Saturday, January 30, 2010


by desmayoralgo (entry #10)

When this image was made, there were two search results for the term "died in a blogging accident." After which, at one time, it was the sixth most-searched term on Google. And re-blogging that and re-blogging some more? It skewed Google's trend tracker -- there are now more than 1,250,000 search results for the term.

It's mind-blowing really. Something so obscure, when re-blogged. That's propagation for you. I wonder how many search results the iPad generates. Wait, let me check. Here you go (as of 12:44pm, 31 January 2010): 16,800,000.

Where has all the suspense gone?

by desmayoralgo (entry #9)

One generation ago, a person would have gone on at least two dates before figuring out what his potential girlfriend's favorite band was. Today, you don't even have to meet the person to find out. All you have to do is go on Facebook, and the information is right there. (Or if that person is a little more...private, find a common friend and ask that friend to do the cyberstalking for you).

Yeah, it's brilliant. But doesn't it take the suspense and excitement out of the whole experience? So when she says, "Isn't Elephant the most fascinating movie ever?" You'd pretend to know and reply, "Yeah, Gus Van Sant is a genius!"

But okay, leaving information, like your favorite football team is United and you love the Backstreet Boys, that's okay. Email? Well, to a certain extent, I guess that's fine. But leaving your home address, your cellular phone number, your landline number? Well, then you're looking for trouble. Do not discount people's propensity for stalking.

iPad iPad iPad

Let’s all not get too excited. This blog entry isn’t really about iPad (because I’m sure that most of you will write something about this latest craze.. Actually, Mr. Tabamo already did!)

Aa we all know, Apple chief executive revealed last week the company’s latest device: a touch-screen tablet computer called the iPad which resembles an oversized iPhone. But let’s not talk about its icky name or its ooohs and aaaahs or its deficiencies.. let’s talk about how people use this craze for their “evil” intent.

Even before its availability in the market, hackers and criminals “poison” online searches by rigging websites with words likely to be used as query terms to assure prominent ranking on results pages. These hackers routinely take advantage of hot topics such as the Haiti earthquake or the death of a celebrity to lure people into visiting trick websites or opening booby-trapped files.

The Internet is the most convenient way to get the latest updates about everything but this comes with a price. Hence, we should be more careful when surfing the net.

Just a friendly reminder. :)

- Glaisa PO
(entry no. 12)

Friday, January 29, 2010

the Future of computers

“Last time there was this much excitement about a tablet, it had some commandments written on it.” (Martin Peers, Apple’s Hard to Swallow Tablet published on the Wall Street Journal)

It has been barely over 24 hours since Apple unveiled its much anticipated "iPad" and people are already blogging about it. In this site alone there has already been a couple of mentions, namely Krizelle's and Mark's. The merits and demerits of the iPad is a hotly contested topic, blogs are being written left and right about it (the iPad occupied 4 slots in twitter's trending topics and is still a trending topic in yahoo), and with the event eclipsing even President Barack Obama himself even eclipsing Barack Obama himself and the State of the Union address, I feel like jumping into the fray to give my 2 centavos.

After reading several articles/blogs about the iPad which either praise and proclaim it as the greatest thing since sliced bread or bash it as a useless contraption, this much is obvious: the iPad is here and here to stay. Its arrival has sent a powerful signal to its competitors that once again, the industry is going to play by Apple's rules. Even before the iPad's official announcement, competitors have already released prototypes of their own version of the tablet PC with little impact. Now, with the release of the iPad, companies are likewise adjusting their software and hardware to be compatible with the device. It's ironic that the tablet PC, a device that's been around since the 1990s has suddenly become important simply because Apple decided to make one - again.

Many detractors are in uproar over the iPad's 'missing' hardware and software features, its price points, mostly standard fare when it comes to Apple products. Defenders of the iPad are just as passionate about its virtues, proclaiming it as a device that will challenge the dominance of, if not demolish the robust netbook, ebook reader, and mobile computing industries. Since the return of Steve Jobs at the helm, Apple products have transcended its small cult following to become a juggernaut and game changer in the music player, mobile computing and smartphone industries. So it's highly likely that the iPad will be the Jesus tablet people have been waiting for - and here's why.

Critics - mostly techies and experts, comprise a very small percentage of the consumer base Apple's been building it's products for. Their depth of knowledge and level of expertise tend to narrow their view of the tablet from a highly technical standpoint, as a fellow tech critic pointed out. Moreover, their myopic vision tends to focus on what the iPad isn't, rather than what it could be. Messianic expectations of what the iPad can deliver, compounded by the hype leading to its release add fuel to the fire.

Two things can be said of Apple's approach to its products - the first is the attention to detail and an iconic look and feel to each device. The second is that Apple products are deceptively simple but powerful, and revolutionary on so many levels.

Apple's technical and design choices easily indicate that the iPad was made with the future of mobile computing in mind. Given Apple's dominance of the industry in recent years, and its sheer impact on its competitors, it's clear that it's Apple calling the shots.

The iPad in its simplicity may seem like a glorified iPhone and iPod Touch hybrid. At the heart of it, however, is an intuitive user interface and an ecosystem that is both friendly to consumers and developers alike. With more than 140,000 apps on the App Store, we can expect exponential software development that promises even more groundbreaking apps designed to enhance the iPad experience. The iBooks app and the iBookstore similarly portend a future of digital books and newspapers replacing traditional print media - saving the world millions of trees in the process. The evolved iPhone OS on the iPad boasts of powerful apps that are easy to use and the inclusion of iWork (the Apple equivalent of MS-Office), a suite of productivity apps opens up new possibilities of content creation on top of media consumption.

Given the lather that the internet has worked itself into leading up to the unveiling of the iPad, it's not hard to see how and why some people feel underwhelmed and disappointed about it (people haven't learned that if we overhype something or someone, it will end up falling far short of our impossible expectations no matter how great and brilliant a person/thing is - Pres. Obama and the iPad). If we can just change our perspective a bit - move on from the what it is not, what it should be phase and just accept that it's here already and focus on where we might be able to use it and with what activities it may help us, we may be able to see it the way Apple sees it - a revolutionary device that is simple and affordable enough to find its way into various applications in many industries and professions and powerful and practical enough to change the way we live and how we do things.

Here are some scenarios: In the classroom, it can function as a tool for education - for both teachers and students alike. Students especially the young kids won't have to punish their backs carrying massive books and notebooks in their backpacks as the iPad can replace both. Design related professions such as architecture, engineering and the like will be able to use the iPad for presentations, concept building and execution. Health care professionals can use it for records (holding iPads as charts), diagnoses and post operation analyses. Those into Marketing and Sales can also use it to effectively advertise their products and offer a kind of interaction that cannot be achieved with mere brochures or flyers. For law students and lawyers, imagine having all the complete set of SCRA in your iPad and reading straight from there and not having to buy a highlighter ever again! Apart from that you can also make notes, and draft pleadings on the go, perhaps even draft contracts and use it for evidentiary purposes (best evidence). Even in law enforcement, perhaps a camera (one of the missing components of the iPad), handwriting recognition and an optional stylus will help document and transmit, say, images of a vehicular accident, draft a police blotter on the spot of the accident and notify other police stations of vital information. These are only a few scenarios which came to mind. There are, of course, other uses which we cannot even begin to imagine right now - the possibilities are endless (If you guys have other great ideas please feel free to comment). The bottomline is this: the iPad (love it or hate it) represents the future of computers and though it is not as groundbreaking to some - yet, it cannot be discounted that it has the potential to be exactly that, groundbreaking.

(photos from

Entry no.9

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim: Frontliner for Democracy

As a political science major and later on, as a participant in some of the Track II processes in ASEAN, I have always taken interest in the life and struggle of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia. Anwar, in the beginning was a reformer in the Malaysian parliament, his platform reformasi, resounded in the halls of the Malaysian parliament and beyond, so loudly that Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad felt threatened.

Anwar, initially reluctant to challenge the decades long leadership of “the Mahathir”, experienced first hand the tyranny of the Malaysian Justice system and how easily it could be exploited by the ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO). His personal experience prompted him to launch the REAL REFORMASI, directed against the authoritarian rule of the UMNO through Mahathir (and apparently continued in the current reign of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi).

Meeting him personally today was quite exhilarating. In a time when peaceful democratic transitions through election is threatened, Anwar’s call to fight for democracy, sends a clear message that we must do what we can to ensure clean and honest elections. We need a leader with a clear mandate from the people, and one who stands in a moral high ground to institute reforms.

Although I have read on Anwar for a long time, I was pleasantly surprised to know that he regards Dr. Jose Rizal as the precursor of the Asian renaissance to the point that he even sponsored democratic lectures in Malaysia named after Jose Rizal.

The most important message I got from Anwar today is hope for the peace process. Last January 5, I blogged about my concern regarding the authoritarian tendencies of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). I highlighted the fact that in various communications that the MILF issued (some of which are quoted in the MILF official website), it repeatedly expressed its disdain for democracy.

The MILF described democracy as a divisive process and hence, they will not in any way participate in it. I asked myself: if we empower the MILF or grant it an authority within specific regions that vote to be included in its envisioned territorial space for the Bangsamoro, will it govern through Islamic theocracy (complete union of Church and State a la Iran or Afghanistan under the Taliban)?

Anwar today gave me hope as he sent the message that Islam and Democracy are not inconsistent. In fact, as he pointed out, there are democratic concepts in the Quran.

I truly wish that the MILF would see as Anwar sees. Democracy is an imperfect system but I am convinced beyond doubt that it is still the best system.

Entry No. 12

Bryan A. San Juan

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Juices Should Not Fly!!!

Eighth Entry:

Stick to your Zest-o juices, the airline industry is so not for you!!! It may only be one incident, but it is more than enough to make me swear off ZEST AIR. This is a true story, and it just happened a few hours ago.

My friend purchased a roundtrip ticket from Singapore to Manila online. He received his e-ticket confirming his booking for the Jan.29 flight to Manila and the Jan.31 flight back to Singapore. Then, at 8pm of Jan.28 (8pm!!!) he received a phone call from the Zest Air office telling him that the flight has been cancelled due to some “operations” issue which she did not identify and that he has been booked for a Jan.29 1030am flight of Cebu Pacific. When he asked her about his return flight, the girl casually replied “Di ko pa po alam, Sir.” And to complete the fabulous experience, she did not even ensure that the e-ticket for the Cebu Pacific flight had been forwarded to my friend. I had to call Cebu Pacific to send the e-ticket. They did, but yahoo mail wanted to add more fabulosity to the story. The e-mails from the airline were not getting through! I had to use another person’s gmail account to get the e-ticket. Oh, and when I called Cebu Pacific, I found out that the girl from Zest Air booked it personally because the email address she gave was something like “crazyme”. I thought they at least made formal arrangements with other airlines to accommodate “their” passengers. But no, they let some crazyme handle the situation. My friend has a serious matter to attend to here, and what they did was seriously morally damaging.

The flight form Singapore would have been the first for Zest Air. Maybe they did encounter “operations” problems (which according to CAB Economic Regulation No.7 exempts the airline from compensating a passenger who cannot be accommodated). So what??? There was nothing right with the way the situation was handled. No, they did not handle the situation at all. I’m sure Zest Air has its extraordinary diligence all figured out.

I don’t know how this story would have turned out if we still had the old school ticketing system. Can I blame this on online booking and purchasing? On the complacency it has created in the minds of people that it is so easy to book and rebook such that Zest Air, through crazyme, thought it could just do what it did?

I just hope this entry would save a soul from the wrath of a juice trying to fly.

SLR Pressure

The deadline for the Supervised Legal Research Paper is at hand. Our topic focuses on possible criminal and civil liability of Internet Service Providers. My good partner has done well to put the structure to it. But with barely weeks left, I am feeling the intense pressure to get it done. For the past weeks, I have been browsing through and “researching” on the Internet for possible ideas to put. I thought it would be easy since most of the sources will come from the web anyway. Now, I realize that it was false security to have that kind of mindset. The information and materials gathered so far are significantly insufficient.

The difficulty with the topic is that there is no Philippine Supreme Court jurisprudence on the matter – zero. I am trying to find jurisprudence in other jurisdictions abroad, particularly U.S. cases which would be of good use, but to no avail too. Let me qualify that, there are some cases that I found, but they are all not squarely in point. Again, not much help.

So now, I have to go to the law library and do some research on Westlaw. Actually, it will be my first time to do it. Hopefully, that orientation in Legal Bib in first year will come in handy. So, c’mon Westlaw, make my life easier, at least for these next two weeks!

8th Entry

Resourcefulness Made Easy

With the internet, one can find almost anyone and anything in a matter of seconds. Just type in someone’s name and viola – so many websites, so little time. Even when that person isn’t of public interest, more often than not at least one link will show up – the one leading to his or her facebook account. Convenient for you, but maybe not convenient for all your ninongs and ninangs who thought they’d never have to see you again.

The speed in which someone can find you, however, can also be downright scary. If finding someone is so convenient for you, it’s most likely really convenient for all the would-be stalkers in the world as well. A girl I know was working abroad for a few months. Imagine her shock when one day their office phone rang and a guy she was uncomfortable with back home was on the line, looking for her. Apparently, he found her office trunkline’s number online and tried to get in touch with her through that, since she hadn’t given him her cell phone number. When you think about it though, it couldn’t be called a violation of privacy per se, since it wasn’t HER number he found, it was the office number.

Of course, there are some people you WANT to find you. Last year a classmate from pre-school who used to tease me about my nickname found me on facebook. He said he figured I probably hadn’t changed my nickname yet, and he was right. I guess one of the great things about social networking sites like facebook is that you get the chance to share aspects of your life with people who are far away from you, and they get to do the same with you. What’s horrible, however, is that in just the same way, people you don’t know or to whom you don’t want to give access to your life, may find ways to do so. As the old saying goes, there are two sides to every coin.

[end blog no. 8]

The Modern Day Armor

The ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) reported in its Twitter recently that the number of cases of HIV/ADIS in the Philippines “jumped from 528 in 2008, to 709 last year.” The Philippine General Hospital (PGH) is alarmed over the rising number of cases, and noted that “aside from sex workers, patients consist of young urban professionals, like call center agents.” Some patients reportedly admitted to getting the virus after engaging in casual or group sex with people they got to know in the internet, particularly social networking sites. ANC then made this last tweet: “Is social media making it easier to engage in casual sex?”

This got me wondering: are the relationships that are products of the interconnectedness internet brings so superficial that it has become less meaningful and more dispensable?

Personally, nothing beats building relationships the old way: by being personal. Using modern means is acceptable when it is necessary, as for long-distance relationships and during short periods of being apart. But for it to be the only means of communication, from the very inception of the relationship until its highest peak, relying entirely and solely on technology may produce a very superficial relationship. This may be a reason why casual sex relationships are more prevalent now, in addition to the shift in the attitude of the younger generation to casual sex. Maybe the relationships they seek online are really to fulfill their desires that they cannot allow to surface with people they know face to face. Maybe technology cloaks them with the necessary armor to allow them to just go for what they want, without concerning themselves with the consequences (emotional and social) their actions may bring.

Follow ANC on Twitter at


Cable TV Piracy

Last November 5, 2006, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) mandated all cable operators and TV channels to fully convert their signals from analog to digital before or until December 31, 2015. This is to curb rampant signal theft which results to poorer cable reception for paying subscribers. Three years after the memorandum was passed, moves to switch to digital broadcasting are becoming more and more apparent. Skycable, for instance, requires some of its subscribers to install an apparatus called ‘Digibox’ which is able to convert digital signals to video and audio. By cutting off support for analog signals and streaming only digital signals, cable TV pirates who do not have the necessary apparatus can no longer benefit from the illegal cable connection.

However, not all cable TV providers have the vast resources to invest in the Digibox technology. The ultimatum of the NTC may result to the elimination of small key players enabling giants like Skycable to monopolize the cable TV industry. Perhaps the benefit of the NTC regulation does not measure up to the detrimental effects it might cause to the industry. Instead of imposing these regulations to the providers, why not punish the cable thefts directly? Even though Congress failed to pass the Signal Theft Bill of 2009 punishing cable pirates, the providers can still sue them directly in court on the ground of theft under the RPC. They have an arsenal of cases under their sleeves – US v. Genato, US v. Carlos, US v. Tambunting – all of which recognized intangible properties like gas and electricity as personal properties. There is no reason why cable signals should not be classified as an intangible property.

Perhaps a test case is in order.

Of Bag Tags and Credit Cards.

My brother gave me a backpack for my upcoming -- impending? -- birthday. I wanted my name on it, and my brother thought of punching a hole through my old credit card and using it as a bag tag. It would have been a perfectly creative idea, but I told him it would be a security risk -- after all, the credit card number is still active, even if the credit card itself isn't. The number could still be used for online transactions, and it seems fairly easy to guess the three-digit code at the back of the card.

But I still wanted the credit card idea (or maybe I'm just too much of a cheapskate to order one of those credit-card-like bag tags), so what we did instead was to cut off the portion where the credit card number, my signature and the magnetic stripe were. The tag doesn't look as polished as those store-bought (in fact, it's nowhere near polished), but it will suffice.

So that's one use of your old credit cards... And that's what I call extending your credit line. ;)

by Awi Mayuga (eighth entry)

I currently have a lamp obsession

I was in Ma'am Rowie Morales's condo unit in Katipunan just the other night. We were preparing for another upcoming competition, and the atmosphere was stressful. Because of this, Ma'am lit her lamp, and the fragrance emanating from it filled the room. I really felt relaxed after such. What really made me curious, however, was the fact that the scent never left the room, and continued to give a relaxed feeling to me and my teammates. This was unlike the ordinary oil burners that I have.

Ma'am told me that the lamp is called a Lampe Berger (pronounced as lamp bershay). Because I am usually in front of my laptop during the past few days, I allotted some of my time to research on the said lamp, and confirm whether the relaxed feeling I got a few days ago was really the result of lighting the said lamp or of some psychological disorder.

According to my research, Lampe Berger purifies the air by destroying odors and air borne bacteria. It increases oxygen levels in the air, and because it is fueled by essential oils that are made from natural botanical extracts, it has an aroma therapeutic capacity.

Probably the most mind-boggling thing on what was said above is how the lamp cleans the air and destroys bacteria. The lamp has an internal mechanism which allows this. As the temperature of the burning wick of the lamp increases, the temperature of the oils inside also increases, making the air pressure within the lampe increase (sucking in air). When the fire of the wick is blown out (as this lamp is only required to be lit for about two minutes), the wick cools down and then decreases the pressure within the lampe (expelling air). The air that is then released is not only fresh, but also fragranced.

As regards the destruction of bacteria, it's a little more technical. Suffice it to say that anions and ozone molecules that are emitted from the burning of fragranced fuel from the lamp come into contact with the bacteria in the room. The bacteria's cell wall, however, is not strong enough to resist the said emissions, and therefore breaks. This causes the death of the said bacteria. A more thorough explanation is available at

I'm really aiming to buy one of these lamps in the future. Even though it's quite expensive, I hope that it would help my allergic rhinitis. I searched the internet, and it turns out some websites even provide delivery of the said lamps in the Philippines. These are quite cheaper than those previously ones sold, as the patent of the said lamp expired a few years ago, and a lot of imitations of comparable quality are now in the markets.

Internet Access as a Human Right

This is my topic for my Supervised Legal Research paper this year.

I hope to justify this concept and explore the arguments for and against it.

With the rise of the internet and the power it brings, I believe this will be a hot topic in the future, both local and international.

As my research shows, foreign countries (France, Greece, Estonia, and Finland, in particular) have already held this to be part of the basic rights of an individual.

Of course, Internet Access should be defined and properly identified if it is to be classified as a human right. This is what I hope to achieve in my legal paper this year.

I am aware of the recent push by the UN to make this a fundamental right, in accordance with their call for universal access to basic communication and information services.

I hope to able to justify this in the Philippine setting as well.

- Aaron Ho (9th Entry)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Product Marketing 101

The announcement of the Apple Tablet or the “iPad” earlier today reminded me of an old blog post I read at Gizmodo( regarding the secret behind Apple’s marketing.

One of the things Apple does differently than other electronic companies is the fact that they do not reveal prototypes or developing technology to the general public. Apple keeps things under wraps until the actual product is ready to be shipped. This strategy actually feeds the cyclical, rumor-filled and free publicity Apple enjoys and heightens consumer demand.

The traditional formula revolves around making a prototype, test the consumer reaction, and eventually (hopefully) release the commercial product. For example at the 2010 Consumer Electronic show numerous companies demonstrated their future products (3D televisions, color ebook readers, tablets/slates and the like) with no definite release dates.

Of course, all that secrecy can backfire. The hype generated often exceeds the loftiest of expectations and people can end up disappointed after the big reveal. This does not matter since Apple still comes out ahead of its competitors and consumer demand is immediately satisfied thus building the trust between Apple and its customers.

By Mark Lim/just guesting (9th Entry)

11th Entry: Apple Launches the Much-Awaited iPad

Last night, Apple launched iPad- the Company’s own version of a tablet computer. For weeks now, I have been awaiting Apple’s new gadget as it may be a good laptop replacement in view of my current laptop’s impending death.

The iPad is basically a cross between an iPhone and a laptop. According to the news, the device weighs 1.5 pounds and has a touch screen that is 9.7 inches diagonally. It comes with a relatively smaller flash memory storage, but has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. Also, the iPad has a long battery-life of 10 hours and is said to last for a month on standby mode. It looks like a big iPhone and does what a normal iPhone does such as e-mail, internet browsing, files management, photo, music and video storage and other applications such as Apple’s iWork suite, sans the phone calls. The iPad is also said to compete head-on with Kindle, with Steve Jobs announcing Apple’s new e-book store called iBooks which lets users buy and download books from five major publishers in the United States.

The greater challenge for Apple now is how to sell the iPad to any ordinary consumers who already have an iPod and a laptop. Jobs, however, said that unlike a laptop, the iPad is lighter and easier to hold for long periods of time while watching a movie or TV show. Also, as compared to a smart phone, the iPad’s large screen makes it much easier to touch type and is extremely more responsive to finger swipes and taps for easy scrolling through Facebook, photo albums and news articles. However, I believe the real attention-grabber to the iPad its $499 price tag, which is way lower from what everyone was expecting.

However, the iPad also suffers some drawback according to critics. First, it does not have a built-in camera. Second, there is no Flash support for web browsing. Third, you can’t run multiple apps at once on the iPad screen (which an ordinary laptop can do). Indeed, for some critics, the emergence of the iPad in the computer world was not as revolutionary as the original iPhone.

Am I still considering the iPad? Now, the iPad’s features are impressive, but given the traditionalist in me, who’d only use a computer for research (including “social” research) and drafting pleadings, I’d rather get the good old trusted and sturdy ordinary laptop for my no-nonsense kind of work.

(Source:;_ylt=AqRQBP2vMuhLPAUnWtskka0jtBAF;_ylu=X3oDMTJkcWdlNzBnBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTAwMTI4L3VzX3RlY19hcHBsZQRjcG9zAzEEcG9zAzMEc2VjA3luX3RvcF9zdG9yeQRzbGsDZnVsbG5ic3BzdG9y,; photo:

YouTube for Rent

Recently, there has been news about YouTube's move to rent out videos. As a test, and pending talks with big movie companies, YouTube is offering five Sundance Festival films for rent from January 22 until the 31st. Viewers who would want to see the films would have to pay $3.99 to rent the videos (i.e. see it on the YouTube channel) for a limited period.

Would people buy it? Some might, first dibs on high quality movies? Who wouldn't want that? However, probably also from the idea being new, more are skeptical on whether or not this would work. For one, there are other sites who also offer movies - for downloading or streaming - for free. Why watch something where you would have to pay? Second, not all have access to internet services like this. Not all have credit cards to pay for it. Not all countries have this service available for them (there's even a comment of one user: " doesn't work outside US. Do you know the world is not only US? "). Not all have fast and reliable internet connection. From what I heard, if you lose internet connection while watching a movie from YouTube, you would have to repeat the whole movie and you cannot just go to the scene you have last seen. Anyway, these movies would be available for viewing (for free) after a few months on HBO, Star Movies or any other cable network and even released on DVD.

From what I heard, YouTube wanted to do this because they only get income from advertisement offers, who would give more for these kind of films than home made videos of dogs saying "I wuv you" or babies being cute. But renting out videos has been a slow business nowadays (for example, few people would now go to Video City…or even know what Video City is). "Broadcast Yourself", says YouTube. "But now you have to pay before anyone could see you."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Death and ICT

Entry #7

I am in mourning. An elementary and high school classmate, a close friend, a sister, whom I had the privilege to spend almost twenty years of my life with is no more. The Big C took her. I now understand the often-heard question on occasions like this: Why her? She doesn't smoke, gets drunk after one bottle of San Mig light, no vices...

It used to be that death was sudden. Like a thief in the night, I only hear of someone's death after the fact. This was the first time I saw it coming. It didn't sneak in. It made a grand entrance. Like a prima donna.

Perhaps, life runs on reasons that reason cannot fathom. Death comes not because logic says so but because some greater force beyond our ken tells it to. We felt helpless as we watched her slide down the coma scale. We waited for her to wake up so we could say our goodbyes. It was torture then. But its only now that I cry. For law school is a jealous mistress. And it is impossible to review the Rules of Court with tears in your eyes.

I am sharing this with you for ICT has a role in this drama. I heard about online funeral-viewing services before. But this is the first time I saw it in actual use. Not that I used it. I wasn't able to go to the funeral one night as I was trying to review for a midterm exam. Another friend texted me the url, username and password for the funeral. Indeed, it would be quite convenient. I could review for tomorrow's exam while I watch the funeral online. Multi-tasking at its morbid best.

But as I said, I didn't use it. I tried. But I can't. I wasn't able to experience this "Next Big Thing in the Philippine Funeral Industry." For law school is a jealous mistress. And it would be impossible to review the Rules of Court with tears in your eyes...

The Next Big Thing in the Philippine Funeral Industry!!!

St-Peter Chapels e-Burol – The First Online Viewing Facility in the Philippines

Who says that only Big Brother’s House has a 24-hour live video streaming? Well, that was the first in the Philippine entertainment industry. In the Philippine funeral industry, we also have a 24-hour live FREE online viewing known as the St. Peter Chapels E-Burol Facility.

Aside from offering FREE Wi-Fi access, St. Peter Chapels took a step further in terms of innovation by providing and offering FREE online viewing through the St. Peter e-Burol Facility. Designed to bridge borders and transcend boundaries and distances among and between Filipino families, it is the first ever Pinoy e-Burol facility in the where families and relatives living abroad can be part of the wakes of their departed loved ones here in the Philippines. They can have access on the real time video coverage of what is happening inside the chapel viewing room of their dearly departed.

Though the project is only at its initial operational stage, it has already received dozens of inspiring messages, words of thanks, and encouraging reviews from its growing number of users and supporters!

“There was just too many of us who wanted to come home. We couldn’t all come home because we lacked the financial capability. It was a good thing that my sister was serviced by St. Peter Chapels. Their e-Burol service enabled us to be with her in spirit before she left us for good.”

“When my mother died, our brother called up to say that he would be able to come home only after a week because of his employment contract. We were worried because we cannot extend the number of viewing days because we did not have enough money. It was the e-Burol service of St. Peter Chapels that saved us from the additional cost and at the same time helped my brother say his parting words to our mom!”

“Naguul gyud mi sa pagkamatay sa akong igsuun nya dili pa makauli ang among amahan na OFW sa Saudi kay wa musugut ang iyang amo. Nalipay na lang sad mi na pwede na diay niya Makita ang haya sa among igsuun sa internet. Naa na diay Free Online Burol sa St. Peter, nakatabang gyud ni sa amo-a kay imbes na ipalit ug ticket para pauli, gipadala na lang ang kwarto aron magamit-gamit namo sa pagkaun sa haya.

These are but some of the heartwarming messages from the dozens of satisfied families who have experienced the convenience and comfort brought about by the St. Peter e-Burol Program. Launched last October 22, 2007, the St. Peter e-Burol Program is part of St. Peter Chapels’ lasting commitment and dedication to public service.

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Article taken from:


Isn’t it amazing how this 5-year Japanese boy, who doesn’t even speak English, can effortlessly sing a Jason Mraz song, and while playing his ukulele at that? That’s the beauty of music. It transcends all borders. Language is not so important after all.

But music is not the only thing that does that. Apparently, so does the internet. A few years ago, I discovered this wonderful website called Unlike most online radios that are controlled by the user's choice of artist or genre, Musicovery’s method results more in discovery of artists to which the user might not otherwise have been exposed. Because of Musicovery, I get to appreciate the pleasure of listening to an Indian chant song and a folk-rock group from Algeria (music which enables me to listen and study at the same time since I don’t know the songs’ lyrics hehe).

Through the World Wide Web, music and talents from every corner of the world become exposed whether they like it or not. Suddenly, the whole world becomes the stage and everyone can become a performer just by a click of a mouse. Who would’ve thought that a young, amateur singer from a third world country would gain worldwide fame (and even landed a role in the recent Chipmunks movie) all because of Youtube and Ellen de Generes (guess who I'm talking about).

I hope through the internet, more and more deserving talents would get the exposure and recognition they deserve. I also hope more and more people would use the internet as a platform through which they could show the world what they have to offer. Truly, the internet not only brings people closer together, it also creates a connection between people that has never even existed before.

(Ninth entry)


Monday, January 25, 2010

Right to Forget

I saw this news article in the web. It sort of reminded me of the OLA issue that we had last week. Maybe we also need a similar law here in the Philippines. It might come in handy to opinionated people, e.g., lawyers and (cough) law students. And speaking of past online entries -- I checked my Facebook account and found that my September status messages are still available (I'm not really sure what my oldest saved entries are. I stopped checking when I got tired of clicking the "oldest posts" button). I’m not sure if Facebook and other networking sites automatically delete old entries in their sites, and if they do, whether the users could set the timeframe. I think yahoo!mail does. I think we all should be aware of these things, knowing that even our old and spur-of-the-moment rantings in our supposedly “personal” accounts, could be used against us.

France ponders right-to-forget law

By David Reid
Reporter, BBC Click

News article
Some net users are turning to social media websites for revenge

Social networking websites have ensured that everyone who has an opinion can put it out in the public domain.

From Britney Spears's musings to the Tiger Woods scandal, information can take a life of its own once it hits the world wide web.

B-list celebs and brand-names bustling for public attention can be particularly vulnerable to people with a gripe against them.

Alberic Guigou from online reputation management firm Reputation Squad said many people were becoming public figures on the internet.

"They are being on Facebook, on Twitter. They are communicating a lot of information about themselves," he said.

"But the issue is that a lot of people also remain anonymous. They take advantage of that to ruin other people's reputations," he said.


The impact of all those online revelations has made France consider the length of time that personal information should remain available in the public arena.

A proposed law in the country would give net users the option to have old data about themselves deleted.

This right-to-forget would force online and mobile firms to dispose of e-mails and text messages after an agreed length of time or on the request of the individual concerned.

Divina Frau-Meigs, Professor of American Studies and Media Sociology at the Paris Sorbonne University, believes the law would counter against unguarded communications becoming an official record.

Alberic Guigou, Reputation Squad
Alberic Guigou said action needs to be taken to counter negative press

"This debate is also connected to the right of presumption of innocence in many ways, so that people are not found guilty even before they start on life," she explained.

"People and young people need to be protected by the State so that there is fairness in the way this protection is established," she added.

A right-to-forget could protect an individual's privacy and stop them from being permanently held to ransom by unguarded actions from their past.

'Reflect well'

Currently the only way to overcome bad publicity on the net is by countering it with good publicity.

Prof Frau-Meigs believes the manipulation of someone's online presence only benefits the wealthy and people with a vested interest in disguising their real persona.

But when people become targets of malicious rumours on the net, Mr Alberic said action had to be taken to shift away from negative comments.

"Start with defining who is responsible for the bad content. If the people are hiding… we make sure that as much as possible of the content showing up on the first pages of results on the most famous search engines are positive. We either create content from blogs to websites and videos

"Also, if they already have press articles that reflect well on their reputation, we decide to improve the ranking on the research pages of such articles," he explained.

Companies too are coming under attack from competitors pretending to be disgruntled customers leaving damaging feedback on websites such as eBay or Amazon.

Info battleground

Negative buzz sometimes originates from bloggers on specialist sites with a small, but influential following.

Google toilet video on's video parody depicts a world with no privacy

In these instances, Didier Frochot from information management company Les Infostrateges approaches the people responsible and threatens them with legal action.

"If they don't instantly remove the litigious items, and there's always a hardcore who refuse to budge, then we have to, shall we say, insist a little harder," he said.

Mr Frochot believes the internet has become an economic and information battleground. But for the average net user, prevention is still better than cure when it comes to protecting yourself from doing something you might later regret.

Carole Gay, from the French internet providers association AFA, said search engines made finding someone's details online very easy.

"So we have to be careful what we put online. Otherwise you risk being followed by something you did in the past. You have to be vigilant, just as you do in the real world," she said.

However,'s video parody of the Google toilet suggests there might also be a fundamental problem with the attitude of online companies.

The cartoon video on the news website suggests that Google's next step will be to produce toilets that can analyse everything we flush.


7th entry

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hello, Mr Chan

Social media such as Twitter and Facebook have been said to bridge the gap between celebrities and their fans. With these channels, celebrities can send real-time updates on where they are and what they are doing.

That was the main reason I considered making a Twitter account last year. I still remember how excited I was when I started looking up and following celebrities. I expected to hear interesting inside scoops, rumors and juicy behind-the-scene stories.

But all that excitement quickly faded when I started reading their tweets. Most them just consisted random updates which may be described as boring (iamdiddy: Eating cheesecake), nonsensical (nicolerichie: AWAKE. why? why? why?), or just simply dumb (ryanseacrest: Why do we eat popcorn so quickly...its like I am trying to save their lives by getting them in my mouth quickly).

(Uhm, I don't follow these guys, I just googled these tweets. Haha. I'm just trying to establish the point that celebrity tweets are generally useless and/or uninteresting)

I didn’t really understand what made these updates interesting. Sure, these updates came from the celebrities themselves. But they didn't really make me feel any closer to them.

That is, until last week. While I was surfing the net, I stumbled upon website saying that Jackie Chan just joined Twitter! Being a huge (HUGE, HUGE, HUGE!) Jackie Chan fan I quickly looked up his alleged Twitter account to confirm if that was really him. And yeah, IT WAS HIM!

Since then, I have been constantly following his account. He (or his assistant) has been tweeting 5-8x a day, providing his followers random thoughts and updates. Here are some of his tweets:

What is twitter? Brett rattner and taraji has it. I guess I should have one too. But I don't know how to use it. As long as its not bad

So many people ask if I am sharing pictures today. I definitely am! I am going to hong kong so I will share pictures of my cats and dogs!

People never consider the next bathroom user. I am cleaning up after everyone!

Aside from these tweets, he also constantly takes pictures of himself and posts it on his Twitter!

For some reason, reading all these tweets made me feel connected to him. Somehow, it made me feel that I was part of his world, that we knew each other, and that he was actually talking to me.

I guess I understand it now, when they said how social media brings the fan closer to the celebrity. It's not really the content of updates that they are providing. An unbiased examination of Jackie Chan's tweets would really lead you to the conclusion that they are also as uninteresting as that of a typical celebrity.

I think it's just the fact that these social media has broken the wall between the celebrity and the fan. Before, it would be close to impossible to get physically close to celebrities, let alone talk with them. Now, in a certain sense, we can talk to these celebrities and they can respond back. The feeling that this wall doesn't exist anymore is what makes us feel closer to celebrities. It doesn’t really matter what they say or what you say to them, as long as there is a feeling of connectedness that is created. And for a Jackie Chan fanboy like me, that is more than enough.

Follow Jackie Chan:

Monch Bacani

7th entry

The Great Firewall of China

China’s censorship of the Internet is one of the toughest in the world. Years ago, it began as a campaign against Internet pornography and other forms of deviation. Later on, China had shut down not only blatantly pornographic sites, but also online discussion forums, instant-message groups and even cellphone text messages in which political and other sensitive issues were mentioned.

Although Internet censorship may help promote stability of the Chinese government, this endeavor comes at great costs. Internet censorship in China has brought about many social, business, political, and ethical consequences.

My friends who are in China tell me that they use proxys to access some blocked sites. However, proxys are troublesome because they are often slow and unreliable. But the Chinese need not be lonely anymore because recent collaborative projects that involve peer-to-peer technology are making it easy to work around Internet censors. Peer-to-peer work-around applications will ultimately be able to make censorship attempts absolutely futile.

As peer-to-peer applications become more refined and user-friendly, more people in China will use it. When it comes to the point when a lot of people use the software, the Chinese government may be forced to consider redrafting their Internet censorship policies, hopefully toward leniency.


- Glaisa PO
(entry no. 11)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Gay Education

I was in the Office of Legal Aid Classroom Component a few hours back and the lecture was about human rights. If human rights law is being discussed, it is almost certain that minority rights are talked about. The Supervising Lawyer that was discussing the topic then asked the interns what minorities they know, and people randomly shouted whatever they thought as minorities. Examples of which include religious minorities, indigenous peoples, the disabled, the elderly and others.

LGBTs were mentioned, and the Supervising Lawyer acknowledged such answer as correct. That really got my attention, as I really didn't know what LGBTs are. So I asked my seatmate:

Me: Ano daw?
Seatmate (SM): LGBT.
Me: Ano yun?
SM: Di mo alam?!?
Me: Para siyang governmental project?
SM: Tanga.

I was probabaly thinking of Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT), Build-Lease-Transfer (BLT) and like agreements. The correct answer was, of course, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender.

I think I heard of such but I just forgot. In any case, understanding LGBTs does not end with the knowledge of what the acronym stands for. It takes some familiarization with the said group. Immediate immersion to LGBT culture through first-hand experience will probably effect cultural shock on most people. Fortunately, there are many materials in the internet for at least the preliminary understanding of such way of life.

This video was taken from YouTube ( This is probably the most entertaining and argumentative one available, so I really encourage that people watch it. However, more videos are available in the said website, and other materials of varying medium are available through just a few minutes of searching through your browser.

Friday, January 22, 2010

by Rowena Ricalde (eleventh entry)

My boyfriend posted in his multiply his email to himself four years ago. He used He was describing his ordinary day a few months before his graduation from his BS Biochemistry course. Hanging out with his friends, studying for his exam, practicing for a presentation. Simple things yet when he was narrating those things, you know he was reminiscing something he knows would be forgotten in the future. But, you could also feel that with the college years coming to aclose, he knows that he grew up and he was grateful for the things he had and the state where he was in.

And so I tried the same thing. Go to Write yourself an email and send it to yourself four or even ten years from now. Like my boyfriend, I am at that junction in my life wherein I am about to graduate and a lot of confusing thoughts cloud my mind. I guess this is an unexpected therapy for me. Write all the things you are currently experiencing and write some of your expectations in the future. Somehow, this is the perfect preparation for the journey I am about to embark into.

Here is my email to myself:

Subject: quarter life crisis

Dear FutureMe,

at around 3 months' time, you are going to graduate law school. in about seven months' time, you are going to take the bar exam. in about a years' time, you are going to start working for a great law firm.

those are the only sure things so far. and i told myself, this is the best that i can hope for. these are the things i know and hopefully will be achieved in a years' time. anything beyond this is unknown.

i am at that point in my life that i know i am better in things other than the law. i love organizing get togethers. i love setting up my own business and watching it grow. i love having time for my nieces and nephew. i love taking care of my boyfriend. i love spending time with my family. i love my friends dearly. life is too short and clearly law was not among the things "i love."

i hope in four years' time, you still feel the same way. simple things in life makes life interesting and worth living. i know you spent almost five years of your life studying something you would not tackle on your own. i sincerely hope within the next four years, you try to do the right things to make your life worth living.

love yourself, take care of your loved ones. make everyday of your life interesting.

more importantly, sana naman kasal ka na in four years' time at may anak na super cute!

until january 23, 2014. byers!


Happy birthday, Guadalupe.

by desmayoralgo (entry #8)

There are two bands I swore on my life to see live before I die. When one of them announced their Asia tour a month and some ago, I seriously considered flying to Singapore to see them play. The announcement that they were coming to Manila went up on Facebook two weeks later (after two of my friends already booked flights out). What I would have spent for a plane ticket went to front and center passes.

And then yesterday, a text message: "Weren't you planning to watch the Killers?" Cold sweat. I knew something had happened. And sitting in school without my laptop and access to Google and with one bar on my cellphone, I felt so powerless. I relied on other people to give me the information I needed. (And it's just amazing how fast this information can be accessed.)

The news broke out on Facebook, Twitter and MTV before an announcement went up on their official website (there's your proof of contract breach through the internet). In thirty minutes, I wanted to sue for moral damages and anxiety. In a couple of hours I could have sued for sleepless night (in the singular). Thing is, they're still playing in Australia. There better be a good reason for this.

[Slashed the last paragraph. Negative publicity edit. If it were my personal blog, fine I wouldn't self-censor. But it isn't.]