Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Menu, please."

At a time when almost everything's made available online and everyone has the means to make their products and services available - or at least, accessible - online, it's really become frustrating to find websites that practically don't tell you anything, or to find that some services or establishments don't even have web pages. That online marketing is powerful is a concept that has been thrown around almost to the point of becoming a cliché. Small business owners and entrepreneurs all over the world have been taking advantage of this wonderful tool for years now, and yet, we still come across these indicators of stubbornness and, perhaps, misinformation.

Sometimes, it's really only just a matter of having enough information online to help people make even the most mundane of decisions – like where to have dinner. Whether you've been operating for 59 years selling your secret flavor recipe of 11 herbs and spices or you're a new kid on the block or you've got a hole-in-the-wall joint with dreams of making it big someday, your customers would certainly appreciate finding online your menu, your [updated!] price list, the location of your other branches, your contact details, promotions, opportunities to make reservations – things that people don't want to have to call you up for actually go to your place for.

The Oatmeal seems to agree.

And when you're up against two other joints in the area who also happen to sell your same specialties, not having your own web page can often be the deal breaker.

Putting up a website or setting up a social network account [Facebook!] has become increasingly easy and cheap. Jumping on this bandwagon will certainly bring in the money and will seriously cause fewer headaches.


#2 - Somayyah Abdullah
[Previous post: #1]



On or about 1:30am and 4am, someone got robbed.

Same day.

On or about 7:00am and 8:30am, some smart stupid telecom got lost in tracking down the phone and the rest of the loot.

The spiel: they don’t have a ‘tool’ to track it down real-time.

Translation: I can see, but I can’t tell.*

Whatever happened to GPS enabled mobile handset and the rest of the phone tracking services?!

Thing is…a thing remains a thing without a person intervening.

It’s self-service. You fail to activate the service by your self, you end up having nothing on your plate.

But then again, you can activate all services you want but without the person behind the screen, the GPS dot remains a meaningless blinking dot – a blind man’s north star.

Take it from me. Take this…just this…from me.

And perhaps the wind would bring someone’s stuff back to me.

I’d let whoever-you-are keep my neon magic pencil and wooden box of earrings.

Just hand me back my sense of security.

-Crisela Bernardino (entry #2)


*GPS= Global Positioning System


Child's Play

Yesterday I saw a little girl playing. She looked about 3, in pigtails and garbed in what seemed like her Sunday dress and cute little doll sandals.

She was in front of a computer in an internet shop in one of the backstreets near Espana surrounded by teen-aged boys in various states of undress, playing games which, had they been set in real-life, would probably mean that a civil war or World War III has just landed on the shores of some country. The little girl was playing a game with weird purple animals. The boys were playing with virtual guns and weapons of mass destruction.

I guess I should be disturbed. I think I am, despite the fact that at that moment, I found the scene rather cute.

When I was young, I was regaled by stories of how my parents' generation spent their afternoons and free time as children. I was told by my dad of how he collected comics, traded "Tex,"and made money off of selling cards of different kinds. Some of these games still existed in my generation. As a child, I guess I played more like a boy than a girl. I also used to collect "Tex" and little toy soldiers. I played Tumbang Preso and the local version of "football". I played Syato and Langit Lupa and Tago-taguan. I would race my bike against the local riffraff down rocky slopes and I didn't like losing. Needless to say, I was very competitive. On the rare times of lucidity, I would have a childhood friend or two over and we would open a can of corn, have the maid cook hotdog and play house. (After she or they left, my sister and I would usually have a wrestling session - she would sometimes end up with a bloody nose. I got very annoyed when she tattled.)

Nowadays, I rarely see children playing in the streets the way we used to.

Admittedly, I have seen kids playing badminton or volleyball but never Syato or Tumbang Preso. It seems like the dinosaurs of child's games have long been rendered extinct by the newer, cooler games.

Speaking of high-tech games, a friend of mine brought his son to Manila for his wedding - the child lived in Palawan with his parents (the child's grandparents). The child was about 8 and rarely would you be able to squeeze out a coherent phrase from him nor get him to look at you for 10 seconds because his nose was always pressed against the screen of his PSP. It was pathetic, really. He was as skinny as spaghetti and had runny nose and an annoying high-pitched keen when he whined/spoke. Was he emulating a video character? I knew not.

I think that we should be disturbed that the children of this generation no longer know how to interact and communicate properly. The games which were bases for bonding, friendship and creativity are seemingly no longer relevant to today's youth. They are more concerned about what apps and games they can download with their jailbroken gadgets. They don't talk, instead they curse PI's and G*go ka, t*r*nt*do ka!” over each other's heads in crowded internet shops while playing DOTA or some other game which entailed a lot of blood and guts splattered over the screen. Kids these days don't care about art and imagination – instead they ooh and ahh over sexy imaginary girls clad in scanty outfits.

I don't know about you, but I think I am happy having had the childhood a had throwing rubber balls at friends and getting scraped knees.Computers? Internet? DOTA? We can all learn it later when we're older, but kids should be able to stretch their limbs and run themselves silly.

At least, that's what I think. (Then again, I still play with my really old Gameboy Color. Super Mario Brothers, huzzah!)

Transparency Goes Hi-Tech!

Secrecy is the bedrock of this persistent form of corruption, which undermines confidence in democratic governments in so much of the world.” – Joseph Stiglitz

The problem of secrecy has long plagued our nation. It has not only made us one of the highest-ranking countries in terms of corruption, but has also had other deleterious effects such as deterring foreign investments.

Government information still largely remains inaccessible to the public. This is why there is a strong call for greater transparency. The good news is there’s a growing trend worldwide in data sharing. Governments around the world are starting to leverage on the Internet and other new information and communication technologies to provide people with information on state affairs. Talk about being hi-tech!

In the US, President Barack Obama launched, a website that would ensure openness and accountability in the use of funds. The UK government also created it’s own data portal, Now the question is whether our country, where secrecy seems to be the rule rather than the exception, would take the same forward step.

It may be remembered that plans for a national broadband network that would link all government offices have been considered, if not for the hefty price tag it would entail. Transparency sites on the Internet are much easier and cheaper to set up. In fact, this is what our government is doing now. Take our President’s very own P-Noy Official Website. It features a comment box where everyone is encouraged to leave suggestions on how the government can be more transparent.

The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project, a website aimed at widening public participation and involvement in fighting corruption, has also been launched recently. Furthermore, a special website disclosing funds released from Congressional allocations and other funds, has been created by the Philippine Budget Department.

All these show serious efforts to take not just a step but a giant leap towards greater transparency and accountability. Indeed, we Filipinos have evolved from being mere spectators sidelined by corruption and secrecy to being information-seeking citizens, who desire to be active participants in the administration of our country. Hopefully, with the aid of new technology, our battle against corruption would be a losing battle no more.

Entry #2

Considering Technology Downtimes

Last week 2 typhoons successively hit Metro Manila, thus resulting in suspension of classes.

We closed the windows and went out to grocery shop, also as an attempt to avoid getting our vehicle submerged because we were also victimized by typhoon "Ondoy" before.

When we got home, my laptop was wet, even though it was in the 2nd floor, apparently the roof leaked.

Luckily, it's turned off, and we've noticed before that techy stuff survives water, as long as it is dried off completely before it is turned on.

After blow-drying my laptop for 3 days before turning it on, it survived! haha.

Other than that, our printer, 11 months old, due to heavy usage (of printing law stuff at my dad's office - he's the proprietor) is already retiring, subject to repairing the roller(?) worth another P2k (another printer price), but it's still working, if the photo printing option is used, however it takes about 1 minute for each page.

I decided to blog about this because while printing some stuff for school earlier, one of my dad's staff asked if she can print already something needed for the office and I said "patience please" and another staff commented, "wow, you used to be the one so impatient when printing!"

Technology has made our life better but we over-estimate its powers that sometimes we don't take into consideration technology down times. Printing multitudes by itself takes up lots and lots of time.

Since time is very limited, and we always have so many things to do, my personal tendency is to skip sleep and drink energy drinks and/ or espresso shots.

Sometimes while doing that, the printer or computer overheats on me, and it feels like, "hey dude! I'm the sleep-deprived one here! don't be the one to break down!"

It's just ironic that we say when we're pressed to give multiple outputs in so little time, that we're not "machines."

Even machines, have down times.

Humans and machines should rest. hahaha.

entry #2

The Pitfalls of Stanning

The end of every semester marks the rebirth of my virtual stanning self a.k.a. that version of me which does not sleep, eat, and what-else in order to stalk-fangirl over the interweb. While the rest of my colleagues prepare for a well deserved break, I start with a grueling regimen of 24/7 cyberspace stanning. Stanning comes from the word stan (but of course) which means stalker-fan. It is an act of pure, unadulterated obsession over Perfect Creatures (a.k.a. biases mentioned by another blogger in this class).

Virtual stanning is both an art and a discipline. It requires a certain degree of Boolean logic in order to come across the right Google hit words and an undying commitment to stay in front of the computer no matter what. The world may end but your stanning session should not, that level of commitment. A stan’s civic duties include following who should be followed, liking what should be liked, reserving an infinitesimal amount of memory space for thousands of gifs etc, and tweeting in ALL CAPS to tell the Perfect Creatures how they are the air that you breathe.

In the world of virtual stanning, everything is just AFGHSGFKLY-worthy. It is a happy place so imagine my horror when I heard that my alter-life is being threatened by the new cyberspace stalking bill being developed by Congress. What is frustration.

But no, this is exactly what my legal education prepared me for: to defend my obsession. It is arguable that stanning can sometimes be harassing. But let me delineate it from cyber stalking in the most obvious manner I deem fit: stanning involves public figures while cyber stalking involves private individuals serious about their constitutional right to privacy. If the object of the stanning is a non-celebrity, it makes the act less stanning and more of cyberspace stalking.

I agree that cyber stalking should be made a crime. But stanning? Leave my happy place alone please.

Regine Tenorio; Entry # 2

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


While registering for on-line banking, I began wondering how easy it would be for someone to steal my account information. Without any actual experience as a hacker, I imagined I was one and thought of ways to steal personal information. I thought: if only I could record the keystrokes of a computer. I searched the internet and sure enough there are gadgets, hardware and software that enable one to record each and every keystroke. sells a device that attaches to a keyboard cable. Each stroke is recorded on this device and may be reviewed later on. Another device simply plugs into a USB port. And yet another is an invisible software running in the background secretly recording each key strike.

Though these companies market their products as innocuous and indeed helpful in say for instance recovering work in the event of a power failure (an occurrence which I have been privy to more times than I care to remember), those with not so well-minded intentions could employ these kinds of device to record the keystrokes of an unwitting public computer user and use the information gathered for malicious purposes. (Username and password will stand out in a series of keystrokes – they are like irrational interjections in an otherwise organized paragraph).

The easiest way to prevent this mode of security breach is to altogether avoid using public computers and ensure that your own computer is not used by anyone else. On the other hand, online banks (or other sites which require keying in of account information) could deploy a kind of visual point and click security system where keystrokes are not used. Though I’m sure it wouldn’t be long before identity thieves would just as easily devise a system for cracking this security protocol.

If you know of any other methods or tips to make online banking safer please do share by commenting on this entry. Thanks.

Ferdinand Manebo Entry #2


I recently received an e-mail advertisement, with an 88% discount on a purchase that I for that matter really, really want. I mean I’d kill for this deal. So impulsively I purchased it subject to payment. So there I was proud purchaser “to-be” figuring out way how I would be able to pay for that purchase. They provided for several modes of payment: credit card, paypal, g-cash remittance, etc. Right easy enough, hassle-free shopping at a discount. Nice!

But as a law student after 30 minutes or so of blissful daydreaming of my soon to be purchase, sweet bliss turned sour. I think our minds while in law school are hot wired to think of the worst scenarios of things. Something like studying really hard for class, going in confident for having read the material twice, but then when you get through the doors you start to panic and start to see yourself not being able to answer the first question and that is even before you see your professor. I was distressed because I was thinking whether or not the ad or the purchase for that matter is legit. What if it is just a scam? What if I pay and the establishment will not honor it and provide a very lame excuse? Not so hassle-free after all.

Then it got me to thinking is there a law out there that will protect me as a buyer? Shouldn’t there be a law addressing this concern especially in this day and age? Fraud and security concerns in relation to on-line purchasing is a great concern that our lawmakers must address.

So I started reading on RA 8792 (Philippine E-Commerce Law) to find out whether my rights are covered and moreover protected. My initial reading tells me our law does not cover all the areas and peculiarities of on-line purchasing, it didn’t help to ease my concern at all.

This is so not hassle-free?


Stealing Wi-fi

Whenever I check the wireless connection status on my laptop at home, I usually see about four to six wireless networks, all of them password protected. Gone were the days when my neighbors offered their Wi-Fi connection for “free”. But were they really for free? Should the use of a neighbor’s Wi-Fi connection be considered as theft?

Answering the problem wouldn’t be quite as hard if the network is password protected and you hack it to be able to use it, as this would make the taking without the consent of the owner. Clearly, the owner does not want you to use his Wi-Fi connection if he put up some measure to protect it. But what if it is not password protected? It wouldn’t hurt to make good use of the presumed altruism of your neighbor, right? I mean, if you see a Wi-Fi network that is unprotected, you would assume that leaving it open was with the intention of making it available to all within the range. It’s fair game. It can be argued that you are not really stealing something, since the owner is not really deprived of using his connection. Your neighbor still has his property, albeit running at slower speeds. Also, the act of connecting to the unsecured Wi-Fi network itself is essentially asking permission and if you are connected, then the owner has (impliedly) granted you permission to access and use the network. Hence, no stealing.

In my mind, I see the use of unprotected Wi-Fi equivalent to illegal connection of cable, electricity or water. The owner of the unsecured network is paying for the internet service. If you are using the service that he pays for without his permission, then it should be considered stealing. It is hard to believe that you would just occasionally do the harmless acts of checking email, reading online news or doing research, given the daily access to “free” internet connection. Let’s be realistic here. Of course you’d use it regularly. Of course you’d use it to download and share your torrent files. More than the legal aspect, I think it goes back to the basic moral and ethical norm that if you don’t own something, you don’t just take it, even if it’s just really there for you to take. However, questions still linger in my mind that puts my stand regarding this issue at a still doubtful position. What if the owner deliberately leaves his connection open? How would you know if he intentionally leaves it for everyone to use or just has no idea that he can secure his Wi-Fi network? Who should take responsibility, the person who does not secure his connection or the person who leeches off? Is it really stealing where there is no actual, material thing stolen? What if you are just accidentally connected to an unsecured network? Is the simple use of unsecured Wi-Fi connection in itself a crime or would there be qualifying matters? If so, how would you prove these? How would the government regulate and police this?

Krystel Jehan M. Bautista, entry no. 2


Getting better services through twitter

A couple of months ago, a friend’s cable TV got disconnected out of the blue. She immediately telephoned the cable company’s hotline to have it fixed. Two weeks and a couple of failed follow-up phone calls later, and still the only channel viewable from her TV is Sadako’s.

Out of sheer frustration, she tweeted about the cable company’s lame services. Within minutes, a representative from the cable company tweeted back, apologized, and asked for the details of her complaint. The next day, she got her cable TV back.

As my friend’s story shows, tweeting has the potential to push service companies to provide better services, or at the very least, be more responsive to their clients’ complaints.

Twitter publishes its members’ thoughts, however mundane or profound it may be, in 140 characters or less. Its Trending Topics algorithm identifies popular topics currently being twitted. Trending topics appear in the home page of members, who can choose to tweet about it.

It is in the interest of service companies to prevent complaints about the service they provide from trending in twitter, lest they detract customers or gain negative publicity. A twitter member’s followers may also chance upon the tweet, and might not avail of the company’s services as well. Conversely, any positive feedback serves as a welcome advertisement.

Unleashing the potential of tweeting to maximize the quality of services provided entails awareness from the tweeting public that their tweets have the power to influence companies. Or in other words: Twitters of the world unite, we have nothing to lose but our _____. But, what will we lose?

--Ma. Alexandria Ixara B. Maroto, second post

Password Hacking

A good number of people don’t give much thought to the passwords they make. They usually come up with ones that are easy to remember. Chances are they are likewise guilty of using the same password for all their online accounts.

While it may be a practical thing to do, with the mishmash of information all over the world wide web and with most sites requiring its users to create an account, the above-described individuals make themselves vulnerable and an easy target for hackers and stalkers.

According to John Doe, a self-confessed hacker who stalks the object of his desire, the typical passwords used by many are: their names or variations of it, important dates and places, significant others, qwerty, 123456, and the like.

If you fit into the above-mentioned description, it may serve your interests well if you make the necessary changes to your password. Safeguard the door to your virtual world. After all, your account may be used by scoundrels to send spam messages or seek the financial assistance of your contacts or worse, (dark) secrets of yours stored online may be unearthed from your accounts and news about it be spread like wildfire.

A few tips from Time Magazine Online on how to strengthen that password of yours:

1. The longer the better. Six characters? No. Eight? Meh. Twelve? Yes.

2. Use a combination of uppercase, lowercase, numbers and symbols.

3. Deliberately misspell a word.

4. Create a different password for each site.

5. Incorporate cryptic language from a device you always have with you. (eg. serial number of your phone)

Oh, the joys (for stalkers and hackers) and woes (for the victims) of the Internet!

You can watch video here:

Image from here:

Entry # 2 by Diana Margaret C. Lauron