Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Video Game Nerd Out Series


MASS EFFECT

In 2007, RPG veteran Bioware came out with one of the biggest and most successful titles in recent history, Mass Effect. Bioware fans who have played through their titles will immediately see a similarity to its earlier hit based on Star Wars Lore, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic. Mass Effect is similarly set in space but with a background closer to home. Whereas Star Wars was set in some galaxy far far away, Mass effect picked up on a fictional future of Earth where remnants of an alien civilization are suddenly discovered and this accelerates earth's technology by centuries. Soon, interstellar travel and navigation throughout the galaxy are enabled with the use of "mass relays", giant space stations left by an ancient alien race. Humanity is suddenly thrust into intergalactic politics when it makes its first contact and war with the Turians. The game itself takes place several decades after this war, with Humanity applying for a seat in the Council, the seat of intergalactic governance among alien races. The game's story starts to heat up when the true antagonists are revealed, ancient artificial intelligence machines called Reapers that systematically exterminate all sentient life every 50,000 years.


Mass Effect's gameplay was its most revolutionary feature. If Morrowind was one of the first RPG's to successfully integrate a First person shooter mechanic to an RPG, Mass Effect revolutionized FPS/RPG gaming. Combat in Mass Effect is literally an FPS experience. Shepard, the main character, utilizes all types of guns from pistols, shotguns, sniper rifles and assault rifles. Biotics are also available, offering powers and moves similar to Jedi powers using the force. 

The experience of playing this game is similar to watching a 20+hour action movie interactively. Everything from the soundtrack to the cinematography is outstandingly executed. Thousands and thousands of conversation lines are fully voice acted, all divergent dialogue paths are comprehensively covered.  The overall feel of the game is an epic space adventure. The final scene of the game is comparable to the charge of the Rohirrim in Return of The King. Fans of scif fantasy should definitely have this title on their shelves. 

Ernesto Mario S. Mascenon Jr. 
Blog Entry



Bar Exam Results!


Shrieking phone calls have definitely been made. Harried texts of 'Congratulations!' or 'Sorry' would have already circulated among the legal folks and their kin.

Once again, the bar exam results is upon us.

And as in yesteryears, the announcement has been welcomed with overwhelming exuberance for the passers, and harrowing anguish for future retakers. Truly, it gives us pause to realize that, every year, like clockwork, the heartbreaks always outnumber the winners 3:1. At least.

To all the passers, I give them my jealous admiration. What they've done is no mean feat.

That split-second moment of seeing your name in the roll of new lawyers is the glorious capstone of years of life-threatening study: the nightly palpitations preparing for orals, the drums of coffee directly IV'd to comatose brains, the thoughts of quitting law school and taking up culinary arts and then lurking at the parking lot with new Wolfgang Puck knives and waiting for the prof to come around. . .well, all that's a distant memory now.

Making the bar, passing the most difficult and the most unpredictable pieces of paper in all of literature, is the sweetest form of justice!

Congratulations once again! You guys are part of history -- the first passers of the recently reformed bar examinations!

Speaking of the new bar format, let me share a few thoughts.

As a bar ops regular, I have always been intrigued by the changes that were made in the exams -- especially as it relates to the topnotchers.

Lest I be holed in the arena of sour-graping, let me pay my utmost respect and admiration to this year's stellar performers. Without any doubt, they rock! I am in awe of their brilliance and have never doubted their efforts in preparing for the exams.

But I can't help but asked: In light of the changes in bar exams, how would future bar topnotchers compare to those of the past?

As we know, topping the bar means a lifetime of accolades. He/She shall join the ranks of great men & women and forever be enshrined in the annals of Wikipedia. They will join the list of names like Marcos, Diokno, Salonga and Munoz-Palma.

But because the type of test inevitably determines its topnotchers, I can't help but wonder: Are we discovering a different breed of brilliance -- different from those who hurdled the essay questions of the past?

I guess the Psychology undergrad in me is interested to see, if the reformed bar will chug out markedly different kind of topnotchers, from those of the past.

Moreover, how would the future topnotchers of the new bar format fare in the practice of the profession, a world where MCQ's don't rule the day? Again, this is just a question I'm throwing out there and I realize it's too early to even ask -- when the celebrations haven't even died down.

It remains to be seen.

But as for me, the next months would only be about 3 things: REVIEW, REVIEW, REVIEW!


Diana Lutgarda P. Bonilla, Entry #11

Nasasaktan na ang tenga ko!


Nagkaroon ng girian sa Senate Impeachment Court sina Senator-Judge Miriam Defensor Santiago at Private Prosecutor Vitaliano Aguirre matapos na takpan ni Aguirre ang kanyang dalawang tenga dahil sa diumano’y masakit na raw ang mga ito gawa ng panenermon, pangmamaliit at pagmumura ng senadora sa mga miyembro ng prosekusyon.


Nagsimula ang lahat ng punahin ni Senator-Judge Jinggoy Estrada ang pagtakip ng tenga ni Aguirre habang sinesermunan ni Santiago ang prosekusyon dulot sa ginawa nitong pag-iwan sa 5 articles of impeachment laban sa Punong Mahistrado ng Korte Suprema.


“Iyan ay kabastusan sa isang miyembro ng hukom na ito,” ayon kay Estrada.

“Alam n’yo totoo po iyon sapagkat nasasaktan na ang tenga ko!” sagot agad ni Aguirre.


Dahil dito ay agad na tumayo si Santiago na hini­ling na ipa-contempt si Aguirre dahil sa kawalan ng respeto nito sa kanya. Patuloy na nangatwiran si Aguirre na siyang nagbigay-daan upang lalong magalit si Santiago.


Ayon kay Aguire, sinadya niya ang pagtatakip ng tenga dahil sa naiirita na siya sa boses ni Santiago, bukod sa nawawalan na sila ng dignidad sa ginagawa ng senator-judge.



“Ang kuwan ko lamang po ay dapat po lamang na kahit na ang mga senador ay mga judges at kami ay mga hamak na prosecutor dito, ang pinakaimportante sa isang tao ay respeto. Kung nagde-demand ka ng respeto, dapat respetuhin mo rin itong mga abugadong ito sapagkat ‘yung human dignity wala pong katulad iyan,” pagdidiin ni Aguirre.


Sariling opinyon ko lang – kung gusto mong respetuhin ka ng kapwa mo, matuto ka ring rumespeto ng ibang tao. Simple lang naman di ba? Kung magpapakita ka ng kabutihan o kasamaan sa kapwa mo, ganoon din naman ang ibabalik nila sa iyo. Maaari namang pintasan ang prosekusyon base sa propesyunal na aspekto o lebel – ang kahandaan, kagalingan, kasipagan at/o kakayahan ng mga ito bilang miyembro ng prosekusyon. Karapatan iyon bilang isang senator-judge. Hindi inaalis ang pribilehiyong makapagbigay ng saloobin o opinyon sa kalagayan ng paglilitis – maaaring ukol sa mabagal na pag-usad ng paglilitis o di kaya ang kawalan ng preparasyon o kahusayan ng mga abogado.


Ngunit, ibang usapin naman kung gagamit ng mga salitang hindi wasto at nararapat, gaya ng pagbibtiw ng katagang "Ang yayabang magsasalita ng ganyan, gago naman." Sa tingin ko, hindi rin naman tama kung imbes ang kritisismo ay manatili lamang sa propesyunal na aspekto, aapakan pati pagkatao o dignidad ng isang tao.


Ang pagkakaroon ng mataas at mahalagang posisyon sa lipunan ay hindi nangangahulugang may lisensya ang isang nilalang na gawin anuman ang kanyang naisin at pabayaan na lang.


Kung gusto mong respetuhin ka ng kapwa mo, matuto ka ring rumespeto ng ibang tao. Respect begets respect. Period.


Sabi nila hindi raw magaling ang prosekusyon. HIndi handa. Walang ibubuga. Wala rin daw binatbat kumpara sa mga abogado ni CJ Corona. Kinakailangan raw mag-aral uli.


Sa pakiwari ko, may punto naman sila. Kailangan ngang mas magpakita ng gilas ang prosekusyon para hindi sila lamunin ng buhay ng mga nasa depensa. Ngunit, naniniwala rin ako na kung nangangailangang balikan ng prosekusyon ang kanilang Evidence class, mas higit na nangangailangang balikan ni Senador Santiago ang kanyang Legal Ethics class. Idagdag na niya ang pagbabasa ng Juan De la Cruz vs. Carretas (A.M. No. RTJ-07-2043).


Angeli I. Serapio, Entry # 11

BROADBAND: WHAT COMES TO MIND?

Possibly there’s nothing broader as broadband. Corny.

In the Philippines, it is conceivable that many understand the term ‘broadband’ in relation to Internet access and connectivity. It is understandable as well that a lot of Filipinos who hear ‘broadband’ are reminded of the botched ZTE-NBN Deal during the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The government then attempted to jumpstart the creation of a national broadband network to increase the speed, efficiency and adaptability of government service. A worthy cause turned out to be an exercise on how not to enter into a contract for a national broadband infrastructure.

Pause however. What is broadband anyway?

In the arena of technology, broadband is “made up of a series of technology modules--transmission lines, modems, routers--that when aggregated create the high-speed communications connectivity that end users experience.”* Generally, broadband is “infrastructure for both transportation of bits and communications (of people), of conveying content (information), and establishing relationships (interactivity).”** However, Internet or Internet access is NOT THE SAME with broadband. Broadband is only the infrastructure or gateway to access the Internet. NEITHER is it only a mode or medium for the delivery of content or information NOR is it demanded by everyone.

It may be asked, why do developed countries (like South Korea and Japan) invest huge amounts of resources in the formation of a national broadband system?

In simple words, the answer lies in what broadband brings to the table. Access to broadband equals the creation of universal opportunities and positive externalities.*** A country with a national broadband infrastructure enables its citizens to utilize the vast network that is the Internet in advancing in the different aspects of their life, from education to socialization to economic prosperity. The benefits of a seemingly inconsequential act through the Internet is multiplied a hundredfold through the presence of a broadband system, thereby encouraging many others to ‘chime’ in the system.

Filipinos must first understand why a national broadband infrastructure is necessary for national progress. It is not enough for the government to harp on the technological aspect of broadband access for all. Commitment to such an immense project can only be nurtured if Filipinos possess at least an elementary understanding of the dynamics behind broadband. The ZTE-NBN deal was supposedly wrapped in clandestine negotiations, and indeed, that spelled doom from a political and legal standpoint. But any contract in pursuit of a national broadband policy must ensure at the outset that Filipinos are made aware of the real nature of broadband technology.

Broadband. More fun in the Philippines?

*Richard S. Whitt, Evolving Broadband Policy: Taking Adaptive Stances to Foster Optimal Internet Platforms, 17 COMMLAW CONSPECTUS 417, 427 (2009).

**Id., at p. 429.

***See Robert D. Atkinson, Framing a National Broadband Policy, 16 COMMLAW CONSPECTUS 145, 152-155 (2007). An externality can be understood as occurring when the positive or negative consequences of the conduct of an individual inadvertently spill over into the conduct of another individual.

Aldan S. Avila, Entry No. 11

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Technolocheat


I thought that those messages or sites asking you to vote for Palawan to be part of the Seven Wonders of the World is either a marketing stint or just plain spam. That was until everyone (and i’m not exaggerating when I say ‘everyone’) from the Malacanang to my dad kept on urging us to go to this site and click on the thing as many times as humanly possible. All that hullaballoo died down for a while and other “news” cropped up like Hayden Kho, the decision that allowed plaigarism, Piolo Pascual, Rhian Ramos, Sendong, the impeachment and Iza Calzado moving to ABSCBN.
Recently, I found out that the Puerto Princesa Underground River in Palawan is now officially part of the seven new wonders of nature. This excited the people from the Department of Tourism (who will now probably make posters stating: Spelunking: More Fun in the Philippines)
No offense to the President of the Philippines however, he had this to say about our win: 

"We must also remember that the tourists we can potentially attract will redound to thousands of employment opportunities; our success here will ultimately breed success for Filipinos everywhere"
I highly doubt that this thing that was done over the internet will really rake in a lot of tourists. I do believe through that it will raise the image of the Philippines a notch or two. Now, this “win” is due to the fact that this was posted everywhere and I found myself clicking away at the computer each time I got and urging other people to do so even if I really had no idea what it was really for, if it was a contest, or how much my click costs. Could this be considered cheating? I dont really know, but the group think that this would improve the image of the Philippines for potential alien clients can rationalize the millions of mindless clickers like myself.
By Trisha Isabelle F. Fernandez Entry #11

Does the Fifth Amendment protect encrypted hard drives? Depends whether you're in the Mile High City or South Beach

Two US Court of Appeals rulings this week clarified the circumstances under which a defendant can be compelled to reveal the contents of an encrypted hard drive. On Wednesday, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals sustained a judge's ruling in a Colorado case that the defendant in a mortgage fraud case could be compelled to produce the contents of her encrypted laptop. But on Thursday, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a Florida contempt of court charge against a suspect in a child pornography case who refused to decrypt the encrypted contents of several hard drives. While the two decisions seem diametrically opposed, they don't necessarily contradict each other. The contrasting results depended on how much the government knew about the contents of the encrypted drives.

In the Colorado case, the police had intercepted a telephone conversation in which the defendant, Ramona Fricosu, acknowledged her ownership of the laptop and alluded to the existence of incriminating documents in the encrypted portions of the hard drive. The government successfully argued that this precluded her from claiming Fifth Amendment protection, since she had already acknowledged the existence of incriminating documents in the case. The Tenth Circuit affirmed the lower court's decision Wednesday citing previous cases where courts have held that when the government already knows of the existence of specific incriminating files, compelling a suspect to produce them does not violate the Fifth Amendment's rule against self-incrimination.

In the Florida case, on the other hand, the government lacked any specific evidence about the contents of the encrypted hard drives owned by an accused child pornographer, identified only as John Doe. A forensic expert acknowledged it was theoretically possible that the drives, which were encrypted using TrueCrypt, could be completely empty. Hence, forcing the suspect to decrypt the drive would be forcing him to reveal whether any relevant documents exist, which would be inherently incriminating. The Eleventh Circuit reversed the lower court’s decision to hold Doe in contempt and ruled that forcing him to decrypt the drives would be unlawful. Relying on US v. Hubbell, it held that if the government merely suspects that an encrypted hard drive contains some incriminating documents, but lacks independent evidence for the existence of specific documents, then the owner of the hard drive is entitled to invoke the Fifth Amendment.


Sources: WSJ, Wired


Francis Paolo Tiopianco, Entry #11

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lies Mothers Tell

Scene 1: Bambi is chased by savage hunters into the forest. His mother asks him to run as fast and as far as he could. The hunters then catch up to his mother and takes her down. Bambi is safe, but without a mother.


Scene 2: Little Foot wanders off and somehow wakes up the flesh-eating tyrannosaurus rex. “Mama Longneck” tries to fight the T-Rex. She is somehow successful in saving her son, but failed to overcome the gashes from the T-rex attack. Little foot is safe, but without a mother.


Scene 3: Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago (from the pro-RH Bill corner) challenges Congressman Manny Pacquiao (anti-RH Bill) to a fist fight, saying that the Congressman has a mistaken understanding of what certain biblical verses actually mean. Mommy Dionesia, mother of the Congressman and pound-for-pound king, retaliates at Senator Santiago and defends her son:
“Para kay Senator Miriam, parang binasura niya ang anak ko… bakit mababa ang tingin niya sa anak ko? Si Manny, sinusunod lang ang utos ng Diyos.”
Manny is safe.


Scene 4: Ruffa Guttierez gets “bullied” by Kris Aquino. At some point, on national TV, Aquino makes an inappropriate comment on Guttierez’s plans on transferring to a rival station. Ruffa walks out of their show and, moments later, Annabelle Rama, her feisty mother, lashes out on Aquino by making statements on the other channel.
"Bakit hindi ka (Ruffa) lumalaban kay Kris? Sino ba siya? Alam mo, Pia, hindi maganda ang ginagawa ni Kris kay Ruffa. Hindi pa nga nananalo si Noynoy as presidente, ang yabang-yabang na niya. What more pa kaya kung mananalo si Noynoy?"

Ruffa is safe (see article).

What do all four scenes have in common? They all show a mother’s natural tendency to protect her young. It’s an instinct we share with our friends from the animal kingdom.

My juxtaposition of these scenes is not without purpose and such purpose is not for mere amusement (or a chuckle or two). On the one hand, a mother’s unconditional love and care, as admirable as they are, is every child’s salvation. The flipside is the same love, when it becomes exaggerated and too unconditional, is any child’s downfall. The latter, in my opinion, gives a child the mistaken belief that he/she is beautiful, handsome, intelligent, all that, or, maybe, just plain perfect.

Presently in the mainstream is this ISP commercial:



The mom goes out of her way, even setting her alarm to an unholy hour in the middle of the night, just so she could load his son’s uploaded video on YouTube, thereby increasing the number of views. When it reaches a hundred, the son tells her proudly about this little feat of his, not knowing that most, if not all, views were spuriously made by his own mother. His bravado is, nonetheless, bumped to the next level. He starts believing that he has become a star. A star he indeed is. But only to his supportive mother.

The Anna Banana video is actually real and was made by a young boy to impress a girl in his class. The TVC featuring it, though, is only a (fictional) portrayal of the same boy and his video. I have come to hate it not really because of the annoying lyrics, but because of how the mother “lied” to her son. Her son was happy and more confident, yes, but because of what…a lie?

This TVC may just be a simple “white lie”, but when you think about it, it shows the same motivation Marlene Aguilar had for her son, Jason Ivler, a suspect in a killing incident, when she told the authorities that she had no idea where her son had gone after the incident. A few days later, the police raided Marlene Aguilar’s residence, subsequently finding her murder-suspect son hiding in the basement (like a rat). See article. Still a mother’s genuine love? Maybe. Just a white lie? I think not.


A mother couldn’t really help but saying that her baby is the “cutest baby in the world”. For all we know, that might be true. Mostly, though, as Ramon Bautista had said, it’s just “false adverstising”.

Ma. Eliza Christine Gomez, Entry #10

Previous posts: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cyber Arrests?


A few weeks ago, I wrote about SB 2796 which is the new bill passed by the Senate talking about recognizing cybercrimes. SB 2796 also mandates the creation of an Office of Cybercrime under the Department of Justice. Similarly, under the Office of the President, a National Cybersecurity Coordinating Council is to be created to execute a national cybersecurity plan.
All this talk of cyberspace is making me feel technologically deficient. What exactly will the Office of Cybercrime do? Similarly, what is a national cybersecurity plan?  No offense to the drafters of the law but despite my pronouncements in my last blog that the law should be liberal, it is of my opinion that these offices that will be created by virtue of the same law should be defined up to the last letter. This will entail a lot of research on the part of the legislators who I presume are not that technologically savvy if not technologically clueless (no offense). But I can’t picture Sen. Enrile logging on to his twitter account or hooking up with Lola Techie over the cyberzone anytime soon.
Creating new offices would entail money. A lot of money. Tax payer’s money. And as with all the projects, this will also include a lot of investment of not only the equipment but proficient or competent people who can really create a proper cyber plan for the Philippines. New blood from the IT Sector or those already proficient with technological stuff SHOULD be the ones running the show in these offices and not people appointed by sheer length of time of service or just interest in the subject matter.
By Trisha Isabelle F. Fernandez Entry #10

Technology as the downfall of journalistic integrity

I've always been critical of how journalism is done in the Philippines. It's sensationalist and it factors in the "usyoso" mentality of Filipinos. The lowest point was of course, the Quirino Grandstand hostage crisis, wherein TV media charged their way into the middle of the action, providing the perpetrator real-time updates via the bus television as to what was going on around him. Worse, they totally ignored the perimeter set by the responding police, which is the fault of the media as much as it was the fault of the police.

The media is also known to not only wait around for stories, but also sometimes, all but manufacture them. The incident of Christopher Lao going through a flood is one example. The media were waiting on the other end with cameras rolling just waiting for someone to not think things through and just go for it. Bystanders, seeing the chance to be on TV, of course, would rather have played the part of the action hero, pushing a stranded car to safety, rather than be a real good samaritan and warn of the flood.

Now, the standards of journalism are going down yet again. I read my news online because it's convenient. I don't have to set aside a specific time to watch the news. I get to take news from several sources at once and compare the differences in bias and whatnot. I usually get international news from the larger, recognized news outfits. However, whenever I read articles for local news, I have to limit myself to the standard GMA, ABS, Inquirer and Philstar. Hence, I have to expose myself to "news" articles like this: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/lifestyle/02/17/12/whos-prettiest-cj-trial.

Wow, really? As a warm-blooded male, I can appreciate that people would fall for the beautiful products of our proud College. What I don't understand, however, is that ABS seems to be propagating it as much. First of all, when did Twitter become a real source of information? Its contents are not representative of what a general public thinks, as only individual quotes are taken. Worst of all, ABS shoots itself in the foot and kicks itself in the balls for manufacturing this hashtag, trending frenzy by saying that "The beauty pageant has not really caught on—as of posting time, there have been less than ten people tweeting using hashtags #TeamJimeno, #TeamPilares and #TeamJimenez.."


So what's the point? Nothing. What's the source? Nothing. What's being reported? Nothing but the fact that someone assigned to cover the impeachment got so bored that he just spent his time with wandering eyes and checking his Twitter, and decided to get a paycheck out of it.

California : Tesla ; Philippines : E-Trike

In 2003, Tesla Motors was founded in Silicon Valley.  In 2006, the Roadster, the first all electric vehicle was created.  From 2008 to 2011, more than 2,100 Roadsters were sold.  With overnight charging, the Roadster can run 245 miles (more than 394 kilometers).   






In 2011, the Philippines, with a $110,000 grant from the  Asian Development Bank , e-trikes were manufactured.  These e-trikes were of two different types: one containing a 3 kWh battery pack, and the other a 6 kWh battery pack. The models featuring the 3 kWh battery pack can travel between 40 to 50 km on one charge and can be 80 percent recharged at "fast" charging stations during the day in under 30 minutes. The models featuring the 6 kWh battery pack can travel up to 100 km on a single overnight charge.  That's two round trips of EDSA.  As of January 2012, the only electric tricycles operating under the e-Trike Project of the ADB and the Philippine Department of Energy are the 20 units running on pilot in Mandaluyong City. 


Both vehicles have the same basic features.  They run on electricity.  Because they run on electricity, they do not emit carbon.  These electronic vehicles both claim higher driving efficiency.  Charging electronic vehicles costs lesser than fueling up with petroleum. Drivers and  passenger of both vehicles attest to the speed, acceleration and comfort of driving or riding an electronic vehicle.  


Electronic vehicles are dubbed as the future of driving. This is not far from reality.  There is a great need to find alternative solutions to the fast depleting oil reserves in the world, and the exponentially worsening air pollution.  With these electronic vehicles, we can finally do away with petroleum dependency.  We can, and should, be able to utilize the abundance of sun in the Philippines, a thought which most of us have been acquainted with since I-do-not-remember when.  With electronic vehicles, we can curb air pollution.  


The path has already been laid out for electronic vehicles.  We have jumpstarted.  I think we just need a little more push, a little more attention, and a little more budget, and we can get to our destination with these electronic vehicles.









Creative Commons, Part 1

I dabble in website construction and design. My first website was a personal one, and it was powered by Yahoo! Geocities (now defunct). The code was pretty basic; nonetheless, I was proud of what I had accomplished. My next encounter with building code was the year LiveJournal became popular amongst teens and college students. Though LiveJournal was a website in itself, hosting personal blogs, the makers of the same allowed its users some freedom in manipulating code for the purpose of personalization. Fast forward to less than two years ago, I found myself building a website for an international not-for-profit organization: the Asian Society for Labor Law. I did not want to make use of a template, so I had to build the website from scratch, pushing my knowledge of code to limits I never thought I was capable of reaching and surpassing.

Building code is hard enough. I did not realize at the time I was making the site that code was just the tip of the iceberg. Since the organization I was designing and building the site for was law-oriented, I had to make sure that the elements I used for the site--pictures, text, etc.--were either licensed or released for use by their respective makers or owners. The process of asking for permission was a painful one because I had to e-mail the people concerned individually and pray to god that they find the time to reply to some poor sap's supplications. One day, I was about to lose it because the website was still lacking many elements--mostly images--and my deadline was just around the corner. As expected, many of those I e-mailed either did not reply or did not allow me to use their work on the website. I was this close to pulling hair off my head. As I rambled on about my bad luck, a friend of mine, a professional web designer, chanced upon me. It was through him that I learned of "creative commons."

Note: The video above does not belong to me. No copyright infringement intended. All rights revert back to the owner. Video sourced from http://bit.ly/zcRUSU.

Creative commons provided the solution to my copyright-related problems. I found out that there are many copyrighted works online that are licensed through creative commons. Its infrastructure consists of "a set of copyright licenses and tools [that allow] x x x individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to keep their copyright while allowing certain uses of their work--a 'some rights reserved' approach to copyright--which makes their creative, educational, and scientific content instantly more compatible with the full potential of the [I]nternet." Its main goal is universal access without doing harm to copyright law.

Creative commons has many licenses to choose from. What they are shall be the topic of my next blog entry.

Note: This is Part 1 of a two-part series. Part 2 will be posted next week.

--Jan Nicklaus S. Bunag, Entry No. 10

BUNTIS PALA ANG ANAK KO?!

Malamang ito ang mga katagang naibulalas ng isang ama sa estado ng Minneapolis, sa Estados Unidos.

Ang kuwento:* Galit na pumunta at nagreklamo ang amang ito sa isa sa mga pamilihang pag-aari ng Target Corporation, isa sa malalaking kumpanya ng retailing sa Amerika. Inireklamo niya ang pagpapadala ng mga produkto ng Target sa kanyang anak na babae. Ang mga produktong ito ay kataka-takang mga gamit na nararapat sa mga babaeng nagdadalang-tao. Sa huli ay humingi ng kapatawaran ang ama sa nagawang pagkilos. Iyon pala, buntis pala talaga ang kanyang anak na babae.

Paano nalaman ng Target na buntis ang anak ng amang ito? Ang bawat mamimimili sa Target ay binibigyan ng kumpanya ng sarili nilang Guest ID. Sa pamamagitan nito, ang impormasyon sa bawat pagbili ng produkto ng isang mamimimili o sa kahit anong transaksyon sa kumpanya ay naitatago ng Guest ID. Nagkataon na ang anak na babae ng bidang ama sa kuwento ay napadalas ang pagbili ng mga produktong madalas ginagamit ng isang buntis. Naging madali para sa mga computer at mga analyst sa Target mahulaan na buntis ang partikular na mamimimiling ito, kaya naman madalas na padalhan ng Target ang babae ng mga produktong tugma sa kasalukuyan niyang kalagayan ng pagbubuntis.

Sa Amerika, sa modernong panahong ngayon, ito ang bagong mukha sa pakikipagrelasyon ng isang indibidwal sa mga malalaking korporasyon. Sa pamamagitan ng mga impormasyong ibinabahagi ng mga Amerikano sa Internet, ang mga korporasyon ay maaaring magsaliksik sa mga iba’t ibang hilig at kilos ng iba’t ibang Amerikano at iakma ang programa o produkto nila sa kanila.

Ang tanong, maaari bang magdesisyon ang isang indibidwal na hindi maging bahagi ng ganitong relasyon?

Tingnan natin sa Pilipinong perspektibo. Halimbawa ang paborito mong sari-sari store o tindahan ay may Guest ID. Mahal ng mga Pilipino ang tindahan dahil praktikal mamili rito, mabilis na, malapit pa. Pero maaaring dahil sa Guest ID ay mas lalo pang lumawak ang maaabot na impluwensya ng tindahan sa buhay ng mamimimiling Pilipino. Maaaring gamitin ng tindahan ang mga personal na impormasyon makukuha nila upang lalong maging mas personal ang kanilang serbisyo sa kanilang mga paboritong parokyano. Posibleng hindi magustuhan ito ng mga mamimimili sapagkat sensitibo na ang pinakikialaman ng mga tindahan. Kung aayaw naman sila makipagtransaksyon sa mga tindahan, mawawala ang inaasam nilang praktikalidad sa pagbili. Sa huli, ang pagpipilian ay ang proteksyon laban sa pagsuway sa mga pribadong pag-aari, o kaya naman ay pagtanggap na lang ng makabagong pagbabago para hindi mawala ang nakagisnang bilis ng pamumuhay.

Darating ang panahon mas alam na ng tindahan umiibig ka na pala kaysa sa iyo. Tingnan mo nga naman!

Aldan S. Avila, Entry No. 10

hAPPiness # 3: Dictionary.com & Law.com

One of the absolute must-have applications is 'Dictionary.com with Thesaurus.' It boasts of almost a million words defined and 90,000 synonyms all accessible without an internet connection and at zero cost. Hence, hassle-free. It also lists example sentences, non-standard uses, and etymology.

Searching is no-brainer. While typing the letters of the word in, the app lists down possible words so one can just click it when the desired word appears. The words are also hyperlinked so it's easy to jump from thesaurus to dictionary.

I dislike though that it requires the internet for two very important features: for 'Audio Pronunciation' and 'Similarly Spelled Words.' It's also required for the 'Word of the Day,' but that's not much of an issue for me.

There's no reason not to have this on your Mac or Android product.



But if you're a student of the law, chances are you'll find yourself in an encounter with some obscure legal term, not available in the general English dictionary. Lucky for us, there's an app called 'The Law Guide' (Law Dictionary & Guide) by Law.com, with a searchable database of some 8,500 legal terms. There are also other features in the tab called 'Resources' but I haven't had the opportunity to use, because it contains primarily laws, case reviews, and legal forms of the United States, and requires an internet connection.

This is of course a free alternative to the application for Black's Law Dictionary, which costs a leg and an arm for $54.99.


Verdict for Dictionary.com: Necessity.
Verdict for The Law Dictionary & Guide: Useful for law students and lawyers.

Mary Rhauline Lambino, Entry No. 10

2020 Olympic Games


This year, we will witness the biggest sporting event in the world: London 2012 Olympic Games. Athletes from 204 countries are expected to compete in 26 sports and a total of 39 disciplines. Indeed, this event is a celebration of humanity. We will witness the glory of winning and the agony of defeat.

Four years from now, we shall witness this spectacle again in Rio de Janeiro. But did you know, the selection for the host country in 2020 is already ongoing?

A total of five cities are competing to host the 2020 Olympics: Istanbul (Turkey), Tokyo (Japan), Baku (Azerbaijan), Doha (Qatar), and Madrid (Spain).



This is Istanbul's 5th bid. In its last bid, which was for the 2012 Olympics, it was never chosen as a candidate. Should it win, this will be the first time it will ever host the Olympics.




Tokyo hosted the Olympics in 1964. This is also their 5th bid in the Games. Last year, Tokyo lost to Rio. If selected to host the 2020 Olympics, Tokyo would become the fourth city to host the Summer Olympics two times and Japan would have hosted the Olympics four times.



Baku bid for the 2016 Olympics but was not chosen as an official candidate. Should it win, this will be the first time it will ever host the Olympics.


Doha had a bid to host the 2016 Olympics but it failed to even become a candidate. One of the reasons the International Olympic Committee rejected its bid is Doha’s insistence to hold the games in October instead of August, as it is the cooler weather in the area.


Lastly, Madrid is set to bid again this year, after losing two consecutive bids in the past. Last year’s bid was so close but unfortunately, it lost to Rio in the final round of voting. If it gets to host the 2020 Games, it will be the second Olympics for Spain.

The official announcement of winners will be on 23 May 2012. Let's all wait and see. Who is your bet?

Angeli I. Serapio, Entry # 10

What's in a Name?

What's in a name?

Apparently, potentially millions of dollars. In Shanghai, China, Apple Inc. is engaged in a heated legal battle with a small Chinese electronics outfit.

Shenzen Proview Technology claims that Apple Inc. has no right to use the product name iPad in mainland China. On the other hand, Apple claims that the rights to the iPad name has been sold to it (Apple) by Shenzen Proview's affiliate way back in 2009.




Disputes over trademarks, trade names or product names are commonplace in today's global economy. It has become much easier to spot small mom-and-pop companies half way around the world marketing products bearing the same name as the big boys in the West.

In the case of Shenzen Proview, they used to market a product which they call an "Internet Personal Access Device" or IPAD. Although it hasn't manufactured the product in years, it still claims that Apple cannot market the popular iPad using such a name.

Given that Shenzen Proview is in deep financial trouble, I guess there is no harm in trying to squeeze a couple of million dollars from a multi-billion dollar corporation. Unfortunately for them, the Shanghai court saw through their ruse and threw out the trademark violation case. According to the court, there was no law or regulation which prohibited Apple from selling the iPad in China. Better luck next time, guys!


Norman Roland E. Ocana III, Entry #8

Love + Technology

“The ultimate goal of technology, the telos of techne, is to replace a natural world that’s indifferent to our wishes — a world of hurricanes and hardships and breakable hearts, a world of resistance — with a world so responsive to our wishes as to be, effectively, a mere extension of the self.”

I thought to begin this week’s entry with this quote from a CNN Living article because, indeed, technology has become an extension of each one of us. It has penetrated our day-to-day existence from the moment we wake up through our cellular phone alarms to being constantly updated on work (or non-work) through our 3G-wired smartphones and until being rocked to sleep by our nighttime playlist softly blaring from our MP3 speakers. And the impact of technology is never more evident than in matters of the heart. Technology has both simplified and complicated love. It is now so much easier and also more difficult to navigate through our love lives. In my limited experience and earful of stories from friends, I have made the following observations of how technology has impacted this exciting, happy and dramatic aspect of our lives.


Immediacy. Everyone has different conceptions of love. There are those that believe in whirlwind romances and being swept off their feet; there are those who are fine with solid and stable romances; and there are those who are mad at the world for having ever felt in love. But all of these people must understand (or know firsthand) how agonizing a single text message could possibly be. Waiting for the reply of your special someone after a heated argument or a mushy invite may be the longest thirty minutes of your life. It’s because technology has made communication so efficient and just darn quick, that sending a text message only takes a few seconds (depending how fast one types). Because of the immediacy we expect in our interactions, any delay may easily be blown out of proportion, even if, 30 minutes later, there really was nothing to worry about.

Intrusion. Technology has seeped into every aspect of our lives and we can’t help but let it. For most, logging on to Facebook has become a daily ritual whether they have something to share or just to catch up on the lives of others. Therein lies the rub. My friend has recently broken up with his unfaithful boyfriend and this break up was a long time coming (yes, the cheating has happened before). Fortunately, my friend is firm in her decision and has refused the guy’s overtures to win her back. However, while logged on to Facebook, one of the news feeds was the guy’s status update: “I chose to stay because of all the right things done, rather than to leave because of that one mistake.” Of course, my friend’s blood boiled at the gall of the guy and she was sorely tempted to reply but she didn’t. Technology has become a means of intrusion in our lives because by keeping tabs on our friends, we are simultaneously fed unwanted information.

Erasing distance. Communication has never been easier, whether locally or internationally. It’s unimaginable for our generation to think of a time of calling someone in Cebu from Quezon City would cost a lot more than calling someone in Marikina. Now it’s about P7.00 per minute, regardless of local location. Technology has done miracles for long-distance relationships. As opposed to the years of yore, when talking for lovers situated in different countries could only be through wallet-emptying long-distance phone calls, now couples could keep in touch all day through instant messaging and even video chat via Skype. For a time, distance seems insignificant when you get to talk to your significant other and see their facial expressions in real time.

Love has always been simple and yet complicated but we can’t help but wade into the calm and treacherous waters every chance we get. Adding technology to the mixture only serves to clear and blur the horizon (mostly the latter) but again we can’t help ourselves. Technology has been deeply embedded in our lives that it has inevitably spilled over to our love lives.

Source:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/29/opinion/29franzen.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all
Image: http://www.rounds.com/blog/long-distance-relationships/

Candice See
Entry #10

One Stop Shop of Events in the Philippines




Tired of looking for events from different websites, newspapers, and magazines? If you want an easily accessible comprehensive, up to date, and reliable source of information for schedules of events and activities you are interested in, and want to save time searching on the internet, magazines, and newspapers, Memovents is just right for you! It is a website that contains a comprehensive list of all major events and activities in the Philippines. It can serve as a one stop source of information on all of their schedule and places where they will happen or can be watched.  

Memovents does comprehensive searches in the internet, magazines, and newspapers. It gets information also from contacts like organizers of such events. Most of all, it gives everyone a chance to submit a major event which after verification will be posted on the site. It also features a section wherein any school, organization or firm may have their reunions and homecomings posted on the website. It also has a section wherein all movies which are currently shown in cinemas are posted. Aside from its functional benefit, it also offers emotional benefit. The emotional appeal of Memovents to its target market is that there is a feeling of security that no event is being missed out. Users will always be in the know!

The website has four categories: “Entertainment”, “Sports”, “Business”, and “Society”. It also has two other sections namely “Reunions and Homecomings” and “Now Showing”. Now that smartphones and  tablets are more common, it will be easier for the users to get information from the site anywhere, anytime. With all these features and functionality, Memovents aims to live up with its slogan “Your memo to the upcoming events”.     
   

Adrian Francis S. Bustos, Entry #10 

Shopping Online

One of the great things about the Internet is that it has made much of our lives more convenient and it has given consumers greater power in terms of providing us with endless choices to suit the many different preferences that we all struggle with. Nowadays, people don’t have to settle for goods that are physically available, and things certainly don’t even have to be within the same geographical range in order for it to be considered “accessible”.

Yesterday, for instance, in a span of all but 5 minutes, I was able to purchase a pair of shoes from a store in Singapore—more than a thousand miles away—within the confines of my bedroom. This is quite an achievement considering that the pair I bought have yet to be offered for sale in any of the leading stores in Metro Manila. But as everything goes, this story isn’t without a down side, because as convenient as it was to simply click on the icons on the computer screen, minor technical difficulties can easily turn the experience into a nightmare. As in my case, my computer hung as I was entering my order form, and unfortunately, this resulted in a double purchase of my order. As a consequence, I spent the entire day trying to remedy the situation, desperately trying to make sure that my card hadn’t been credited twice for the same transaction. The whole thing was turning out to seem like more trouble than it was worth. At the end of the day, however, when everything was said and done, I began to wonder that maybe some things might just be worth it. Because in a couple of weeks, when that package finally arrives, ill be happy knowing that not too many people have the same pair that I do.


Joni R. Gomez, Entry # 10