Nov 30, 2007

Trillanes Fans Club Launched

Sali na! Read the story.

Nov 15, 2007

Being 10 and a Showcase of Drupal in the Philippines

By the way (what a weird way to start a blog-- "by the way"? anyway:). By the way, I just realized that our company Dig It All Solutions is now 10 years old! Wow!

On paper, Dig It All Solutions was only incorporated in 2004. As a sole proprietorship, it officially became a legal entity in 1999 as Digital Solutions. But our company really began as a rag-tag team in 1997, when we were just designing websites and doing simple ASP and PHP to create dynamic sites.

The term CMS (content management system) had not been invented at that time (if my RAM serves me right), but what we were already doing was building simple CMS engines from scratch: often clunky pieces of code in ASP or PHP that allowed users to Add, Edit and Delete -- or, as they call them now, CRUD (CReate, Update, Delete).

Ten years later, open source CMS have matured. Our CMS of choice is the excellent Drupal. Technically speaking, Drupal is not just a CMS -- it's really a platform that allows people to keep building on it through pluggable modules.

Which brings me to the meet of this topic. There is a growing community of Drupal users in the Philippines and we are proud to be a part of it. Prouder still, because our Tech Department is composed of the primary experts in Drupal (ahem, ahem).

Here is a showcase of some of the pioneering Drupal projects in the country.

Shenzhen Buzz is a lifestyle and tourist guide for Shenzhen and China. Visit it.

The Department of Health is the first government agency to use Drupal.
The Information Management Services (IMS) office of DOH is
notable for spearheading knowledge management efforts in its offices.
Drupal's powerful Taxonomy module makes a website ideal
for promoting knowledge sharing. Visit it.

News Mekong is a collaborative site that allows journalists around the world
to share news and reports about the Mekong Region. Visit it.

Haribon Foundation was also one of the first NGOs
to adapt Drupal. They asked our help after giving up
on their previous static website. It was difficult to update
and took weeks before any update happened.
They have very heavy web traffic, which Drupal efficiently manages. Visit it.

Nov 14, 2007

Long-Stemmed Mirrors, Metal Detectors and Popping Up Trunks: Lessons from Congress and MRT Blasts

Continuing my series on Design of Pinoy Security.

GK Chesterton once said, "The criminal is the creative artist; the detective only the critic."

To me, this sums up the whole tragedy of security design in the Philippines and anywhere in the world. A security tragedy happens (like the bombing of Glorietta, Megamall, Congress and MRT) and authorities respond to it with very uncreative security measures.

By uncreative I am not only referring to unimaginative signs on the airport that say, "We treat all bomb jokes seriously." I also mean reactive security designs that only cause more pain to the public that they are supposed to be protecting. Here are examples:

  • Inspection of everyone entering the premises. This is the stupidest scheme I've ever encountered. Have the security bosses tried inspecting the bags and pockets of at least 10 people? Could you sustain that for the hundreds and thousands of guests in malls and at a public place like the MRT? If you were the underpaid guard on duty for 12 hours, would you have enough alertness left after the first 5 hours?

  • Opening of gift-wrapped boxes and shopping bags. Again, stupid, not only because it is highly annoying, but also because of the absence of warnings at the gate, saying that wrapped presents will be opened. As it happens, unwary commuters only learn about the rule after they already purchased their tickets.
  • Inspecting cars by popping the trunk and using those long-stemmed mirrors. Let's be honest -- after observing this security measure for a few minutes, would a determined bomber make a bomb look obvious and hide it in the trunk or under the car? Do the guards even know how a hidden car bomb would look like?
The thing is, these stupid security measures cause a false sense of security in the public perception. The public, including managers of establishments and security agencies think they can relax because an underpaid guard wields mirrors, metal detectors and looks inside car trunks of all incoming guests.

And because of this false sense of security, we drop our defences and become uncreative, while Chesterton's proverbial criminal is constantly alert, creating new ways of bypassing the system.

* * *
BTW, Glorietta's 2007 blast is supposed to have been caused by a gas leak and not a terrorist attack. But several years back, Glorietta was also bombed, so I refer to that incident, and not the recent one.

Nov 4, 2007

Studying MSIT in Adelaide

The contract arrived this week, which makes it official. I am going to study MS in IT at the Heinz School, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Australia. The stint will be full-time for 12 months (Jan-Dec 2008). w00t!

I've been wanting to study abroad for several years and I nearly gave up this dream, until AusAID and CMU granted me a scholarship. w00t w00t! Data will be flying in to join me early next year and we both decided to just give up our home and sell everything (well, almost everything).

Among the items we will be selling:
  1. Desktop PC
  2. Flat screen LCD monitor (slightly used)
  3. GanzKlar DVD/MP4/DIVX player
  4. Washing Machine
  5. Ref
  6. Oven
  7. Bed
  8. Shelves
  9. Corolla Altis (Automatic) 2000
  10. Lots of books!
We'll be disposing the items in batches, since some of these will still be in use until Feb-March 2008.

If you're interested, just stay tuned as we announce prices and dates of selling.