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Blogs cebu news

Cebu bloggers to meet tomorrow

Several Cebu-based bloggers are set to meet tomorrow
at 2 p.m. in Bo’s Coffee shop near Capitol and Cebu Doctor’s Hospital. The meet-up is being organized by Winston, the blogger at BatangYagit.com.

Quite a few Cebu-based bloggers have already confirmed their attendance. I’m also attending the event and, if I can remember to bring them, hand out the remaining Ubuntu CDs still not claimed by Sun.Star Cebu readers.

Many of those attending use WordPress to run their blogs. The meet, organized by Winston so that he can meet Cebuano bloggers, might be a great time to start a local WordPress users group, what with Blogie Robillo attending.

If you’re a Cebuano or a Cebu-based blogger, let’s meet tomorrow
at 2 p.m. Manny Pacquiao‘s gonna win anyway. If not, we can drown our collective sorrow on espresso.

Categories
cebu news free software Government Highlights Open source

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.

Categories
cebu news free software Open source

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.

Categories
cebu news Mobile Work

ümobile: ad-funded mobile network launches in Cebu

I attended the Cebu launch last May 24 of ümobile, the first advertising-funded mobile phone network in the country, and boy was it the loudest telecoms-related launch I’ve ever covered. It was the sexiest, too.

The launching was held in Club Vudu and by the time it ended, I knew more about what “Vudulicious” was than the details of ümobile that I had wanted to find out during the launch.

umobile change of numbersCHANGING YOUR MOBILE NUMBER. Ümobile allows its subscribers to change their mobile numbers by themselves in the company’s website. The first change of numbers is free, succeeding ones will be charged P50. Click on photo to view larger image.

The time indicated in the invitation—9 p.m.—and the venue told me it was going to be a launch party, with emphasis on the “party.” I was there at 9 p.m. and found Club Vudu still deserted but for ümobile staff doing last minute preparations. I asked one of them whether they would be holding a press briefing and was told none was scheduled. She did say one ümobile official would look for me later and answer my questions.

Fast forward one hour and a half.
umobile launch
UMOBILE PARTY. Vudulicious in Club Vudu. The umobile launch was the loudest telecoms-related launch I’ve ever attended. Click on photo to view an even larger image.

Categories
cebu news Odd

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.

Categories
cebu news Free services Government Highlights Internet productivity

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.

Categories
Blogs cebu news

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.

Categories
cebu news Journalism Mobile Personal

Is Sony Ericsson trying to buy off Cebu journalists?

What if politicians announce, during their press conferences, that they will be holding a “writing” contest and the journalist who publishes the “best article” about the press conference gets to win P5,000 in cash.

What do you call that? If you were a journalist or a blogger, what would you feel?

That, in effect, is what Sony Ericsson is doing in its media campaign to launch its new phones in Cebu.

It was a good thing I decided not to join the press junket organized to launch the latest Sony Ericsson models in Cebu. It was a curious event–curious in the sense that they decided to hold it in Sumilon Island, a slice of paradise in southern Cebu that’s hours away from the city. The launching was scheduled for the entire day last Saturday.

I asked a colleague why organizers decided to launch the phone models in such a remote area where the telecoms signal might even be spotty. I told him that if I were to launch a phone, I’d gather reporters and bloggers covering the telco and consumer electronics beat in a room, have them play with the units and have trained staff on standby to answer questions they may have about the new phone models.

He said it was just an excuse to take the journalists into a junket.

I rarely join press conferences and the prospect of spending my dayoff attending a press junket scheduled for at least 12 hours didn’t appeal to me. I’d rather be spending time with my wife and kids, blogging, or working on my web experiments.

I declined the invitation and asked a UP Cebu mass communications intern to attend. Now if Karla Bautista, who is scheduled for an internship in Sun.Star Cebu (including in my section), had started her duties with my section, I would have sent her and I would have readily exchanged hours playing with Drupal to join the junket. Just kidding, I’d take Drupal anytime.

Categories
cebu news Government Journalism Politics

Read this and weep

Here’s a quiz for you. Look at the photo below (don’t read the caption yet). Which is more expensive? Is it 1.) the street lamp on this road in Mandaue City in Cebu or 2.) the motorcycle and the bag that contains a laptop, digital camera, and various other gadgets of my trade?

Here’s a hint: the lamp is part of the batch bought by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit in Cebu.

That hint was a giveaway, wasn’t it? That single lamppost, if you believe government officials, costs P224,600. The motorcycle costs, at a discounted cash purchase, P51,000. The laptop, again at a discounted purchase, costs P43,000.

mandaue lamppost STAGGERING PRICE. This lamppost on a street in Mandaue City, Cebu costs P224,600 per unit. More than double the cost of the parked motorcycle and the bag that contains a laptop, digital camera, voice recorder, and various other digital accessories. Click on photo to enlarge.

Even if you include the digital camera, micro tape recorder, USB stick, and various laptop accessories in the bag, it still wouldn’t add up to half of the purchase price of that single lamppost.

That single lamppost costs more than a second-hand car. And that lamppost is not even the most expensive model. Anti-graft investigators at the Ombudsman-Visayas found models, installed in Mandaue City, costing more than P300,000 each.

Multiply this cost by the hundreds of units DPWH bought and the amount is staggering. It would have been enough to turn some of the posts into Wi-Fi access points and then roll out a municipal Wi-Fi system for Metro Cebu. That would have been a massive boost for Cebu tourism and commerce.

Categories
cebu news Journalism

When you cover a motel fire, make sure you’re not a regular

A radio reporter was busted on air while covering a fire that gutted New Colon Lodge in downtown Cebu City last Feb. 16. The broadcast journalist was reporting live and conducting interviews when, I’m told, the seedy motel’s front desk clerk shrieked “suki!!!”

Suki is what Filipinos call a frequent customer. I wasn’t able to hear the broadcast but someone who did said the anchorman of the radio station laughed after hearing it. He then asked the reporter “suki diay ka diha bai?” (Are you a regular customer there?). The reporter, I’m also told, is married and has become a butt of jokes by colleagues in the beat.

An editor said that when he was in college, he used to bring girls to this motel on Colon St. and the place was already rundown. It’s a favorite, he said, of those who can’t afford motels in uptown Cebu City and the reclamation area.