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Category Archives: Technology

FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES gets a facelift: preparing for 2010!

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I just need a change, hehehe!

Below is how this website used to look like (click on the small box to enlarge):

WordPress is simply amazing!

Off with the old (Ambiru), on with the new (K2-lite) this coming 2010! =)

*******

Happy 15th birthday to my dear sister Jessica! May you have more happy birthdays to come! And stay as youthful and as beautiful as your Kuya Pepe, hehehe!

Jessica S. Alas

A video guide to our country’s first ever automated elections (that’s next year already)

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What about the computer illiterate? The blind? The senior citizens? Those who do not speak nor understand English (I believe more than half of registered voters do not for the simple fact that the Philippines is not the world’s third largest English-speaking nation)? Would they appreciate nor comprehend this technology? Would this be of any help at all for the electorate?

Quick Guide to the Automated Elections @ Yahoo! Video

The Internet celebrates its 40th anniversary today!

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Happy 40th birthday to man’s greatest –and weirdest– invention: the Internet!!!

Birth of the Internet

Commemorative plaque of the birth of the Internet at the Leland Stanford Junior University.

It would already be superfluous if I write about the Internet’s history or its accomplishments. All I could write about is a supposition: what would’ve happened to modern Pinoy pop culture without the Internet?

There would have been no social networking like Friendster or Facebook or Multiply; there would have been no YouTube and the like (YouPorn?).

There would’ve been no MP3s and CD burning and music piracy (which is actually a good scenario).

The inmates of the Cebú Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (see the famous viral video below) would have remained dancing among themselves within the confines of their prison grounds and not for the world stage.

Charice Pempengco and Arnel Pineda would’ve been total unknowns wherever they go (putting famous rock band Journey on a neverending –you got that right– journey for a fitting vocalist).

Could we even survive without sex scandals?! Character actress and medical doctor Maricar Reyes would’ve remained a b!tc# behind the scenes, and fellow doctor Hayden Kho would’ve remained scotfree using hidden videos to record his sexual trysts with some of the hottest babes in town (it would’ve thus been a bane to the local porn industry, LOL!!!). Nothing more can be said or written about Katrina Halili.

Articles and photos for the hugely popular Flesh Asia Daily 3.0 would’ve been distributed in pamphlets, as if they’re leftist literature, LOL!!!

Of course, who can ever forget Mark Lápid’s obnoxious “saging lang ang may puso” movie clip?

Willie Revillamé would’ve remained verbally unstoppable and more arrogant without the online petition to oust him from multimedia giant ABS-CBN.

And then we also have some acts of journalism/heroism, such as the recent controversy between Blog ni Ella and Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Esperanza Cabral.

And I just wonder what Manolo Quezon III (a prolific blogger and political analyst) would do with the extra hours that will be left behind when going online remained but just a fevered dream.

And the worse thing that could ever happen without the Internet: there would been no FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES and no ALAS FILIPINAS.

Indeed, without the internet, life could have been a total bore to computer geeks.

But this doesn’t mean that the Internet’s nonexistence would’ve made life miserable. Of course not. Just as the best things in life are free, the best literature ever written –be it dissertations or novels or historical literature– are still those that required painstaking research. Something that doesn’t require a click of the mouse, something that will require you to literally turn pages from thick tomes.

Information back then may not be as fast and readily available compared to what the internet can do. But the conditions and the environment of long time ago paved the way for the conceptualization and eventual creation of the Internet.

See you in the next 40 years, Mr. Internet!

Just don’t take over our minds.

What if my brain's connected to the Internet through wires? Man! I'd be swishing inside your servers! That would be awesome!

Good Procurement, Good Governance — Our Last Resort Against Corruption

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Use eProcurement to curb corruption once and for all!

Use eProcurement to curb corruption once and for all!

This is already old news, but it’s still worthy reading:

OVERPRICE CONTROVERSY
DepEd suspends order of noodles

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Education has suspended its purchase of P427 million worth of instant noodles from a supplier amid allegations raised in a Senate hearing that the food items were overpriced and lacked nutritive value.

Education Secretary Jesli Lapus also informed Senator Mar Roxas, chair of the education committee, in a May 11 letter that he has also ordered a review of the department’s school feeding program.

The Roxas committee is leading the Senate inquiry into the allegedly overpriced instant noodles fortified with “malunggay” (Moringa sp.) and eggs that Jeverps Manufacturing Corp. has been supplying the DepEd.

Lapus said the review of the school feeding program would be conducted with the help of independent experts “with the objective of resolving questions such as nutritional content, cost-effectiveness and efficiency of field implementation.” The review is supposed to finish by next month.

Saying he was glad that Lapus had suspended the signing of the contract with Jeverps, Roxas on Tuesday announced that his committee would defer the inquiry into the controversy but would monitor the review of the school feeding program.

Roxas said the two hearings showed that the Jeverps instant noodles priced at P22 for each 100-gram packet was overpriced when compared to other noodles in the market.

He said Nestlé and Universal Robina Corp. had testified that their instant noodles cost P3.50 per pack, not including the costs for flavoring, enhancements and packaging.

At the hearing, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile asked how Jeverps would be able to get its supply of malunggay to produce 19 million instant noodle packs for the DepEd.

“I am not aware of any large-scale production of malunggay,” Enrile said.

Enrile later told reporters he doubted whether Jeverps had a supplier of malunggay.

“It casts doubt on the quality of the products being marketed with malunggay content,” Enrile said.

Roxas said he found it puzzling that the big noodle makers like Nestlé and Universal Robina Corp. were not aware of the DepEd’s bidding of contracts.

URC officials said they were invited by the DepEd to bid for its school feeding program only once in 2007. Nestlé officials said they did not get any invitation at all.

DepEd officials said the bidding for the noodle-supply contract was published in the newspapers.

It was learned at the hearing that Jeverps has been paid more than P750 million as a supplier of the DepEd’s Food for School Program for 800,000 first-grade and pre-school students in the past few years. (from Inquirer.net)

Since joining the eProcurement industry last January, I realized that eProcurement is the best solution to solve bad procurement practices in the Philippines.

Transprocure‘s Charlie Villaseñor, Asia’s eProcurement guru, is correct: with good procurement comes good governance. And since that is not the case with the Philippine government (as can be gleaned from the above report), it forced an angry military officer to rebel against it. That military officer is Antonio Trillanes IV who is now a detained Senator. Trillanes was a former procurement officer of the Naval Training and Education Command of the Philippine Navy. In that position, he successfully reformed his institution’s procurement system resulting to a savings of more than four million pesos. In that same position, he was able to witness first hand the massive corruption in the Philippine Navy’s procurement system — and that was just the tip of the presidential iceberg. Trillanes was against forces more powerful than him, but that didn’t stop him to rise up in arms. The rest is Oakwood history.

eProcurement enhances and promotes transparency in government contracts and biddings. According to David Magno, a Project Manager for Hubwoo, there has been prevailing news that the government had already implemented an eProcurement system throughout its bureaucracy. But suppliers got discontented over the system’s ineffective process, thus ending eProcurement’s spur of the moment in our government around four years ago. Hopefully, our current crop of presidential hopefuls (from Gilbert Teodoro to Noynoy Aquino III) will include in their program of government ways to properly and strictly deploy and implement eProcurement technology not only in all government departments but in all major businesses as well. This will help not only in curbing corruption, it will also help institutions in garnering massive financial savings — a potential boon for our economy. San Miguel Corporation is one best example.

Hubwoo‘s suite of solutions should be brought and implemented here in the Philippines. Although Hubwoo started only a decade ago, it is meticulously handled by management experts who are well-versed, experienced, and thoroughly exposed in the world of eProcurement. Furthermore, Hubwoo provides a fully integrated suite of tools and services, delivered as-a-service to companies. Impressively, it also boasts of the first SAP® global BPO partnership dedicated solely to procurement Right now, the French-based company is holding various roadshow events in the US and Europe to help explain more what its business is all about. Hopefully, it would be able to do the same here in Asia, ESPECIALLY the Philippines.

If Hubwoo won’t be able to solve the problem of corruption in our government’s and businesses’ procurement processes, THEN NOTHING WILL.

Related links:

eProcurement in the Philippines
Law review to improve e-procurement efficiency in Philippines

Status Tagging Now Available In Facebook!

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What’s on your mind?

@Pepe Alas is simply fabulous.”

In order to do status tagging in Facebook, all you have to do is put the “@” sign right before the name of anything you’re connected to in the world’s most popular social networking website: friends, pages that you’re a fan of, and events that you’re invited to.

Randi Zuckerberg

Randi Zuckerberg


Randi “The Face of Facebook” Zuckerberg will teach you how and explain more about this in the following video (click the link to view): CNN Video

For sure, this Facebook technology will soon become a part of life of countless Filipino facebookers.

Pepe “The Book of Facebook” Alas is signing off for today! ¡Hasta mañana! c”,)

Cheap Manila =(

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BPO

To those who still claim that Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is saving us from the brunt of the worldwide economic crisis particularly by bringing here Business Process Outsourcing companies and many international Information Technology enterprises, think again:

Manila among world’s cheapest cities–UBS

We’re as cheap as India, and the above link further confirms that our economy is still down, down since the earlier round. And sugar we’re going down swinging (my apologies to Fall Out Boy).

But even if you don’t click on the above link, it’s already a known fact anyway that the Philippine economy is still as worse as the rest of the Third World. And that is the main reason why BPOs are here — labor is cheap. Arroyo just happened to be at the helm, and that’s why she’s getting much praise for “putting the Philippines on the BPO/IT map”. Many IT-inclined Filipinos do earn big from BPOs and IT companies. But in the long run, there’s nothing to be happy about. Nagdurusa pa rin ang ating bansâ.

So even if we have Amay Bisayà for our president, the economic situation BPO-wise would still be the same.

By the way, isn’t he gunning for any political seat next year? We need such people to amuse our sad politico-economic lives, y’know. El Shaddai’s Bro. Mike Velarde is never enough.

No, It’s Not Arroyo – It’s ¡Aráy Có!

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No way! I just couldn’t believe this…

WordPress responded to me early this morning for their blunder:

On Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 10:08 PM, Mark – WordPress.com wrote:

- Hide quoted text -
Hi,
My apologies – the system should not have done that.

I have removed the warning and I am sorry for the concern it caused.
-

Mark

Even the almighty WordPress falters.

Just great. I missed a full day of blogging (I never missed a single day since I started this last July 18). Not to mention the paranoia this hullaballoo elicited from my brilliant brain.

Sometimes, technology sucks .

My apologies to the Arroyo government for somehow pointing my finger at them.

On second thought, I apologize to myself for not having declared war against terror…

On third thought, I’m cracking up again. Oh, such fun!

The fourth thought is just an afterthought.

So now… I DECLARE WAR AGAINST THE ARROYO GOVERNMENT!!!

See what you did, WordPress? And all you can muster is a simple “oh, we’re so sorry we accidentally screwed your mind”? You didn’t even publish the short Erap article I sent you guys yesterday for review and possible publication. Hey, I think that’s much wackier compared to the serious bull I’ve been writing about Arroyo and her restaurant-hungry posse for more than a month.

Mark (Jaquith or Ghosh?), you should pay me for psychological damages! =)

Har-har-har!

Now… BACK TO THE FUNNIES!!!

Welcome me with a warm embrace, folks.

WordPress Connectivity Problem?

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I had a momentary scare just a few minutes ago. It’s because I wasn’t able to access this English-language blog of mine. Darn, I’ve already posted more than 30 blogposts, and even included unpublished essays and some poems!

This connectivity problem lasted for almost 10 minutes or so. Surely, it wasn’t an internet connectivity issue because I was surfing the net when it happened. I was able to access other websites without any hassle. But just to make sure, I sent my friend April Katigbak (through the chat application in Facebook) the link for FILIPINO SCRIBBLES just to check if the connection problem is on my laptop. But moments later, she replied and told me that she couldn’t access the page as well (the infamous “page cannot be displayed” also appeared on her screen).

I tried visiting WITH ONE’S PAST, TRAVELER ON FOOT, and FLESH ASIA DAILY (FAD 3.0). I also tried accessing WORDPRESS itself — but I couldn’t. I suddenly felt weak, ready to puke out the late lunch I was eating. The problem reminded me of what happened to Arnold’s WITH ONE’S PAST last year; it somehow got deleted while he was tweaking it. But I wasn’t tweaking mine!

I tried connecting to these WORDPRESS sites several times. Finally, I was able to get hold of FAD 3.0 but with much difficulty. I was still alarmed, though, because although FAD 3.0 is powered by WORDPRESS, the domain is already owned by JB Lazarte whereas WITH ONE’S PAST and TRAVELER ON FOOT are still hosted for free.

My wife was getting concerned, too, because she knows how important my writings are to me. She even thought that maybe the IT people of Malacañang did something to close it down (haha!) Too bad, I don’t have copies of what I wrote anymore. So I started to write fear-filled messages on my Facebook account’s Wall (https://filipinoscribbles.wordpress.com is missing…” and “Holy smokes! WordPress cannot be accessed! I’m visiting other wordpress weblogs — THEY COULD NOT BE ACCESSED!!!”)

Then, before I thought of banging my face across my laptop monitor, I was finally able to connect to FILIPINO SCRIBBLES and to other WORDPRESS sites. April also replied to one of my Facebook posts, confirming that she can already access my blog.

Whew! Talk about scary.

WORDPRESS, what in blue blazes happened? Could you please explain???!!!

Wordpress has just scared the hell out of me!

Wordpress has just scared the hell out of me!

And to other bloggers who read this, I have a friendly reminder: make sure that you have an extra copy of each and every article that you plan to post in your respective blogs, so just in case something like this happens, there won’t be any suicidal thoughts.

Applying Anne Frank’s Thoughts on the National Scene

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The below essay was written sometime in 2002 when I was still in college.

I still remember the night when I was trying to send it via email to the contest authorities. I was in some internet shop in Pásay City where I used to live when me and my wife still only had one child. I was trying to beat the deadline; the submission was due in less than an hour. But stupid me, I was still unfamiliar in using most of Yahoo‘s gadgets, especially in attaching files. Thus, I wasn’t able to send the essay. Had I sent it successfully, it would’ve won first prize hands down, LOL!!!

Here it is…

Anne Frank (1929-1945), a victim of man's classic stupidity.

Anne Frank (1929-1945), a victim of man's classic stupidity.

THE ANNE FRANK ESSAY CONTEST
(APPLYING ANNE FRANK’S THOUGHTS ON THE NATIONAL SCENE)
José Mario S. Alas

“I don’t believe that the war is simply the work of politicians and capitalists. Oh no, the common man is every bit as guilty; otherwise, people and nations would have rebelled long ago!“

Such words, such thoughts, written by so young a girl, could easily stir such an emotion of amazement by those who read the excerpt from that child’s war-time diary. Yet a sentiment of pity would also bubble from within when the reader realizes that the diary from which the statement is taken was written by that same girl who was herself a victim of war’s conflagratory effects.

That diary, written by a keen, young girl called Anne Frank, has survived not only that war, but has also survived time up to today’s global war-paranoid atmosphere. And this very particular entry from little Anne poses a question so crucial for every nation, particularly the Philippines, involved in national and international disturbances.

Here in the Philippines, little Anne’s indignant words that even the common man is every bit as guilty in relation to the existence of conflicts rings true. Our country, since its bold declaration of a Third Republic right after the Second World War, has had countless blunders and bloodshed. This is not to say that such a sad and humiliating reality is unique in our country alone, but this is an opportune time to unveil its maladies in the light of a young child’s philosophy that had contemplated on human nature within the confines of a hidden refuge away from a rampaging Holocaust.

Take for example the recent events that took place during the regime of ousted president Joseph Estrada. During the campaign season for the 1998 national elections, the whole Filipino electorate was pathetically divided, and it was aggravated further by the anti- and pro-Estradas such as the Church, the elite, Leftist and Rightist elements, and other troublemongers. Estrada who was undoubtedly very popular among the majority of the masses, apparently basked on his new-found national glamour. And he himself took advantage of the situation, making promises here and there, even though some of them were obviously hollow or pies-in-the-sky. It appears that such actions are wont to be committed by every aspiring national leader.

But where is the blunder here made by the common Filipino? Well, the question “where did we go wrong” was only realized during the last days of Estrada’s troubled regime, during the calls for his ouster, and the status of the government in between two people powers: EDSA 2 and EDSA 3.

It was a period of uncertainty and fear. The people have realized how flimsy their government was, and how corrupted and untrustworthy the governance of these islands is executed. But, to use again Anne Frank’s exceptional assessment of society’s failures as well as the advantageous pitfalls perpetrated by scheming individuals in power, it is perhaps better for the common Filipino to stop for a while and ask himself “where did I go wrong?”

Every Filipino citizen who is able to contribute his services for the sake of the Motherland has a hand in the course of the country’s journey towards redemption. It is everybody’s responsibility on how to steer the course of the Philippines towards the right path. It is a cowardly, irresponsible, and unpatriotic excuse if one will say that it is solely the job of politicians and other national leaders.

Such a coarse excuse is now prevalent among the masses. It is quite unfortunate that even the youth, whom national hero José Rizal hoped to be at the forefront of social change, has been nonchalant about this. One reason to blame for this defect is due to the fact that education is on a widespread slump. The masses, especially the youth, has abused their time for self-enrichment, and are thoroughly contented with the ease, comfort, and pleasure that technology brings with it. They no longer care to take part in the debates over current issues regarding social concerns. What they care about are only themselves. It is not enough to be caring and thoughtful solely towards family relations and friends. Thus, it is selfish if such affectionate sentiments are not shared with the country.

Education is the solution to all these mishaps and chaos. If only the Filipino masses were efficiently educated, not just academically but socially as well, then nothing like the Estrada and post-Estrada tragedies would have happened. Furthermore, this education on self-appraisal should be emphasized so as to give political and social maturity in the minds of the Filipinos.

We can still make it before next year’s national election arrives. It’s not enough to say that we want to believe that the system is right. If there are defects, then we should change it no matter what. The best way to give it a first shot is to be more scrupulously participative in the 2004 elections. This, however, has not yet been done before.

In capsule, we shouldn’t wait for us to experience the sufferings of Anne Frank during the last global war before we begin to think like her.

*******

A few days from now (September 1), the world will commemorate World War II. It was during these bloody years when Anne experienced the brutality of humanity. May we never have another stupid war.

Stupid war? Hmmm… that sounds redundant already.

Filipinas, Is Your Internet Connection Today Acting Much Like Our Government: As Slow As A Snail?

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Somehow, I am experiencing it. Reports vary. Some say it’s caused by an earthquake near Japan. Others say it’s caused by a damaged submarine cable system near Taiwan due to recent typhoon visitor, Morakot. But it’s clear that the problem seems to be happening only here in Southeast Asia. And I heard that this problem might last for (gasp!) a week.

But, puh-leaze!!! Somebody give us an accurate report!!!

Hopefully, this will be resolved very soon. Or else I’m toast.

What all internet users hate to see is proudly displayed in this stupid sign.

What all internet users hate to see is proudly displayed in this stupid sign.

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