More Tech Trends

All PDI InfoTech articles for the week under way:

Low-Cost Laptops for Big Returns in Education

I first wrote about XO in this blog entry after having heard about it early this year. Apparently the laptop bannered as a serious economical alternative for students especially for those in third world countries will hit the U.S. and Canadian markets from November 12 to 26. For $399 the buyer gets one machine while the other one will go to a less-fortunate beneficiary to be determined by the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project.

The cost of a laptop’s therefore still pegged at nearly $200. Though still far from the $150 reported early this year, OLPC hopes though to bring the price down at $100 after about a year.

The Philipine Broadband Scene

One of the signs of rapid technological advances I guess. As broadband usage popularity grows in the Philippines, the country is now projected among countries such as “Greece, Indonesia, India, Ukraine, Ireland, Thailand, Vietnam, Russia and Turkey” to be among the 10 fastest growing broadband markets. The PDI article citing the telecom industry analyst Ovum sees the growth of broadband usage in the country from “three million to less than 10 million” by 2011.”

ZTE

And speaking of broadband growth, a hot current events topic these days is the National Broadband Network, (NBN) the government dealt to Chinese corporation, ZTE Corp. Though it’s been a pretty dated topic, the recent Senate interrogations with those involved in the deal have been sour to say the least as flashes of personal attacks and tirades have all been there. And when bloggers had their say on the matter, you just know that the topic won’t go away soon.

Personally I am very skeptical with the deal and shares a sentiment much like what Senator Francis Escudero has to say in the PDI article on that bloggers’ take.

I can’t believe that the ZTE is the best deal we could get now. True, we live in an archipelagic country and this may be a major factor in the huge bill for a national broadband network, but since technology is getting faster and cheaper at the same time, we might as well look for the truly best deal. There must be other options that are more favorable to the Philippines and that should be protected from the government officials and their relatives who salivate for more money at our expense

One of the early criticisms on the project was from Raul Fabella and Emmanuel de Dios. One thing that captured my attention immediately was the government’s failure to provide a feasibility study before determining just how much the project should reasonablycost. For someone who’s been into several IT projects for a number of years already, the lack of a feasibility study to determine the minimum requirements of such a large-scale project is already glaring. Not only does that leave a wide-open window for corruption, it also presents the possibility of having the client, (in this case the Philippine government,) at the mercy of ZTE’s discretion. Read all of the contents of Fabella and de Dios’ paper, (in PDF format,) here.

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Growing Up Anyone?

Just a second serving of “You Know Your Kid’s a Lot Like You When…” really or what parenting had in store for me two years after that post. 😀

Fatherhood’s not only about providing necessities and goodies to children. An even more important responsibility not of fathers alone but of parents in general is to prepare the little ones for the future’s uncertainty, life’s hardships and the world that’s becoming more and more complex with time. So in lieu of my daughter’s coming birthday in a week, I stopped and took a look at some recent incidents with her.

Who knows? Maybe a few decades from now she would be reading this without the “I’ve-heard-that-for-the-nth-time” irks typical of a younger generation shunning off the voice of the older generation. Apart from imparting nostalgia and a few smiles and reliefs, maybe she would find some things here worth keeping in mind when the time comes for her to start with her own version of parenting.

Beinte!

Sometime last month, my daughter started asking me for twenty pesos eveytime I came home from work. She reasoned out that since her birthday was coming in roughly a couple of months, she needed to save for her birthday cake.

While I can pay for the cake on the spot come that day, I saw that request as an opportunity to get her started on something important: financial know-how. It was perfect because apart from ascribing to that “important-things-should-begin-at-home” philosophy and imparting the value of saving, I get to be the first one to guide her in her first course on finance.

So up until now, one thing I look forward to after work is to get home from work and have the little girl come up to me and say “beinte” (“twenty” in Spanish and Filipino.)

Hoy Bangon!

When the exam results from the first grading period came, all of us grown-ups were surprised that one of her mistakes was on the subject of addressing older ones politely in her Filipino subject. In particular, that portion of the test asked the student to choose which of two statement best fits a picture.

In the test item, there’s a picture of a grown-up trying to wake up a child. The choices: “hoy bangon!” and “magandang umaga po,” (“hey, wake up!” and “good morning.”) It did seem like a no-brainer but when asked why she chose the first one over the second, she quickly quipped “Eh hindi naman nangu-ngopo ang matanda sa bata e,” (“grown-ups don’t use ‘po’ and ‘opo’ when addressing kids.”)

It struck me right there and then-she is correct after all!

Teethbrush

The subtitle’s pretty much a give-away really. One thing you have to love and amusingly hate about a rational kid is that she strikes you when you least expect it.

One night as I was about to brush my teeth, she asked me if she can brush her teeth with me. I nodded so she asked for her “teethbrush.” I was supposed to correct her as she knew one was coming her way but I found myself (again) unable to.

So there I was explaining to her that conventions set are not always logical. That while it is good that she’s obviously capable of using that thing between her ears, she’s better off following the convention to save herself from the trouble of having trivial arguments against those who can’t.

Now it would be an entirely different story if she doesn’t mind being considered a little bit OC-ish by her circle of friends like her father.

Modern-day Trends

IT Anyone?

While the IT-sector of the Philippine economy has undoubtedly grown, I never thought the figure’s currently pegged at 400,000 related jobs from 8,000 last 2000. That is if co-Chairman of the National Competitiveness Council, Cesar B. Bautista is to be believed.

In an Infotech article written at PDI today, he spoke of a positive outlook for the country’s BPO services sector as something “to overtake India” in the near future. This as he cites a Frontier Strategy Group report released early this month as the reason for the optimism.

I hoping that the present crop of IT workforce could stand up to the challenge-if ever there really is going to be one.

What was that again?

A PC World article featured at Yahoo news tells of the effect of frequent mobile phone usage that is brain slowdown. The result of a study on 300 persons for nearly two and a half years indicated that the slowdown was still considered normal though.

However plans on expanding the study this time for a longer period of study on 17,000 people, is already on the drawing board.

Now that’s something definitely worth looking into as mobile phone usage has made it to the just about any common man’s routine. That and the fact that society adapted to it so quickly that just a decade ago, only the most affluent in this third world country could be seen flipping their phones in public, all point to a possible health hazard to a mobile generation of humans.

The Long Way Home

So the average L.A. driver gets to spend the longest time in traffic according to a Reuters report on the 10 worst metropolitan traffic in the U.S. In particular, those in L.A. waste 72 hours annually in traffic, (that’s 3 whole days of a year spent in traffic alone.) Runner-ups include (unfortunately) San Francisco, Washington D.C., Atlanta, the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arllington area, San Diego, Houston, Detroit, San Jose and Orlando in that order. Read the rest of the whole article here.

I’d like to see an independent study come up with something on Metro Manila traffic to give L.A. a run for its money though. :))

I Want My Money Back

One of the reasons why I keep few personal stuff besides not wanting to spend for something I won’t use often is that protection for consumer rights here in the Philippines still has to go a very long way. How many times has the mediocrity of products and services been read or heard?

Sadly I’ve had my share of things such as the shrug of the shoulder, inefficient support and downright defective products and service. The thing is protection for small-time public consumers is still practically non-existent here even if service providers are given the green light to clamp you down with an exclusive contract for a good number of months.

In a society whose government does strive to protect the voter’s interest, some steps on complaining do get results. Looking at that article, it’s not hard to see how much consumer protection in this country still has to improve on.

Technology and Etiquette

Pulled from 6 Things to Consider are bad technology habits and email etiquette I wish a lot of people these days would read and keep in mind. The gist of the first goes:

  1. Talking on the cell phone at inappropriate places.
  2. Interrupting a conversation to answer you cellphone.
  3. Constantly checking email.
  4. Don’t use unusual ringtones.
  5. Hiding behind Voice mail.
  6. Calling back a number on CallerID when a message wasn’t left in voice mail.

Especially for us Filipinos, I still see a lot of people guilty of point number 1 and point number 2. The former is even unheard of to a lot of people here while I get to see people do the latter even if the guilty one’s conversation is that of business.

Also I’d like to add not to forward contact information without its owners permission. That goes for mobile numbers, telephone numbers and email addresses. Sensible persons should respect the privacy of other people so it goes without saying that when they give their contact information, one should appreciate the fact that they think they can trust you with it. It’s just sad that even those with the latest and sleekiest mobile phones and PDA’s are even ignorant of this simple point.

As far as the second list, it goes:

  1. Be polite.
  2. Check for spelling and grammar mistakes.
  3. Don’t leave out details, but at the same time don’t put in to much information.
  4. Watch the use of attachments.
  5. Use email responsibly.
  6. Address emails correctly.

As far as the second point there is concerned, I’d like to see more people practice it. I know it takes time but it says a lot about one who submits something haphazardly done. Read a lot of the same glaring posts and comments in forums, discussions and blogs and the sensible one can’t help but feel dismay at the lack of effort behind the reads.

Given the sheer volume of such erroneous stuff, is it still surprising that the growing number of offenders have it their way in calling those who still bother to practice corrections OC?

The images btw were taken from Open Clipart: the first one here and the second one here.

Stairs Standard

Just weeks before I get another ball into my juggling act, I encounter something to remind me to proceed with caution as I was searching for stuff to give me more ideas as to what to expect at UPOU.

Nope, either image’s scary. Guess it’s just part of the back-to-school jitters.

The Week’s Worth Elsewhere

Plowing Through Plowshares

This view reminds me of a fact my former professor told our class once: Land Reforms and other agricultural programs’ benefits often have the flaw of not actually being felt by the most destitute farmers for whom the endeavors are supposed to be for. That Pakistani viewpoint highlights just how much the centuries-old problem still remains. Talk about people remaining essentially the same.

Wanning Wages

An insight on Central Asians’ struggle to cope with minimal wages got featured in Eurasianet this week. Given that fact (minimal wages) it wasn’t pretty surprising to have snapshots of emmigration of profesionals and corruption among public officials included there. After all the same factors and scenarios have been playing out here in the Philippines ever since I can remember.

The Urban Rush

An IRIN News article this week focuses on something I’ve blogged about at least twice: Urbanization. Apart from the same points raised in the other reads I wrote about here before, (i.e. challenges and existing problems because of growing urban population globally, lack of urban planning, urban crime and violence, and poverty,) the read includes South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin American glimpses of the issue.

The Markets’ Value

Finally an Economist article places financial centers around the world at present in parallel with the Middle Ages’ powerful city-states. Apparently New York and London has managed to remain ahead of the pack despite the more global nature of the market and the challenges posed by today’s advances in technology in the world of business.

A Smashing Touchdown

A common theme in movies is a meteorite or asteroid streaking down from the skies and blowing up a sizeable portion of the earth then causing a catastrophe wiping out a significant fraction of humanity if not its entirety.

No tsunamis, earthquakes or gigantic explosions in this one though. If a featured AFP news yesterday is true however, a meteorite, which crashed somewhere in southern Peru, afflicted villagers with a mysterious illness. The said villagers reported “headaches and vomiting brought on by a ‘strange odor,'” according to the report.

A more recent AP article reports however that experts did confirm the crash but are still investigating the claims on the “illness” the crash caused.

Wait a minute! Didn’t venom originate from a meteorite from outer space as well?! 😛