When you cover a motel fire, make sure you’re not a regular

A radio reporter was busted on air while covering a fire that gutted New Colon Lodge in downtown Cebu City last Feb. 16. The broadcast journalist was reporting live and conducting interviews when, I’m told, the seedy motel’s front desk clerk shrieked “suki!!!”

Suki is what Filipinos call a frequent customer. I wasn’t able to hear the broadcast but someone who did said the anchorman of the radio station laughed after hearing it. He then asked the reporter “suki diay ka diha bai?” (Are you a regular customer there?). The reporter, I’m also told, is married and has become a butt of jokes by colleagues in the beat.

An editor said that when he was in college, he used to bring girls to this motel on Colon St. and the place was already rundown. It’s a favorite, he said, of those who can’t afford motels in uptown Cebu City and the reclamation area.

Sony Ericsson unveils W200i, W610i, and W880i in Cebu

For a confessed Sony Ericsson fan boy, last Thursday’s unveiling of new Sony Ericsson models was a slice of heaven for me. The company launched three new Walkman phone models–the W200i, W610i, and W880i. The phones are expected to be available in the Philippines by the second quarter of this year.

Sony Ericsson w880i SEXY. I thought to myself during the presentation of the phone by this drop-phone-and-say-hello-gorgeous model that if a booming voice from up there were to suddenly say “Max, you have been a good boy these past few months. As reward, you can pick either the phone or the model to take home with you tonight,” I’d pick the phone anytime. It is that sexy. Click on photo to view larger image.

I normally don’t get to attend launchings, they’re either too early–morning and lunch events–or too late–evening affairs–for me. But last week, I swapped news desk tasks with a colleague just to attend the event. When I got there, the event hadn’t started yet and I got to talk to Sony Ericsson officials about their products. One, in particular, warned me against converting my K750i into a W800i, a task I’m 90 percent bent on performing. “Huwag!!!? (No!!!!) was what she said, but that’s for another post.

Of the three phones launched, the cheapest is the W200i. It is marketed as a “Walkman phone for everyone,? an entry-level music mobile.

The W200i is a tri-band phone that does all the things a modern phone does: send SMS, MMS, take photos (but with only a VGA camera, but what do you expect, it’s an entry-level phone for crying out loud), play games and a host of other multi-media phone functions.

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Usernames, passwords of IT employment site revealed

ISAW or Internet Security and Warfare alerts users of a page in ITPros.ph that contains a listing of its members’ account details, including passwords, in plain text. ITpros.ph is designed to be “the Philippines’ key employment facilitator for the ICT industry.”

The page is searchable through Google and when I went over its listings, I spotted the account of someone that I know.

ITpros.ph EXPOSED PASSWORDS. A screengrab of account details listed in a page in ITpros.ph. The page lists the details, including passwords, in plain text. Click on photo to view larger image.

I informed the person of it and he confirmed it was indeed his old account and the password listed there was indeed the one he used. I think this is potentially dangerous as most people use the same passwords for multiple accounts. I also spotted several accounts using “password” as password.

The availability of the page shows the potential risks of signing up to websites, what with the multitude of web 2.0 services cropping all over the Web and the urge to immediately sign up for accounts. Most people I know use the same password for their e-mail and other web-based services. If one of these services is compromised and your account details are exposed, your other accounts are also at risk.

This is scary, don’t you think? I’m reorganizing my passwords. I’ll be using a different password for my blogs, GMail, AdSense and web server panel accounts. I’ll be using shorter ones for less important services. I’ll be using a new combination for signing up to websites–you know the type, the latest free web 2.0 service to be featured in Techcrunch.

Open source Valentine

It’s a hot date before the big day. Bayan Muna has scheduled a round table on Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 13, at the Rajah Park Hotel function room in Fuente Osmeña to discuss free and open source software.

Organizers are still finalizing details but I was told it’s open to anyone interested to discuss free and open source software, one of the advocacies of Bayan Muna, particularly Rep. Teddy Casiño.

Casiño is the author of House Bill 5769 or the Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) Act of 2006. The measure, according to Casiño’s explanatory notes, “mandates the use of FOSS in all government agencies and encourages the use and development of FOSS in the private and public sectors.”

The bill is still with the House committee on information communications technology. There is no chance it will be passed by this Congress but I was told they will reintroduce the bill in the next Congress.

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Mobile Internet and Globe Visibility, a demo

In the run-up to Sinulog, the biggest festival in Cebu, I was invited to a demonstration of Globe Visibility, Globe’s HSDPA or High Speed Downlink Packet Access mobile Internet service.

The service, marketed by Globe with buzz phrases such as “3G plus,” “better than 3G,” and “mobile broadband,” promises download speeds of up to 1.4mbps. In the limited time that I observed the demo, Globe Visibility was browsing at breakneck speeds. Heck, it was even faster than the faltering and intermittent Globelines Broadband connection I had at home.

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Mapping Cebu’s Wi-Fi hotspots

I’ve been meaning to map Cebu’s Wi-Fi hotspots for more than a month now. It is a project that I’ve kept putting off, mainly because of work deadlines and other tasks.

For a while, I planned to set out–and was on the verge of doing so at least twice–and go through 4 or 5 coffee shops and restaurants in a day to find out 1.) whether they provide free Wi-Fi access and 2.) how good the connection is. I am a recidivist coffee drinker, having kicked it out of my system for a few weeks last year, but still, the prospect of a caffeine overdose (not to mention wrecking my poor excuse of a diet) kept stopping me from starting with the Wi-Fi mapping.

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