Thursday, October 31, 2002

Smallest Web Server available in the country

Well, I have read somewhere that there is a matchbox-sized webserver available in the US. Just imagine, one tiny device running your personal website. Ain't that cool? Of course it is - but only if it is affordable and available in the country.... but look no farther, check out the Sharp Zaurus SL5500. This is a PDA with a built-in thumb keyboard, a Compact Flash II expansion slot, SD/MMC card slot, full colour and multimedia ready and powered by the Intel XScale chip at 206Mhz. Not bad, huh? Same specs as most of the Pocket PCs of today.

What sets it apart from the rest is this - it is running LINUX. Yes, you heard that right! It is running LINUX and comes with Insignia's Jeode PersonalJava VM. It can sync with your PC - either Linux-based or Windows-based (haven't seen it on Mac OS X yet, though) using Qtopia Desktop or Intellisync. Now isn't this great?

Hang-on, there is more? Yes, just like what they say in those infomercials, if you call within 30 minutes of this ad, you get more... ;-) Not only does it run Linux, you can install APACHE, Virtual Network Computing server and client, OpenSSH, FTP, Kismet (WLAN sniffer), lots of games and even a Mac OS Classic emulator (and Palm OS as well!). It now becomes one very portable computer!

You may ask, but does it open my Office documents? Answer is, unfortunately, yes! It comes bundled with Hancom Office, which allow you to view Powerpoint, Excel and Word files. Not bad, huh? Add a PDF viewer and you're ready to go. Web browsing? Opera is there, too. Everything you need except the kitchen sink!

I love this tiny device - been deciding on getting the Fujitsu Loox, O2 XDA, Casio E200, Sony NR70V or even the 9210i. However, one thing that they cannot do is allow me to control the PDA via the network via telnet, ssh or vnc nor can they install applications without the need for a PC.

That is all for now - am off to making apache-php work so that I can have my webserver with me everywhere. Now, if only it runs Tomcat.
Romancing the digital pixelated stone

Ah, obsolescence, as digitalfilipino points out, in the digital photography world can be viewed in different ways. First and foremost, like all technological gadgets out there, an item becomes obsolete ONLY when you do not have any use for it anymore - when its purpose is no longer relevant to your needs. However, it is often coupled with support from the industry, of course. If the item is no longer supported and you do not have all the software necessary to make it work, then that becomes obsolete. This is, often, not true for digital photography, though.

Second, in digital photography, just like in film, the camera is just a tool. As long as it takes photos that you can use, it serves its purpose.

There are two types of cameras in digital photography - the prosumer/consumer digital cameras and the professional digital single-lens-reflex cameras or DSLR as they call it. Prosumer/consumer digital cameras are the ones produced for the mass market. These are the ones that get replaced by a new model almost every 4 months! DSLRs, however, have enough staying power to last 2-3 years! Heck, a year ago, you can see images on National Geographic and Sports Illustrated (even from the official press photographers of the White House) taken using a 2 year old Kodak DSLR!

So, if you want to have more mileage and prevent your digital camera from getting obsolete so fast, get yourself a Digital SLR - a tad expensive but well worth it.

If you want more info on digital photography, just send me a note. I'd be more than willing to help out.

*click*

Saturday, October 26, 2002

New Computer Telephony Boards and Development Kit Launched

Intel Communications, Integrated Communications Group, and MediaSoft Technologies Corporation recently launched its new computer telephony products to meet ever-changing application needs in call center, unified messaging, call billing, among others

Several Dialogic boards were featured such as:
The D/120JCT-LS, a 12-port PCI analog voice processing board best for multimedia communications applications. The board contains on-board telephony interfaces.

The DualSpan - JCT Series, high-density T-1/E-1 ISDN PRI voice processing boards for communications applications requiring multimedia resources such as voice, software-based speech recognition, fax, and digital network interface in a single 32-bit PCI form factor slot.

The D/82JCT-U is a voice processing board with 8 on-board digital interfaces connects to today's most popular PBXs for unified and Internet- ready voice and fax processing applications. It is optimized for 8-64 port solutions. Use the D/82JCT-U board to build sophisticated, multimedia communications systems.

The SS7 Solutions (Signaling System 7) is the signaling system that forms the backbone of the international telecommunications network. Intel has a complete family of SS7 products ranging from board to server level that easily scale from 64 ports to over 16,000 ports.

The QuadSpan Voice Series are Quad T-1/E-1 ISDN network interface with up to 120 ports of voice processing and telephony signaling all in a single slot.

If computer telephony application development interest you, you can get yourself started in this area by checking out the Computer Telephony Application Development Environment. It is a set of development tools and programming interfaces that allows one to build portable computer telephony applications. You can download the evaluation software and test its functionality.


Romance with Digital Photography

My romance with digital photography began in 1997 when I got a writing assignment at World Executive Digest about the subject. I remember visiting Kodak Philippines office and did my interview. Right there and then, I fell in love with the Kodak DC20 and became my very first digital camera. This camera can only take up to 16 pictures and it doesn't have a flash. At present, I have 3 digital cameras and 2 traditional ones.

In a press conference recently, Kodak just launched 3 new digital cameras and the EasyShare system. This provides the industry's broadest number of integrated printing options that allow consumers to easily print at home using One Touch to Better Pictures and Kodak inkjet paper, from home by choosing to upload to either the EasyShare print service or another retail online photofinisher of choice, or at retail using Kodak digitally-enabled kiosks or over the counter.

The 2-megapixel Kodak EasyShare CX4230 Zoom Digital Camera, the first EasyShare camera with a "share" button that allows users to tag pictures for printing, e-mailing or as favorites right on the camera's preview screen. On-camera print tagging is as simple as choosing the print and selecting the number of prints required. When the camera is docked and images transferred, the Kodak EasyShare software automatically opens the print screen for printing at home or online. On-camera e-mail tagging is also simple and powerful. The camera stores up to 32 e-mail addresses directly from the software. Users simply tag the image for e-mailing and select an address. The CX4230 is the only camera in the world that automatically rotates pictures on the camera, so pictures taken vertically appear correctly.

Another camera featured is the DX4330, the first camera to debut Kodak's new 1.8" Indoor/Outdoor LCD display for effortless viewing even in bright sunlight. It also features 10X zoom with a Kodak Retinar aspheric all-glass 3X optical zoom lens, producing prints up to 11" x 14". Other features of this new model include continuous capture of video and sound limited only by the size of the memory card.

Another interesting one is the LS443 Zoom Digital Camera, the flagship model in Kodak's 2002 EasyShare portfolio. Its features include an 1.8" Indoor/Outdoor LDC screen with a non-glare coating; an on-camera "Share" button for quick printing, emailing, and organizing; a special-edition dock for one-touch picture transfer and fast recharging of the high performance Li-Ion rechargeable battery; a feature dial to access five scene modes close-up, landscape, sport, night and movie; option controls including a menu of three color modes; a burst mode for high speed sequence shooting; advanced auto focus; continuous video and playback option with built in speaker; automatic picture rotation; a "camera always ready" feature ensuring picture capture capabilities regardless of setting; 16MB of internal memory; and memory expansion slot.

However, one thing that bothers me with all of this digital photography is how one device can be obsolete in such a short time. But I guess this gives each one of us to get the best product at the time we decide to try it out.


Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Dealing with the BugBear Virus

There's so many viruses nowadays and dealing with it has been a headache. One virus that caught a lot of attention lately is Bugbear. This worm spreads by sending itself in emails and by copying itself around a network. It attempts to exploit vulnerabilities in some versions of Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Outlook Express, and Internet Explorer. These vulnerabilities allow an executable attachment to run automatically, even without being double-clicked. Inside this attachment is a Trojan horse which enables the remote capture of passwords and other confidential information.

One unusual symptom of Bugbear infection is that printers can spurt into action. Bugbear tries to copy itself to all types of shared network resources, including printers. Printers cannot become infected, but they will attempt to print out the raw binary data of W32/Bugbear-A's executable code - usually resulting in many wasted pages of paper.

Sophos Anti-Virus is providing a free, fast fix for the BugBear virus. Sophos's fix deactivates the virus automatically before identifying and removing infected files. The fix was developed in Sophos's secure anti-virus laboratory in Sydney, and is now available on Sophos websites worldwide. The fix is only 70KB to download, and takes just a minute or two to run. The disinfected computer does not need to be rebooted.

To protect yourself from future viruses, you should keep in mind some basic rules:
1. Don't blindly trust attachments.
2. Never open an unexpected attachment.
3. Don't assume that an email is safe just because it comes from someone you know - they could be infected themselves.
4. Make sure you know how to update your anti-virus software quickly.
5. Avoid sending around jokes and stupid attachments yourself, as it encourages people to treat them as "mostly harmless".


Buy Online with your BancNet ATM

Yehey.com, the country's premiere search engine and portal, just launched its PayPlus that allows merchants to get themselves accredited and start accepting payment from BancNet ATM cardholders. Reloading your Internet card or mobile phone? You can now also do it online with Yehey's shopping site. You can also buy gifts, music cds, flowers, insurance, and even products at your favorite international shoppping site.

I tried reloading my cellphone by buying credits (5 reload cards) online. I end up with 5 reload pins with 2 of them exactly the same. After reporting it, I got a replacement PIN after a few days. I hope they'll be able to prevent that from happening again.

Online shopping has never been this friendlier. Check it out!



Wednesday, October 09, 2002

When is the best time to switch to Linux?

Whilst we're asleep, two articles were published documenting the benefits of Linux over Windows OS. Should we consider switching now? I do not know with you but I am already using Linux in my desktops at the university.

First stop, GiftCertificates.com, a company founded by a former Microsoft executive, is now considering switching to Linux because of the new Microsoft licensing strategies. According to CEO Michael Ahern, the difference "is hundreds of dollars on the Linux side versus tens of thousands of dollars for Windows." Think about how much money these people have - in US dollars - as compared to our SMITEs and the government. Shouldn't we go the Linux route and save more money?

Second article from Linux Today is about the Total Cost of Ownership of Linux and Windows. This article presents that the TCO of Linux is less than half of that of Microsoft over a span of three years. Interesting, isn't it?

Question now is - what are you going to do about it?


Saturday, October 05, 2002

HP Launched Color Printing Solutions for Businesses

One of the biggest challenge in coming up with our DigitalFilipino StatsReport issue is our varying printing requirements. Do we go print-on-demand or offset bulk printing? Cost-wise, yes it cheap to be on an offset bulk printing model. However, as our volume is not that high, we're heavily contemplating looking for a solution designed to meet our A3 printing requirements but be priced SME-friendly enough.

I attended a recent HP event where its new line of color printers was launched. What caught our attention right away is the HP Color LaserJet 2500. It is the lowest priced color laser printer from HP which one can buy for P63,000. Another interesting printer is the HP Deskjet 1180c that prints any size from postcard (A6) to poster A3+. For those who like an inkjet printer with laser-like speed, the HP Business Inkjet 2230/2280 is worth looking into as well.

HP also introduced the first multiformat color printer in the country with HP Designjet 100. Color printing of office documents, line drawings and graphics in house can be done by this printer and ideal for CAD/AEC/GIS professsionals on tight printing budget. This printer is available for only P60,000

For enterprise users, HP also launched its Color Laserjet 5500 printer series. This provides wide format printing (up to A3 size) that supports a variety of standard and custom media sizes. There's also the HP Color LaserJet 4600 designed for high-volume, high-quality color printing needs.

For print service providers and graphics professionals, the HP Designjet 5500 is a large format printer designed to meet those requirements with high speed production printing modes and a driverless, Web-based printing path.

For the mobile professionals, the HP Deskjet 450 is full of desktop features for fast mobile printing. It can print from PDAs, notebooks, selected mobile phones (like the Nokia 7650), and digital cameras.

After looking around, I realized that my A3 laser print-on-demand requirements can only be met by the HP Color LaserJet 5500 series. But with its price, I have to think more about it. But certainly, it is good to see that HP was able to come up with a wide variety of printers designed to meet the needs of a variety of businesses, big or small.


Working with Laptops and my IBM ThinkPad

I've started using laptops in 1996. My first one was a Leo 486 Computer that has Windows 95 and 120 MB hard disk.
Although I had some little hassle with the trackball as it gets dirty from time to time, but neverthless it was with me in my early consulting days teaching Autocad and developing workflow applications in Lotus Notes. I can't forget how the system became so slow when I tried to DoubleSpace it.

The 2nd laptop I had, in 1997, was an NEC Pentium 100 PC with 2 gigabytes hard disk. I was using a touch pad then to control the mouse and was very careful to ensure that my hands are always dry before using it. As I was working with an upcoming ISP then, I was able to create my Infotech website, for the very first time. The NEC laptop was with me when I was starting the Philippine Internet Commerce Society.

In 1999, I had my 3rd laptop, a Toshiba Pentium 166 with 96 MB memory and 5 gigabytes hard disk. This is my first time to use the "power steering" mouse. It was the most durable laptop I've ever had then and enjoyed using it so much.

However, in 2001, I was given an IBM ThinkPad iSeries and my perception on laptops was never the same. Once you use an IBM ThinkPad, it will be hard for you to switch to another brand for the user experience is really different.

Now I rave to own one day the IBM ThinkPad X30 notebook. It is a 3.6-pound portable computer that is designed to be able to use two batteries at the same time --one internal and one optional extended life battery that easily attaches to the bottom of the system. The patented power-saving techniques intelligently manage the power consumption between the two batteries, and analyze how much power is needed to perform a specific task in a specific environment. The system then reduces the power to each of the major subsystems appropriately.

The ThinkPad X30, which uses more than 25 newly-patented technologies, boasts a series of other firsts in the ultraportable category. It offers IBM's innovative Access Connections wizard, which allows users to easily manage both wired and wireless connections, and to switch from one location to another. It is also the only ultraportable in the market today to feature on select models integrated TCPA-compliant security and IBM Rapid Restore PC, the one-button disaster recovery solution that lets customers easily recover previously saved data after a software crash with one press of a button.

The IBM ThinkPad has a lot of features forthcoming centered around wireless, security, migration to provide business users with value-added benefits. As IBM's ThinkPad notebook celebrates 10 years of pioneering innovation and thinking, we look forward in hearing more about its product developments soon.


Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Bigfoot’s Birthday Blast

Before I start to rant about Bigfoot’s first anniversary shindig last Friday, allow me to turn back the time when Vincent Rallon and I first met this cool German guy and indeed, the man behind Bigfoot.com Mr. Michael Gleissner at the Cebu Airport last year.

Vincent as a local resident answered all the enquiries of Michael about Cebu and over dinner at Café Laguna we made him eat balut (boiled duck egg) and he really had the guts to taste it. Finally, after we rested our full stomach we drink the whole night away at Yo! Latino then hopped to Mi Vida and this started it all.

Now let’s get to the party, held at their new acquired building where the Bigfoot guys will be moving in before the end of this year. A video clip was played and it was full of wit and humor that keep the guests from cheering and clapping especially in the Q&A part where Michael answered all the allegations in his personal and nocturnal life, which really made the crowd roared and somewhat teasing him to admit it. The video clip also toured us inside the building wherein they will also have a call center, café and restaurant that will serve everything the way Michael likes it, and the enviable spa and gym exclusive for Michael and Bigfoot staff.

Bigfoot dubbed as the “Communications Powerhouse” also set a “Powerhouse” party. Imagine, starting off the show with a guy literally wearing huge blue shoes rappelling from the top floor of the building down to the ground, cultural dance performance that really entertained the foreign guests as well as the locals, live Latino band, which is the present music craze of Cebuanos, to Whitney Houston impersonation and of course, free booze.

Certainly, a party wouldn’t be complete without the drinking spree so I quickly ordered scotch on the rocks that brought surprise to my sister’s face, while she and Vincent were curious what’s in the drink list on our table seeing that it is named after Bigfoot’s offices in different parts of the world and they gamely agreed to try it all. First they had Bigfoot New York, they said it taste like Vodka with juice; next is Bigfoot China, also a vodka with a different mix; then Bigfoot Mexico, according to them it’s the strongest, so I bet it’s a Tequila mix drink; Bigfoot Havana, excuse me but I missed this one probably because I was busy dancing or mingling with other guests; and last but not the least is a truly pinoy creation, which is a mixture of gin and pomelo juice or known as “ginpom” is none other than our very own Bigfoot Cebu!

The rest of the night was spent on the dance floor, where Bigfoot guys and guests moved their feet in every beat of the drum. Even it was very humid that night, one lady just carried a woven fan while she groove on the dance floor. Now wasn’t it a great party? Even Vincent confessed, “First time nangyari ito sa Cebu!” These guys just really know how to reward themselves and party after sheer hard work. As Jose Cuervo ad puts it, “All Work and No Play is absolutely missing the point.”

So to Mr. Bigfoot man himself Michael and his staff ------- cheers to you all! =)