The sky isn’t falling

(Here’s my closing remarks at the Online Campus Journalism Seminar and Workshop held by Smart for campus journalists in Cebu.)

Twelve years ago, a group of journalists, writers and artists in Cebu decided to form a cooperative and publish a different type of community newspaper. The Independent Post was a paper that was to be owned by its readers, who were to have a big influence on how the paper was run.

We set on in that quixotic enterprise with a couple of millions, big dreams and a lot of hard work.

But, it was the height of the Asian economic crisis. We burned through whatever funding we had but still tried to hold on to that grand dream of blazing a journalism trail, working hard for little or no pay.

In two years, the paper folded. Big dreams, instant noodles and hard, hard, hard work were not enough.

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On the road but still “in the cloud”

(This is my column for Sun.Star Cebu for tomorrow, Oct. 27)

Two days before I was to run in the Smart Subic International Marathon (SIM) 2009, I finally learned how to properly tie my shoes. It’s hilarious if it isn’t excruciating to have to bend to retie shoelaces that come undone after running several kilometers.

All my life, I have been apparently tying my shoelaces using a Granny Knot, which easily comes undone. I wouldn’t have known any better had I not started running. In longer runs, my shoelaces always come undone and I’d cringe in pain every time I had to bend and retie it.

It turned out that there’s a better way to tie your shoelaces to make sure that these do not come undone. The trick is to use a Reef Knot and a Runner’s World video shows you just how to do that.

Learning how to tie my shoes via a Runner's World video
TYING MY SHOE. Learning how to correctly tie my shoes using a Reef Knot, which doesn’t come undone, using a Runner’s World instructional video viewed through a Smart Bro USB modem connection.

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Globe unveils new Globe Broadband Tattoo USB skins

GLOBE Broadband Tattoo has unveiled three new designs for its USB skin—Black Dragon, Purple Brushstrokes, and White Techie.

Globe is “the first to offer funky broadband-equipped USBs in the Philippines,” the company said in a press statement.

Globe Broadband Tattoo Black Dragon USB skin
BLACK DRAGON USB skin for Globe Broadband Tattoo.

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Cebu needs to work to keep IT talents: Damarillo

CEBU has the potential to be the next Silicon Valley but it must deal with the movement of its talented workers to Manila and abroad and improve its marketing as a technology hub, an information technology entrepreneur said Friday.

Winston Damarillo, one of the founders of G2iX and its chief executive officer, said that because of its geography, weather and quality of life, Cebu has the makings of a technology center.

Damarillo also said local companies are cooperative with industry undertakings and there is a good partnership with the academe through such initiatives as the Cebu Educational Development Foundation for IT (Cedfit).

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Smart offers unlimited calling within its network nationwide with Smartalk

Smart Communications is offering its subscribers unlimited calling within its network through the Smartalk service, which will be available nationwide starting tomorrow, June 26.

Under the service, which was formally unveiled in Cebu yesterday, Smart subscribers can make unlimited calls to other users in its network using two subscription plans: Smartalk 100 and Smartalk 500.

Smartalk launch in Cebu
SMARTALK LAUNCH. (From left) Atty. Maria Jane Paredes, Smart public affairs manager for Visayas and Mindanao, Danilo Mojica, head of Smart’s wireless consumer division, and Annie Naval, marketing group head, answer questions of reporters from Cebu and Mindanao during the launch of Smartalk in Cebu City.

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DevCon Visayas to host hackathon, talks on software, web development

SOFTWARE engineers from all over the country are scheduled to meet in a conference in Cebu City on Friday, June 26, to talk about technical issues on software development.

DevCon Visayas offers free admissions to its technical sessions on such topics as cloud computing, social networking and content management systems through sponsors Oracle and G2iX. Organizers are asking those interested to join the conference to register online at http://www.devcon.ph/.

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Sony Ericsson shows off Cyber-shot phones in smiles campaign

Sony Ericsson is embarking on a national campaign to collect 1 million digital photos of people smiling andraise P1 million for the United Nations Children’s Fund or Unicef. For each smile Sony Ericsson photographs of people who visit their booths in SM malls all over the country, P1 will go to Unicef.

The campaign is done in partnership with nine SM Malls that will also be holding a contest among themselves on who could gather the most smiles. SM Prime Holdings vice president Marissa Fernan, who is a bit of a gadget nerd herself, is confident of Cebu’s chances to win the contest among SM Malls. You have until the end of this month to go to the Spread the Smiles booth in SM Cebu and have yourself photographed there.

If you give a P20 donation, you will be given a Digiprint photo printout, a spot on the Smile Wall and a raffle ticket to win a Sony Ericsson C510 Cyber-shot phone.

Vince dela Cruz demonstrates Smile Shutter
SMILE SHUTTER. Vince dela Cruz, Sony Ericsson product marketing manager, demonstrates how smiling can trigger the shutter of Sony Ericsson’s Cyber-shot phones during the launch of its Spread the Smiles campaign in Cebu.

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Globe offers unlimited calling to landlines with Globe DUO

Globe launched in Cebu last week its Globe DUO service, a combination mobile and landline service that gives subscribers two numbers—a mobile phone number and a portable landline number—using just one subscriber identification module (SIM).

With Globe DUO, consumers get to make and receive unlimited calls to and from any landline number within a certain coverage area. Globe DUO subscribers can also make unlimited calls to other subscribers of the service.

The service is initially available for pospaid Globe subscribers in Manila and Cebu. Today, May 25, Globe will open the service for the first time to prepaid users. Globe Telecom Consumer Wireless Business Group head Ferdinand dela Cruz said they chose Cebu for today’s introduction of the service to prepaid use.

Ferdinand dela Cruz talks about Globe DUO
LANDLINE AND MOBILE PHONE. Globe Telecom Consumer Wireless Business Group head Ferdinand dela Cruz talks about Globe DUO during its launch in Cebu.

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Globe denies throttling peer-to-peer traffic, works to normalize downloads

Globe has denied implementing any bandwidth capping for peer-to-peer downloads. The company said in a press statement that it is working to restore downloading through peer-to-peer applications in Globe Broadband. It also said, however, that the company will consider limiting bandwidth if it detects “abusive usage.”

“You may experience slow downloading using peer-to-peer applications. Restoration is currently ongoing. We apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused you. Rest assured that steps are already being taken so that the service will normalize the soonest possible time. Thank you for bearing with us,” Globe said in a press statement.

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One more reason to love Nokia: standard audio jacks

(This is for my Sun.Star Cebu column on Tuesday, May 12, 2009)

Two Nokia phones I’ve recently tested steeled my conviction to transfer to the Finnish mobile phone manufacturer from Sony Ericsson, whose phones I’ve been using for at least a decade. The two units, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic and N96, have standard jacks for audio and video-out connections.

With standard audio jacks, you can use regular headphones, including those you buy for laptops or personal computers, with your mobile phone. Not only do you have more choices when it comes to the quality or design, you also have more options when it comes to the price.

With the current design of mobile phone accessories like earphones and external speakers, you are locked into the phone manufacturer’s usually expensive product offerings. The other option is to risk buying cheap knockoffs that at times conk out in less than a week.

Standard headphones with the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic
USE REGULAR HEADPHONES. The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic has a standard audio jack and you can use any type of headphone with it. Above, a regular PC headphone works with the device.

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