Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Apple's Secret Sauce

Why competing with Apple is so damn difficult?

Simple. It's their secret sauce.

Most of us were introduced to Apple, Inc. by the iBook. Then we were magnetized by the iPod. Then, the iPhone captured our imagination. However, its not only the products that work.

The secret sauce? Its actually four diverse and thriving companies all wrapped up into one. It's a hardware company, a software company, a services company, and a retail company. Most technology companies in the world can manage one or two of these disciplines, but only Apple has all four entities working in harmony.

On the other hand most other PC, smartphone and tablet vendors make the hardware (Dell, Toshiba, Motorola, Samsung, etc), put someone else's software on it (Windows and Android), add third party services (Google, carrier services, etc.) and then sell it through someone else's store (carrier retail stores, Best Buy, etc.)

"Competing with a company as vertically integrated as Apple means that PC and consumer electronics companies can, at best, compete with Apple in only one or two disciplines. While they might be able to create similar hardware, their lack of control of the operating systems as well as the services that are tied to these operating systems gives them little control over their markets. And no vendor has shown so far that it can compete with Apple in retail."

To add coating to that secret sauce, the work culture in Apple, Inc. is completely unique. As described by former CEO Steve Jobs, Apple's approach to products is that they are at the "union of liberal arts and technology". And this approach is evident in their designs with emphasizes simplicity. Well, what is left to say, they just make products that "just works." To be able to make simple products in this world of technological advances is simply tough to beat.

So for Apple competitors, pick your poison.


Entry # 11

Mark Garrido

illegal SMS rumors

Rumor mongering through blackberry, instant messaging or SMS could land you three years in jail in the UAE.

The law covers prohibits transmitting defamatory remarks, spreading lies, false information regarding fires, murders or other crimes, as well as spreading rumors about merchandise, cancer-causing agents, or mentioning outlets carrying the merchandise.

Would a law similar to the UAE's pass constitutional muster in the Philippines?

Freedom of speech is a highly valued right in the Philippines. But it is not absolute. It does not protect certain kinds of speech, such as those that incite illegal conduct, or obscene or fighting words, or libelous or defamatory speech. Speech that is shown to pose a “ clear and present danger of a grave and imminent evil which the government has a right to prevent” is also not protected.

Thus, depending on how the law is worded, defamatory remarks and false information against fires and similar catastrophe may fall under unprotected speech. But the latter class of speech (about merchandise and cancer-causing agents), may not pass constitutional review as easily, especially since penal laws are construed strictly against the State.

Entry 11

Are You One of the 23,000 Defendants in the US' Largest Illegal Download Suit?

Around 23,000 file sharers were sued in the United States for illegally downloading The Expendables, a Sylvester Stallone movie. In this case, the federal judge agreed to allow to subpoena internet service providers to get the identities of those who illegally downloaded the same. However, Judge Robert Wilkins of Washington D.C. decided to limit things to the District of Columbia, citing the court's duty to "prevent undue burden, harassment, and expense of third parties" when it comes to jurisdictional discovery.

In view of this, the complainant voluntarily dismissed the aforesaid case lodged against thousands of defendants. In its stead, the company plans to file smaller suits to match defendants with their estimated locations based on their IP addresses.

This particular case, which is said to be the single largest illegal-BitTorrent-downloading case in the U.S. history, reminds this student of comments by many legal scholars in their respective academic journal articles --- that it is way more practical and convenient to sue internet intermediaries rather than file separate cases against individual infringing users, as clearly illustrated by the above case.

In the Philippines, lawmakers have yet to enact laws to address the issues of internet copyright infringement. To come up with a good and effective piece of legislation to address the same, they likewise have to contend with the issues of prosecuting offenders and the enforceability of judgements. There are several other factors that have to be taken into consideration, but those merit a separate blog entry altogether.


Entry # 11 by Diana Margaret C. Lauron

Social networking and susbtance abuse

A recent poll in the US shows that spending too much time in social media sites can lead to various addictions such as smoking, drugs and alcohol. Columbia University’s Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse's recent study show that those who log in daily at social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are more likely to be involved in the said addictions, than those who don’t use the sites daily. It said that teenagers who see pictures of drinking, smoking or substance abuse are more likely to use or be influenced in trying the substances for themselves. The study calls for a stricter regulation for these social networking sites, stating that “continuing to provide the electronic vehicle for transmitting such images constitutes electronic child abuse”.

My reaction: LOL WUT? Most commentators dismiss the claim as ridiculous, stating that correlation is not causation. I agree. Yes, teenagers are more likely to be influenced by what their friends do (peer pressure!) and technology can overtake real life, but this study discounts the possibility of discretion and other factors like culture or family upbringing. Sure, the internet becomes the platform to view these things but it’s not simply the cause. It's dangerous to simplify the problem of substance abuse by blaming the internet or technology.It creates unnecessary fear and paranoia and could possibly touch upon the oft-debated issue of freedom of speech in the internet.

But! if this were true, and there really is a link between alcohol, tobacco or drug addiction and social networking, then parents and the government would have one more thing to worry about. And I should probably have my teen siblings get checked for drugs.

See the full report here

Sources: yahoo, hufftington post, latimes

Krystel Jehan M. Bautista, entry no. 11

Could be the greatest invention ever

Many sites that sell products, i.e. Amazon, have a feature which allows their customers to post reviews on their site and recommend it to other users. I use this site frequently as well as others to make sure that I get a good idea on whether a product is worth the money. It also helps that there are a lot of hilarious product reviews out there that just ream the thing and could ultimately affect its sales.

I enjoy and use these sites but I also try and take everything with a grain of salt. The internet does not exactly have a transparent user database and it allows you to basically say whatever it is you feel like saying. You can say for example, "Something Borrowed is so dang funny that I don't get why it flopped." Or you could also say, "Green Lantern is the best movie ever!" even though it really isn't.

I don't rely on one site or on one product review to help me make my choice but I do take those reviews into consideration. I don't remember that much on how I used to process my purchasing decisions but I do realize that the Internet has changed it dramatically. I can research on products and find cheaper or better alternatives online and then find them at the mall. I can tell of the salesperson is knowledgeable and helpful or if they just want to make a sale. I can also pass on movies that I initially thought were cool because of the trailer and then find out that it was actually crap.

These are some of the reasons why I like the Internet but I also think that it is a liferuiner because there does not seem to be a day when I don't have to use it. Aaaahhh, the many dilemmas in life....

Entry 11

Tech Check

I saw the movie Crazy, Stupid Love this long weekend. In one scene, a 13-year-old boy told his mom that he didn’t know what to do when he saw her crying. As a result, he Googled “mom crying in bed.” This made me think of things I learned through the Internet that I could not have learned as easily in real life. This includes how to tie a necktie, how to play some tunes in an instrument via Youtube, and how to better use a camera through online forums among others.

The ease of information gathering and learning brought by technological convenience is truly fascinating. I do check my e-mails almost daily. I check the available books in the library online at home instead of using the card catalogue. I Google when in doubt. But have I transformed myself into somebody who is technologically dependent? More and more experts believe excessive use of technologies can cause us to become more impatient, impulsive, forgetful and even more narcissistic.

It is difficult to know when dependence is attained or whether dependence is bad at all because in a sense, we are technology dependent in that we rely on e-mails, social networks and search engines almost on a daily basis. Nonetheless, I resolve to be more mindful of my technology use by asking myself if I have neglected chores because of time spent online or if I lack sleep because of late log-ins. Much like the normal things we do, like eating, everything needs some degree of regulation.

James Anthony Mina #11

Internet Vigilantism and Witch Hunts

The Philippines is catching up with the fad. Another witch hunt has commenced just late last week against ‘The James Soriano’ article on the Filipino language which Manila Bulletin later pulled out. This is a glaring statement that Filipinos are just as much as hooked to ‘internet witch hunting’ or ‘internet vigilantism’ as our Asian neighbors.

We have seen this in increasing recurrence over the past couple of months. The phenomenon has caught not only the social networking sites but also the tri-media and more scholastic blogging platforms, from infuriated tweets to a full blown analysis of how normal (read: non-public) people like James Soriano and other infamous internet characters should be banished and persecuted for being offensive to the general population. That is indeed a lot of hate.

The concept of cyber bullying is not novel in our shares. In fact, it is a lot more prevalent (and a whole lot hateful… like on a deadly level of hate) in our Asian neighbors. There’s the dog poop girl (South Korea), the Sichuan Earthquake girl (China) and a bunch of other girls…and boys who were publicly persecuted for their acts. The US is not to be left out as they have their own version of internet vigilantism which focuses mainly on fraud, theft and pedophile cases (e.g. 419 Eater for Nigerian scammers and Anonymous/4chan for pedophiles). Some argue that the US hate is more legit than the Asian hate because the former focuses on criminals. But regions aside, it’s safe to say that the internet firestorm is dominating the world.

In the Philippine scenario, there is no explicit legislation on cyber bullying. Sad to say, unlike cyber stalking which is gaining ground in Congress, only one proposal has come from the floor by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago who proposed Senate Bill no. 2677, or the Anti-Bullying School Policy Act, which aims to address the issue of cyberbullying in the Philippines, this despite the fact that no incident of cyberbullying has been officially reported in the country. In the explanatory note, Santiago acknowledged that “a new form of bullying is fast emerging with the advancements of technology.” But as gleaned from the title of the bill, this is a bill to address the bullying in a school setting. The non-student victims would have to wait for a more direct bill.

Otherwise, the only solution available to them is the provision in the New Civil Code, to wit:

Article 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due and observe honesty and good faith.

But while the victims may be civilly compensated for damages, the trauma of being the subject of the witch hunt can never go away. The problem with bringing a suit under this provision is the identification of the perpetrators. If you have offended 34 million Filipino netizens, and they have offended you in return, who will you sue?

A more extensive reading is available here: (Cyberstalking and Cyberbullying in the Philippines by Bernadette A. Mapue)

ENTRY # 11.

Crisis of Trust

Last week, for my tenth entry, I spoke of how brand loyalty made Apple as influential as it is today. Apple showed that it's not being the best or the cheapest that sells products. It's being the most trustworthy, and people are willing to pay huge premiums for trust.

The inescapable truth is: trust sells technology. The biggest hindrance to the acceptance of technology is still trust. How else did it take us an eternity to finally automate our national elections? I remember senators worried that the systems might be "hacked," which was insane as indeed one would have to be an absurdly talented hacker to hack a computer not connected to any network. And the problem's just getting worse. The biggest blow by far was the ZTE broadband scandal, which to me was infinitely annoying since I was a big fan of the DepEd's plan to computerize classrooms using the broadband network.

But more inescapable here is that in the Philippines, this "technophobia" is born not from a fear of technology per se. If so, then we would not be the most cell-phone addicted country in the region. No, we aren't afraid of technology--we're afraid of the government that seeks to use said technology. We don't distrust computers, we distrust what the politicians might do with them.

And for that crisis of trust, not even the best technologies can conjure a solution.

Miguel Tensuan, Entry 11

An Attempt at Finding the Balance: Creative Commons

Image taken from:

I came across Jamendo while watching a video on YouTube. I happened to like the background music used and I ended up downloading the same, legally.

Yes. The words “free” “legal” and “download” can harmoniously co-exist in a sentence and made possible by the Creative Commons licenses.

A CC or Creative Commons license is based on copyright. However, unlike the traditional and encompassing “all-rights reserved” ,  it creates a more flexible copyright model for the modern day creator by transforming it to “some rights reserved”. Depending on the creator, there are six types of licenses to choose from. These licenses allow creators to communicate which rights they reserve, and which rights they waive for the benefit of recipients or other creators -such as but not limited to copying, distribution and derivative works. Generally anything that can come under the traditional copyright can be covered by CC such as books, websites, blogs, photographs, films, videos, songs and other audio & visual recordings, just to name a few.

In an era where media is created and transformed by remixes and mash ups, there is a need for a more flexible way of protecting the owners against intrusions brought about by technological advancement. This is where CC supposedly comes into play -by giving the creators the freedom to choose how their work is to used. In doing so CC aims to "develop, support and steward the legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing and innovation."

While CC may address some of the issues concerning intellectual property, it does not totally eradicate the copyright wars and the prevalent infringement which are top concerns in the age of globalization and information technology. These issues are best addressed by policy makers, with the assistance of nonprofit organizations who have in-depth knowledge of the matter at hand. Like in all things, balance must be achieved between restriction and permission. Until such tension is attained CC is an alternative method upon which creators/owners can protect themselves and remixers to find new material without violating the law.

Fore more information, please visit

Entry No. 11
Soleil Flores

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


We just had two free days this week. Last week, I decided that this is the best time to go away from the hustle and bustle of the city and take time to unwind in some nearby province. I deliberately read in advance all law assignments because I didn’t want to bring along my law stuff because after all, it is a vacation. I did not expect the resort to have wifi but I brought my laptop anyway- not to study of course. I also didn’t want to open my facebook account because there might be some changes again in assignments or schedules which mean that I might be required to study whatever it is that might be added.

Anyway, much to my surprise, they do have wifi. Worse, people there who were on a vacation were busy with their laptops/iPads/Smart phones that I suddenly felt that I wasn’t being reasonable to just let time pass me by. I felt guilty because I thought (or believe) that all my classmates were studying and I was the only one who isn’t and the itch of going online was getting stronger by the moment.

Well, anyway, I did not give in to my “cravings” and chose NOT to be online. Anyway, I realized that yesterday might be the only day in which I did not check the internet for assignments/announcements since classes started. I also realized that even law students need time off because of the daily tension we undergo in the College. Law students are not superheroes, we need some time off too.

Entry # 11

John Joseph S. Parco

Saturday, August 27, 2011

googling swimming pools

it's really great that almost every venue nowadays have websites.  i've been searching for a good venue to go to, even with the typhoons...

it's a long weekend, and despite the fact that our tasks never take a break even with the holidays, having a family means making time to spend with them.

I asked my dad why we never went to the La Mesa Ecopark right after reading the website contents and finding out the services they have, such as boating, rapelling, hiking, camping facilities, their picnic areas have grilling facilities, they have swimming pools, a flower terrace, orchidanium, bike rentals, etc. He replied when we were kids it was just being built and it opened just last 2005. 

Back when we were kids, we'd have to go to Baguio for boat rides, horse back riding, etc. or to Subic or Tagaytay, thank you internet for informing me of a nearer venue to do great stuff!!! Less time will be wasted on travel, less money on gas, hence we can just head over and have fun. The ecopark even have 30-45 minute tours! Hopefully soon we'll get to go.

On another aspect, i also searched for the swim school that accepted babies, and i found two! Bert Lozada Swim School and Aqualogic. I plan to enroll my son at BLSS simply because their website is easy to navigate as to the swimming locations, hours, rates, programs versus Aqualogic's which despite opening many tabs in an attempt to find out where it is, and how much well i finally found out the price, but where they offer the lessons is still a mystery.

I'm quite excited to head over at Ace Water Spa since they have the BLSS "my Baby and Me program," aside from the venue is relatively near (as I live within QC and Ace Water Spa is just in Del Monte, QC) and that they're open 6am-11pm, the entire building is swimming facilities (i.e. with roof!). Hehehe, i don't really like getting dark, and at the same time, the enclosed location will ensure the lessons will push through despite the rains =D I hope they have more than sufficient parking space though.

Entry #10

the black-and-white media portrayal of bloody wars

“The electronic media, must by its nature, provide speedy and concise information. However, this can lead to a simplistic and superficial portrayal of realities that are actually complex and complicated, such as the one existing in the Middle East. The contradiction between the need to report about the intricate reality of the Middle East and the need to report as quickly and as simply as possible, often results in the distorted and unbalanced coverage of matters that pertain to Israel.”

Such was the lament of Israel - alleged portrayed and stereotyped by the international media as the evil “occupier” in the great Middle East crisis.

Pictures paint a thousand words. Only a thousand. Visuals say something, but not everything. The word-limit of images, including momentary snapshots of current events, is a limit to what message can an image convey. Little insight into the broader circumstances can fit the frame; worse, images are taken out of context.

One perfect example is the widely circulated image of a Palestinian youth facing an Israel tank. The still image is moving. “A story that sells well.” True.

But the truth that it tells is a distorted reality (at least, Israel claims so). The image allegedly paints an imagery of Israel as the "cruel and powerful occupier" and the Palestine as the innocent victim. Israel, in defense, decries how the context is left out when the lens zoomed into the tank and the youth: “Little is shown about how the terrorists mingle with the Palestinian civilian population, cynically using children and other civilians as their pawns and shields behind which they launch their attacks against innocent Israelis. Very little, if anything, is said about the fact that the Israel Defense Forces act to avoid harming innocent civilians, even at the expense of endangering the lives of Israeli soldiers.

-Cris Bernardino, entry # 11


You Are Hereby Requested To Log In To Facebook

Just recently a UK lawyer was allowed by the British courts to use Facebook as a means of contacting a debtor for court. This had been previously done in Austria, and recently allowed in Britain as well. This method however is still used as a last ditch effort, and other conventional means are still preferred before resorting to using social networking sites. It is a well known fact that Facebook is the largest online community side in the world, and almost everyone has an account and checks the same regularly. A lot of times, users check their Facebook account even more regularly than email. With snail mail becoming more and more obsolete, it is refreshing to see certain courts embrace this mode of serving summons. If it works, then there should be no reason not to use this mode of serving court orders. There are of course risks, such as the risk of sending it to the wrong person, or that person not being the true owner of the account, etc. But there are also advantages of convenience, as well as expediency in using social networks. In the near future these risks will only be less and less present, and then perhaps we can finally do away with the unreliable conventional methods. We can only hope that one day the Philippines will accept this mode as well.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Friends have been asking me why I still haven't bought an iPad. I told them it's because I think the iPad is a lot like the iTouch, which I already have, and so I'd rather just wait for Steve Jobs to come up with something new. Imagine how shocked I was when I learned that this awesome dude, the legend behind Apple, has tendered his resignation just this Wednesday, passing the reins on to Tim Cook! No reason was given but I suspect it's because of his deteriorating health.

Jobs presents a unique culture that's evident in everything that Apple sells. He brought MP3 players to the mainstream with the iPod; took the cell phone industry by storm with the iPhone; and established the tablet market with the iPad. He changed the tech-scape with revolutionary products that consumers lusted for. Of course, he didn't do it all on his own. Credit must also be given to Apple's computer hardware and software engineers. It was his vision and leadership, though, that brought Apple back from the brink and turned it into one of the most powerful rulers of the tech world. This is why I believe that despite the fact that he will still be serving as Chairman of the Board, his resignation as CEO would nonetheless spell some serious challenges for the company.

Technology is evolving rapidly. Android is proving to be a strong competitor in the mobile market and other companies are coming up with better and cheaper tablets and computers. Apple would have to aggressively defend its turf by continuously innovating to create great products. As for the man who was the driving force behind one of the most influential electronic companies of the modern age, kudos for a JOB well done!

Entry #10