Thursday, September 30, 2010

Radio Ga-Ga

I've been listening to the radio a lot lately. Despite having access to the hundreds of mp3s in my laptop, oftentimes I would rather listen to the radio using my nifty mobile.

They say the radio is dead, I don't think so. I guess there's something the radio can offer that even one's 64gb mp3 player loaded with 10,000+ songs can't: Interaction with people. Of course, both mediums offer sound trip for music lovers. But when listening to the radio, you get to hear people at the other end of the line, talking about the day's events, news, traffic, conducting polls and surveys, gossiping. There's also the lure of calling in or texting as you greet a friend, dedicate or request a song. With the advent of social networking sites, one can easily do these things by posting messages in the radio stations' Facebook or Twitter accounts.

Despite the emergence of sleeker iPods, mp3 players with bigger memories, voice-activated menus in some and all these modern features, the radio is that thing which will never go out-of-style, as long as people are still willing to talk and listen to each other. This may sound too cheesy for an ICT blog post, but when I listen to the radio, I don't feel alone. :p

Bullies Online.

I remember that story Prof. Quimbo once shared in class – about a woman who was constantly harassed online that ultimately led to strangers coming up to her house because of an email allegedly sent by her that solicited for one-night stands and even invited men to rape her. Well, cyber harassment is increasingly becoming more dangerous as it takes on the forms of cyberstalking and cyberbullying. Just recently, a first year student at Rutgers University in New Jersey committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate secretly filmed him having sex with a man and broadcast over the internet. His roommate even invited an audience to watch the video by posting it on Facebook and Twitter.

Bill Belsey which popularized the term “cyberbullying” defines it as “the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated and hostile behavior by an individual or group that is intended to harm others.” describes it as “a situation when a child, tween or teen is repeatedly tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child or teenager using text messaging, e-mail, instant messaging or any other type of digital technology.”

According to Ricardo Romulo, the elements of cyberbullying include “the use by the perpetrator of modern information and communication technology; for the purpose of harassing, humiliating, hurting, or embarrassing; and the victim who by reason of age, physical stature, or psychological make-up is particularly vulnerable to being damaged thereby.” Romulo also opines that while the elements of cyberbullying could be subsumed under our laws on maltreatment and unjust vexation under the Revised Penal Code, it should be treated as a separate crime because of the technology involved in its perpetration. Because the crime can be committed with different modes of information technology like text-messaging or the use of social networking sites, numerous challenges must be resolved, among of which include anonymity of the perpetrator, the fact of establishing a fixed venue of the crime, and of course differentiating harassment from a mere exercise of one’s freedom of expression.

In Hiding.

I've been hiding from facebook (and the rest of the internet) since the week started, since I'm not yet ready to face the wall posts and the photo tags and the fact that I'll have to respond to all of them, sooner or later.

It's just that September just practically flew right by me, and I can't quite phrase how I feel, now that I have finally lost the source of my sleep- and study- less nights.

And before I can even begin to think properly about that, finals week just saunters right on by.

I can't breathe yet. At least, not until this sem is over. Good luck with finals everyone!

The Ugly Truth

The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn’t understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had.” – Eric Schmidt

I caught an episode of Criminal Minds the other day and it told the story of a serial killer who stalked his victims through their social networking sites. He followed them through information from their tweets and status messages and posed as a broadband salesman who hooked their computers up, all the while hacking it and installing hidden cameras in their homes. He would then watch them and figure out their routines, eventually breaking into their homes, and strangling them to death while streaming the feed online through the hidden cameras to multiple viewers.

Obviously, when the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit finally tracked the guy down (as he was about to kill another woman and again streaming it online), he was arrested for murder. The viewers of the site, who were flagged by their technician, were brought in for questioning and charged as accessories. Should the web of liability, however, end there? Are they the only people who should be held responsible in that scenario? What of the servers used, which facilitated the transmission of the live feed? Shouldn’t they be expected to ensure that the content of what they make available to the public is legal? Has net neutrality become a safe haven for the technologically savvy criminal?

Maybe we have bitten off more than we can chew. In our excitement and awe at what can be done in an alternate world that links the global community and grants unhampered access to information to its patrons, we have overlooked possible areas of abuse and failed to install measures of regulation to guard against them. We have gone far and worked on developing technology further, without making sure that our laws are up to speed with these advances, to the end that this technology be prevented from being misused. Its greatest asset is fast becoming a great liability to law enforcement, and unless something is done to bridge the gaps which criminals and opportunists have so brilliantly exploited, we may find ourselves at the mercy of a monster that we may have well created ourselves.

CyberPsychology 101: The Online Disinhibition Effect (Part 1)

Disinhibition is a term in psychology used to describe conditions of a person being unable to control their immediate impulsive response to a situation. Disinhibited behavior occurs when people do not follow the social rules about what or where to say or do something. People who are disinhibited may come across as rude, tactless or even offensive.

Increased disinhibition online is thought to be one of the side effects of computer-mediated communication — that is, communication between ourselves and a computer. According to research, “if inhibition is when behavior is contrained or restrained through self-consciousness, anxiety about social situations, worries about public evaluation , and so on, then disinhibition can be characterized by an absence or reversal of these same factors.” Disinhibition is said to be a product of reduced public self-awareness, which should lead to less concern about the judgment of others.

I’ve had my own share of online disinhibition way back in the latter part of my grade school and early highschool years when mirc32 seemed to be the coolest thing on Earth. Since I can log on the chat rooms using any name I want, I remember that I entertain (and yes, would even initiate on some rare occasions) chatting with strangers with the usual “asl” greeting. And I fondly remember too not replying to them if I learn that they don’t come from admu or lsgh/dlsu. Haha. And the best part of maintaining anonymity in chatrooms is that I can engage in school wars and bash people without any fear that they can track me down!


Musings in my Second Life

Having witnessed the bombing in Taft Ave. last Sunday (September 26) and experienced the pandemonium therein, I can not help thinking that I could have been one of the victims.

I have realized that this fiasco has the probability of being unresolved and forgotten for lack of the needed evidence. There is yet no footage on the culprit/s in the act of throwing the bomb, pillbox or grenade. Hence, the investigation is now reduced to the “he says, she says” game. I even find the theory of a frat war to be dubious. Moreover, I also find disconcerting that we just settled for it because it seemed to be the only and convenient explanation for it all. But then again, I might be wrong.

How I wish somebody or something was able to capture how it happened. I was hoping that the CCTVs in La Salle would make the difference, but I guess not. There is no buzz yet on its contribution to the case. Though quite fleeting, I nevertheless wondered if the investigation would be expedited had we been in a society with very advanced infrastructure on ICT. My answer is “YES”.

Once again, ICT has proven itself to be a wild animal which we can never get ahead of, either by law or by circumstance. It is not yet a sad fact because we are doing our best to catch up. However, sometimes catching up is never enough when you are running after something other than ICT. In this case, it is justice. I know it is too much to ask that CCTVs should have been installed everywhere to get the real score on last Sunday. All I am asking is that the authorities should leave no stones unturned in utilizing what ICT has to offer. And that would be, an all-out search and scrutiny of footages that will determine the cause of this all and make the culprit/s accountable for what happened.

-Michelle P. M. Sabitsana


When it comes to writing research papers, time is always of the essence. Often, one of the most meticulous and time-consuming aspects that a student finds himself slaving over are the citations and bibliography. Aside from concentrating on the meat of the paper, care must be taken in ensuring that proper citations are made, lest allegations of plagiarism arise. BibMe thus proves to be the perfect short-cut, removing the headache and pressure that usually comes with making the bibliography. is a free and automatic bibliography generator that supports MLA, APA, Chicago, and Turabian formatting. It leverages databases provided by Amazon, FindArticles, Yahoo! News, and CiteULike to quickly and accurately AutoFill citation information according to the rules and guidelines of the style guides. [1] In case the reference material used was not culled from the database of its partner sites, the manual entry mode may be resorted to by simply providing the required information. BibMe undertakes to format a wide range of resource materials such as books, magazines, newspapers, websites, journals, and films, which is a great feature of the service.

As important as the bulk of a research paper is, there is always a need to cite sources. Because BibMe takes care of the formatting, which is normally a very lengthy endeavor, more time could be spent on working on the actual content of the paper and developing its arguments. BibMe eliminates the dangers of creating a bibliography in haste, under the pain of improper formatting, and instead offers a quick, easy, and reliable way to get the job done.

Intersection 16: Dead end ahead?

In Asimov’s story The Last Question, the computer has evolved into a technological wonder that promised to answer any and all of man’s questions. It actually did its job, until it was asked the ultimate question, can entropy be reversed? It took time for it to answer this, but it eventually did. After it saw the end of human existence through the course of evolution (and space travel), it finally had all the information it needed to answer the question. And then there was light…

Recently, tech web sites reported that the majority of social networking denizens have become mere spectators, content with simply checking out what’s happening and then logging out. Also, content creators—such as bloggers like us—have decreased in number. I myself have grown tired of Facebook; it just doesn’t excite me anymore. And prior to this class, I barely maintained my blogs.

The internet was supposed to revolutionize the way we share data, the way we communicate to virtually anyone. But are the growth of mere net observers and the decline of net content creators signs that the internet’s potential has begun to wane? Has the end of the internet started? Are its promises about to be fulfilled? Its purpose soon to be satisfied? And since law has been trying to catch up with the internet (and the rest of technology), will all this chasing actually and eventually be for naught?

That sounds alarmist, I know, but just as Asimov has shown, this seemingly trivial development may snowball into an incomprehensible unheaval that by the time we do understand it, there may be nothing left to apply the knowledge to. As they say, the day we were born is the day we start to die; the day the internet became relevant is also the day it began to march towards irrelevance.

So I suppose there is some sense in what that other school of thought says: that the laws of today, though crafted without knowledge of what the future holds, are capable of addressing the issues that the internet (and technology) creates. Maybe we don’t need to make new rules, but just make the existing rules adapt. Technology eventually becomes obsolete anyway.

Much as I want to disagree, the argument does seem (cue Spock’s voice) logical.


I can’t help but hear Jim Morrison singing (about ending a life, oddly enough) as I log in this last entry…

This is the end / My beautiful friend / This is the end / My only friend, the end…

-- William G. Ragamat

Intersection 15: A Geek Tragedy

You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies.

So goes the tagline for the movie The Social Network*. Or what one movie website calls “The Facebook Movie”. When I first heard about this months ago, I was the least bit intrigued. Why make a movie about Facebook? Eh?

But when I learned that filmmaker David Fincher and scriptwriter Aaron Sorkin were the creative forces behind the movie, I was most intrigued. The director of Fight Club and the creator of The West Wing taking on the most popular site in the world. Like.

As it turns out, the movie tackles the people behind the social networking giant. Based on the book, it follows the story of Harvard geeks who created a networking site for Harvard students, which eventually became The Social Network Site Of The World. Specifically, it tackles the irony embraced by its very tagline: the site meant for making friends was created by friends who became bitter enemies. As one of them nurtured the utilitarian college site into a phenomenal global site, the others cried foul and brought him to court. And that’s where the drama takes off.

This story reminds me of an earlier battle between the geeks of Silicon Valley decades ago. And of Edison’s patent battles with Tesla and their contemporaries. And of all other similar battles between inventors and innovators. In all of them, the battle lines are the same: I got to it first, not you! Sue you!

I suppose that’s the way things are with inventors and innovators. Every new invention seems to entail a lawsuit from those who claim to have invented it first. While a new technology subsequently collides with the law, the inventors intersect with the law much earlier. The irony is that while the humble geek is protected by the law for his/her efforts, he/she may be pursued with the full force of the same as well. All it takes is one other geek who may have felt wronged by him. Ah, such a geek tragedy indeed.

To quote a now-popular re-imagining of a Bibilical passage:

The Geek shall inherit the earth.

To which I add:

And all the legal issues it brings.

*As you read this, the movie has opened in the US; it reaches our shores later next month.

-- William G. Ragamat

Thank you, Globe.

One of the many things I owe my thanks to, after September, is Globe's promo for their unlimited text messaging service.

P349 for thirty days of unlimited text messaging is one of the better deals that I've been able to find to help me get through the various stages of barops, from planning straight to execution, and even now, up until winding up.

And I've really taken advantage of my unli, since I only make calls when extremely urgent, and I never abbreviate my words in text, and most importantly, I usually have to text so many different people. I'm glad I never had to think about how much I'd have had to spend for communications expenses if not for this promo (and albeit Globe's poor service).

A shame that I couldn't use the promo along with other promos. Being able to make unlimited calls would also have made life a bit easier for me during the weekends. But then again, that would be pushing it. I'd really rather be able to text all I want over being able to make unlimited calls.

Real Time Tweets: As if the world should care.

A Virginia-based political blogger, Ben Tribbett, tweeted real-time updates of the execution of a condemned inmate, Teresa Lewis. His tweets were retweeted more than 1,000 times and Tribbett received more than 100 new followers. The thing is that Tribbettwas not really an actual witness to the execution. His tweets readily reveal the source of his information, i.e. "Virginia Execution Protocol: 8:50: The condemned inmate is led in restraints to the execution chamber where she is seated on the execution gurney, then placed on her back,”. (Source:

It appears that Tribbett's intention was to voice his objections to Lewis' execution. And he made the real time tweets perhaps hoping he could stop it. He makes reference to a Virginia Protocol where he points out that the Governor of Virginia could stop it if he wants to but he refuses to, or perhaps he was unable to because allegedly he was on a cocktail party while the execution was on going.

People have different reasons for updating their statuses on facebook or tweeting realtime. Some overdo their updates to the extent that they do it every 5 minutes, as if people are interested of knowing what they are doing every 5 minutes. My point is that there should be a self-imposed limit on tweeting and status updates because too much might make people think you have an Attention Deficit Disorder (a.k.a. KSP).

Tribbett, on the other hand, had a sensible reason for live tweeting a delicate and controversial event. At first blush it might seem hilarious to tweet about an ongoing execution real time. It was something shocking; I couldn’t imagine how people in the old times used to watch public executions. But on a deeper appreciation, it should be noted that the intent of Tribbett was to save a life, though of a criminal. Hence, live tweets are acceptable to the extent that those were for a meaningful cause. Otherwise, why the minute per minute real time tweets? As if the world should care.

-- Gen S. (15)

This is not 1896

As with several other nights, I had logged on Facebook and set out to do nothing but lazy surfing. Having spent an entire day of activities - co-organizing the LSG's UP President's forum, supervising the day's agenda for the Graduation Committee, attending our penultimate class in PubOff, and attending a testimonial dinner for the UP Bar Operations - and with an equally long day tomorrow, getting riled up on a national issue was certainly something that I did not expect to get into.

As I write this, culture and history savant Carlos Celdran has just been thrown in jail and criminally charged with 'offending religious feelings' under Art. 133 of the Revised Penal Code after having engaged in a peaceful (though certainly creative and entertaining) protest in the Manila Cathedral.

However, even as I also write this, a Free Carlos Celdran fanpage has been set up on Facebook and has gathered more than 1,500 fans in a few hours. Facebook and Twitter too are buzzing with reactions to the utterly medieval treatment of which Celdran has been an object. Whether it be with sighs of lament or with active calls at religious disobedience, the internet has once again brought life to what would otherwise be a dull evening.

Interestingly, as early as five years ago, I'd never have imagined a protest movement being ignited so quickly and so fervently. And as I wrote in a previous entry, I can only watch in awe as emotions that are as real as they come, are poured out in online channels. What is more interesting, and I say this confidence (being a EX-seminarian), I'm certain that an archaic institution is utterly ill-equipped in dealing with a movement fueled by new technologies and social media. I mean, just what are they gonna do, censure heretic tweets? Burn us on virtual stakes? Excommunicate us from an analog community?

Where once they managed to push their way around, they just have to realize: it's 2010, not 1896.

Entry No. 16

Star Wars in 3D

Star Wars fans have something to be excited about again. Just when you thought that the franchise was over, Lucasfilm announced it plans to convert all six "Star Wars" films into 3D format. The films, starting with "The Phantom Menace," are to come out every year from 2012 to 2017, forty years after the original release of the "Star Wars" movie.

George Lucas previously mentioned not initially being a fan of the 3D craze, but changed his mind with the success of “Avatar”, a film made by friend James Cameron.

Some are still skeptical against this move to 3D, as 3D movies do not automatically equate success. So will the wait be worth it?

Lucasfilm certainly has the technological wherewithal to put together the best 3D conversion possible; if anyone can pull this off and still make it look good, it's them.  Now that is something to look forward to two years from now.

Touch Screen Phones

I have just recently bought a touch screen phone. Although I would have wanted to buy an Apple Iphone, I just couldn't afford it. But looking for alternatives to an Iphone has become an easy task considering almost all mobile phone manufacturers have released their own versions of touch screen phones.
When I was choosing my touch screen phone, my considerations were mainly: price, WIFI access, how reactive to touch it is, and if I could add free games in them.

And I am very much satisfied with my new buy, a Samsung Corby WIFI. It is priced only at P7,000, it has WIFI access, it is sensitive to touch (almost like an Itouch, without the multi-touch) and I was able to add several games (which I am very much enjoying). Not only this, the widgets feature is very useful. In my case, I find the post-it notes useful for reminders of what I have to do. The calendar widget made my planner retire. A facebook widget keeps me updated with friends posts.
The best part is that is very user-friendly, in fact I didn't have to use the user-manual, common sense would be enough.

CyberAttack Drill

The U.S. government has launched a full-scale simulated cyberattack to gauge their defenses when the real thing happens. Cyber Storm III was a three-day series of simulated events designed to exploit holes in the nation's cybersecurity system. It was sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security. As could be gleaned from its name, it is the third exercise organized by the federal government to assess its cyberdefenses. The first one was on 2006 (Cyber Storm I) and the second one (Cyber Storm II) was launched last 2008. (Source:;snav)

In a nutshell, the exercise would involve injecting 1,500 different types of threats to examine the ability of the people involved to prepare for cyberattacks, make the correct decisions to respond to them, and share sensitive information with the right parties. To make the exercise more realistic, trusted transactions and relationships would be attacked. For an instance one of the simulations would compromise the encrypted digital certificates that verify identities online, while another would introduce issues into the DNS (domain name system) that pairs domain names with IP addresses.

What about the Philippines? Are we even wary of Cyber Attacks? Judging from the quality of our government websites and the e-services offered by different governmental institutions, I think preparing for Cyber Attacks is at present far from our priority list. Just recently, because of the Manila Hostage Drama, some government sites were hacked (see my previous blog re: hacking of Government sites) and it took time for the government to fix such a simple glitch. What more if government online transactions were sabotaged by a cyber attack?
I wouldn’t think that the reason behind these technological lapses is the lack of skilled programmers. If a Filipino could make a powerful I-Love-You-Virus, then a Filipino could perhaps do something positive but of equal or better yet, greater value. The problem is we take technology for granted. We are too busy with bureaucratic red tape, addressing corruption and other concerns that we let our country lag behind in terms of the contemporary concerns such as Internet Challenges.

Cyber Attack drill is definitely not on our vocabulary. In the meantime, we settle with fire drills and earthquake drills. I just hope and pray that when a real cyber attack happens, we won’t be caught dumbfounded and unprepared again, just as what happened with the SWAT (Sorry We Aren’t Trained?) in the Manila Hostage Taking Crisis.

-- Gen S. (14)

Updated with UAAP

The UAAP basketball season has just ended with the Ateneo, the university where I finished my undergraduate course, bringing home the crown for the third straight time.
I was lucky enough to watch the game live in the Araneta Coliseum twice once for round one of the Ateneo v. UP and today, game 2 of the finals between Ateneo v. FEU.
But even if I was not able to attend the games live, I always kept myself up to date with all the matches of Ateneo with the help of ICT. If I was in school, I received the blow by blow updates through social networks, through status updates of my fellow atenean online friends. I also receive text messages from friends about the game.
After the game, my friends (who by the way is very addicted to the games) keep themselves updated with the basketball team, the players, the games, news and almost anything about the Ateneo basketball through the school athletics website and other forums.
It is amazing how technology has changed how we are updated with current events, even with sports and keeping school spirit alive.

The POST Cemetery

Last week, a New York state judge has ruled that a woman's deleted postings on Facebook and MySpace must be turned over to a company fighting allegations that she suffered “permanent injuries” that have prevented her from living an active lifestyle. It was said that since the said postings may contradict claims she made about the injuries she sustained, they are fair game under New York's discovery procedures. It appears that plaintiff's public profile page on Facebook shows her smiling happily in a photograph outside the confines of her home despite her claim that she has sustained permanent injuries and is largely confined to her house and bed. (Source:

It turns out that removed and deleted online information may persist in backup copies for up to a certain period. Hence, no matter how a site appears to be secure and private, one should take extreme caution in posting stuff. Privacy settings and security measures could not guarantee that the contents of the posts would be protected. There is always a possibility that unauthorized persons could gain access to it. Moreover, deleting could not undo what you have posted. It would be like erasing pencil marks, it would leave traces. Or it would be like burying corpses in the graveyard. You’ll never know, someday, somebody might be able to exhume the skeletons you tried to conceal.

The moral lesson: If you are planning to lie, better make sure you check against inconsistencies you might make. Better yet, if you’re planning to commit perjury in the future, do not post the truth in the internet. Or the ghosts of your posts might haunt you and land you to jail.

--Gen S. (13)

The Culture of Blogs & Tags

tag - a label associated with something for the purpose of identification; "semantic tags were attached in order to identify different meanings of the word" (

Nick Joaquin, in his disturbingly astonishing “Culture and History”, berated the Filipino’s pitiful culture of rural, small-scale and simple, attributing it, in reference, to the Filipino authors' miserable failure to flourish in the field of theses and treatises, hopelessly limited, and perhaps content, to petty successes in terse poetry and anecdotal prose or short stories. Joaquin's observation may be as accurate as it is searing.

But, in this digital age where the internet reigns supreme, humanity has come full circle, cherishing precisely what Joaquin disdained. The era of scrutiny, disquisition and expansive reasoning to explain the world and its phenomena is past. Today is the era of essentiality and distillatory thought, of deconstruction to find meaning in the world and its phenomena. Intricate concepts and ideas then worth books are now largely compacted and labeled as –isms, not even a sheet's worth in summary; and blogs, for example, to be eye-catching needs be terse, pithy, brief, short and sweet; and its tags inviting.

While Joaquin's tribulation is sober and no small matter, Shakespeare might've snickered, quipping from Hamlet that “brevity is the soul of wit”.

Raul S. Grapilon

Entry No. 15

Just For Fun

I was just browsing around the Internet, trying to see if anything would catch my eye. Then I remembered that my anniversary was coming up and I still haven't decided on what to get my boyfriend. He's a bit of a techie so that always gives me a problem because techie stuff usually tend to bea bit on the expensive side. This is my annual dilemma.

So taking a break from all the serious techie thinking, I decided to see what kind of things that the more innovative people in the world have been coming up with. Some were funny. Some were interesting. Some were just plain strange. But I'll leave it to you all on how to categorize it. Hehehe.

A few of the things that I came across were: glow-in-the-dark toilet paper, wi-fi seeking t-shirt, wink glasses to remindcomputer users to blink, bra keyboard, a growing ring, sudoku toilet paper, so on and so forth. It was a great break from the usual techie things. Whether it's just for show or people actually buy it, it's always interesting to see what are in people's minds. And I think that it's nice to end this very interesting elective on a light note with interesting and out-of-the-ordinary ideas. After, technology does involve thinking out of the box and I do believe that these people have done that. So, enjoy!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Because Cybercrime Does Pay (Especially in the Philippines)

Until now, it still surprises me how our laws are insufficient, or weak at best, to cover even common cybercrimes. It is not as if majority of Filipinos have not fallen victim to a cybercrime (I Love You virus, anyone?). Yet, almost half of cybercrimes in our country remain unresolved. And despite the substantial number of victims that has been left with no recourse, why is it that the lawmakers still do not seem to see the urgency in implementing stronger and better cyberlaws?

I highly doubt it that lack for clamor is one of the reasons. Now more than ever, we live in a society wherein online transactions form a significant and substantial part of commerce. Reliance on cybertrade can only grow stronger and we must enact and enforce stricter and stronger cyberlaws. Not only will such protect consumers, it can also make our country more competitive in the global market. After all, investors will not be as adamant to invest in a country wherein they (companies) may not have a remedy in the event that they become victims of cybercrimes.

Current laws are not enough to address even the threat of common cybercrimes such as data theft, data piracy, and online child pornography according to NBI experts. If lawmakers can give their undivided attention to issues such as video scandals, why can't they give this the same importance?

Working for Google.

I came across this article while reading the Inquirer (the broadsheet version): "Google: The Best Job in the World." Queena LC narrated the summer internship experiences of Chris Feliciano, a Filipino studying Econ-Philo in Columbia.

What struck me the most about his stories was the existence of Google's "master plan." Google encourages employees to speak their mind freely and scribble their ideas on a popular white board called such. Googlers jot down their thoughts for anyone to explore and, on that board, many great Google ideas were born.

I like that practice. I'm imagining that these ideas range from operational concerns to actual business ideas to whatever. That kind of system is especially needed in companies who belong in industries that deal with huge chunks of information on a daily basis. That's where operational efficiency is most crucial. And that's just about any industry today.

With the bar exams one year away, and with talk of careers and employment being in order, it really is time to explore all our options. And why not work for a giant like that? :) Wow. We can all dream.

One thing at a time.
First to cross off the list: the bar exams. Oh, and OLA, too.

Entry No. 16
Rachelle Ann T. Mayuga

Facebook can make you lose your job

A Berkeley County Deputy Sheriff was not fired because she participated in a bikini car wash (for charity), but her co-worker, another Deputy Sheriff was fired (or was forced to resign, Sheriff would not confirm) because a picture of him in the event having his police car washed was seen on Facebook. The Sheriff confirmed that the funds used in having the police car washed were the private funds of the deputy which he refuses to name and that the deputy was not on duty when he had the car washed, however, it was "poor judgment" on the part of the deputy to let a picture of the police car taken to be published on Facebook which is a violation of the policies of the usage of said police cars which deputies were allowed to take home. I think that the punishment imposed on the deputy was too harsh. Time and again we see all these news wherein someone gets in trouble because of Facebook. It may have been against their department's policy for the police car to be used outside that of service hours however, considering that the car was washed, even if it were bikini clad women who did wash the car, at least the car was being taken cared of by the deputy and besides the car wash was for charity and several other officers have participated by having had their cars and police cars washed. Most of all, the picture was taken by the host of the bikini car wash, owner of a tattoo shop, and placed in his Facebook account to promote the event, isn't this a private picture? There really was no publishing in this case which makes the case really iniquitous for the deputy who was fired. Again this reminds us to be aware of what we post and what we let other people post on our Facebook accounts.

Glad to be of service

There I was, sitting in the hotel. I've had only about four hours of sleep in 48 hours and I didn't feel too pleased. No, I didn't feel bad about not getting sleep, I felt bad about having to be stuck in a hotel (to watch over a room full of bags) with only two companions... that while everybody else would be cheering the day away over at Taft.

But they did not get to cheer the day away, and I did not get to nonchalantly watch over bags.

First came a mother's frantic call to one of my companions, checking on him for a supposed bombing. We turned the TV on and the only indication of a bombing we saw was one that happened in Pakistan. Nothing unusual we thought. Then came a call from the LSG Secretary to my phone, a distraught voice broke the silence and an act of terrorism that just happened a couple of blocks away became apparent. She asked me to compose a message, frantically asking me to cramp a great deal of information in as brief a message as possible and send them out to all of my batchmates; after all, there was really no pre-registration for the Salubong, we didn't quite have an inventory of who was there, no basis to determine if anyone was missing.

Hardly had I finished composing the first message when another message came: "Tell everyone the UP contingent is in McDonalds". Then came another: "WinLaw is in 7-11". And another: "WinLaw and Portia now in Starbucks". Then a turn for the tragic: "UP undergrad hit by shrapnel, frat rumble ongoing, do not leave the area unless with your orgs / with the UP contingent".

A drained battery and maxed out unlitxting later and I had (I'd like to think) successfully played the role of reporter-cum-animator. Nothing spectacular of course, and nothing to brag about, especially in an afternoon of jubilation made dire by an act of pure evil; after all, it was just text messages and a not too sophisticated phone. But, true to the spirit of bar operations, I was glad to be of service.

Entry No. 15

How To Stop Porn Piracy? Sue or Shame!

Chasing down and filing lawsuits against individuals for illegal file sharing has become one of the current strategies of pro-copyright companies in order to curtail piracy. However, this method is not that easy because in order to acquire personally identifying information, antipiracy companies need a judge to issue a subpoena that compels the ISP to hand over the info they needed.

Certain Porn Companies however had a different approach. For an instance, the website of Adult Copyright Company, a West Virginia-based company, tracks down those who illegally share porn films online. Identities of thousands of people were posted to the Internet this weekend alongside the names of the pornographic films they are accused of downloading (source:

Many people would not admit, but the reality is a lot of people really do watch porn. It would be very embarrassing to be identified as a porn downloader because first, you are illegally downloading a copyrighted material; and second because its porn! Not too many people would have an at least neutral reaction when it comes to the issue of porn. Worse, people might think you are a nymphomaniac, an exhibitionist or other negative sexual attributions.

Hence, I personally think that the “SHAME” approach was an effective and practical way of decreasing porn downloads. I say “decreasing” only and not completely eradicating it because some people might just not mind if they are revealed as having downloaded porn. However, I don’t think this method would work in non-porn downloads because nowadays, I don’t think people would mind if their names are broadcasted as having illegally shared files. Such file sharing is very rampant and seem normal to a majority of internet users. Hence, pro-copyright firms might just really have to think of other creative and more practical ways of going after unauthorized downloaders.

---Gen S. (12)

Managing Internet Identity

Whenever I get bored with facebook, get tired of watching videos in youtube and seem to run out of things to do with the internet, I “Google” people’s names. However, I only thought of trying to Google myself last July. I expected most of the entries which appeared: Facebook of course, LAE results, student lists of the schools I attended and the likes. However, to my surprise, blog entries I wrote decades ago which I thought were not publicly posted, were among the search results..

Most blog entries were just fine, just the typical diary-like entries which were not that confidential and were safe to be viewed by the public. There were however some which were slightly incriminating, owing to some unpleasant languages which I can’t believe I really wrote way back then. I realized that there was one period in my life when I was so enthusiastic to blog – and I recalled that it was when I had the lowest point in my life. I blogged when I badly needed to rant about something, I blogged when I was super depressed and down. I also wrote a blog saying I was super happy, but when I try to remember that very day at present, I don’t think I was really that happy. And so those entries were so emotional and personal, I didn’t even care if it might be offensive to others, or if it might create a bad impression about me.

And so just to keep my internet “image” not really pristine but as neutral as it could be, I deleted some blogs and just saved a few in my computer for my personal viewing when I feel like reminiscing. For some which were not incriminating, I just edited the settings (way back then I didn’t know how to, because what I did was just to type anything then post. And perhaps because I didn’t have so much time to surf the internet back then because DSL connection was rare and expensive.)

Nowadays, the importance of managing one’s identity in the internet is important because internet use is so widespread that a considerable number of people will most likely see what has been posted in the net. Before, I don’t seem to care about posting anything on the internet thinking that other people would not bother to read it or even look at it. At present, the situation is very different. Post something on the net, especially on facebook, rest assured people will know about it. Unless posted anonymously or using a bogus account, what you post will be attributed to you. Bad thing is, on the internet, you are what you post. Hence, posts should be more sensitive and well thought of. Otherwise, you ruin yourself on the net, which is close to making a mess on a live television broadcast.

---Gen S. (11)

Weighing the Benefits and Adverse Effects of Technology on the Environment

One of the advantages of technology is that it allows communication without (or at east with minimal reliance on) paper to carry our ideas. A 'paperless world' is often advocated by the use of computers and the Internet to relay information, on the premise that instead of using paper on which to write something and facilitate the exchange, a computer may be used at more efficient and speedy results. Yahoo for the trees saved!

However, while the exchange occurs on some intangible plane, we still utilize objects such as computers, microchips, monitors, and of course, energy. These things STILL affect the environment adversely in two ways. First, we need resources and minerals to manufacture these objects. Second, waste is produced during the manufacturing process AND as soon as the technology becomes obsolete. It's not really surprising that at the rate technology is growing, more and more waste is being produced.

Pakistan has been the dumping ground of 'e-waste' for quite some time now, with electronics from the US, Europe, Japan and Singapore making their way to the said country. It may be receiving compensation for accommodating the waste, but it's possible and very likely that it's being shortchanged in the deal. Just like any other form of trash, e-waste contains toxic and hazardous materials, which if not handled properly, would deal damage to the surrounding areas. Think about how we're instructed to dispose of batteries properly; multiply that by a factor of continents, and you'll see the grave danger Pakistan is right now.


The Internet has captured a large audience the world over. Internet usage is on a steady rise, what with social networking sites, live streaming, online shopping, web games, and good old surfing. Increased Internet traffic has opened up opportunities for new a new money-making venture – online advertisements. One of the fastest ways to earn these days, therefore, is to put up websites that would generate a respectable amount of traffic to encourage advertisers to market goods and services through their pages. Some take this venture a little further, purchasing domain names consisting of actual brands and famous personalities, either for the purpose of offering related products and services or reserving such domain for its eventual sale to the legitimate owner of the brand. In the world wide web, this practice is known as cybersquatting.

DotPH, the official domain registry of the Philippines, does not know or verify if the person who registers the domain names is the actual owner of the trade name. It is stressed that as a registry, DotPH is not in a position to say who has the rights to a domain name, which is the way it is with majority of domain registries; anyone can register any domain.[1] Measures geared towards the prevention of cybersquatting are thus lacking. The situation is such that the legitimate owner of the brand or name is left with the option of either purchasing the site from the domain owner at a presumably high price or submitting the matter to dispute resolution providers which are usually based abroad and thus payable in foreign exchange.

In the United States, the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) authorizes a trademark owner to sue an alleged cybersquatter in federal court and obtain a court order transferring the domain name back to the trademark owner. In some cases, the cybersquatter must pay money damages. Perhaps iit’s time that a similar legislation be passed in our jurisdiction.


If Ignorance is Bliss, Why Do We Seek Knowledge?

I was recently asked this question and was dumbfounded. Of course, I could have resorted to Socrates' "the unexamined life is not worth living," but then I realized that ignorance IS bliss. Applying this to technology, our blind consumption of innovations and inventions is largely due to two things. Firstly, is the complexity and the constant changes in the technology. More often than not, the ordinary consumer is not learned enough to understand the composition and the process of products utilized in everyday life. I personally do not know anyone who can explain how a sim card can connect a caller to a person on the other side of the world. Secondly, our lack of knowledge of technology may be attributed to plain laziness. Of course, we can argue that we are not to blame because there are far more important matters to attend to than understanding why cell phones operate the way they do. As long as they do their job, we are happy and we can get on with our lives. I remember in college Philosophy, we discussed how we are a society of detachment. That we operate without thought and we are only concerned with the end product. The danger in this is two-fold as well. First, we lack the appreciation for these inventions and the processes on which they operate. Second, our huge reliance (as it is now a necessity) on technology has a flimsy foundation. When our computers bug down, we seldom know what to do. Even car trouble becomes a nightmare. Perhaps this is the reason why the Y2K scare became a huge issue. We are unprepared because we are dependent yet ignorant. I offer no solution. :-)


15 - Disembodiment
14 - Technology Goes Green
13 - Uniqueness
12 - How IPL is Ruining Your Life
11 - How iPhone Changed My Life
10 - I Want!
9 - Televisions as Non-lethal Weapons
8 - Globe Postpaid Hell
7 -
6 - Your Brain v. The Internet
5 - Maggots and Coffee: Internet for the Non-confrontational
4 - Searching the Internet Increases Brain Function
3 - Beware of Internet Transactions
2 - But Mom, Everybody Else is Doing It
1 - Eowh Powhz!

Salubong 2010 ended with a big bang.

Who would have thought that such a festive occasion could have ended on such a tragic note? One would think that in this day and age people of the legal profession (or at least aspiring to be part of the legal profession) would be educated enough to see past the barbarities of terrorism and act as civilized human beings should.

What happened last Sunday was a failure and a disappointment on so many grounds. I am especially saddened by the thought that among the throng of people celebrating, there could be a mind so inhuman as to think of causing harm to any other person in the crowd. I find it disgusting that some people are incapable of looking past minor differences and instead choosing to see such a happy gathering as the perfect opportunity to strike, without regard for the innocent.

I've always felt that nothing like the Salubong could ever bring out such intense school spirit and pride. But if people like this are left free to mingle amongst those who are there to truly live in the joy of the moment, then I am afraid that the purpose of Salubong will always be defeated. If there are those who take advantage of the cover of the crowd to get away with their schemes, then the chance to celebrate would only pose too great a risk.

I've heard it said that gatherings such as these make up a recipe for disaster. I guess I always hoped for the best in people, that for at least just this once everyone would see the bigger picture and be happy for everyone else. And I'm learning every day that I have to lessen that hope.

We were all victimized by the mind that meant to harm, however thankful we may be that no actual physical harm came to us.

Atheists Know More About Religion Than Catholics

Why am I not surprised to learn that American Roman Catholics were outperformed by atheist, agnostics, Jews and Mormons in answering questions about major religions?

As a predominantly Catholic country, I know of some people who find it a curiosity when they meet someone who claims to be an agnostic or atheist. I could only assume that this stems from the fact that they think agnostics and atheists are people who were not raised well since they acknowledge no God (or any permutation thereof). However, this survey, albeit it was done in the States, could show that atheist and agnostics are not just God-less people. I actually believe that real agnostics and atheists came to be such through a thorough assessment of their beliefs and values. Often it people who have a certain level of education who are agnostics and atheists hence it is not hard to imagine that they will be well-versed in the world's religion. But more than that, what is disconcerting about this research is the paradox that inasmuch as some people think that they are religious, they could actually be considered as ignorant about religion. And this, I think, is where the dangers for intolerance for other beliefs come in. And we all know what that could lead too.

A cute reminder

It’s funny how despite having at our disposal various mediums of communication - Facebook, YM, Twitter, email, text – these modern communication tools, while great for keeping in touch with family and friends, can also prevent us from truly expressing what we want to say, when we want to say it. The ability to “edit” out what we really want to say often leaves us without saying much of anything at all, just a bunch of nothings, really.

Here’s a cute (and kind of sad) Youtube video reminding us not to succumb to our inhibitions and to basically just spit it out.

Has social media killed our capacity for genuine human interaction? Is this what “communication” has come down to? A series of backspaces and editing and re-editing until the end result is a sad empty one-word message?