Days of Firsts: Mozilla Campus Tour – Pamantasan ng Cabuyao

It seems the season for colds has finally hit and it hit me hard, its not a favorite experience by a long shot and I’m glad I’m finally recovering from the cold.

(Chicken soup, sinigang and lots of Vitamin C seems to be just what the doctor ordered.)

Before the cold hammered down on me I attended my first Mozilla Campus Tour in Pamantasa ng Cabuyao in Laguna and it was a hell of an experience! I’ve never met a more passionate and talented group of kids like the Engineering students of PNC! They’re the kind of guys you would never regret hanging out with.

The Mozilla Campus Tour dealt with introducing what Mozilla was and its many projects to help advance the Open Web, what was surprising though was the programs the students prepared for our day long talk. There were pageants, songs, dances and even surprise serenades!

 

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It was also with a sense of excitement that I listened to Mozilla Philippine’s Community Manager, Eusebio ‘Jun’ Barrun explain what Mozilla is and what it stands for then to hear Jean Austin Rodriguez Jr talk about Webmaker, piquing my interest about Webmaker and every project associated with it (Popcorn is something else!) then finally getting first hand experience with a Google Nexus with ‘Firefox OS’ (care of  Robert Reyes) was one of the things that made my day!

Another interesting and fun thing to watch was Kemuel Domanog explaining and trying to drum up interest for Student Reps, very convincing discussion livened up with his random outbursts of ‘T-shirt!’

PNC was also where I first talked about Mozilla WebFWD, and that was an experience but a fun one! Also very nerve wracking, because I did mention there were a hundred or more students, right?

Fortunately, I was able to get through the presentation and even managed to get some questions from the students!

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All in all, despite the torrential rain that met us when we arrived in Laguna it was a really fun and fulfilling one too. It was so great to meet so many kids who are always so excited and ready to meet any challenge with good cheer.

It made me proud to be in such great company.

Running around the wheelhouse

Its going to be an interesting year in mobile.

The past few years Apple’s iOS and Googles Android mobile platforms have slowly and surely dominated the mobile market and as comScore reports, continues to leave other platforms in the dust as iOS and Android become a duopoly.

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It can’t be denied that the iOS and Android are both fantastic platforms but IMO one of the reasons why people find it difficult to change phones is because of  ‘ecosystem’. Ecosystem is the much bandied around buzzword of 2012, and recently it became something of a pet peeve of mine whenever I come across the term.  It’s become a reason for tech journalists to put down other platforms (mobile or otherwise) and its started to irk me because a lot of good laptops or phones are put down because of this one word catchphrase.

These ecosystems or walled gardens lock people into their platforms because most popular apps are developed for them and if developers want their apps used they have to join in too. It becomes a cycle where there aren’t a lot of users for a certain device (a Blackberry phone for example) because it lacks apps; the device lacks apps because the developers don’t make apps for that device because there aren’t a lot of users.

Except, this year things might change with the entry of not just one but four new mobile OS, a lot of tech journalists are pessimistic with the entry of these new OSes because they consider the mobile market ‘crowded’ but I don’t see how its any crowded with only two platforms casting a long shadow on everything related to smartphones. Yes, windows phones are trying their hardest to break into that two horse race, and Blackberry is throwing everything into their new BB10. So all in all, the market isn’t actually crowded and does have room for one or, hell, maybe even three more.

These  four new mobileOS hopes to at least make a dent into iOS and Android’s duopoly.

FirefoxOS

Mozilla has and always will stand for the Open Web and fighting any kind of monopoly or duopoly that limit people’s choices. It’s something I’ve come to really love about Mozilla. FirefoxOS is Mozilla’s answer to the overwhelming closed ecosystems of both Apple and Google.

Since the biggest platform is still the internet Mozilla is bringing the Open Web to mobile. This, among other things is why Mozilla is a big supporter of HTML 5.

SailfishOS

After Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop burning platform memo Elop pivoted Nokia away from its bid in making its own Mobile OS (Meego Harmattan) and straight into Microsoft Windows phones, whether that’s a good move for Nokia or not is something time will tell but as a recent Nokia N9 user I will say it was a pity they jumped from Harmattan to Windows.

(I honestly enjoy using Nokia’s Swipe UI together with the Harmattan’s multitasking abilities. Multitasking abilities that remind me a lot of webOS.)

A lot of Nokia engineers were not happy with the move and also jumped ship, this time away from the company and into Jolla and since that time they’ve been spinning Meego Harmattan into its newest iteration: SailfishOS. I’m not really a techie so I can’t go into details but only know that Meego Harmattan itself is based on Mer. Since the Swipe UI belongs to Nokia, Jolla developed the ‘Pulley system’, instead of swiping from the side, users will ‘pull down or up from one edge to another.

It looks very, very beautiful although I’m still partial to the Swipe UI, I think I could come around to liking the Pulley system too.

Tizen

We come to an OS I’m least familiar about.

According to wikipedia: Tizen’s goal is very similar to FirefoxOS: an open ecosystem for the open Web. Unlike all the other upcoming OS, Tizen actually has one big advantage: Samsung. The giant tech company announced it will be using Tizen for a number of their smartphones.

 

Ubuntu for Phones

The newest entry into the game! And most likely will be launching its first phones in 2014. One of the biggest things Ubuntu has going for it is that Ubuntu can be used from the desktop, to the TV and finally to the phones. I can’t say a lot about it yet except that its very gesture heavy and I’m loving the look.

 

Open WebOS

Now, this is where things started it all for me — my interest for different OS other than an Android or iOS. I might give the impression I don’t like the two platforms but I do. Its just that after a while I found both limiting. webOS has a pretty fascinating, if tragic history. HP’s former CEO Apotheoker killed the HP Touchpad six months after the release, and with it Palm’s webOS, fortunately the few but dedicated developer community kept it alive long enough for HP’s new CEO to bring it out and relaunch as Open webOS.

One of the things I love about using webOS is the multitasking, I love how fantastic the multitasking is. Its limited in a number of ways but its very very  freeing in others.

webOS Ports managed to port Open webOS to a Galaxy Nexus and it was my first time I’ve seen it and it really fascinated me enough to help me embark in finding other mobile OS. But back to Open webOS, I think this one has a lot of needles to thread before we ever see it as a fully functional mobileOS but I’m looking forward to that day.

So those are the new entrants to the mobile race and after my forage into the wilderness I actually came out of it very much platform agnostic. I realize that I love the idea of playing around with a lot of different platforms without getting locked in.

I love choice, I love that this will push innovation forward, and to paraphrase a familiar quote:

I, for one, welcome  all our new mobile OS wall breakers.

Exceptionally Brilliant

I have a new phone! Christmas gift to myself after I was fed up with my phone hanging all the time.

I bought this beauty:
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It’s a Nokia N9! It’s not an Android, nor is it a Windows Phone. But it has a Meego Harmattan OS! Yes, I know its a ‘dead’ OS but look how beautiful the thing is and it doesn’t look like a Samsung nor an iPhone.

I may also have this thing where if I see the same thing constantly I get twitchy. So I opted for a different phone and a different user experience. I’m totally in love with the Swipe UI and is quite similar to webOS. Actually, Meego Harmattan is very similar to webOS in a lot of ways: true multitasking capabilities and a very easy and intuitive UI.

It’s not exactly something I can put my finger on to explain but I end up frustrated when I use an iphone or an android phone for long.

One thing that swayed me to Nokia N9 aside from how exceptionally beautiful it is (no, seriously just look at the deep blacks and the way the text just floats on screen!) but its because it has a very strong developer community. It might not have the iOS ‘ecosystem’ but I won’t be lacking in apps.

I seem to have a knack of falling in love with OSes that are not as known, and I sometimes wish more people knew about because of how beautiful and wonderful they are to use.  The more I use the N9 the more annoyed I get at Nokia’s CEO, Stephen Elop for killing it prematurely and pivoting to using Windows as their main phone OS. I can’t help thinking that If the N9 is already wonderful with the N9, I can just imagine how fantastic it would be if it were developed further.

There might be some hope from the Sailfish OS developed by Jolla. Sailfish OS is based on Meego so I’m looking forward to seeing more of this OS.

Last Days of 2012

The last few weeks of December has been extremely busy work wise and family wise but before things ramped up at work I was able to attend the 1st Women Entrepreneurs on Web organized by GDG Philippines Community Manger, Chelle Gray.

Chelle organized the Women of Entrepreneurs on Web with only less than week’s preparation and pulled it off awesomely!

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It was great meeting other women and geek girls who are interested, or who are currently launching their own businesses. I was able to talk about my restaurant and even say a few words about Mozilla’s WebFWD program.

A few days later I was very fortunate to be invited and briefly sit in Mozilla Philippines Business Planning  session in Makati.

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Awesome Mozilla cupcakes!

Then I had to pop over to Ideaspace‘s ‘Faces of Change’ event. Ideaspace is a non-profit incubator helping science and technology start-ups around the country. ‘Faces of Change’ held a forum with the top successful start-ups in the country ranging from chikka.com, kuyi mobile, morphlabs, rappler, shoephoric.com and sulit.com.ph.

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I think meeting Maria Ressa was the highlight of the event for me although I didn’t end up as articulate as I thought as I’d be when I started mentioning WebFWD to her. I think I got out about a few sentences in before the fan in me kicked in!

To cap off this month, I joined Mozilla Philippines’ Tagalog Translation Marathon yesterday at Coffee bean and Tea Leaf, marking my first MozCoffee! 
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Since I’ve kind of made it mandatory to always mention WebFWD, I talk to a few people who seemed interested in joining WebFWD. I do hope they apply to the program! We also met Arky, a L10n Community Manager, I was able to speak to him briefly and he seemed to really like it here in the Philippines it is More Fun in the Philippines!

Mozilla Philippines actually has a contest running for the local L10n efforts:

Contest Rules & Guidelines:

  • The contest is open to all Mozillians residing in the Philippines only.
  • Participants must have a valid account at the Pootle Serverhttp://mozilla.locamotion.org/tl.
  • The Top L10n Contributor for the Week (based on the number of suggestions accepted in the Pootle Server) will receive a Firefox Mini-Shirt plus awesome Firefox swags — all to be delivered right at your doorsteps.
  • An L10n Contributor CAN ONLY WIN ONCE. If he/she will emerge as the Top L10n Contributor for another week after winning, the next guy/gal in line (2nd in rank) will be declared as the Weekly Winner.
  • Winners will be posted here at our website every Monday at 1200H (PHL time) starting 31 Dec 2012 until 28 Jan 2013.

And, what is it we’ll win?

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Cute, right? I thought so too! I do hope I get one!

So that’s the recap for the last days of 2012. The world didn’t end on the 21st because as the Modern Mayans on the net reminded us – they do still exist and just ’cause their calendar ended doesn’t mean its the end of the world. After all, the Ninth Doctor did tell us the world would end 9 billion years from now when the sun expands.

Scouting Mission

A lot’s happened since I last posted and one of them is getting really sick for the one day I didn’t wanted to be sick for: The Rail Girls Manila seminar.

Lemme tell ya, food poisoning suuuucks.

Maybe I was trying a lot too soon?

But before food poisoning downed me like an axed tree I managed to attend Form Function Class 2012 in UST (learning as much as I can about HTML 5 and Responsive Web Design) and a networking party for Startup Weekend Manila.

I enjoyed both events and I loved meeting the people, I love the energy they have, its like bringing the Open Source community and applying that same passion in real life. I love that people are happy to reach out and help. It’s a very awesome feeling to be part of.

In FFC2012, I met more Mozilla Reps (Eusebio ‘Jun’ Barrun Jr., and Robert ‘Bob’ Reyes) and Mozilla’s Didem Ersoz, who flew in from Mountain View.

I was also invited to a WebFWD talk where Didem talked about the Mozilla’s start-up accelerator program. I was so inspired by the talk I volunteered to be a scout for WebFWD — which, I was accepted to. I’m excited and anxious to start scouting, since I discovered what I wanted to do (the Lightning Strike Moment) I also realized how much I wanted to give back and help other people like me.

What is WebFWD?

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In its own words WebFWD is:

A three-month business creation program for startups around the world. The program consists of weekly training sessions & exercises, office hours with industry experts, ongoing coaching and guidance from the world’s best technologists. Upon graduating, teams can qualify for follow-on funding from Mozilla.

In other words, WebFWD is Mozilla’s three month Open Source start-up accelerator program, WebFWD offers mentorship from a team of industry experts as mentors without needing to relocate. All you need is a webcam and an internet connection, and off you go!

So, if you have a start-up, a team, a code and a dream maybe WebFWD is for you! All you have to do is apply!

I’m just starting out as a WebFWD Scout but I’m very excited to help!

(And anxious, did I mention anxious?)

Links:

Entrepreneur Magazine PH: WebFWD: Helping innovators create businesses to change the world

Edited 2:46AM

Elections, Damn Elections, and Statistics

Yesterday, November 7 President Barack Obama was re-elected for his second term. It was, as almost every opinion maker remarked, a very embattled campaign. If there is one thing I love reading about after election day it’s reading about the political strategies that led to the win. Slate‘s How Obama won Four More Years is a particularly interesting read, I would probably read Vanity Fair’s version when it comes out.

But one of the more interesting aspects for me about this election is how much the internet and the changing demographic changed the landscape. We saw this happen during Obama’s 2008 campaign, launching Social Media into the stratosphere, and we’re seeing it again. Obama announced his win over twitter and his tweet has now become the most retweeted during Election Day.

Most Tweeted
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Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight has certainly left his mark, to most people who knew of Silver this was hardly a surprise. Many pointed out that he’s accurately predicted elections before and it’s because he doesn’t include any political affiliations to the mix. It’s all data, baby.

Nate Silver

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Nate Silver started out crunching numbers for baseball and later shifted to using his methods to politics. It’s unconventional to say the least, and received a LOT of derision from pundits, especially Republican pundits. Silver shrugged off all the criticism because what he does have was data on his side.

It’s not perfect by any means but Silver has a way of, as one blogger acquaintance puts it siphoning out the subtleties in the polling sample and point out his data set into making things as pretty damn accurate as he can make it. Let me tell you, this is the first time I’ve had an appreciation of math. Silver won himself many fans and a cool $1,000.

(MSNBC‘s Joe Scarborough bet Silver $1,000 should he prove accurate. I guess Mr. Scarborough has now written him a check.)

I’m a bit of a late adopter myself  so watching new models disrupt the traditional modes of thinking. in action, in such a broad level is really interesting.

Thirty days and nights of Writing Arrives!

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It’s here! The National Novel Writing Month, which starts right on November and ends at the end of the month with the goal of writing 50,000 words.

NaNoWriMo as its famously been called started in 1999 with only 21 participants and now it’s exploded as a global yearly event’. I’ve participated unfortunately I’ve never finished a story but its still something I aspire to one day. Right now though I’ve no stories I want to tell or planned for! 

But if anyone wants to participate its still not too late the mechanics of participating can be read here.

Fire up those laptops and see what stories you can come up with!

[initial thoughts] WordCamp Philippines – Know Your Story

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WordCamp Philippines 2012 (#wcph2012) was fantastic and exceeded my expectations by a mile and then some. Since I restarted this blog I’ve been on a quest to re-educate myself about the web and all its emerging technologies. I’ve been on the look out for seminars I can attend and I’m beyond happy I started this journey with WordCamp Philippines.

The speakers were fantastic and they all opened my eyes about things I thought I knew and reiterated the importance of things I’ve been relearning: ‘Know your story’.

And how one of the most important word nowadays is ‘engagement’.

Engaging people. Getting them involved.

I also learned a lot about advocacies for Special Needs Education via my new friend, Ia Adam Lim from specialeducationphilippines.com. I LOVE how passionate everyone was!

I also got to meet some of the people involved in Mozilla Philippines, it’s a thrill especially since I’ve become such a fan of Mozilla.

I will definitely be going back next year!

WordCamp Philippines 2012

Currently in the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) for the fourth WordCamp Philippines. It’s th fourth WordCamp but my first Camp and very excited or it to start.

I’m excited to note that Mozilla is on of the major sponsors for WC Philippines. I’ve become an avid fan of Mozilla and I’m getting an unexpected thrill at getting some nifty Mozilla giveaways.

Globally speaking this has been a busy week for Tech. Apple released the new iPad 4 and the controversial iPad mini, Microsoft also officially released its Windows 8 into the wild together with its Surface tablets. I’m not a big fan of Windows but I have to admit it is winning me over because of how innovatively different Win 8 is, there will be bugs o course and I might even get Win 8 but only after I’m sure a large amount o bugs or UI experience are fixed.

There are some advantages choosing to be a late adopter. 

Word has it Google will release their new Nexus products on October 30, something I think the Search giant needs after the financial setback (something a lot of people attributes to Motorola bringing down company profits). 

Yahoo also seemed poised to jumpstart its move to the mobile with, in my opinion, the first o many acquisitions. I may do a post about Marissa Meyer one of these days because I’ve also grown fascinated with the new Yahoo CEO and curious at her plans to salvage Yahoo and make it more current to the web landscape and not just be known as a portal.
 
I’ve strayed wildly off point!

Anyway, I will report back re: WordCamp Philippines. 

I went on an unplanned hiatus, mostly because I’ve been busy with work and advocating against the Cyber Crime Law passed by the Philippine Government.

Spot.Ph reports the 10 Scary Things about Digital Martial Law.

It’s a law I find doubly backwards since the Philippines is making an effort to be more of an economic player in the region, especially when one of the goals is to make the Philippines more welcome to IT companies.

Fortunately, after a lot of protests the Supreme Court file a TRO for 120 days and various senators realized how badly the law could go. Even President Benigno Aquino III blinks on the law and says he is in favor of decriminalizing libel for all media.

The battle is far from won but it’s a good step to take. It’s a reminder that we need to be more vigilant in protecting freedom and independence. It’s not the first time the Philippines tangled with ‘Martial Law’.