Posts by Max Limpag

Max is a journalist and blogger based in Cebu City, Philippines. He is co-founder of the journalism start-up InnoPub Media.
Agent Android

Tech and ambient information

WHEN are you due? I asked a PR professional last week, two months after she gave birth. In my defense, I was seated when she approached me and I looked up at her face, not at her tummy. She said it was obvious we haven’t seen each other for some time, while, involuntarily I think, patting her tummy.

A colleague looked horrified at the faux pas. Technology, I said to explain myself, failed me. I had emailed her just a few days earlier and got a vacation auto-reply about her being on maternity leave.

Had I been on Facebook, I would have known about her giving birth. But I have been mostly off the social network and didn’t know this. Continue reading →

Dr Rene Catan of Arthrologic

IdeaSpace Foundation looks for ‘next big idea’

When orthopedic surgeon Dr. Rene Catan introduced to his fellow doctors some years back his plan to manufacture a local joint replacement, it was dismissed as a “backyard project.” When he presented it to a group of physicians last week, they snapped up shares, even at P12,000 apiece, of the company he built to bring his idea to life.

The difference? Catan won last year a nationwide competition for startup ideas conducted by the IdeaSpace Foundation, the largest privately-backed technology incubator in the Philippines. IdeaSpace has a P500-million fund for five years, pooled together from the resources of Manuel V. Pangilinan’s group of companies.

Catan’s project was borne out of frustration — of the increasing number of people who need joint replacements every year, only about two percent get it because the process is expensive. Parts for the total knee replacement can cost up to P150,000, not counting the costs of the procedure, medicines and other related expenses. Continue reading →

Google Play Books

Better on mobile

More than just a device by which we make calls, today’s phones are portable computers that we carry around with us wherever we go. And what a portable computer it is. The processing power of devices by which we hurl Angry Birds to space is more than that of the system that brought man to the moon.

Yes, we still use phones to make calls but this is the least of the things we do with the device. The IBM Mobile First blog, for example, listed earlier this year 99 devices and services that have been replaced by mobile phones, running the gamut from landlines, to cameras, flashlights, to business productivity tools. US consumers, for example, now spend more time on mobile devices than watching TV, according to Yahoo-owned mobile analytics company Flurry. That’s also the case in the Philippines, according to the “Ad Reaction 2014: Marketing in a multiscreen world” study by Millward Brown.

For many people, phones have become the primary computing device. Certain tasks lend themselves well to the phone. The smaller screen is more than made up for by the device’s portability, accessibility and increased functionality brought by things like location data. Here are tasks that are better done on mobile: Continue reading →

Starmobile vida

Starmobile Vida: entry-level phone packs a punch

WITH all eyes on the latest and greatest flagship devices of the different phone manufacturers, it’s easy to lose sight of the bottom end of the lineup — the entry-level phones that will connect the next billion to the Internet.

Starmobile’s Vida is such a phone. Its technical specs are good for an entry-level device: 1GHz dual core ARM Cortex-A7 processor with a 512MB RAM and a 4GB built-in memory with provisions for up to 32GB expansion via a micro SD card. It comes with Android Kitkat.

Continue reading →

FUTURE IN YOUR HANDS. “There is no point in drawing a distinction between the future of technology and the future of mobile,” said Benedict Evans of Andreessen Horowitz, “they are the same.”

‘Mobile is eating the world’

IT won’t be long, tweeted Andreessen Horowitz partner Benedict Evans, “before people who use Facebook’s desktop site at all will be a minority of users.” The tweet came with a graph of Facebook’s monthly active users (MAU) with mobile-only already millions above a declining desktop-only MAU and closing in on the number of users who use both mobile and desktop.

Evans gave a presentation last week to the Wall Street Journal’s WSJD conference and the a16z Tech Summit by Andreesen Horowitz. If you’re interested in tech and the future, his talk makes for informative viewing and reading.

Evan’s session, at least as listed in the tech summit, was about “The Triumph of Mobile.” Continue reading →

Inbox By Gmail

Re-imagining for mobile

A FEW days back, Google released a new email product called Inbox By Gmail. It is a re-imagining of the email, an “inbox that works for you.”

Google said the product, currently available only by invitation, was built on things they learned from their pioneering email service, GMail. It is, according to the service’s website, a “fresh start that goes beyond email to help you get back to what matters.”

I got into the service and found it visually refreshing. It incorporates Google’s Material Design style guide for consistent look and interaction across all devices. It is much more visually appealing than current email clients, including the existing GMail application. Continue reading →

Kindle on an Android phone

News, reading on mobile

FOURTY-four percent of executives are “most focused on news” immediately upon waking up, according to a global survey of 940 executives by Quartz, the business news website of the Atlantic Media Company.

The Global Executives Study by Quartz Insights polled 940 business leaders in 61 countries, including the Philippines, and 36 industries in an effort to “better understand how the world’s smartest, busiest people consume news every day, source and share industry intelligence, and respond to advertising.” Continue reading →

Rotary phone

What’s a phone?

THE first time I used a phone I wasn’t able to dial the number. I was in grade school and with a friend who was asked by his mother to call his dad at his office. We went to the emergency room at a nearby hospital, the only phone we could use at that time.

My friend and I had never used a phone till then. I dialed the number clockwise and couldn’t move the rotary face. He did the same. Try as we did, we couldn’t move the rotary dial. It’s not working because of the brownout, we concluded and then went home. When his mother corrected us that phones still worked even during a brownout, we returned the hospital to ask to use the phone again and were guided by a staff member on how to properly dial the number.

In college, I would line up at the payphone booths in the UP Diliman shopping center to call a trunk line in the company office in Makati City to be connected to my father in his office in Polomolok, South Cotabato. We were lucky we had this facility, my classmates had to spend a fortune (we’re talking enough money to pay unli-LTE for days today) to call long distance. Back then, you had to schedule phone calls ahead to make sure the parties were near the device to pick it up. Continue reading →

comScore US media time

Mobile app majority

THIS year in the United States, majority of all digital media time is spent on mobile apps, Internet analytics company comScore said in its latest release, “The US Mobile App Report.”

The app majority milestone comes a year after comScore reported a “multi-platform majority,” when most American consumers started using both desktop and mobile devices. It was also around that same time last year that “mobile first surpassed desktop in terms of total digital media engagement,” comScore said.

This year, it’s all about mobile apps. Continue reading →

oTranscribe Vince Loremia

Transcribing interviews? You should try oTranscribe

As a journalist, I do a lot of transcribing of interviews. While I do scrawl notes, these are just to take down key points and summaries and not write what the subject is saying verbatim. It’s hard to keep up, especially with those who speak too fast.

When writing the draft, I’d arrange the key points of the story from memory, then consult my notes. After that, I’d listen to the audio recording of the interview to make sure I got the points, ideas and quotations right.

When I was still starting out as a reporter in 1996, I used a cassette tape recorder and a typewriter. I would rewind and forward the tape – usually just one pass because if you do it often, the tape would get tangled with the tape head – while writing key points of the interview by hand before hitting the keys to type the story. Continue reading →