Monday, February 28, 2011

Keypals: 21st Century Penpals

I'm not sure if you know this about me but I love having penpals I've had them since I was a kid. When I was around 5 or 6 I'd send scribbles and really sweet notes to the cow mascot of Anchor Milk. I thought he was real. I remember having this yooooooooge crush on him and my father encouraged me to keep the friendship by telling me the importance of writing regularly. In return, Mr. Mascot (or so I thought it was him) would send me Anchor-themed stickers and coloring books. I remember waking up one morning to see the entire yard covered in snow (of course it was just yucky, unromantic lahar from the Pinatubo eruption) and felt terrible when I wasn't allowed to make a snowperson. I remember the one bright spot that day was the fact I received a set of crayons and a letter from Mr. Mascot.

Later on, I used to exchange letters with my Ninang from Manila. She'd send clothes and toys and the most beautiful hand-drawn cards. When my family finally moved to Manila, my childhood friends and classmates would send monthly letters, complete with pictures of all the things I've missed in my home town. In high school, my host sister from Japan would send the cutest cards. But times change with the technology. Wikipedia notes that a modern variation on the traditional penpal arrangement is to have a keypal and exchange email addresses as well as or instead of paper letters. In college, I moved on to e-mail and would trade life stories (I still do!) with a South African politician whom I met at an international conference back when I was an intern. Five years later, we still share funny anecdotes about his work, his cute four year-old son , my gripes about school and random dating advice. An hour ago, an American friend whom I met at a study abroad program sent me an email update about his experiences in Trinidad where he's doing his thesis on Caribbean revolutionaries. Along with a letter is a link to Dropbox where he had a bunch of music files for me to listen to: Burial, James Blake, Katy B. experimental music not yet available in the Philippines!

If I have one gripe about emails is that it's impossible to trade coupons, swap slips, postcards, stamps and anything else light and flat enough to fit inside an envelope, often called "tuck-ins". But ever since I signed up for Dropbox (30 minutes ago!), a Web-based file hosting service that uses cloud computing to enable users to store and share files and folders with others across the Internet using file synchronization, messages from keypals are no longer as ephemeral as before now I get to share and receive ebooks, pictures, pictures, and basically any computer file I have on my (or my friend's) system.

Unfortunately, if your Internet connection is slow synchronization takes fooooreeeever. And so I decided to write this blog post while waiting.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

EDSA - Past or History

Way back in the 90s, when I was still in Grade 3, there was a film starred by Lito Lapid entitled “Aguinaldo – Ang Agila ng Cagayan”1 based on the life of an army officer of the same name (Col. Rodolfo Aguinaldo). It was a story about the EDSA version in our province. If I am not mistaken, the events that transpired then were simultaneous with what was happening in Manila – top brass local military officials deflected from the chain of command and instead rallied with the people.

I think this was my first "encounter" of EDSA. Nope, I was just barely 2 months old when the 1986 revolution erupted. By encounter I mean: the shooting of the film.
(My mother and I were on our way to the market when there was this fleet of tanks mobbed by people. No wonder there were lots of extras, Lito Lapid was on top of one of the tanks. And of course cameras were all over.)

My mother would explain to me later the story of Aguinaldo, and then the story of the bigger picture that is EDSA.

Since that time, I would always anticipate when we would be talking about that part of the country’s history. In Grade School and even in High School we dealt a lot about pre-colonial Philippines, WWII Philippines, and some World History but, to my dismay, only a few topics had been said about that great moment in our history. EDSA is not just something that is part of the past; it speaks of our History as a people that ought to be remembered and made part of our consciousness.

That I attended a public school should never be an excuse. On the contrary, that should be a mandatory part of basic education’s curriculum for both public and private schools. I only learned most about EDSA when I was already in college and from my own readings. I just really wish this lesson could be inculcated in the mind of our youth – with that, may be adding EDSA DOS and “TRES” should also already be a part.

I just remembered, may be the reason my teachers never taught us that in our history classes was because most of them are Ilocanos. I am from the North after all.

1 Well, I don’t really remember watching the film, I just heard the story because that same soldier later became our provincial Governor who, however, was later assassinated. That same governor is the same guy we find more than three times in most of our Local Government Class Syllabi.

by Vann dela Cruz #14

Find Us On Facebook - Social Marketing

The other day I had breakfast at my friend’s house. We had Vienna sausage, corned tuna, toasted bread, and a box of “fresh” orange juice.

While eating, I read the information written at the back of the juice carton. The juice according to the info supposedly came only from the freshest and most seasoned oranges found in Florida, which according to the same information is where one could find the best oranges in the world. So, in short, the one I had in front of me was supposedly the best of the best.

I had no problem with that. The juice really was good. Florida’s Natural brand I think is really one of the best.

But what really got my attention was the label written right at the bottom of the health information table which said: Find us on facebook.

The first thing that came to my mind was that obviously the carton I had in front of me came with the newest batch of import. The other cartons in my friend’s fridge didn’t have this label on them. What struck me the most, however, was the fact that this Co-op which just celebrated its 75th anniversary found a need to put on this “label” and actually put up a page which currently has 112, 945 fans.

So was it all about marketing? Maybe yes, but not that kind of marketing where one needs to sell more to profit more - I don’t think this 75 year-old co-op has need of that. Maybe it’s a different brand of strategy or marketing, a social type of marketing perhaps, if there is even such a term. Social marketing in the sense that you target people so they treat you not just a commodity but something more, like making them your friends and/or fan. Then in turn making these same people one’s own marketing tool as they let the whole world know that they are fans and invite others as well to “find/friend/like you on facebook” - yeah, maybe , something like that?

I just thought to myself, hopefully it works for them (especially, that they had to change to the layout of their carton for this label). Well, I have always been a fan, but now I am web-proclaimed fan and asked others to like them too. After all, I am 112, 945th.

By Vann dela Cruz #13

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Where in the Online World is the REAL Carmen Sandiego?: Cheap thrills, the virtual economy and the real culprit!

I miss the DOS version of "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" It was a game my sisters and I used to enjoy playing, (along with Family Feud, Alley Cat and Prince of Persia, and it used to be such a thrill to finally pin down Carmen, after an exciting, nerdy hour of answering geography trivia questions. The graphics of the classic version was quite impressive, for the 80's/90's, that is. What I loved the most were the names of the criminals: Justin Case (a word play for "just in case",) Mrs. Sarah Nade ("serenade"), Anita Bath ("i need a bath"), and many more. I had been so inspired by the word play that I actually named one of my pet birds Cedie Mentary (a word play on "sedimentary" + Princess Cedie was quite a hit at the time too). :) It was such a hit then that there had been quite a number of variations. Off the top of my head, I can recall one: Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?

On the other hand, the Facebook version of "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" is a cheap thrill. First, the graphics are quite disappointing for the current state of technology. And I know I'm not supposed to cheat, but darn it's just too easy to google the clues and find answers. :( There are no more interesting characters, and the Chief is boring. The worst part is how the game is built on the virtual economy of facebook. BOOO! Sure, it's a great business model. But man, don't take away the fun!

I don't know. I think the real culprit is Facebook. You killed MY Carmen. Hmmph.

Salma F. Angkaya
Entry #13

Friday, February 25, 2011


Have you ever tried searching for something on the Internet specifically in Google and receiving useless returns?

Google is very useful to everyone. With a press of a button, more often than not, you get the answer to your query. However, you still have to sift through the search results. It is time-consuming especially when you get sites pretending to have the answer but really give you nothing. Those sites are called content farms-- a common name for low quality sites whose main goal is to attract search traffic by piling up (mostly) useless content, usually by either producing large amounts of low-quality text or by copying it from websites with original content.[1]

But fret no more. Google has announced that they will be creating some algorithmic changes, which will help improve the quality of search results. According to Google, they will be re-ranking the sites by reducing the ranking of sites that are of low quality (those who just copy contents from other sites) and giving a higher ranking to those who give high quality information (those who really conduct research and in-depth reports.)

By doing this, Google will not only help Internet users get quality results but more importantly, it will help make the Internet a more efficient and reliable source of information for everyone.



Entry # 13

Pia Augutha G. Agatep

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Manny's Crib

We've all seen the video. But it's worth watching again.

I admire Manny. Like most people in the world, I think that Manny is the greatest fighter that has ever stepped into a boxing ring. What impresses me the most, more than his natural talent, intrinsically strong punch and complex foot work, is his palpable humility whether inside or outside the raised boxing platform. I love that he always show respect not only towards his opponent, but more importantly, towards the sport.

This is why I was excited to find out that he was featured in MTV Cribs, which we all know is a show where celebrities get to show-off their fabulous homes. Manny of course was his usual humble self, and his humility shows in his house. I would have expected that someone of his stature would build a fancier house than what we saw. I am sure that he is more than able to afford it anyways. But his house, while really beautiful, is surprisingly small and simple. Or maybe my expectations were way too high.

I have to say though that Manny is a boring host! Those who have seen the show before knows that what makes the show isn't just the tour of the house itself. Viewers are given the rare opportunity to actually see the behavior of these stars in their own homes. Furthermore, we get to hear about the back story of every room, as well as their own little complaints about the members of their family. But in Manny's case, there wasn't anything interesting in there. I don't know what he was thinking when, instead of narrating the perks and intricacies of being a world renowned superstar, he merely showed what was inside his refrigerator, including his iggs! (Sorry Manny, I just had to type that in).

In any case, it is amazing how today, in the continuing advent of technology, we can instantly become guests in the house of our most admired celebrities. A couple of decades ago, it was unimaginable to have a glimpse of the houses of our idols. Today, that is more than possible, because of shows such as "MTV Cribs", the increasing popularity of narrow-band, and the utility of Youtube.


(#14) ICT in QT

The top students of the graduating class who attended the Quisumbing Torres cocktails said that the firm is "high-tech". Of the many technologically advanced features in the law firm according to them, I remember only two namely that each lawyer has a laptop aside from the desk top computer and a blackberry phone.
Then, i came across this article: "ICT helps Quisumbing Torres enhance its operations" which confirmed their reports.
"[A] robust electronic mail system is definitely critical in its daily operations. E-mail gives the lawyers the speed of communication, which they need in corresponding with their clients and other lawyers abroad. It also saves time and money as compared to a snail mail system.

Another way ICT helps the firm is by using an Automated Time-Keeping system for lawyers. It is a fact that lawyers bill their clients based on the time the services are rendered, hence this automated time-keeping system speeds up billing, concretizes the time of work rendered, and filters unnecessary charges to the clients. Accuracy in timekeeping ensures quicker billing time and strengthens the confidence of its clients.

There is also an automated system for facsimiles and photocopying machines that log transactions. This system helps bill the right clients, eliminates duplication of charges, and proves to be a quicker and winning solution for the firm.

Menguito further said that being a leader in technology in the industry provides add-on value to its existing and prospective clients. Its status as a leader in technology makes it attractive to prospective clients looking for a firm that will be able to serve its requirements quickly and efficiently.

Quisumbing Torres recently procured a Fujitsu Image Scanner, which is used to help electronically share documents from lawyer-partners abroad, and Fujitsu Auto Loader Express System for data storage. These two products also help in upgrading the level of technology application of the firm and maintain its leadership in the field, technology-wise."
This is yet another success story of how ICT has been continuously revolutionizing the way we do things especially in business for more efficiency and productivity.
Ma. Luisa Manalaysay
Entry No.14

Gay-Friendly Facebook?

For the longest time, Facebook’s romantic-status options were limited to nine (9), namely: (1) single, (2) in a relationship, (3) engaged, (4) married, (5) it’s complicated, (6) in an open relationship, (7) widowed, (8) separated, and (9) divorced. And in fact, it is already a feat that items (5) and (6) are included, making it easier for Facebook users to choose an accurate description of their romantic relations.

Just Thursday last week, Facebook supposedly made the choices more accurate through the addition of "civil unions" and "domestic partnership" to the list. For the sake of satisfying curiosity, I immediately checked the availability of said romantic-status option in my profile. ‘Lo and behold, there was none.

So then I thought, maybe the new status option were intentionally made inapplicable to users in the Philippines. Given the advancements in ICT, I’m pretty sure Facebook can track whether a user is Philippine-based or not. True enough, I later learned that the new status options are made available only to the US, Canada, Britain, France and Australia.

But the question is, why exclude the Philippines especially when so many Filipinos are Facebook users?

Some gay rights are now slowly gaining acceptance, and Ang Ladlad is proof to this. However, the Philippine government is very far from sanctioning same-sex marriage. In fact, there are about three (3) anti-same sex marriage bills which have been introduced and are pending before the Senate and Congress. Of course, I’m sure Mark Zuckerberg is wise enough not to ‘accidentally earn’ the ire of Filipino officials, who in turn, are obviously and equally cautious not to displease church officials lest they lose endorsements next elections.

Enough said.

- Phebean Belle A. Ramos, entry #14
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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Philippines’ Groupon

Groupon is United States’ online voucher site where you can buy anything, from dinner for two at a local resto to a massage package, at a discount of forty to seventy five percent. You can pay online via your credit card, paypal, or though your bank’s electronic banking services. Groupon is available only to the US area, but don’t fret my dear friends! The Philippines has several local versions, such as Ensogo Philippines, Cashcashpinoy, BUYanihan and Pakyaw. Check them out. The discounts are so outrageous! I find myself logging on everyday just to check what the latest deals are, and getting a little depressed because there are so many offers I want to get but can’t because I’m broke :s

Besides dangling stuff in front of me that I can’t have, these Philippine voucher sites do so much more. It helps small and medium business enterprises to expand their customer base, and ultimately their businesses. These sites allow its users to recommend local establishments to be featured. Once featured, these places gain fame and once the voucher buyers try what they have to offer, these places then get additional customers (assuming that it’s good). It’s free advertising! I’ve actually discovered a lot of hole in the wall restos because of these sites. Also, it lets common folks like me afford a little luxury – I ate at Spirals for only 1,500! You can also get professional services at a bargain, like teeth whitening at 10K only. You just have to hurry though. Some offers have limited vouchers only, and some offers can be redeemed only at the certain period specified.

Salamat, EDSA

I can criticize a Supreme Court decision on facebook. I can blog on the stupidity of certain governmental policies.

To the people who made these things possible for me without fear of a dictator ordering my apprehension, torture, and death, maraming maraming salamat...

(video from Unang Hirit February 25, 2009 episode

Facebook v. TelCos

Facebook is considered a serious threat to telecom companies (telco). According to a research conducted by an independent IT research company Ovum, Facebook is “much more than a social network.” The research also reported that "Facebook is encroaching directly on mobile operator territory and should not be underestimated."

The encroachment is made possible by making Facebook directly available over mobile phones. This step practically turned every corner of the country a wifi hotspot. Accounts are updated as conveniently as one can send text or place a call. Additionally, Facebook has an integration deal with Skype for voice communications.

In the local telecom arena, the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) already confirmed the significant decline of profit among telecommunication companies in the past months because of Facebook. According to the NTC, the Philippines was coined as the world’s text messaging capital in 2009 because the average Filipino user sent about 30 text messages per day that year or a total of more than 2 billion messages passing through telecom networks. Now, it is implied that the label text messaging capital may no longer hold true for the Philippines.

The statistics may urge telcos to reevaluate their business strategies. The government may draft rules to regulate the situation. In all likeness, I think the playing field is now widely dispersed towards beneficial competition. By the way, I have arranged three birthday blow-outs without spending even a single peso over text or call. ☺

Filipinos Survive the End of the Human Era

2045. This will be the year when computers surpass the brain power of all of mankind. This will be the year of singularity: “the moment when technological change becomes so rapid and profound, it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history.” (see source)

By that time, as Raymond Kurzweil predicts, machines would be so smart that machines themselves will be the creators more complicated machines. He based his prediction on the exponential trend resultant from graphing the computing power against time.

Before the human brain becomes obsolete, Kurzweil is more interested in prolonging human life. Machines can exist virtually forever, provided there's an unlimited store of spare parts. He figures that the human body is like a machine. And like a machine, when one part is worn out, it should be easily repairable.

And already we have started to see machines becoming more and more intelligent. Watson beat the 2 human jeopardy champions in a 3-day bout. Suddenly Terminator's doomsday prediction is not so far off. After all, creating a race superior to ours is anti-Darwinian. Are the machines going to squash us like bugs, or will we live in peaceful symbiosis, or are we going to be friends. We have no way of predicting what the superintelligent machines of the future will be.

But we need not fear. At the rate we're producing the “manpower resource” in our country, it's hardly possible to eradicate the whole nation.

Christopher John P. Lao
Entry No. 14

Lev Grossman's article “sin*gu*lar*i*ty” in Time Asia's February 21, 2011 edition.

Phillip Toledano

History through Facebook

While History fascinates me, I often get turned off with text heavy books 10-inch thick. I was never fond of reading which makes me wonder how I ended up in law school. I prefer History channel, giant pictures, and children's stories.

And for people like me, I recommend the special feature available at GMAnews online (link below) of "EDSA 1 as told through Facebook." Its a very creative, interesting and witty way of telling history. Because of their "profile pictures," you can now associate the famous names with their faces. Especially with the exponential growth in popularity of Facebook with the younger generations, this may be an effective and interesting way of learning history even at the comfort of ones home.

Ma. Anna Katrina C. Eustaquio, Entry No. 14

We the Facebook (Digging for Dirt and Ditching Jury Duty)

The American Bill of Rights was transplanted wholesale in our Islands, save two provisions: the right to bear arms and the right to trial by jury.

In Dorr v. United States, Justice Day ruled that the Philippines, the grand prize in the Treaty of Paris, was not incorporated into US territory by that same treaty. Thus any right vested by Philippine inhabitants would only arise by an act of Congress. Thus, the right to trial by jury guaranteed by the American Bill of Rights was not available in the Islands.

Justice Harlan's dissent stated that this interpretation constitutes judicial activism, and that the US Constitution is the supreme law "everywhere, at all times, and over all persons who are subject to the authority of the United States".

For whatever other legal or logistic purpose, the jury system is not one of our American heirlooms.

In jurisdictions where it is available, information on how to get out of jury duty is not lacking. The reasons range from inability to be impartial to you-just-don't-wanna-do-it.

Recently, there's this Wall Street Journal Article about the effect of Facebook on the US court system. Apparently, lawyers of both the prosecution and defense have been scouring the pages of Facebook and looking at potential jurors and the possibility of jurors being sympathetic to their cause. It looks like the information posted on Facebook (favorite TV shows, music, academic qualifications etc.) can be used to predict how a person will decide in a case. Oh, this is all legal by the way.

And those divorce attorneys? They've started using Facebook to get more alimony from the spouse at fault.

So for ditching jury duty, by all means, do post your drunken pictures online.

For the rest of us (and this is general advise): filter, filter, filter.

The Art of (Cyber) War

The steady influx of technology in this day and age has transformed the face of war. From conventional weapons ranging from sticks to guns, from swords to missiles, now computers are used in this information age to destroy and annihilate. This era indeed is the dawn of cyberwar.

Methods of attack in cyberwarfare includes espionage, national security breaches, sabotage, and electric power grids. These are all done thru the means of state-of-the-art digital technology or even ICT. Warriors used to take the form of big-muscled, hefty, no-nonsense combatants; now, hackers and computer wizards dominate with their monopoly of knowledge (which translates to cyber conflict power). But the purpose is as old as time: to defeat, nay destroy, the enemy. No need for a new computer-savvy Sun-Tzu.

An example of this combative phenomenon is the DDOS attack on Wikileaks, the online whistleblower. More recently, US experts are quoted in saying that there is "too much hysteria" nowadays that aggravate the problem of a possible full-blown cyberwar between nations (read: international cyber armed conflict). This only goes to show that democratic states-and even their private sector-are wary of the potential destructive impact that "rogue" nations (that is, in the cyber sense) may wield in a bid for hegemony.

I suppose that our corpus of laws must respond to these recent advances (or should I say a leap backward?) in human activity. International humanitarian law, or the law of armed conflict, needs to address this new kind of conflict with a destructive effect possibly more than conventional warfare's. It is also essential for ICT regulation to ensure that its use will only be dedicated for peaceful and productive ends. This way, the constant fear of man's extinction and apocalypse may be assuaged by our hope for lasting peace for generations present and future.

Richmund C. Sta. Lucia, Post #14





I'm selling tickets to the screening of "Happyland" on 9 March 2011, 6:00-8:00PM at the UP Cine Adarna, Diliman, Qeuzon City. Tickets are at Php 200.00 each. For inquiries or reservations, feel free to e-mail me at Or if you are currently in the same law school, just call my attention in Malcolm Hall.


A Filipino football story. Based on true events.

A Spanish missionary priest, prodded by an inner voice from his past, starts an unthinkable project in one of Manila's most impoverished districts. From the young rabble of Tondo, he seeks to build a fighting team for a football tournament.

Football. In an Americanized country whose other major religion is basketball.

Nothing can stop the obstinately crazy Fr. Jose from his mission. He wants to show Tondo residents that people, even the most disadvantaged, can change for the better. He uses football - his sport as a schoolboy - to make his point.

He chose to do his missionary work in this working class district in Manila, because his inspiration, ever since he was a kid in Barcelona, was Paulino Alcantara, a Filipino who defied the odds by going to Spain and becoming the star player of the FC Barcelona. Alcantara was a real-life player in the 1930s.

It was his grandfather Jose Maria who told him stories about the legendary football player when he was still a kid back in Barcelona.

Tondo used to be the site of a smoking mountain of trash. That ugly symbol of urban decay is gone now, levelled by government bulldozers, replaced by substandard and cramped residential buildings for the poor.

But the cruel irony is not lost on its residents, they named their decrepit community "Happyland," which is a linguistic play on “happy land” and "hapilan" -- a Visayan word for "garbage dump."

The Philippines, after producing a stellar world-class football striker in 1937 -- Paulino Alcantara of FC Barcelona -- remain, to this day, a consistent bottom-feeder and a poor outsider to the World Cup games.

To those who pray for better days, "Happyland" carries a message of hope from the past.
For more than two decades, several generation of young men rose from the garbage dump to seek glorious victory.

Despite material deprivation -- none of them could afford to buy a decent pair of football shoes -- they fought hard. The exploits of these young boys are re-told in many football gatherings.

Nobody knows what became of these fearsome opponents -- only their stories remain. They are remembered as the "legendary barefoot players" of


Against all odds.


- Evangelista, Emmanuel Benedict C. (blog entry no. 13)


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

skull crushing blow

By this time, we all know that our very own Nonito Donaire Jr. just won by knockout against Fernando Montiel by a left hook heard around the world. As happy as I am for Donaire, I can't help but feel for Montiel. While the loss is surely devastating, the long term effects of such a punch cannot be discounted. Boxers have been known to exhibit symptoms of brain damage long after their careers are over. Judging from this photo and the way his body convulsed after the knockout, I can't help but worry for the poor guy. I can only hope that he didn't sustain any significant damage from the punch.

post no. 13

Monday, February 21, 2011

Take Me Out

You've got to watch this-- A full band with nothing but apple iTouch used as instruments in an NYC subway! The band is Atomic Tom and the song they played was Take Me Out. The guitar riffs in the small iTouch was superb. This is Rock Band to the next level!

so, take me out I don't want to stay home.

Paul Obmina, entry no. 13

Sunday, February 20, 2011


For more pictures click here. Russian text.

The people behind the Russian-anthem tape, computer icon fridge magnets, and bat-winged clothes pegs are at it again with another creative reworking of a common office and/or household item. This time they've turned their attention to the the ubiquitous flash drive. Art Lebedev Designs recently came up with the Flashkus flash drive made out of the most unlikely material: cardboard.

While currently conceptual, it has the potential to be the next big thing in data storage. The Flashkus was envisioned to be a disposable memory stick that can easily be thrown away and recycled after use. The Flashkus is packaged as a set of four sticks that have easy-to-use perforations -- when the need to store or share data arises, it's supposedly as easy as rip and share. This also solves the problem of friends borrowing your flashdrive and forgetting to return it, or worse, losing it. (Note to self: replace Salma's flashdrive.) Since each drive is marked with different amounts of gigabytes and comes with a write-able paper shell, you can also clearly mark what type of data is stored within or even put your name on it to prevent annoying omg-was-that-YOUR-flashdrive?! moments at the office.

All USB, the go-to blog probably meant for the flash drive fetishist, came up with a list of pros and cons:
- Inexpensive to produce.
- Easy to carry and distribute.
- Environmentally friendly.
- Provides a fresh concept.

- Sensitive information could be at risk.
- Potential lack of durability.
- Limits for custom printing and design.


I deactivated my Facebook account. Then I reactivated it.

The reason why I deactivated my account was to avoid the unnecessary stress of receiving some unwanted comments from supporters of my family's political rival. I also felt that Facebook has made me less productive by consuming a lot of my studying time. Being a stalking device, it has allowed me to update on my friends' lives. The usual 30 minutes I allotted for checking email extended to 2 hours of chatting, playing games and checking my friends' profiles and pictures. Yet, despite all these distractions, why did I still decide to reactivate my account? Partly, it is to be updated; but more so to connect with my younger sister, who left for Canada more than a month ago.

The next question would be why Facebook? For one thing, texting is really expensive, hence, we did not consider it as an option. There is also Skype but the different timezones and our hectic schedules prevented us from really maximizing its use. The PLDT budget card is also another option but it is not really practical because its credits can only last for so long. Then there is YM and Gmail chat but my sister does not always go online in them. It is only in Facebook that she updates and almost always appears online. Moreover, with my Facebook mobile, I am able to chat with her anywhere. It is with these reasons that I found Facebook to be the most convenient channel to connect with her. It is with this renewed appreciation of Facebook which encouraged me to reactivate my account.


Entry # 12

Pia Augustha G. Agatep

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Modern Family

I sat people-watching in Seattle's Best and chanced upon a rare sight of a dad and his eldest son playing chess. It would have warmed my heart but when I looked around their table I saw something not uncommon to today's modern family. The mother was texting on her Blackberry, the younger son playing on his PSP, and the daughter tapping away on her iPod. Oh and did I mention? The father and son were playing chess on an iPad. It was a typical cozy family dinner.

Our tech-savvy generation could learn a little from that family. Technology doesn't always mean you create barriers against face-to-face interaction. It just depends how you use it. A mother on her phone as opposed to one asking about her kids' day at school shows how technology lessens the value of relationships. But a father teaching his son chess is a scene straight from Good Parenting. And maybe using that iPad was the only way that the dad would ever have gotten his son interested in learning an old game like chess. Technology not only bridged a relationship but it bridged an age divide and thus allowed two people to create a memory they could both look back on in tenderness.

Maricris L. Real
Entry No. 13

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Being 'N Sync

One glaring ICT crisis in our country is that our laws perpetually fail to keep up with technological advancements. In fact, by the time our lawmakers finally recognize the need to regulate a particular technological aspect, such has already morphed into an even more sophisticated and, hence, more complicated matter. It is even certain that the proposed legislation will not have yet emerged from its status as a bill. Worse, when the bill finally becomes a law, it no longer stands germane or appropriate.

The obvious solution is to stay relevant. But how do we attain constant relevance in an environment of sluggish lawmaking response?

An example: Remember that Facebook currently has nearly 21.8 million resident Filipino users. This statistical fact could easily bring the social networking company to its knees. Going against Philippine privacy laws could make it lose millions of users and then suffer damaging publicity. Senators, Congressmen, Department Heads--got the hint?

This is not as easy as it sounds, but is a good way of starting it. Of course, the costs and outcomes should be considered and geared up for. There should be a detour, or even a Plan B and Plan C, and so on, if necessary.

It is undeniable that a fraction of the way out is a change in our laws, on how we employ the command of legal imperatives to our advantage. The better half, however, is just a matter of mentality, of simply doing away with all those pessimism and instead internalizing a positive outlook for changes within us. Let us not be frigidly resistant. We can be cautious, yes, but the kind of watchfulness that bends with the times.

- Phebean Belle A. Ramos, entry #13

Artificial Intelligence: Failure

Scientists and inventors have long attempted to make artificial intelligence a reality. Well, I think they have. The problem is, it's not technology that approximated human intelligence. It's the other way around. The human mind now works much like computers.

I think the use (or over-use) of computers have changed the way that I think. I'm not sure it's the same for other people, but I do know I have started to receive, process and retrieve information from my mind differently -- and not for the better. Here are just some of a few examples:

1) I almost always cannot construct a sentence in my head anymore without visualizing how it appears as "characters" in my head. I can almost count commas as I say words. There are also imaginary footnotes and hyperlinks whenever I utter a sentence. The problem with this is that I have transformed the way that I organize my thoughts in a way that is not linear, ideas built on top of the previous premise. The way I write, I type in sentences like a "stream of consciousness". But I commonly press the backspace key and re-type what I think are the correct words if I make any mistake. For instance, this is a sentence I inserted after I have just finished writing this paragraph. The problem with spending more time with the computer and less time actually thinking before typing is that I have become careless in the way that I communicate. I have developed a bad habit of saying words that I cannot take back anymore. Worse, there are missing ideas which I did not bother saying before I jumped to the next idea. Alas, I have moved farther from Aristotle's syllogism.

2) There's also a tendency to be aware of an existing idea or definition "somewhere in the internet", which I am compelled to "google", but cannot without a computer. So "whatchamacallit" moments are becoming more frequent. Or sometimes, there's a word which I do not bother trying to recall. I just get this strong urge to just type "shift + F7" so I could find the synonyms or antonyms. It's quite sad.

3) Then there's also trouble accepting that I cannot "control + x" my mistakes. The urge to do so is a recurring feeling that boggles me. I tend to imagine how certain acts could be corrected by just pressing "control + x" a certain number of times. Obviously, I can't do that in real life. I can neither "control + v" certain ideas, which i have to repeat several times.

4) The good part is, even if I have trouble communicating, I have become more systematic in my thoughts. I am now more inclined to think in terms of XY Charts and matrices, then "drilling down" the information for depth.

There are many other manifestations of how my mind has been brought down to the level of artificial intelligence. Given all these, I think the movie, Terminator, is not a far stretch. By the time scientists and inventors are able to fully develop artificial intelligence for computers, these computers will think like humans (used to), and we humans have demoted to just mere processors or data encoders. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Salma Angkaya
Entry #12