statistics!" at which point the presentor reddened and appeared to be a bit embarassed.

"Well," he said. "I am not a cruel man, and I don't want the audience to suffer needlessly." "But," he continued, "I do have a point which I want to make."

And so he continued until he made his point (which I am not sure most in the audience understood) and then said in a soft voice a little aside about gapminder.

At which point he went to taking about "making sense of the world by having fun with statistics."

And the world became alive.

If only we can see everything clearly.

It blew my mind.

Of Reality and Realizations - Part 4

After Kuya had sent out his letter, it was time to wait, and wait we did. Anxious days, weeks and months passed, and we got nothing, perhaps an ironic response to the quick search it took to find him. Kuya was losing hope, resigned to the fact that he would never get a “meet and greet” with his biological father. More months passed and the topic had become an implied taboo. At least until Kuya brought it up over a family dinner, saying that although he refused to fire up his hopes again, he felt it deserved another try.

That night, Kuya got in front of the computer and over a VoIP service, dialed the digits of his biological father’s residence. One ring, two rings, and three rings later, a man picked up the call. A very brief conversation of many confirmations was had – Kuya’s letter was received, the man went by the name and description of Kuya’s biological father, and yes, he knew he had left his one and only biological son in the Philippines some thirty and so years ago. Upon realizing that the one on the other end of the line was this son, he ended the call abruptly.

To be continued.

Facebook Owns You

I'm sure by now, a lot of you have migrated over to Facebook for your social networking needs. However, there are a few things that you have to be aware of. If you take the time to read the terms of service you will find that:
1.) Whatever you upload to Facebook can be used by Facebook in anyway forever*1
2.) Even if you delete your account, Facebook has the right to do as it pleases with the content you left behind. It can even sublicense it.*2

*1 You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.
*2 The following sections will survive any termination of your use of the Facebook Service: Prohibited Conduct, User Content, Your Privacy Practices, Gift Credits, Ownership; Proprietary Rights, Licenses, Submissions, User Disputes; Complaints, Indemnity, General Disclaimers, Limitation on Liability, Termination and Changes to the Facebook Service, Arbitration, Governing Law; Venue and Jurisdiction and Other.

Hence, budding musicians beware. Never upload anything to Facebook that you are not prepared to give away for free.

Two Face

I was asked by a friend to read the new terms and conditions of Facebook. To my surprise, the social network stipulates that all users agree to “share” ownership of any material/content uploaded to their system. In other words, even if the user retains ownership, Facebook becomes a co-owner as long as they have a copy of the content within their files. This is quite a radical setup wherein users are required to relinquish ownership rights over content they upload (i.e. pictures).

Hence, the policy problem revolves around the issue of whether or not the unreasonableness of the copyright sharing clause of the contract. Facebook would argue that if a person disagrees, he/she should simply not sign up for the service. On the other hand, existing users are prejudiced since they had not agreed to the clause when they first signed up. Are these users still bound by the new condition?

Honestly, there is no viable solution in the near future. The safest strategy for the users is to probably lessen their uploads in order to ensure that their materials are not shared. Until there is a proper determination regarding the legality of the clause, users are at the mercy of Facebook.

Tech and love

Either technology or first love has gotten hold of my 14-year-old brother. The story is this: my brother, in his junior year in high school, has got a girlfriend. When he gets home, all he does is text. He texts when we are eating dinner, when he is playing Tekken, when he’s doing the dishes, when he’s sleeping. You get the point. Problem is this attitude of his did not sit well with me and my mother. He became so absorbed with his textmate that he barely was able to interact with us, his family, who are physically present. Out of my annoyance, but with understanding of how fragile adolescents can be, I tried to “interview” him, explaining that I plan to write about him in my ICT blog. The topic is about technology and teenagers and how technology could be a alienating. He just ignored me and continued texting. He did not get it the first time.

Then my mother got sick. And like most sick mothers, she needed attention. Alas, this brother of mine, the baby of the family has got his own virtual world, where only he and his girlfriend exist. My mother tried to reach out to him, but then her patience waned. She tried to ask him to give to her his cellphone, as form of a warning. He refused. As my mother is on the verge of getting well, she was able to grab the cellphone and smashed it on the wall. I think my brother got the message (not of her girlfriend, since the phone died) this time.

Or so I think.

My brother suffered for less than a week when guilty conscience got hold of my mother and she bought him a new phone. Now, my brother is back to his ways, but is more attuned to the needs of her mother and more responsive to our criticism.

My Security (Blanket) Laptop

I have a peculiar habit: I highlight my cases based on a pre-assigned color scheme. Green is fact, yellow is issue and orange is the ratio. If I ran out of a particular color while reading, my first compulsion is to buy/look/borrow the color I need. I can’t proceed with the readings using a different color as I get disoriented and lose my focus (Seriously, I can’t study). I know it’s all in my mind. A coping mechanism I’ve developed here in law school – an assurance that there are things I can still control. For I while, I thought that this was my only “obsessive compulsive” behavior. Last Friday, I discovered a new “compulsion.”

My laptop has been my constant companion here in law school – it’s battered and the specs need up grading. Still, I’m satisfied with what I have. Last Friday afternoon, after hosting a seminar on the Barangay Protection Order, a group mate who had a laptop like mine (same brand, same series) accidentally packed my cord along with her own laptop cord. It was not until Saturday morning, when I needed to charge my laptop that I discovered the mistake. While a sane person would have said, “OK I’ll get it from you Tuesday,” crazy me proposed, “Can you send it thru LBC it to me so I can get it tomorrow (Sunday)?”

The thing was, that entire Saturday I could not seem to focus. All I keep thinking was “What if I need something from my laptop? What if someone sent me an email? What if I need to look up a case? What if..” At that point when I asked my group mate to send my laptop through courier, I realized how much I’ve become dependent on technology and the internet – whether it’s instant fact from Google or new Supreme Court decision or even showbiz news – and how impaired I am without it. A short period of deprivation makes you realize that you resort to extremes just to get it.

The Effect of Poverty on the Use of Technology (Part 1)

From our previous discussion on the possible applications of technology in remote areas in the Philippines, it got me thinking about the possibility of an entirely connected Philippines. By connected, I mean that there is access to the internet in all parts of the Philippines. The internet is a cloud of information that may be accessed only through the use of electronic devices, most commonly, a computer or a laptop and quite recently, a mobile phone.

In this blog, I would like to turn the class discussion last February 20, 2009 on its head and analyze the connection and effect of poverty on technology. This is because the examples raised in class focused on how technology can change areas of poverty to possible sources of revenue for isolated areas of the country.

It is not disputed that a lot of Filipinos, especially in the urban areas, have the devices needed to access the internet. This is not the case in rural and remote areas of the Philippines basically due to the costs involved. In fact, I think much of the cost is on the infrastructure needed to be able to reach these remote areas. This shows us that the only great cost for the realization of a completely online Philippines is the setting-up of such infrastructure. After this is set-up, all the traffic of information could be provided at a minimal cost. Of course, this framework is overly simplified but it is nevertheless true.

If such is the framework, what is preventing investments from reaching the farthest regions of the country?

Rivera, Jan Michael A.

Come together, right now

Conducting job interviews online has got to be one of the most cost-effective developments brought about by information and communications technology. As last week’s lecture has shown us, interviewees in far-flung communities need not leave their hometowns in order to find out if the jobs that they are eyeing in the capital region or abroad are a good fit with their skills and competencies. All they need to do is sit in front of a computer and in a few seconds discussions with their prospective employers are already underway.

In the US, big companies that have invested heavily in fancy videoconferencing systems are reaping the benefits in terms of reduced business travel expenses. A small group of road-weary consultants forming part of an informal network linked mostly by videoconferencing technology have maximized the proliferation of cheap or free social networking tools like podcasts, wikis, and computer video and teleconferencing systems like Skype.

The widespread application of these tools in the administration and governance of our country of 7, 107 islands could help solve the perennial problem of budget constraints. The savings in terms of time and reduced air travel expenses will hopefully translate into higher productivity and improved leadership.

interface with me

With the current state of technological development, I would not be surprised if in the next 10 years someone would be able to develop technology which could seamlessly integrate computer components with human biology. Yes, a number of devices could already be implanted in our bodies but what I am talking about is the kind which could HUD-like interface in a field of vision giving us ready information about our surroundings. It would be neat if I could do a web search just by focusing my vision on an object and making a mental command to initiate a web search.

These musings made me realize that these things could not be developed if no network of human technology and knowledge exists. I also realized that there is much truth to the oft-quoted adage "no man is an island."

Need To Earn, So I Write-----

So the election is over. Now I am back to my old self.

Then suddenly, I realized that the semester is almost over, I have so many case backlogs and I am financially broke (which is not good because when summer arrives no allowance is received, typical buhay estudyante).

But then a lifesaver. My good friend and blockmate Ina offered a writing job. I took it and now I am researching about it. The topics are all about information technology and the article is going to be published in DIGITAL (Digest of Information Technology & the Law). =) Good thing I am in an ICT elective.

The topics range from liability of service providers for user-generated content, work surveillance and monitoring, mobile tv, net neutrality, IPTV regulation and ICANN.

All of this topics are very interesting. Hopefully I'd get to write something of great quality. Tap on the things I have learned in class then apply it. I have always loved writing, more so get published and get paid for it. =) Hope it works out just fine. =)
Baguilat, Raymond Marvic C. "Ice"

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Internet? Sounds Good!

The main source of my techno-stress is that most downloaded music aren’t labeled the way I like it: I am obsessively-compulsively required to have the song titles in title case, and the artists’ names should be perfectly spelled, down to the “é” in Beyoncé. I also want the album names matched with the corresponding album artwork – it makes using my iPod so much more interesting.

With the internet, I just click on the arrow right beside the song, and iTunes Store automatically looks for the album name. A few clicks more and iTunes offers to get the album artwork of all my properly labeled music files. Install a lyrics widget, and then lyrics to the song currently playing are automatically downloaded to my library, and these lyrics are also viewable on my iPod. There is also Gracenote CDDB (CD Database), which automatically labels the songs once a CD is inserted, so the menial task of individually typing the track names before ripping the CD is done away with. So one can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the music.

Although on the other hand, I wouldn’t have been placed in the stressful situation of having too much music if the internet had never been invented in the first place.

great firewall of china

Imagine going online and not being able to access the New York Times or BBC, and then calling your friend who lives in another part of the city only to find out that she has had no problem connecting to those websites. You try again a few minutes later and the problem seems to have been solved. And then imagine getting into this situation every so often for no apparent reason, technical or otherwise. Internet censorship in China is anything but systematic. But while some Internet users in China can easily circumvent the mechanisms used to block content, the majority are either not as tech-savvy or are terrified of persecution. The chilling effect is there, at the very least. And according to recent reports, not only is content being blocked, but thousands of websites, most of them for small businesses, are now going to be shut down for failure to register with the government. Even the global financial crisis takes a back seat to online suppression.

Facebook Policy

A lot of people are so addicted to Facebook nowadays and certainly I am not part of the exception. I change my status religiously, I accept plants, bracelets, hugs and Havaianas from friends. The whole experience would not be complete if I didn’t add photos so let’s just say I have a couple of albums available for viewing.

It was quite alarming to find out from a radio station that the moment you upload User Content in Facebook, it becomes the property of Facebook. This compelled me to check their terms contained in their application. While it was a relief that they specifically said Facebook does not assert any ownership over the User Content, it bothered me that the Company may retain archived copies of it. Also, by posting User Content to any part of the site, there is an automatic grant and warrant that the user has the right to grant the company an “irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose, commercial, advertising, or otherwise, on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing”. Just a small caveat before posting.

Goodbye People, Hello PLDT

Recently, PLDT copied the practice in the U.S. of calling consumers using automated phone calls. Instead of having people call random consumers to “inform” them of their new products, they have been replaced by voice recorded messages. Probably with the use of computers, PLDT is now able to call random numbers and once answered, the recorded message is activated. The convenience will definitely allow PLDT to disseminate information on its products quicker and save the company from having to spend on call centers to do the job for them. The downside? Consumers can now be bothered at all hours.

This recent practice illustrates the possibility of humans being replaced by computers. While call centers have proven to be a lucrative business, the advent of automated phone calls will definitely make an impact on the need for such businesses. Just as its birth into society was unexpected and spread across the world like wildfire, the progress and growth in technology is just as quick, if not faster. Sadly, it seems like the day is fast approaching when computers will fully control the movements of society and the world, and what will finally be phased it out are human beings.

“Slum Dogs & Slam Dunks”

A joke in “Chelsea Lately” goes: “I was wondering, when the entire cast of Slum Dog Millionaire went up the stage, who was left manning tech support.” A racist joke, I know, but is it derogatory? Isn’t it just a recognition of the fact that, in the outsourcing of tech support, India is the one of the top countries where such tech support is outsourced? The crucial point to determine is whether or not India wants to be labeled as such.

A couple of weeks back Nate Robinson won the NBA All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk Competition against Dwight Howard. I strongly feel that Dwight should have won. Nate did jump over Dwight, but he leaned on Dwight’s shoulder to push him higher for the dunk. The thing is, text votes propelled him to win. Reggie Miller did comment that he would have wanted the text votes to have played a factor in the earlier rounds of the competition and not just the finals. I, however, agree with Kenny Smith. The experts should be left alone to choose who won since they were in the best position to know the difficulty of the Dunk. It makes perfect sense to me and I would trust who MJ, Dr. J and Dominique say deserves to win, than a random schmo or worse, your neighbor “Mang Jose.”

Yo Adrian, it’s not The Internets

I recently read an article about technologies that don’t know they’re dead. Like aging champs, they dance around the ring complacent, oblivious to the young, hungry contenders that want the title. Like Rocky in Rocky III, really. Rocky fought two mind-blowing wars against the great Apollo Creed, but once he’d won, he lost his mojo and got beaten by the wonderfully articulate Clubber Lang. Besides having a far more awesome haircut, Clubber had better work ethic, more focus, and scarier grunts. This cinematic classic offers various nuggets of enlightenment (Clubber, on a rematch: “I reject the challenge, because Balboa is no challenge. But I’d be happy to beat up on him some more”), the second-greatest training montage ever (which turns into the fruitiest), an opening song that’s impossible not to interpret through victorious gestures, and the baddest ever telling of Goldilocks, but it also proves a triumph as social allegory. Rocky is: landlines, phonebooks, CD’s, CRT TV’s, DVD’s. Clubber is: Cell-phones, mp3’s, hi-def plasmas and LCD’s, Blu-ray. Rocky, of course, made a successful comeback, thanks largely to training he received in a more “athletic” “urban” gym. So, lesson for the old-tech: find some black guys to train with.

A TV Everywhere Solution

US cable operators are currently in talks with programmers to create a platform to release cable shows online. This development comes after data shows a growing mass of people watching TV shows online for free. Not wanting to upset these viewers by taking away free access, operators are scrambling for ways to protect their business model.

They realized that the driving force for the online revolution is the consumer's need to access his TV shows anytime, anywhere. To add value that will keep consumers from leaving, cable operators are looking to offer online cable shows to TV subscribers with a small fee. This solution, they predict, will be a way to ride the online revolution and also sustain a business that is seeing tough times.

So long as this "TV Everywhere Solution" provides efficient service, I think the plan will only work to the benefit of the consumer.

I tweet, therefore I am

I have become a twitter-junkie! My tweetdeck’s online as soon as I am and I find myself trapped in its labyrinth of links, personalities, comments, whozits and whatzits galore. The tweets are no longer restricted to answers to “what are you doing?” but have become global venues for sharing thoughts, quirks, passions, updates and practically anything your mind can conceive.

I get legislative updates from David_Englin (a Virginia State delegate), advocacy updates from lancearmstrong and livestrong, video updates from my youtube favorites like HappySlip, KinaGrannis and GabeBondoc, travel updates from Kathika, “spectrial” updates from TorrrentFreak and ThePirateBay’s lawyer Brokep, some useful and not-so-useful links from BDoGo and willfrancis and music updates from jamiecullum and MTV_music, among others.

My tweetdeck is a hodgepodge of everything and anything under the sun. The good thing about it is that I get to choose which links to follow and decide which tweets merit a response from me. I can even filter the tweeples who I want to appear on my deck! I just appreciate how this technology is, as of yet, under my control. I like how it brings me the latest things that the world has to offer and I have the power to embrace or reject them as I wish.

If you decide to join twitter, I recommend that you follow the tweeple I mentioned above! Oh, and a little tip, if you follow BarackObama, the account will follow you back! So, yeah, Barack Obama’s following me on twitter! How’s that for 6 degrees of separation! (note: I know he’s not personally maintaining the account! I just found it funny.)

*tweet: a post on twitter composed of 140 characters or less
*tweeple: people who use

facebooks (not so) anonymous

Much has been written about the good, the bad and the ugly about Facebook. But one thing is sure, it can be awfully addicting.

No less than the talented Lea Salonga has confessed to such an obessession in her PDI column.

In my headless-chicken existence where I juggle mommy duties, domestic diva-ness and law school drudgery, Facebook is a very welcome respite. But the two minutes I promise myself in between doing the laundry, making everybody's beds, sterilizing milk bottles, picking up toys strewn endlessly all overthe house, and rushing off to get to class on time, soon turns into an hour or so of "mindless waste of time".

But that hour or so can be the very thing that lets me keep the vestiges of my (in)sanity.

A friend who juggles motherhood and lawyering actually took time to master the "art of facebooking" last christmas break. Now she sends me all sorts of whatchamacallits almost every day.

Another friend who took time off from her career to take care of her babies had the time and energy to upload the birth of her son a day after delivery, apart from the regular photo and video uploads of her older child.

Indeed, despite the "publicness" of facebook, it can be quite engaging. For me it is a great substitute for my non-existent social life where my constant movie buddies and food trip companions are still my kids. I still balk at uploading videos for security reasons but no mom can resist posting photos of her angels on facebook.

It is also a great way to find long lost friends whom you haven't heard from in decades. Either you find them or they find you. One time, I think Sir Rudy appeared on people you may know. However, the window disappeared before I could add Sir Rudy, if indeed that was Sir I saw.

Anyways, the charm of Facebook is the ease with which it links you up with whomever you wish to interact with. 

A couple of years from now, there may be another social networking thingy to replace it, but for the meantime, it is a great substitute for any other form of addiction in this recession-almost-Great-Depression-state we all are in. 

So, my name is Chenalyn Chenalou and I am a facebook addict...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


The title of my SLRW paper is “Philippine Presidential Impeachment: A Historical Perspective.” I honestly believed I would have abundant resources. Especially since almost all the information could be googled. So I think! I am so ignorant of technology, technologically speaking. (-Spongebob Squarepants)

Five Philippine presidents had impeachment complaints filed against them. They were Elpidio Quirino, Diosdado Macapagal, Ferdinand Marcos, Joseph Estrada and Macapagal Arroyo. Only Joseph Estrada was impeached although not convicted.

Since my paper is all about history, reports from newspapers were very useful. I realized I expected too much from internet only to find out that I could find everything about the impeachment initiated against Macapagal-Arroyo and Joseph Estrada, but none about the other three.

I have to visit all (That’s an exaggeration, anyway.) the college libraries of UP Diliman, including the main library.

Many though still believe “library research is still the best way to do your research, searchably”. (-Spongebob again.)

Anyway, I envy the day when my children and grandchildren and great grandchildren and great great grandchildren and great great great grandchildren ( That’s enough, I got your point.-Squidward Tentacles) would just do all their paper researches at one sitting. (You know, your lazy. -Patrick Star)

A serious realization: I think I had too much of Spongebob. Blame it to my toddler of a daughter.

girl arrested for texting

last weekend, there was an interesting story on BBC...

a 14 yr old Wisconsin girl who refused to stop texting during a high school math class was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. The teenager was arrested at Wauwatosa East High School after she ignored her teacher's demand to stop texting. initally, the girl denied having a phone when confronted by their school security officer, but then, when she was frisked, the police found her mobile phone in her back pocket. The student was issued a criminal citation for disorderly conduct, had to post a bail of $298...and as every teenager's nightmare, her phone was also confiscated. The girl, is scheduled for an April 20 court appearance on the misdemeanor rap.

with this novel incident, would the US courts then say that texting in class consitutes disorderly conduct and as such punishable by say a fine or community service?

will texting in class be made an offense?

*sigh* i shudder at the thought that a kitikitext like me would end up in jail just for answering a text message.

check out:

Power to the people

“Superwoman,” a daylong seminar-workshop geared towards empowering women, was held last Saturday at Barangay U.P. Campus. This was the project my groupmates and I conceptualized for our Local Government Class under Prof. Guanzon. The event commenced with lectures on R.A. 9262 and R.A. 9344, followed by a livelihood seminar, and culminated with a surprisingly enjoyable self-defense class. While we were planning for this event, we were worried that the participants might not be interested enough to stay for the whole program. Much to our surprise, that should have been the least of our concerns. I realized that if you give these women a sincere opportunity to learn, a venue for furthering their education, there would be no need for creating devices and incentives for them to stay.

It was definitely one of the best audiences I have, personally, encountered. The women were cooperative and very attentive; they listened to every word of our lecture, shared their experiences, and asked pertinent questions. They even took down notes. All we had was a simple set-up of a powerpoint presentation projected on the video wall in the barangay’s seminar room. This experience was in sync with the lecture on convergence we had in ICT class just last Friday. At the barangay level, the fairly simple and inexpensive use of a DVD player and television, or a projector to show taped lectures, seminars, demonstrations on various topics – new laws and ordinances, values formation, a review on basic school subjects, livelihood programs, health and fitness regimens, exercise videos – could bring sweeping changes to the lives of the citizens. Interestingly, I learned that Quezon City is known as the ICT capital of the country because of the highest concentration of ICT related industries within it and its efforts in raising educational competitiveness through ICT projects. It’s a shame if other self-proclaimed progressive cities do not follow suit. It’s not that hard, to begin with. If LGUs can spend millions on infrastructure and road-widening projects, surely it can invest a small amount in computers, wi-fi and similar gadgets. Information and education empowers, and as empowered individuals they can then seek to empower others.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Linking and Liability for Creators [Part X]

In Part IX, we introduced the problems of frames. Here we will expand our discussion on the problems of frames. Because of their (frames) capacity to present data from several different sources as part of one unified display, frames can easily result in the juxtaposition of unrelated, even antithetical, pieces of content: pages from the Jewish Defense League web-site could be made to appear within a frame on a Neo-Nazi site, causing obvious confusion. In this latter case, the problem isn't that the Nazis are passing of the work of the JDL as their own -- the problem is the potential reputational damage to the JDL from having its name associated with a fascist group.
Consequently, framing third-party information into another web page raises issues of copyright infringement (derivative works), passing off, defamation, and trademark infringement. The solution to this problem is simple: if the use of frames is likely to give rise to the sort of confusion described here, third party pages and images should not be linked into the frame. (Brad Bolin of

So to all creators out there, do be careful. With this note….

[Part I] [Part II] [Part III] [Part IV] [Part V] [Part VI] [Part VII] [Part VIII] [Part IX] [Part X]

Linking and Liability for Creators [Part IX]

Here we introduce the problems of frames. Frames are used to subdivide web pages. For example, the hypothetical site described in the Part VIII could be divided into three frames, with one containing a chronological listing of the various comic strips and their titles, another dedicated to the display of the strips themselves, and a third presenting the biography of the frame's creator. Regardless of the particular strip being displayed in the second frame, the index and biographical information are constantly visible in the first and third frames. As with certain IMG links, frames can mislead the viewer of a site as to the creator of its content. (Brad Bolin of

[Part I] [Part II] [Part III] [Part IV] [Part V] [Part VI] [Part VII] [Part VIII] [Part IX] [Part X]

Sunday, February 22, 2009

corporate social responsibility

I hosted the 44th Anvil Awards last Friday night,and boy, was it a lot of fun. :) More than the fun, it was also quite inspiring to find out about the various corporate social responsibility projects that the major multinationals engage in. Never mind that what was being lauded was the PR work done for these CSRs; at bottom, there was a CSR.
The big winners were Shell, Smart, Globe, GMA, ABS-CBN... and surprisingly, the Department of Energy and the Department of Tourism. I know that most CSR work, while avowedly for the benefit of the community or employees, function as corporate deodorants - disinfectants even. But before I judge, I thank. I am thankful that these companies, at the very least, initiate these projects. I was particularly struck by CSR projects of Smart (Doon Po Sa Amin), which focused a lot on content development by their target communities. This is part of their "internet for all" advocacy.
I suppose that with this new wave of CSR initiatives, these corporations with a "conscience" prove to be a good source of funding for ICT-related projects for smaller communities, students and the youth in general. Perhaps it would be even better if recognition was given to the CSRs themselves, and not just the PR work that pushes it. That way we can be sure that the CSR is really good and sustainable, not just well documented and laid-out. :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

ICT and the LSG Elections----

The current elections for the UP LSG created opportunities for me to tap on the various means to send information to the student body. I subsequently placed this ideas as part of my clear and concrete platform as LSG Public Relations Officer.

Among my plan of action is the development of the existing LSG website wherein the updates are to be contained at the fastest period possible. A forum would also be provided so as to allow students to create threads and talk about current pressing issues surrounding the college. A volunteer corp group would check and survey the hottest issues surrounding the college and be tasked to work with the office of the Secretary.

Another program is the PRO hotline and helpdesk wherein the PRO is just a text away from the student-body. For concerns relating to LSG activities and school processes, the PRO's office would very much love to address such concern and answer those messages.

Those are the programs (among others), that I hope would be able to tap. Advantages provided by the changes in technology that would surely help the LSG to bridge information to the student-body.

Hopefully I'd be able to do such projects, stand on the shoulders of giants (the previous LSG officers) and serve the student body for school year 2009-2010.

Baguilat, Raymond Marvic C. "Ice"

$100 Laptop

The One Laptop Per Child Association has been endeavoring to make their namesake vision a reality in the developing world (Philippines included) over the last couple of years. This, off the bat, seems to be a pretty good idea, but the project has raised the issue of the laptop's viability as a learning tool, as opposed to its inutility as something of a luxury.

While laudable, the project's goal is rather lofty, considering that significantly reduced costs would still add up to a lot of money if every kid in every developing country were to be given a laptop. Additionally, taking the laptop would mean foregoing something else, particularly books. Granting the laptop serves as a sufficient substitute for any necessary school supplies, social conditions are left unconsidered. Imagine a 9 year-old, shiny new laptop in hand, walking home from school through crime-ridden city streets. Hello pawnshop.

The project founder, Nicholas Negroponte, was quick to point out that it is an education project, not a laptop project. Still, one can't help but wonder if this really is what kids need when the fundamentals can't even be taught properly under our current educational system. Besides, we wouldn't want them getting into DOTA.

Carnivores, Magic Lanterns and the Bill of Rights

The infamous Patriot Act, signed into law by George Bush in 2001, has been widely condemned for weakening the protections afforded civil liberties in the States; a number of its provisions have since been held by Federal courts to be unconstitutional.

(On a side note, the statute's full title is the USA PATRIOT Act, which stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism. Say what you will about The Man, you gotta admit he has a way with the acronyms.)

Among the many criticisms of the Act is its expansion of the powers of the federal government, making possible the much more liberal application of certain technologies for digital surveillance. Examples of these technologies include Carnivore, an FBI-designed computer system which plugs into an ISP network and intercepts and records digital communications, and Magic Lantern, a keylogging software that is a combination worm/trojan which installs itself in a target PC and captures keystrokes.

The threat of technology being used to invade privacy has particular relevance in this country where, despite the Bill of Rights and the wiretapping and surveillance rules in RA 4200, digital snoopers continue to display a fine disregard for the niceties of privacy in communications. (Does the name Garci ring a bell?)

Add to that a government accustomed to the disregard of civil liberties, and a public inured to the violation of their rights; throw in a general lack of technological savvy and an ignorance of the implications of digital connectivity. Voila! "Scandals" abound and privacy rights in an electronic context are reduced to mere recitations of what-should-be.

Which brings me to my point. Privacy rights, like all others, are dependent on the education of the holders of the rights for their enforcement. A right which you don't even know you have is a right only in name. And until the Philippine public is made fully aware of these things, privacy in information and communications technologies is a shadow puppet, an illusion of form without substance. I can't even begin to imagine what would happen should our government (or our less scrupulous countrymen) gain access to the tools allowed under the Patriot Act. I might have to give up Facebook. Damn.

Resisting Facebook

Everybody seems to be in Facebook, well, at least most of my friends are. As much as they are urging me to join the pack and start poking away, I found myself resisting the urge. For one, ever since we got an internet connection at home (last December), my day has become incomplete without checking my e-mail, visiting my online forums and reading my favorite blogs. I've subscribed to Oprah's and Gwyneth's newsletters. I also never fail to check out any new add-ons for Firefox. And then there's YM, where I actually converse with people that I see everyday!

Oh no, I'm already online most of the time. I figure, setting up a Facebook account would inevitably add to my daily online habits. While I'm busy poking away, precious time is ticking. Tsk, tsk, not good, magba-bar pa naman. So, I'm still (successfully) resisting. Wish me luck!

confessions of a shopaholic

shopping is love...

in the past couple of months, i have been shopping in London. i would have wanted to actually go there but my wallet...and my school work won't permit instead, i go to this website which allows me to roam the streets of London...and well browse (my mom is going to flip if i charge anything to her card haha)

SUPERHIGHSTREET.COM is the first ever virtual shopping on photo-realistic, interactive streetscapes including London's Oxford Street, Portobello Road, Richmond Upon Thames, and Fifth Avenue New York arriving soon *swoon*. delivers the sights & even sounds of real world shopping, minus the hassle. the site feels like an online game to me...except that you have shops...

maybe in the future, they could develop this site to allow the shoppers to go inside the actual store...but, in the mean time, i'm content with the easy to use features

*check out

TV v Internet?

This seems to be a battle of two final frontiers frontiers. Any couch potato who likes movies and entertainment knows how mean it is to compel somebody to turn the TV off (with the viewer's back on Asian Food Channel) while surfing the net. It gives any couch potato the much sought-after security that one is not missing anything good. But there may come a time where we had to pick between our two most beloved comforts - i.e. when Hollywood bigwigs accede to the demand of actors that they be paid extra should their work go online. (See;_ylt=Ar5FHs4d.bMItP6Se7uKd2L6VbIF)

So far, there seems to be no sign that the Internet viewing of shows will soon phase out TV viewing but the proliferation of amateur videos constantly getting huge hits in youtube or those videos in seems to show that the Internet is only waiting for the right business model which can match the appeal (and quality) of shows produced and shown on the real tube. Remember the time when the radio people scoffed at the inventors of TV and insultingly asked who would care to hear AND watch anybody talk and talk for hours and hours? Well, look at us now. Times are indeed a' changin and I would not be surprised if people years from now will find it stupid if somebody tries to watch live video news via TV when you can watch that very same live video AND talk to your online friends simultaneously.

Last semester I visited the offices of the prosecutors in my city as part of the requirements in a remedial law class. I got to see how inconvenient it was for the parties involved to stay there for extended periods of time because of the cramped space. Maybe it’s part of the plan to discourage prospective litigants from filing cases in court. Haha. I say that because you have to be really patient to line up for an hour or so in a place like the one outside the prosecution offices in my city.

Because it looks like it will also take ages before the building itself gets renovated, news such as the DOJ and the Marikia city government launching offers a glimmer of hope. A first of its kind in the country, the website is a product of the city government’s projects on e-governance. It contains a guide on filing a criminal complaint, legal fees, schedule of inquest duty, status of filed and pending cases, DOJ circulars, resolutions, and downloadable forms.

I wish my own city government officials would follow suit or implement other measures to speed up the wheels of the justice system in the area.


I've been organizing an event for my organization and being technologically-inept and negligent has been quite a hurdle in getting things done. I want the invitations to look a certain way but I couldn't get the exact look I want because I don't know how to use Adobe Photoshop. I did help in putting the design together by looking for graphics on the internet but the fact that the nicest ones are copyright-protected didn't help me in my task either. Most of the suppliers for the event told me to look at their portfolios in Facebook but I don't have an account so I didn't get to do that either. I've been trying to get by with just the basic technologies that I thought were the only ones necessary to live conveniently but apparently my efforts are still lacking. After having downloaded a gazillion vector graphics, my laptop stopped responding and it finally crashed. Kudos to me for thinking that Macs are invincible. After months of slow response, I knew that something was wrong but I didn't have my computer checked because I didn't have time to spare. I didn't back my files up either. The search for the biggest loser is over. I think that not being at ease with technology is a reflection of the person that I am- I find it difficult to adapt to change or difficult circumstances. I know that it's almost March and quite late to come up with a New Year's Resolution but I'm making one now. I promise to be more technology-savv . My friends make fun of the fact that I blog twice a week because of my two electives. They know that it's uncharacteristic of me to go online, let alone blog but this is in keeping with my soon-to-be techie self.

Call me, message me, look at me

The growth of call centers over the last few years has been tremendous because of the desire to increase business by offering 24-hour customer service. Being able to tell consumers that they can get assistance any time of the day is a form of dynamic marketing which increases sales.

Consumers are usually given a hotline number which they can call if they have problems. But as time passed, this became a cumbersome process considering the minutes/hours, it takes to get through, leading to irritation and numerous complaints. To address this, companies began using the internet. One merely had to click on the relevant site and leave a message and wait for a reply. But like before, this still created problems because “down-servers” or the inability to properly communicate problems or answers.

The solution? Video-enabled call centers. To provide better service and increase sales, consumers in the U.S. can use video conferencing, wherein companies send “solutions” by video, which results in faster problem resolution and customer satisfaction. Its amazing how quick times change and how people adjust to the changing times. Next thing you know, we’ll have holograms appearing in our homes, telling us step by step how to unclog our overflowing toilets.

BK Is The Place To Be

I haven't been to Burger King since they had free wi-fi, free charging and free hand and back massages. Since my blockmate and I were tasked to do a memorandum together, we deemed it best to do it in Burger King since he could charge his laptop, there was wi-fi, we could discuss the memorandum and we could eat at the same time. The library could only offer us wi-fi. I was in for a shock since apparently, Burger King is the new "it" place to be. The place was jampacked and it was already way past lunchtime. As expected, there were students with their laptops chitchatting with friends and loners taking advantage of the free wi-fi. But I was surprised to see actual meetings being held in Burger King, with bosses presiding and lecturing with their laptops. An ingenious plan by both the bosses and Burger King. The bosses save up on the costs of setting up meetings in fancy restos and hotels while Burger King gets more profit from the unique deal it offers its customers. Now if only I can get myself to try that free back massage...

It was Love at First Site

A year or two ago, I remember hearing on the news about a guy (Patrick Moberg) in New York City who saw his dream girl (Camille Hayton) on the subway. As I remember it, they had a “moment” in the train, locking eyes with each other. The guy didn’t get an opportunity to approach the girl as she got off in the next station and was lost to the exiting crowd. When he got home he created a website, NY, and posted a sketch of the girl, asking that if anyone knows who the girl was to please contact him. Amazingly enough people started responding to the site. The New York Post and Good Morning America even ran the story. Weeks later, an intern where the girl worked finally finally figured it out and contacted the guy. Before he knew it, the two of them were dating. (Aawww)
The story stuck with me. It reminds me that real life can be as romantic as the movies and books. (In fact it reminded me of the movie “On the Line” except t the guy used a billboard to find the girl.) It makes remember about your own “what if” moment and how a little effort and courage could change your life.
As it is the season of romance I thought I’d look up how the couple is doing. I am sad to report they broke up last July 2008. But hey at least both of them will never have to wonder “what if.

Of Reality and Realizations - Part 3

It's one thing trying to find someone. It's another thing trying to do exactly this not knowing where to begin. By getting a search hit, we had made a breakthrough. But the mission didn't end there. In fact, gaining knowledge of Kuya's biological father's contact details was only the beginning. Making something out of what we had was an entirely different story altogether.
As Kuya and his father were located in different parts of the world, Kuya spent countless sleepless nights trying to decide how he would "break the ice" with his father. He thought that a phone call would be too personal and would put too much stress on him and his father, as if leaving the lhem with no choice but to face the situation. An e-mail, he thought, might be appropriate as it would allow him to express himself, but then he felt it would be quite impersonal. Finally, he decided to send a letter written in his own hand, along with a picture of our family - tying together the phone call's personal touch and the e-mail's allowance for expression.
Technology has risen to levels our ancestors probably never even imagined, but there are some things which, by reason of technology, have been foregone or taken for granted. I must admit I often succumb to the ease and convenience technology offers, but I try to remember that at one point in my life I didn't have all these, and so I must, at times, learn to live sans it, however difficult it might be.
To be continued...

It's Not the Sword, It's the Man

I have a defined study routine in which the use of my laptop is essential and central. I feel crippled whenever I'm studying and I couldn't hear the quiet hum of my laptop's cooling fan.

Last sem, I lost my laptop. With this, the error of my ways became apparent: I have created an inflexible pattern which incapacitated me for a few days.

I was lost. Then came a bit of pop-tv wisdom from my forever seatmate, Jason: "It's not the Sword, It's the Man."

There's nothing wrong with using ICT breakthroughs to improve our lives. There's a risk, however, of being too dependent on ICT and other technological advances and lose our core competencies.

So, if we liken our consciousness to a desktop, it would be prudent to have permanent system tray notification reminding us that at the end of day, everything is ultimately dependent on flesh and blood.

online ownership

Facebook wants everyone to relax following reports about recent changes in its Terms of Service which led to legitimate outcries from different sectors concerned about online ownership rights. Among those incensed by this recent development is celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, who is calling for a Facebook boycott and saying that the site will forever own your content even if you have decided to close your account. Reps from Facebook have been on damage control ever since, claiming that they never said that they owned your stuff, and that the content will always be subject to the privacy settings chosen by the user even after the account has been closed. Nonetheless, they still maintain that the content may be used "in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof." Their argument that users "generally expect and understand this behavior" is tenuous and illusory. As with any fine print, most people skip reading the Terms of Service part to immediately begin using the service, and then proceed to upload every single photo documenting their recent trip to wherever. Those who will probably be the most affected are users who upload genuinely creative and marketable content. But it is doubtful whether this will in any way lessen the reliance placed on the site by thousands of other users who just want to share and vent. After all, founder Mark Zuckerberg offered an assurance that is undoubtedly less cryptic than the actual TOS itself: "We wouldn't share your information in a way you wouldn't want."

Dream on, PAPT.

According to an article from, individuals downloading music, movies and software are being targeted by the Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT), a consultant for the software organization Business Software Alliance (BSA). It is noted that prosecution of such individuals may not happen until the Intellectual Property Code is amended, to which amendments have been proposed by Congressman Rufus Rodriguez and Senator Edgardo Angara. A BSA consultant is of the view that end-users should also be liable for piracy, even if downloads are for personal use. He adds that the E-Commerce Law has no specific provisions on prosecuting piracy through downloading. Also, there are few foreign laws governing prosecution of users who download content from the internet, partly because content is hosted from different places.

So... they want to target end-users. Okay. But with the current state of the law, both locally and internationally, the chances that their policy direction will be implemented are looking pretty dismal. Let’s say that the necessary amendments are approved, do we have the capability to enforce them? They can’t even sufficiently control the pirated DVD market, what more individual downloaders who don’t do it for profit? Tsk. Good luck with that.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Five Minutes of Fame

Bridging great divides, the internet has shown its worldwide audiences a number of contenders for the popularity game. The time has come for you to decide the winner of this great medium. The contestants have given (willingly or inadvertently) their choices for their final performance.

And the final three contenders with their corresponding song numbers are:

Gary Brolsma – aka the Numa Numa Guy. He entertains the world from in front of his PC to the tune of “Dragostea Din Tei”

Valentina Hasan – The Bulgarian Idol wannabe who auditioned with the song “Ken Lee” (aka Without You by Mariah Carey)

Alyssa Alano – from our very own Philippines and her rendition of the song “Keys Me.”

Who will win an additional five minutes of fame? You decide. Watch now!

* All videos are available in


When I first heard of the word "cyberterrorism", I thought that it was just like stalking to threaten people. Apparently not. To some people, they find this threat so real that false reports about hacking and controlling systems have been going around.

According to J.T. Caruso, cyberterrorism is the use of cybertools to shut down critical national infrastructures for the purpose of coercing or intimidating a government or civilian population. It comes in 2 forms: one against data and another on control systems. This is based on a special report.

In the Philippines, we are getting more and more digital. So many governmental agencies have been computerizing their systems with intent to eventually centralize all information. Although it seems that a few more years will have to allotted to these plans, it follows that we will also be prone to these threats.

Just when we thought we can't get any more scared than we already are.

Giulia Pineda

Hold on to your David Blaine fanclub memberships, it’s The Internets once more

Remember the Visionaries? They took the best things about G.I. Joe (good vs bad, clearly distinguished by the color of their energy blasts for the benefit of us youngsters), Robocop (body armor that lends more strength and mobility than its appearance suggests), Ninja Turtles (jumping, kicking, and witty banter between teammates), and He-Man (medievalness), and rolled all those elements up into a big ball of awesome. It was immense. Immense, and thought-provoking. The premise was pretty much that the age of technology had passed on the planet Prismos, and the age of magic had begun. The Prismonians/Prismonese (Prisbyterians?) had lived in an age of flying automobiles and awesome phaser guns, but because their three suns had aligned, all the technology shut down. Now that nobody could get anything to work, magic took over. At first, magic was used for combat. But eventually, magic was used to power other things that had once been powered by science. That whole idea, while it entertained us immeasurably as children, is now, sadly, an anachronism as a flight of fancy. We’ve been using magic to power technology for years. How else would you explain the witchery behind this thing called the Internets?


Why can’t we just file cases via the internet? Why can’t I simply email my Motions to the Court of Appeals and not spend all my time in one rail transit and then another? With the advent of the rules concerning electronic documents, does the Judicial Department still distrust technology or is it a problem of facility and equipment for verifying the authenticity and authorship of the documents? Is it a matter of tradition, much akin to the english practice of wearing wigs? Would our courts be the last place where we will find paper?

Internet freedom?

I’ve noticed that most of the internet connections in the College of Law have its own proxy server settings. Like in most institutions, the access to certain “unfavorable” sites (not necessarily pornographic ones) is restricted in order to discourage irrelevant usage of the connection.

However, it was a bit surprising that I was able to find certain sites which one would use to bypass the proxy settings of a network. Several sites basically provide services wherein it would permit the user to still view the pages which otherwise would have been restricted. In essence, these proxy service sites (through the use of a “mini-browser”) allow the user to circumvent the security settings placed by networks.

It is quite amusing that the entire concept of proxy settings has been circumvented. It is like keeping a detainee in a cell where there is a wide-open window where the detainee may use as an exit. Apparently, the prevalence of these proxy server sites has not been resolved. Hence, institutions seeking to secure their networks must enable new measures to combat the proliferation of these services. Or else, all their security settings will be useless.

The Hot News Doctrine

A copyright infringement lawsuit filed last year by the Associated Press against AHN Media Corp. hurdled a big stumbling block when a federal judge allowed AP to proceed with the case. The lawsuit was based on AHN's alleged redistributing of news stories on the internet by copying AP's stories from websites that legitimately carry them.

The court applied the hot news doctrine. Although facts are generally not copyrightable, the court held that suit can be brought for the misappropriation and copying of time-sensitive news. Although the doctrine is nothing new, it gains new dimension in terms of adding the internet as a medium by which misappropriation can be committed.

It remains to be seen whether the internet, which dramatically increases the speed at which news travels, will be bogged down by this new development.

Your fastfood, at the speed of broadband internet.

I had just tried using the new delivery service of McDonald's wherein you can order online and have your food delivered right up to your doorstep! At first, I was hesitant about this since it's a pilot case on my part. I even read the Terms and Conditions before proceeding with the purchase because I might be clicking too much times and being charged for every click.

The menu still needs improvement. The interface however, was great. It was very interactive, with enticing photos. It also provides for other details such as quantity and value-added services. If you're the choosy type, the website accommodates your needs by allowing you to modify or alter the standard default meals. For example, for a sandwich meal, you can choose whether to Go Big Time and choose Coke Light as your drink.

There is also an automatic computation of your total purchase price. Plus delivery charges. So you can track your food bill right away and even before confirming the order. Minimum amount is P165.

It requires you to enter a number of relevant information which would be of importance in delivering your food. I had to be very careful in entering such data because I don't want to get into any issues (since this is my first time to use it). You can also ask them to bring change for your money.

Traditionally, fastfood service is... well, fast. With this new technology, I can say that the fastfood deserves to keep its description. Within less than 5 minutes, someone called me through my mobile number and it was some call agent, confirming my order. Sadly, they didn't have caramel sundae at 1 o'clock in the morning. I opted then for a heart-stopping, much-cholesterol-filled meal, for which fastfood restos are usually known for, especially McDonald's (think: Supersize Me!).

The rider arrived after around 20-30 mins. Yay! Midnight snacks are the best! And fastfood restos will always have a place in my heart. Literally.

A Love Story

Some people are not comfortable with the idea of private blogs or online journals.

But hey, if you come across one of these, you don't have to read it, you know. It's not like it's criminal, unlike pornography. So, live and let live, dude.

There is a downside to having your thoughts published online though.

Not long ago, Masigasig and (Feeling) Makisig were both after Dyosa.

Dyosa kept a blog that she thought was private.

Masigasig, searched the Net for traces of Dyosa's footsteps, enamored as he was with her. Lo and behold, he found her most innermost thoughts and some intimate details in the wonderful world of the Internet. And that is how he found the way to her heart and eventually won her sweet "oo".

(Feeling) Makisig, on the other hand, jilted and a tad too bitter, also read Dyosa's blog. To this day, he swears that Dyosa wrote in one of her blogs that she had to choose between smarts and looks and that he definitely was the one with the looks.

Disclaimer: The characters and circumstances of this love story are "fictitional" and only very closely resemble a certain love story in this law school.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


The maker of "Pull My Finger", an Apple application that simulates the sounds of farts, wants the company making "iFart", a similar application, to stop using phrase, claiming that it is trademark infringement. The "Pull My Finger" company wants $50,000 to settle the dispute.

It is amazing how something as stupid as fart sounds could be the subject of a legal dispute involving almost 2.5 million pesos. It is more amazing that it does seem like a plausible subject of an intellectual property case. It has become quite a common occurrence that persons claiming to have made them popular trademark phrases we have been hearing all our lives. (Recently Perez Hilton wrote about Rachel Zoe attempting to trademark the term “bananas” and was going to sue a guy who printed “bananas” on shirts.)

With the development of apps such as iFart and Pull My Finger, not only are people’s inanities digitized and immortalize, they also become sources of property rights. Stupid ideas become moneymaking machines, and that is where stupidity is sheer brilliance.

Ahoy, Mate!

The trial against “” (TPB) has begun and it’s nothing short of fascinating. Music and Film companies have been itching to get their hands on “IP culprits” responsible for keeping the technology of bit torrent alive and kicking and their day of salvation arrived when Swedish authorities raided a data center that housed several of TPB’s servers. They confiscated some of the servers as evidence and the contents found therein were used as the grounds to file a case. On January 2008, the prosecutor charged 3 site administrators with “assisting copyright infringement” and “assisting making available copyright infringement.” Trials officially started on February 16, 2009 and after just one day before the court, about 50% of the charges were dropped because they were unable to prove that TPB had a direct connection to the transfer of files other than hosting an index of trackers.

I’m really interested in how this case will be resolved. I think this is the first time that a court will decide the legality of the bit torrent technology and although the decision will be binding only in Sweden, I still think it will be a breakthrough in IPL and is worthy of being called the “spectrial of the decade”.

***Tweets on the trial are available. Search for #spectrial on

Mind Games

I’m a total game junkie. From Contra to Dr. Mario, Tekken, Doom, Dance Revo, Diner Dash, and now, Wii… I can mark out different stages of my life in video games. In gradeschool, there were times when I would wake up at 5:30 in the morning on a school day just to be able to play Mappy and Super Mario on our Family Computer. The first time I got hold of a Playstation, my brother and I played Tekken ‘til the wee hours of the morning just to unlock this character whose powers are basically (ugh) his potent breath. On trips, I would watch our family friend play Sonic the Hedgehog for hours, never really attempting to borrow it for fear of getting hooked and then having to beg my dad to get me one. At the rate technology develops, your cool, new gadget today is as good as obsolete tomorrow. And with Sony having obtained a patent for beaming sensory information directly into the brain, and translating that technology to games, it looks like everything else is bound to become obsolete.

“The technique could one day be used to create videogames in which you can smell, taste, and touch, or to help people who are blind or deaf.” How cool is that? This concept is absolutely cutting edge; it will alter one’s reality. On the flipside, the paranoid in me can also imagine so many other ways this technology can be abused. If one can send messages to the brain just like that, then the possibility for influencing, brain-washing, and manipulating minds would also be great. Left in the hands of politicians, multinational companies, broadcast networks, and religious sects, this technology could create a cultlike following in absolutely anything. And it would then be hard to tell if our thoughts and impulses are our own or have craftily been implanted in our minds by an external source. Then again, these are just ramblings from a perpetually anxious mind. If they can actually develop a video game which can successfully beam zen-like peace and calm into my system, i’m all for it.

Source: Sony Patents New And Improved Mind Control Device

Tawad is one letter away from Tawag

There was a time when I got hooked with Globe's Tawad service. Its a mobile bidding program where users bid for a particular item. The lowest and unique bid (no other bid like it) wins the bidding and that's the price to be paid for the item. I have a friend who got himself a Wii for P3.21. My ex being the geek he is came up with a java application in his cellphone to facilitate his "tawad" activities. He would input a range of prices to be sent to Globe en masse and just load P250 every time. It made me wonder if it was already gambling what he/we did. We would rationalize the activity as not being beholden to chance since we would strategize our bids - although they had no basis since we didn't know what the lowest bid was at the moment. It was really a matter of chance, whether or not we would get outbid. I wonder how much Globe made out of that one. Considering people would only find out that there is already a similar bid only after they've sent in a paid bid themselves. I wonder if PCSO should take on a similar business model. :) Considering the number of cellphone users in this country, mobile gambling would definitely be a big hit. Come to think of it, my ex should develop that tawad application and then sell it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Not Every Juan Can Fly

Cebu Pacific boasts of cheap air fares that are affordable, hence their tagline, “Now Every Juan Can Fly”. I agree that sometimes they do have incredible deals, such as that one time when my sister bought an “all-in” round trip ticket from Manila to Zamboanga for only 456 pesos (inclusive of taxes & surcharges). But I don’t agree that because of this, every Juan can fly. For starters, not every Juan owns a computer with internet access. And assuming that one can simply go into an internet café to purchase a plane ticket online, not every Juan have a credit card with which to purchase an online ticket with. Assuming again that any Juan can purchase a plane ticket from any of the Cebu Pacific ticket offices, perhaps upon finding out about the offer when reading the newspaper, chances are, by the time he/she gets to that ticket office, all the cheap fares have already been snapped up by Juans who have computers and internet access and credit cards who are able to check air fares online real-time and buy them then and there.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Barangay Issues

I have been busy these past few weeks trying to prepare for our Local Government Seminar on the implementation of Republic Act 9262. My participation in the said seminar is conducting a sort of “how to” guide for barangay officials in doing their duties under the law. Its basically to render full protection to the woman and her child when acts punishable by said law is done towards them. I wonder that with the current technology being used at the poorest of barangays, if there are any, how such technology would be able to help in ensuring that the welfare of all, especially that of the woman and the child, is protected.

In the first place, the technology of the internet today is almost accessible everywhere. While this is primarily a good thing, it is also subject to abuse. At the level of barangay, it is essential that such abuses be controlled to ensure protection to those who need it most.

And when acts of violence are committed through the internet, though no alternative dispute resolution is available to the parties, how would the barangay officials be able to protect the interests of the woman and the child if they know vey little of the medium in which the violence is committed.

All these considerations taken into consideration, the final argument of this post is that barangay officials need to be conscious of the different ways that violence is committed in an increasingly fast and inter-connected society. And to really protect the interests of the innocent, the officials have to be just as fast, or faster, when compared to the perpetrators of the crime.

Rivera, Jan Michael A.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Enter password

How do you fill out this query whenever needed in your online transactions? Do you choose as a password the name of your crush, mother, father, brother, sister, favorite pet? Do you put the date of your birthday, favorite number, student number, age, birthday of your family? Do you have a different password for every online account that you have (eg for Friendster, Facebook, Multiply, Yahoo Mail, Gmail, etc.)?

Recent news cautions people to think twice before choosing a password for emails, online bank accounts and airline tickets. According to a US study, passwords that show no imagination or distinctiveness are easy prey for information pirates. The study found 28,000 stolen passwords from a popular website reveal the following:
• 16% of them used their first name or one of their children
• 14% used “1234” or “12345678”
• For English keyboard users, “QWERTY” was used; while for European keyboards, “AZERTY”
• 5% were names of tv shows or stars popular with young people, like “Hannah” (Hannah Montana), Pokemon, Matrix, and Ironman
• 4% used “password” and its variations – “password1”, etc.
• 3% used attitudes like “yes” or “no”

The tip from the experts? Choose a password that is longer than 8 characters and use capital letters and symbols.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Proprietary Tech and Third Party Software Development

Sony is probably one of the most notorious companies whose business strategy is to push its own proprietary tech in their products. For example, if you buy a cellphone made by Sony, you'd probably have to shell out extra to buy a Sony branded memory card to store your media unlike other cellphone brands who use generic memory cards for their storage. You can't just pop in a generic memory card on a Sony cellphone because it simply won't fit. This ensures a steady stream of revenue coming in for every Sony product sold. The same thing goes for Sony's cameras, computers, and even the PS2, PSP, and PS3.
For the PSP, the user interface is proprietary which means that third party software developers who want to develop non-gaming applications for the portable media device cannot do so because the user interface program simply does not allow it. This I think is a waste because of the potential of Sony's flagship handheld device. Apple's iproducts on the other hand, have firmware that accomodates third party software development. In fact, Lim Deng Wen, a 9 year old boy, has developed a popular iphone application called Doodle kids which has had over 4,000 downloads as of this writing. This makes both Lim and Apple a hefty profit as an iphone application download can cost anywhere from 99 cents to 12 dollars. Part of the money goes to the developer and the rest to Apple. Aside from making a profit, enabling third party software development, ensures a wide variety of applications for the consumers.
Perhaps Sony should take a hint.

Death & Taxes

French President Nicholas Sarkozy is backing a plan to tax Internet access. The idea is to tap this massive source of potential revenue in order to support France's state-owned television networks, which will now be commercial-free. The legislation is slated to take effect in 2009, and has already provoked violent reactions from Internet and phone providers, online entrepreneurs, consumers and users.

Death and taxes, indeed. The fact that access to the Internet has remained, almost universally, tax-free from the beginning must, I suppose, be considered an exceptional circumstance. After all, Internet access has expanded geometrically in the past couple of decades, and the income generated has increased exponentially, with more users spending more individually on a wider range of services and products. And where the money is, taxes will follow.

I hope not, though. Not in the Philippines. The "openness" of the Internet is its most valuable characteristic, over and above convenience, security or what-have-you. It's all about access. And we have little enough of that in this country


            Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. Due to the dog-eat-dog competition and the economic recession, communication Companies like Globe are taking drastic measures to ensure customer loyalty and maintain its business by providing added-value to services that they normally provide. One of such example is the Inventory Ordering System (IOS) offered by Globe that allows small businesses to order supplies in just a few keystrokes. Such in turn drastically reduces processing errors for faster turnaround and increased sales. Payments are organized and consolidated so there is no more need to keep tab of bill deadlines. In the hard economic times ahead, such services give a competitive advantage to small businesses that struggle to survive the recession. Such ideas serve as a win-win situation for both the small businesses and for Globe. Not only are small businesses helped, but Globe ensures that it does not lose business amidst rising costs of living.


Why Adam and Eve ate the Apple

            It is funny that bootleg copies of DVDs being sold in Quiapo have more artistic value than movie titles sold in legitimate stores found in malls. If one would look into movies being sold in malls, one would normally see the usual mainstream titles that conglomerates produced. From cliché love stories, to comedies, to the usual action packed adventure series, the selection that such stores offer are limited to more “commercial-friendly” titles. One is lucky to find indie films that tackle stories without regard to its earning capacity.

             In Quiapo however, the selections encompass mundane titles like in legitimate stores to hard to find Cannes Festival films that movie store outlets normally ignore. I heard stories (more than once) from friends on how the most hard to find films are often sold in that area, notwithstanding that fact that it is far from the usual “artistic venues” to go to. Funny, on how something so wrong (not to mention illegal) can be better than the “right thing to do”. No wonder Adam and Eve ate the apple.

Intellectual Property vs the Right to Expression

            Rockstar Videos, the maker of Grand Theft Auto, arguably one of the most successful video games of all time has been a force in the entertainment business. The game, which makes a parody of East Side Los Angeles through a virtual world has recently been sued by ESS Entertainment for trademark infringement. The case was filed based on the fact that the game has a strip club which parodies the “gentlemen’s club” operated by ESS Entertainment. The 9th district court, in deciding in favor of Rockstar held that under the first amendment, the right of free expression has greater public interest over the public interest of preventing confusion to public buyers. The fact that the game has artistic qualities means that it is protected by free expression.

             The case at hand shows the dichotomy of interests between property rights that registered persons have as against the general public. Due to the increase in interaction and outflow of ideas because of the ideas, the challenge to the courts is to ensure that the public (or any person/entity) like Rockstar can freely create artistic expressions that encourage discourse and free flow of information without being unnecessarily impeded by intellectual property laws. Admittedly, persons can avail of remedies to ensure that intellectual property that it had worked so hard to establish or create are protected, however, such rights should take into account the right to people to freely exchange ideas without being burdened by sanctions that would impede improvements that ultimately benefit society.