Waze traffic GPS app

Waze app: how to use your phone to outsmart Cebu traffic

“IN 200 meters,” the Waze app on the phone said, “turn right.”

We were headed to Marco Polo Plaza Cebu and were near the Banilad flyover on our way to the IT Park when Waze, the driving application I was running on my phone, gave the direction to turn right.

Waze had determined, by going through its database of roads in Cebu and reports of traffic conditions sent in by users, that the quickest route for us was to go to that neighborhood behind Gaisano Country Mall, pass through Camp Lapu-Lapu and a small side road and emerge on our way up to the hotel.

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Exciting times for local startups

THESE are exciting times for local startups, Plug and Play Tech Center co-founder and vice president for operations Jojo Flores said in a press conference last week.

Flores was in Cebu to announce this year’s ON3 Startup Pitching Competition. During the press conference in CeBuinIT or the Cebu Business Incubator for IT, Flores said at least four Philippine-based groups want to set up investment facilities to fund start-ups.

That is a sharp rise, indeed, from the number of local venture capitalists of previous years: zero.

In explaining his drive to cultivate startups and the culture that produces people who form startups, Flores cited a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management titled, “Entrepreneurial Impact: The Role of MIT.

Plug and Play Tech Center co-founder and vice president for operations Jojo Flores, SpellDial's Albert Padin and Mark Abella of TechTalks.ph during the press conference on ON3 Startup Pitching Competition. CLICK TO ENLARGE. (PHOTO BY MAX LIMPAG)

Plug and Play Tech Center co-founder and vice president for operations Jojo Flores, SpellDial's Albert Padin and Mark Abella of TechTalks.ph during the press conference on ON3 Startup Pitching Competition. CLICK TO ENLARGE. (PHOTO BY MAX LIMPAG)

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Start up, get ready to go

The excitement was palpable in last Thursday night’s meetup among Cebu startups at the office of the Cebu Educational Development Foundation for Information Technology (Cedf-it). So was the sense of optimism.

Members of the TechTalks.ph community, which is hosted in an account with meetup.com, gathered to meet other members with the arrival in Cebu of organizer Tina (she requested that we identify her only by her first name).

Last Thursday’s event was the eighth meetup of the group. Previous meetups covered such topics as Google applications, business of software startups and challenges of building one, and how to set up a company.

The group previously had as speaker Eric Su, the founder of photo-sharing service PicLyf. Su said during his guesting that unlike Silicon Valley or other areas where startups have succeeded, the Philippines is a “harsh environment” for startups.

Still, local startups are undeterred. Those present last Thursday–web developers, hardcore programmers, site managers, service founders–were excitedly talking about projects they were doing or planning during the meet and in the after-event meal and drinks.

Members of local startups meet in the Cebu Educational Development Foundation for Information Technology (CEDF-IT) office at the Asiatown IT Park in Cebu City. (Photo by Honeylyn Balingcasag)
Members of local startups meet in the Cebu Educational Development Foundation for Information Technology (CEDF-IT) office at the Asiatown IT Park in Cebu City. (Photo by Honeylyn Balingcasag)

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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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Microsoft launches Windows Server 2008 Foundation in Cebu

Microsoft Philippines launched this morning in Cebu the Windows Server 2008 Foundation, its server solution for small and medium businesses.

Microsoft Philippines Geo-Expansion Lead Boy Bawal said the product will help small companies grow their businesses and boost their competitiveness.

Windows Server 2008 Foundation is a server solution that allows a company with less than 15 computer users to set up a network with file and print sharing, remote access, security and other general server capabilities. It comes bundled with server hardware that can cost as low as P57,000. Bawal said this is the first time that a server software is offered at this price point.

The product, Microsoft officials say, is targeted at first time server users.

For the first time, Bawal said companies no longer have to pay client access license for each user of the system.

Boy Bawal of Microsoft Philippines
SERVER FOR SMALL COMPANIES. Boy Bawal of Microsoft Philippines says that Windows Server 2008 Foundation is the first time that a server software is offered as a hardware bundle for as low as P57,000. He said the product will help small companies grow their businesses and boost their competitiveness.

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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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The Internet is for sale

Do you have a spare P350,000? The Internet, apparently, is for sale for that amount.

I regularly read the classified ads section of Sun.Star Cebu, the paper I work for. At any given day, you’d have people selling anything from pets, houses, power tools to second-hand vehicles to adult toys (under Various Items, together with “Injectable Testosterone for male menopause?).

Sunday is the best day to read the classified section. Sun.Star Cebu averages a hundred pages on Sundays, with the classified ads section accounting for half of these. Looking for a boarding house in Cebu? You can find a lot of advertisements there for boarding houses. Looking for a job in Cebu? On a Sunday, many companies put out full-page advertisements listing their job vacancies.

Classified ads are billed by the column inch so you often see ad copy abbreviated. And so you have massage services promising “good quality srcs. w/guartd 2tal satsfction young M/F exprt thrpst.? One says they have “cuteboy & pinay? for home and hotel service. There’s also the “NONSURG? services for face-lifts, mole removals, and get this: “earhole repair.?

But this ad takes the cake:

The Internet is for sale

Most likely the advertiser meant Internet cafe. But if you think he or she is really selling the Internet 🙂 and you want your piece of the action, send me an e-mail and I’ll give you the contact numbers.

Escribitionism with Twitter and Fring

I never thought that I’d be enjoying it but here I am, using Twitter regularly for the past week. Twitter is a micro-blogging service that has become all the rage among tech-savvy folk and many connectivity addicts since last year.

With the service, you can write short (140 characters) updates about yourself and have these published in your Twitter account or your website and blog. These updates can also be sent as text message or instant message (IM) notifications to your friends and anyone “following” you.

I signed up for a Twitter account last year but never got around to using it regularly. I sent a few messages to the account as a demonstration on the use of various media during a seminar for Salesian priests.

The main reason I wasn’t using it regularly was the price for each message you send via SMS. To use Twitter via SMS, you send your update as a text message to an international phone number. For each Twitter update, you are billed one international SMS charge.

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MUNISIPYO WI-FI. A man browses the Internet at the Argao town plaza. The Municipal Government turned the Spanish-era pueblo into a free wireless Internet zone last year. Click on photo to enlarge.

Munisipyo Wi-Fi

I spent a day in Argao recently and was pleasantly surprised to find several dependable and free Wi-Fi hotspots. I was surprised because in Cebu City, free Wi-Fi access isn’t as widespread as they say it is in places such as Davao City.

Many shops, at least the last time I went warbiking or going around on a motorcycle to check for free Wi-Fi hotspots, just depend on the services of Globe and Airborne Access for their customers’ wireless Internet access.

MUNISIPYO WI-FI. A man browses the Internet at the Argao town plaza. The Municipal Government turned the Spanish-era pueblo into a free wireless Internet zone last year. Click on photo to enlarge.

MUNISIPYO WI-FI. A man browses the Internet at the Argao town plaza. The Municipal Government turned the Spanish-era pueblo into a free wireless Internet zone last year. 

But not Argao.

The municipal government has turned it’s beautiful plaza into a free Wi-Fi zone. There you are—surrounded by Spanish-era buildings, three cannons once used to fight pirates, beautiful masonry, and music that comes from cleverly-hidden speakers—and you have free high-speed wireless Internet access.

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Cebu bloggers meetup

If you’re a blogger based in Cebu, please drop by at the iBrowse Internet Cafe near Cebu Doctor’s University at the North Reclamation Area on Thursday, Feb. 7 at 6:00 p.m. We are organizing a short blogger meet-up there with the indefatigable DigitalFilipino founder Janette Toral.

Janette will be in Cebu for a workshop on Web 2.0 applications and Internet marketing on Feb. 7 and 8. She is also working on a project for bloggers’ involvement in the 2010 elections. We talked about it last year and agreed it would be great to gather Cebu bloggers to talk about blogging and the elections.

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