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Archive for the ‘Technology’

Monday Morning Vent by Roni: Are telcos in competition for who can give crappier service at a higher cost?

February 22, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Technology No Comments →

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Of course civility flies out the window. Nothing gets us furious faster than slooooow internet.

by Roni

It was back in October when I received word of my Wimax connections’ death sentence. Overnight, my router was sent back to the time of Edsamail where the normal dial up speed was 56 kbps. I would need to get up in the middle of the night to get a decent connection. My dreams of cutting up my cable died when my livestreaming just came out with Rafael Nadal in mid-grimace, forever frozen with the racket never meeting the ball.

My Christmas bonus came and went. The New Year celebration passed. Chinese New Year passed. Hell froze over. Several screaming fits of rage directed at poor, poor call center workers passed. Technicians went to my house to take a look at the router, nod sagely and proclaim, “Ma’am, it’s for migration to LTE,” as if it were the mantra of a new religion. Hell, yeah. I’ve been a convert since January when my FB page refused to load. Where do I sign up? I had given my number, my brother’s number, my brother’s other number, the best time to call (which was anytime), and still we waited for the conversion.

I had a discussion with one of my friends over Facebook about internet connection being a basic human right. I was thinking about the people in Darfur being too occupied with war to be bothered about the absence of internet connectivity. He said it impinged on our right to congregate. Now that I think about it, our lives are conducted more and more online, and to have that cut off is like cutting off a necessary part of your life that gives you happiness.

What Philippine telecommunications companies are offering us is the lugaw business. Offer empty carbs to the proletariat because they do not have a choice. I have tasted far better nourishment abroad where I paid AUD99 all-in per month for 100 mbps connection with a cap of 200 GB. And it’s even cheaper now. The LTE migration they are offering me costs PhP1000 for 1mbps (min of 256kbps) with a 20GB cap. I run through that in four days. How magnanimous of them to provide me with crumbs! How dare I demand more?

I was loyal to said worldly provider because I was part of their group of companies for a long time. They fostered loyalty through team building, doing the right thing, the CEOs mingling with us common folk, and charitable works that they let us participate in. But now I’m questioning their business ethics. Their captive market is held prisoner by the bandwidth of services they offer. They get their tubong lugaw net profit but offer no real innovation in light of what other comparable third world countries offer. I get that you take your Corporate Social Responsibility seriously, but shouldn’t you be responsible to your customers first?

Now don’t smirk, Mr. Smarty-pants competitor, because you’re no good, either. Are you guys in competition for who could offer crappier services more expensively? Bilugin nyo ulo ng lelong nyong panot. I’m calling your bullshit. Do right by me, your customer.

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Email your Monday Morning Vent to saffron.safin@gmail.com.

Monday Morning Vent: How to deal with spammers

January 18, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Crime, Technology 1 Comment →

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Each day we are deluged with spam, which sounds like meatloaf is falling from the sky. If only meatloaf were falling from the sky, preferably not in cans because that would cause mass concussions and property damage. We mean texts, emails, messages from strangers with designs upon our money.

Some of them are only annoying—real estate offers, no-collateral loans, etc—and easy enough to delete, unless they have the nerve to call you when you’re busy, in which case you are within your rights to yell at them.

Some of them are pathetic little scams aimed at robbing you of 300 pesos. They tell you that you’ve been sent MMS and in order to get it you have to reply by to a certain number with a prefix. It’s a trick to make you send money (pasa-load) to the conmen.

Some of them are messages purportedly from your friends or relatives who have been mugged and left stranded in foreign countries.

Some claim to have stolen large sums of money from their governments, and need friendly bank accounts to hide the money in. Resist the urge to tell them to go fuck themselves—why should they have any fun?

Some claim that you are entitled to something you never signed up for, and if you actually turn up to claim it, reveal that you have to pay. Other spammers prey on the credulous, the uninformed and the greedy, but these are particularly scuzzy because they take advantage of people’s real needs.

Got any scam stories? In the meantime, here’s a guy who’s done what we’ve always wanted to do: reply to spam and string the spammer along. His book wrote itself.

Dino Ignacio leaves Dead Space for Oculus

September 11, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Technology No Comments →

Dino Ignacio, creator of the proto-meme Bert Is Evil (and designer of our first website twisted.com.ph), has left Electronic Arts, where he was User Interface Director at Visceral Games (developer of the survival horror game Dead Space).

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Photo from vrfocus.com.

He has joined Oculus VR, maker of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Facebook bought Oculus last year for 2 billion dollars.

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Oculus Rift photo from The Guardian

This is a shocking development because Electronic Arts is doing the new Star Wars games and Dino loves Star Wars so much he used to go around in an imperial stormtrooper uniform. For all we know he still wears it to do the groceries, because we haven’t seen him in over a decade.

While watching the very gray trailer for the Batman vs Superman movie, we remembered Rex Navarette’s stand-up routine, Maritess vs the Superfriends, which Dino illustrated and animated.

Since we only do antisocial media (i.e. actual conversation over a meal), we only heard of Dino’s career movements two weeks ago when we saw Budjette and Joey.

Mr Robot: The show that hacked the news

September 11, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Technology, Television 2 Comments →

The revolution is being televised, in the form of a cyber-thriller on the previously unheralded USA Network. Written and produced by Sam Esmail, Mr Robot is so plugged into the zeitgeist that you could watch it instead of the nightly news. In the series premiere, an anarchist group called fsociety hacks into a conglomerate’s systems and makes confidential information available to the public. In the real world, a website for cheaters was hacked and sensitive personal information made available to the public.

The airing of Mr Robot’s season one finale was postponed because of its distressing similarity to an actual event: the on-air murder of two journalists in Virginia. This is not the first time that the real world has borrowed its script from television. Sixteen years ago, an episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer was pulled from the air because it featured a student who was apparently planning mass murder. The episode had been shot before the Columbine massacre, but was delayed due to concerns about school violence.

Read our TV column The Binge at BusinessWorld.

Artificial intelligence for writing interactive stories

September 10, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Technology No Comments →

Uh-oh.

First the monkeys and now this.

Thanks to Juan for the alert.

Uber is the new lechong manok

August 09, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: In Traffic, Technology No Comments →

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Edsa photo from InterAksyon.

You know how, in the Philippines, when a small enterprise becomes successful, everyone rushes to get into that line of business? It happened with lechong manok, shawarma, pearl drinks, milk tea. All the neighbors dreamed of being hot pan de sal magnates when I was a kid. Now I think it is happening with Uber.

Uber is the ride-sharing app that puts car owners together with people in need of transport. Essentially it’s a taxi service minus the franchise and the aggravation of haggling with taxi drivers. (Taxi apps actually legitimize the “kontrata” system—passengers offer the drivers tips even before they’ve entered the taxi. It’s a bidding war, and the result is to reward asshole behavior.)

Read our column at InterAksyon.