Geek talking

Pinoy geek talking about everything under the sun

Archive for September, 2005

My New Office

Posted by rom on September 30, 2005

A month after my term as director of the Computer Center ended and I still could not find myself to stay at the department for more than 4 hours. I just stay at home and only go to school for my classes. My students consult online – e-mail or instant messaging.

I have relocated my office to Starbucks Commonwealth! Yeah, it is far better than my room in UP – less clutter, more caffeine and better “view”, if you know what I mean. (Just be sure you know how to ‘share’ your table if someone needs it hehehe).

Anyway, most meetings that I have set for the past month were held at Starbucks or if the meeting is a bit late in the afternoon (‘rush hour’, as the barista would say), Pancake House one level below.

I cannot wait for Starbucks to get WiFi. Now that will be the perfect combination! Hehehe. Macoy, relocate and make this your office. Nearer to UP, too! Hahaha…

Now where is my espresso frap light blend, no whip, grande with hazelnut syrup?


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$10,000?! Wow!

Posted by rom on September 25, 2005

Well, SpecOps is offering a $10,000 reward for someone or some group that can deliver a solution that allows a Microsoft Windows XP compatible application to install and run under Linux in two weeks!

Man, if you or your group can do that, you better get in touch with Google than get stuck with some unknown company with virtually no track record of innovation whatsoever. $10,000 is nothing should you accomplish this task in 2 weeks!

“It’s kind of sad for the Philippines that it didn’t have enough talent who can do this (David), although it’s not really the fault of the local software developers but the management team handling them,” Lewis had lamented. “I really felt bad that the Filipino software companies could not do the development of David. I want this to be a Philippine-based product.”
(quoted from Inq7)

I honestly think that it is the way that SpecOps is doing its marketing that is at fault here. I mean, if they leveraged the local open source community’s pool of talents, I am sure that they would have had more developers than they can afford!

UP and Ateneo expose students to Open Source tools, why not take advantage of this and have an agreement with these schools?

There are lots of people in PLUG who can help them out – why not create an advisory board or something with these people in? If they are concerned with the secrecy their business, heck, I am sure that these folks will sign NDAs with SpecOps!

What is SpecOps afraid of? At this point, who wants to run Windows applications on Linux with more and more software companies developing Linux versions of their popular applications?

CrossOver Office is already there, that is all you need to run your soho apps on Linux – unless SpecOps is releasing David for free, which is highly unlikely!

Add TransGaming bundling Cedega with popular Linux distribution like Linspire, SpecOps is facing an uphill battle here.

Anyway, $10,000 is nothing if you can accomplish what SpecOps wants as proof of your competency. You can demand more. So you know WHY SpecOps is not getting any replies from local software developers – they are insulted!

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Posted by rom on September 23, 2005

I have been doing business with this company and the contract that was submitted more than a month ago is still with the firm’s legal office. I know that there is nothing wrong with the contract and both parties are set to benefit from the agreement. No party will be disadvantaged.

I find it rather frustrating that it is taking their legal team ages just to come up with their comments. Is this really the way lawyers work?

Are company lawyers paid on an hourly rate that prolonging or delaying the release of documents would earn them more bucks?

Don’t get me wrong – there are lots of lawyers in the family and I do have lawyer friends and colleagues from UP as well. I just find it disturbing that things like this happens – for some unexplained reasons. Oh well.

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Is Linux the answer?

Posted by rom on September 21, 2005

BSA and its Anti-Piracy drive have started a plethora of stories about raids being done. However, law enforcement agenciesdeny these reports. Internet cafes and online gaming shops have closed shop for fear of being fined and having their computers confiscated. Members of various mailing lists such as PLUG are reporting an increased interest in migrating to Linux.

Is Linux the answer? Well, for some, it may be. Linux is the best solution for Internet cafes that do not host computer games. Imagine saving on the cost of the OS and its Office suite. Just reformat and install the new OS and that is it, basically. This is what I did when I was still with the UP Computer Center. Had the public access labs converted to pure Linux – my tech staff were skeptic but after a few days, students returned and started using Linux, as if nothing happened. Of course they had some issues – like how to save to floppy diskettes, how to print, etc., but it did not take that long for them to learn it.

Anyway, if you are a gaming shop, then you have a problem. Although there are games running on Linux, most of the popular games run only on Windows. You need to get licenses for the OS and the games, of course. Using an emulator is an option (but you still need to license the games) but I assure you that you will drive your users mad! Emulators are too darn slow!

If you are an Internet shop (and not a gaming shop), just howler, I can help you migrate. If you are on the verge of upgrading your computers, I also recommend getting Macs instead – games run far better on the Macs than on Linux! 🙂 [but Windows games will not run on Macs silly!]

Is Linux the answer? My answer, of course, is YES! 😛

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Pinoy-UK business

Posted by rom on September 21, 2005

Funny how events happen in succession. Last Monday, I had lunch with one of my Pinoy-UK friends to talk about some possible business venture.

This morning, I got an SMS from another Pinoy-UK friend asking if we can meet up since he’s in the area. Set a meeting at 10 and had a long chat – 9 years after we last saw each other! Imagine that. Now, we are thinking of doing some collaborative work.

On Friday, I am meeting another one at 3PM. Another possible business venture.

Whew! This week is devoted to Pinoy-UK folks. Coolness! 🙂 I hope that I’d get to talk to my Woods Hole friends as well. Hahaha…

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Posted by rom on September 20, 2005

After Yahoo!, Google Mail and Spymac increased their storage offerings to 1 or 2GB, Apple finally increased their subscription-based .Mac services to 1GB (2GB for Family Accounts), shared between Mail and iDisk. Along with this, Apple released .Mac Groups, similar to Yahoo! groups but with far less features and a new version of its Backup software.

I hope that Apple will announce .Mac exclusive widgets today at the Paris expo. 🙂

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Boss Chip!

Posted by rom on September 19, 2005

There is actually a UCC tech staff officer who is often considered as the boss chip (no, not the director, silly!) but that is another story. 🙂

Anyway, I personally considered myself as the boss chip (chief is the proper term, of course, but in this case, humor me!) when I was the head of the UCC. My exposure (although not by choice) to the media has its disadvantages – more often that not, the UCC director is thought to lead all computer centers of UP (of course, each UP unit has its own director) but since I was one of those who are ‘visible’, I had to take on the job of protecting the reputation of the computer centers. Being featured in ISAW is something that I do not look forward to.

Today that I am no longer the boss chip, I can afford not to be paranoid. ISAW is still on my list of daily read (did you notice it is linked to this blog?) and I still monitor articles mentioning UP but I no longer worry, that is someone else’s job now. 🙂

Last September 6, the UP Mindanao site was ‘owned’. Did not lift a finger to do something about it. I know that there are still sites that are vulnerable. I just wish that my friends at UCC are still doing their usual routine of scanning servers for vulnerabilities.

So, di na po ako ang sikyu – so if something happens to UP’s ICT services, am no longer responsible. You better inform the proper authorities. 😛

To ISAW, thanks for helping me keep sane by sending me advanced notices of vulnerable servers in UP – so we can act on it before you publish it. Whilst I still hope that you will continue this practice, I will try my best to inform the authorities – just hope that they don’t sue me for hacking or something, just like what happened to a friend of mine.

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Posted by rom on September 19, 2005

Look at this! Not that I am rejoicing because my fellow Filipinos are losing their business. However, I think that businesses based on illegally acquired resources have no right to exist! I say,”serves you right!”

This being said, however, the government must do everything within its powers to help these businesses go legit! The least the government can do is to negotiate for lower prices for these software – I am sure that the software companies can give discounts.

As for government agencies being immune – this is ridiculous! I challenge BSA to publicly announce government agencies caught using illegally acquired software. Prove that you are not giving preference to businesses that can either close shop or pay hefty sums for licenses.

I hope that BSA will publicly name and shame these companies and (yes, with emphasis!) government agencies. This will reflect on the leadership of these units – heads will roll! :evil grin:

Side note: I hope that BSA or NBI or OMB or PNP can deputize people to inspect and report establishments with illegally acquired software. That will make these businesses paranoid and eventually either bite the bullet and pay for the license, close shop or start using FOSS. I am rooting for FOSS, of course!

GO BSA, OMB, PNP and NBI!!!!!!

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Starbucks & Flickr

Posted by rom on September 18, 2005

Whilst waiting for Threshold, I checked Flickr and viewed photos from different popular tags. I noticed something peculiar – use Starbucks as the tag and go to Most Interesting section. Photos of portables computers there are mostly Macs – iBooks or Powerbooks. What gives?

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LinuxWorld and Y4IT

Posted by rom on September 16, 2005

This week, I have attended two IT events, namely LinuxWorld in Makati and the Youth for IT Congress in UP Diliman. I was a speaker at Linuxworld whilst I was a mere spectator at Y4IT. In any case, I found Y4IT to be far better than LinuxWorld for several reasons.

First, LinuxWorld participants were charged in the thousands of pesos. I think the cheapest rate, which is the student rate, is around PhP 2,500, as compared with Y4IT’s PhP500 per day (or was it for the entire event?).

Y4IT, as of last count this afternoon, had more than 4000 participants already, with several students requesting for a partial refund primarily because they could no longer find empty seats. I wish that LinuxWorld got this much participants.

Although I did not get to listen to the keynotes at LinuxWorld and only got to listen to Sun’s Matt Thompson at Y4IT, I could say that Y4IT got the better lot. However, Matt also presented at LinuxWorld this morning.

The session that I attended at LinuxWorld,, was well attended. However, I wish that there was more time for the Q&A. It would have been a very interesting exchange of ideas. I was hoping that more participants from schools attended.

Anyway, there is always a next year. I am hoping that we’d get more round-table type discussions at Y4IT and have the students actually involved in the discussions and more participants from schools for LinuxWorld.

I will talk about it more on my podcast, which I will release tomorrow. 🙂

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