Smart launches low-cost Android tablet

SMART today announced the offering of a 7-inch Android 2.2 powered tablet bundled with its Smart Bro package. The company said the offering will further “democratize” Internet access in the country.

The ZTE V9 was launched last week with a suggested retail price of P12,795.

ZTE V9. The 7-inch Android 2.2-powered tablet is being bundled with Smart Bro and is sold at a suggested retail price of P12,795. (CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE)

“The ZTE V9 is an affordable way for our subscribers to get the rich Internet experience of desktops and laptops, and the convenience and portability of Internet-capable mobile phones,” Smart chief wireless advisor Orlando Vea said in a press statement.

“We know that many Filipinos still access the Internet mainly through Internet cafes and work or school computers. With low-cost Internet devices such as this, we aim to increase the country’s Internet population, by enabling more people to easily have their own personal Internet access device,” Vea said.

Initially being offered for prepaid subscription, Smart is making available the ZTE V9 on affordable payment terms. Subscriber may pay in six monthly installments at 0 percent interest through participating credit cards. It comes with a Smart Bro prepaid SIM with five days of unlimited Internet browsing. Subscriber may then register the Smart Bro prepaid account to avail of Unlisurf Packages, Per Minute Packages, or All Text Packages.

But more than just for Internet surfing, Smart officials expect Smart Bro to revolutionize the way subscribers use data services through the ZTE V9.

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Turning into a fandroid

HOW long does your initial fascination with a new phone last? Two weeks? A month?

In my case, it used to take about two weeks before the novelty of a new unit started to wear off.

But not with my LG P500, a device that has Android 2.2 or Froyo as operating system. Two months after buying it, I’m more fascinated and attached to it today than in the day after I unboxed the unit.

Before Android, I wouldn’t have considered buying either a Samsung or an LG unit. I was a Sony Ericsson and, later, a Nokia person. It was such a hassle having to transition to another mobile phone brand and relearn everything—from quirks in the keypad to the way other software components worked.

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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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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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Building with WordPress: From sketch to prototype to company website in 5 hours

Aside from being a good blogging tool, WordPress is also a lightweight content management system that can be used to run such diverse sites as news or magazine publications, personal and organizational websites.

I recently started accepting paid web development work and website management. Several weeks back, I bought a domain, Tugkaran.com (from the Bisaya word for staging ground), and created a static HTML page as placeholder because I did not have time to configure WordPress to run the site.

Building with WordPress FROM SKETCH TO WORDPRESS DESIGN. The steps I took from planning a site to deploying a custom WordPress theme for it using Yahoo UI Grids Builder, Aptana, and Bluefish.

But when one of my projects was about to go live, I needed to quickly build Tugkaran because I already placed a link to it in the footer. I spent whatever time I could spare from newsroom and web development work building Tugkaran, 30 minutes or so here, an hour there, a few minutes here.

It took me five hours to go from sketching the site on paper, protoyping the design in HTML, and setting up WordPress with the custom theme. The site was designed “live.” Developing it locally and then replicating the work in the server would take more time—which I didn’t have.

The Tugkaran website still needs a lot of work but it will do for now. I’ll polish it when I have more time. If you want to study the files I worked on, you can download it at the end of this post.

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Despite existence of open source products, many still use pirated software: CICT secretary

THE Philippines still lacks awareness of and support for free and open source software (FOSS), Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) Secretary Ray Anthony Roxas-Chua III said yesterday.

Chua, in his speech during the opening of the Philippine Open Source Summit at the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) early today, said that despite the existence of FOSS products, many Filipinos still use pirated software.

Philippine Open Source Summit OPEN SOURCE SUMMIT. The Philippine Open Source Summit at the Cebu International Convention Center. Click on photo to enlarge image.

“Regrettably, however, the more common option for many users is the purchase of pirated copies of proprietary software. There is, therefore, a need to bring open source to the awareness of users as a legitimate option and to provide the required support for its implementation,” Chua said.

Open source software are those released under a license that legalizes sharing of the application and building up on it. It got its name from the requirement of making the source code available with the software.

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Philippine Open Source Summit opens

Blogger’s note: Hit refresh to read updates. I’m live-blogging event.

The Philippine Open Source Summit is now open at the Cebu International Convention Center in Mandaue City. The two-day summit is

Vice Mayor Michael Rama, speaking for Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmena, told the delegates that information and communications technology (ICT) should always be guided by the fact that technology is a human creation and should be usd for the betterment of humanity.

He said technology should be used as a tool for nation-building. He urged those in the ICT industry to use technology to be the answer “to what we call global misery.”

In giving an overview of the summit, Cebu Educational Development Foundation for Information Technology (Cedfit) executive director Bonifacio Belen talked about how open source has taken the world by storm.

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Joomla users schedule Cebu meeting

Users, developers, and supporters of the open source content management system (CMS) Joomla will be meeting in Cebu next Saturday, June 7 at the Lepiten & Bojos Law Office on Don Pedro Rodriguez St. in Capitol Site, Cebu City (see map below).

The meeting is preparatory to the Joomla Day that will be held in UP Diliman on June 14. During the meeting, members of the Joomla community in Cebu are scheduled to plan activities for a year and consider participation in a coming Open Source summit in Cebu on June 23 to 24 at the Cebu International Convention Center. The Open Source summit will have a track on Drupal, another popular open source CMS.

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From here on, Heron

Today, the new Ubuntu Linux version—8.04 the Hardy Heron—will be released. I have been using the beta or test version for the last two weeks and have found Ubuntu to be easier to use and install and its whole computing experience better than ever.

I had initially decided to stay away from using the beta version—the amount of updates you have to download on the run-up to the final version can be huge. I had several urgent tasks and didn’t want to deal with regularly updating my laptop.

Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron HARDY HERON running on my MSI S260 laptop. Click to enlarge photo.

But Chin Wong made me do it. The devil, in turn, made him do it, or at least that line kept playing in his head as he installed the beta version in his desktop computer. During the installation, he had problems with sound in his system.

A day later, however, he posted a fix to the problem.

That broke my resolve to stay away from the Hardy Heron beta and proceeded to install it, as opposed to upgrade, in my MSI S260 laptop.

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Reporter’s notebook

I finally got my Asus Eee PC last Wednesday. It has, since then, replaced my main writing gear: an MSI S260 laptop running on Ubuntu Linux.

Several reporters and editors in Sun.Star Cebu had wanted to purchase an Eee PC since the start of the year but we couldn’t get a supplier with enough stocks to provide the initial 10 purchases. Cebu shops, I was told repeatedly, had waiting lists for purchases.

Asus Eee PC, Moleskine, Sony Ericsson P1i TRULY MOBILE OFFICE. Trying to beat a column deadline using the Asus Eee PC in a beachsite resort in Argao. These are my mobile work tools: the Asus Eee PC, a Moleskine reporter’s notebook, and a Sony Ericsson P1i. Click on photo to enlarge.

The two boxes of Asus Eee PC arrived at the office last Wednesday. We got the 4G model. I chose the pearl white version but at the back of my mind, I was still thinking of the Lush Green version of the 2G model.

For such a small device, the Asus Eee PC packs a formidable arsenal: Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity, 3 USB ports, a built-in webcam (4G and 8G models), a VGA port for external displays, built-in stereo speakers and a microphone, and a built-in MMC/SD card reader. Any more feature and it could probably write a story for you. But it’s best feature, I think, is that it runs on Linux.

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