CE-GNU-LUG talks about Meego during a meetup last July 29 in TechBar at the Asiatown It Park.

CE-GNU-LUG keeps, spreads the faith

LITTLE John looms large in the Cebu open source community. In installfests, he towers.

My first encounter with John Clark “Little John” Naldoza and his merry band of local open source advocates was in an installfest, a gathering hosted by a Linux users’ group (LUG) where people can bring their computers for installation of a Linux operating system (OS), in about 2000.

CE-GNU-LUG talks about Meego during a meetup last July 29 in TechBar at the Asiatown It Park.

CE-GNU-LUG talks about Meego during a meetup last July 29 in TechBar at the Asiatown It Park. (PHOTO BY JONEL ALBACETE AGUTAYA)

Back then, open source wasn’t as widely accepted by people or businesses.

I had arranged, via e-mail, to meet Little John and looked around one of the trade halls in SM City Cebu with level eyes, only to be approached by a giant of a man with an expansive knowledge of everything tech. Little John is a man you look up to, literally and figuratively.

In 1999, Naldoza, Emmanuel William Yu and Ryan Go discussed in Plug (Philippine Linux Users’ Group) the setting up of a Cebu Linux Users’ Group. They decided to name the group phonetically after the festival that helped make Cebu known worldwide.

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Jerry Rapes

Jerry Rapes: Head in the Cloud, feet on Cebu

IF WE do things right, Exist president and chief executive officer Jerry Rapes said, the opportunity is really big.

From $9 billion and 500,000 direct jobs in 2010, the information technology-business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) sector in the Philippines is targeting $25 billion in revenues and 1.3 million workers by 2016.

Rapes is optimistic about hitting the target.

“I think Filipinos are as good as anybody in the world,” he said in his Cebu office at the Asiatown IT Park. Local developers are “very good and trainable and although there are areas for improvement, they are technically sound.”

Filipino developers are good at collaborating and have an excellent command of English. “The US market is still the biggest IT market. When you get a project from the US, the Filipinos don’t need translators, they can communicate directly with the American client, partners and engineers,” Rapes said.

Skilled workers

But for the industry to thrive, it must have regular supply of skilled workers.

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Writing, reading and mobile devices

GOOD Web writing is non-linear. It takes advantage of the key technology behind the Internet—the hyperlink—to provide context, additional information and even marginalia.

It is “writing for selfish readers,” as usability expert Jakob Nielsen puts it.

Web readers have so many sites and services competing for their attention they barely have time to read your article.

TABLET READING. The experience of reading on the tablet is closer to print.

TABLET READING. The experience of reading on the tablet is closer to print. CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE.

Nielsen says that in the linear writing of print and TV, readers and viewers expect the author “to construct their experience for them.” In the non-linear character of hypertext-driven writing, users “construct their own experience by piecing together content from multiple sources.”

If another fire were to break out in Cebu, an article written in a non-linear, hypertext manner would just mention that it would be the 10th blaze in recent days, with that phrase hyperlinked to archives of previous stories of the fires. Writing the article that way presents the reader with the option of clicking the link for more background information on the fires or ignoring it if the reader already knows about the previous incidents.

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News writing: 5Ws, GPS

When fire broke out in Barangay Tejero late Saturday afternoon, I was dragged to the scene by my wife, who wanted to cover it for her news blog and as trial for the system of Yahoo! Philippines’ foray into local news.

I can no longer recall the last time I covered a fire for news. But it was definitely before mobile Internet became as ubiquitous as it is today. I think it was also before I had a wife who would drag me to a fire scene.

Amid the panic of people trying to save what they could as they accounted for family members and friends, we posted updates through our phones, took photos and videos.

Saturday’s experience taught me a lot about the speed by which the technological juggernaut changes the way we do things, especially in reporting for a quickly-evolving online media landscape.

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Organize your life with QR codes

Productivity blog Lifehacker links to a great service by Boxmeup, a website that allows you to create virtual containers that you can use to track stuff in boxes and other bulk storage systems. It uses for labels QR codes, bar codes that can be scanned by most smartphones today.

The service is really useful for pack rats like me who can’t seem to let go of things, even 5-year-old notebooks and ancient press releases.

With Boxmeup, you can list the things you place into a container and then generate a QR code that you can use as label for the box. The next time you are looking for something—interview notebooks for a libel case, heavens forbid—you can just use your phone to scan the QR codes of your boxes and containers and you’d know right away what are stored inside these.

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Copyright? Try copyleft

STOP the “culture of copying” among Filipinos, Intellectual Property Office (IPO) Philippines Director General Ricardo Blancaflor said in his speech during the Cebu Creative Industries Summit on June 21.

Blancaflor pressed on the need to respect copyrights, saying creative industries rely on intellectual property.

Creative industries, he said, posted a yearly growth of 14 percent from 2002 to 2008. Blancaflor said the Philippines can compete with more developed countries through creative industries, which make full use of skills and talent.

Blancaflor makes a very important point. Software piracy, for example, is estimated at 69 percent in the country, accounting for $278 million in financial losses in 2010.

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Quick review: Article sharing with Facebook, Google+

Google opened to limited testing earlier this week its latest social networking service. Google+. What immediately catches your attention when using the service is its stark simple and yet beautiful interface. It makes Facebook look like MySpace, said blogger Ron Galloway.

Although Google is still actively developing the service (Googlers are directly engaging with users giving feedback on Google+) , I like what I see. So much so that I started campaigning with the running group that I co-founded, the Ungo Runners, so that we could possibly migrate there.

The huddle feature, which I still have to test, makes me drool at the possibility of uses on organizing group runs on-the-fly. It’s mentioned in this review by CNN’s Amy Gahran. But we all know this isn’t likely to happen soon (think of how long it took many of your friends to transfer from Friendster).

One major activity in online social networking is the sharing of articles and Google+ almost does it as well as Facebook. With bookmark services and applications still not supporting Google+ and with most websites still not using the +1 button, you have to cut and paste URLs into Google+.

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