Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Technology’

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, has left Electronic Arts, where he was User Interface Director at Visceral Games (developer of the survival horror game Dead Space).

Photo from

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

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 →


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 →

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.

This is the new pillory: One stupid tweet can ruin your life

February 13, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Technology No Comments →

Remember: Not every thought that crosses your head is for public consumption.

Photo illustration by Andrew B. Myers. Prop stylist: Sonia Rentsch.

As she made the long journey from New York to South Africa, to visit family during the holidays in 2013, Justine Sacco, 30 years old and the senior director of corporate communications at IAC, began tweeting acerbic little jokes about the indignities of travel. There was one about a fellow passenger on the flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport:

“?‘Weird German Dude: You’re in First Class. It’s 2014. Get some deodorant.’ — Inner monologue as I inhale BO. Thank God for pharmaceuticals.”

Continue reading How One Stupid Tweet Ruined Justine Sacco’s Life in the NYT.

This is the old pillory.

John Waller in pillory. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

“Easiest to use design program” launches Asian operations in Manila

August 18, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Design, Technology No Comments →

Report by Deo Giga


Canva is a free online design platform that launched in the Philippines on 8 August. The Australian company, whose roots go back to 2007, has established its Asian hub by opening an office in Manila where it focuses on graphic design, marketing, and customer service. Asked why the company chose the Philippines, CEO Melanie Perkins said, “Filipinos have a strong design aesthetic and tend to be early adopters of new technology.” She herself is a quarter Filipino.

Canva CEO Melanie Perkins

Anyone can use the platform and the free images and illustrations available in its library for various projects: from business cards to Twitter posts, photo collages, documents, presentations and invitations, even Facebook ads, real estate flyers and—for writers publishing their ebooks—Kindle covers. You can also design a cover for a physical book.

Canva is also hiring. Professional designers are welcome to contribute designs; every time their designs are used, they earn a royalty. (Visit for more details.)