Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology

Saturday, December 03, 2005

NTC releases rules on cable TV "chatrooms"

By Alexander F. Villafania INQ7.net

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) yesterday released new guidelines on the management of increasingly popular “chatrooms” on cable TV channels, after receiving user complaints of vulgarity.

Cable TV chatrooms are interfaces in TV programs that show uploaded mobile text messages, which can be read by the viewing public. These chatrooms allow viewers to interact with one another or post messages.

The NTC is requiring all cable TV operators to utilize the automated filter dictionary (AFD), software that scans for pre-determined words and automatically blocks messages with vulgar content.

The NTC is also requiring all operators to have an administrator to manage the AFD and oversee the operation of chatrooms. Chatrooms are also ordered to have advisories restraining users from sending malicious messages.

While the new NTC memorandum covers only cable TV operators, it does not cover free broadcast TV stations that also feature chatrooms in some of their shows

NCC expects to complete 100 community e-centers by 2006

By Alexander F. Villafania INQ7.net

The National Computer Center (NCC) is close to completing its original plan of establishing 100 community e-centers (CEC) across the country by mid next year despite a late start.

The NCC has already put up 69 CECs, 49 of them fully operational and 20 are in the process of setting up.

NCC field operations director Maria Teresa Camba said in an interview that the NCC’s original agenda was to finish building 100 CECs by early next year, but this has been pushed forward by a few more months.

The NCC is fulfilling its original mandate to build the CECs despite delays, she added. “In fact, we’re already discussing with some local government units who are interested in putting up a CEC in their municipality.”

The NCC is also continuing its partnership with the Development Academy of the Philippines, which will train the CEC administrators. The DAP will provide additional information on fully utilizing their facilities to administrators, Camba said.

“What we want to do is to make the CECs more than just Internet cafes. We’re already talking to community leaders in each CEC location so that they could get their constituents to use the CEC.”

The NCC received 30 million pesos from the e-Government Fund to pursue the project. The original plan was for at least seven CECs in each of the country’s 16 regions, separate from the National Capital Region.

CICT appoints new head to manage the '.ph' spat

By Alexander F. Villafania INQ7.net

The Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) has appointed a new director to oversee the still ongoing '.ph' spat.CICT Deputy Commissioner Lorenzo Formoso III, appointed by the Office of the President to his post last month, has been assigned to lead the meetings on the .ph redelegation proceedings.

Formoso takes over the responsibility from Commissioner Damien Domingo Mapa, who is currently busy with several other CICT concerns that includes membership in the congressional technical working group on the automated election proposal.

Formoso was formerly the chief legal and compliance officer of the mobile services operator Chikka.

CICT Chairperson Virgilio Peña told reporters that Formoso has an extensive legal background in the IT industry, which made him a prime choice to head the .ph discussions.

'So far, we’re still discussing with group members of the .ph debate on the re-delegation. We don’t need to start from scratch since Formoso is already updated on the issue,' Peña said.

Peña said that he discussed re-delegation of the .ph top-level domain with Paul Twomey, president of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' (ICANN). Twomey was open to the possibility of the re-delegation but recommended that its stakeholders find a 'less-disruptive' way of transferring power.

'It means we have ascertain .ph clients are not happy with the management of the domain and then we could proceed to ask ICANN to re-delegate it. That is why we're looking at ways to bring this to a win-win-win situation for the current .ph administrator, the government and the local Internet users,' Peña said.

The .ph domain name is currently administered by DotPH owned by Joel Disini. DotPH acts as both administrator and registrar of .ph, an arrangement questioned by many Internet users who say that these two responsibilities should be split into two and administered accordingly.

Friday, December 02, 2005

NBI raids 3 Internet cafes, seizes P10 M in computers

Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) conducted simultaneous raids on three Internet cafes, leading to the seizure of some P10 million worth of computers recently in Manila, Mandaluyong, and Quezon City.

Raided were the branches of Expressions Center for Learning or Excel located at the 4th floor of SM Manila, Arroceros St., Manila; 2nd Floor, EDSA Central Pavilion Mall, Edsa Central Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong City; and at the Food Court on the basement of Ali Mall, Araneta Center in Cubao.

The NBI Intellectual Property Rights Division (IPRD), headed by lawyer Jose Justo Yap, said the raids were conducted at around 12 noon of Thursday last week. Government agents confiscated 286 desktop computers loaded with fake soft-ware.

Yap said the raids were conducted following the end of a moratorium implemented by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) last Sept. 16.

He said this was the first time the NBI division conducted raids on Internet cafes after Microsoft, a member company of BSA, filed a complaint. He added that the three establishments raided were the biggest of the 44 branches which Excel has in the country.

There are 20 Excel Internet cafes located in Metro Manila while the remaining 24 branches are located in nearby provinces.

Yap said the computer software industry loses some P3.7 billion annually to piracy. He said this is because 71 percent of computer users in the country use pirated soft-ware.

Yap clarified that they have not conducted raids on Internet cafes before and that the simultaneous raids should serve as a warning to other shops.

Yap said the NBI raiders also confiscated software for Windows XP, Windows 98, Micro-soft Office, Windows Special Edition and Microsoft 2002 from the said establishments. Charges for violationg the Intellectual Property Rights Code, particularly for use of unlicensed software will be slapped against the owner of the establishments.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Concerned Parents targets new rise in video game violence

WASHINGTON -- Backed by gruesome shots of computerized cannibalism, police beatings and violence, campaigners Tuesday warned parents that their children were increasingly at risk from "sadistic" video games.

Senator Hillary Clinton and former vice presidential nominee Joseph Lieberman meanwhile launched new legislation intended protect kids from graphic, violent and sexual material on their game consoles.

The National Institute on Media and the Family said in its annual report that video game retailors had failed to honor promises to safeguard children from violent and sexual content in new generation video games.

"There has been significant industry progress and reforms over the last decade, but ever more violent and sadistic games are still ending up in the hands of children," said the institute's president David Walsh.

Walsh called gave the video game industry a grade of "D+" over the last decade as regards protecting children, and called on retailers to embrace an independent ratings system for games.

"Retailers would rather appear as if they care about children instead of actually small steps to protect them," said Walsh.

Walsh concluded his presentation by showing video footage of games featuring police shootings, violence, graphic language and even cannibalism.

The Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB), an industry self regulatory body was not working, Walsh said, and warned that boys as young as nine-years-old were often able to buy 'M' or mature rated video games.

Clinton sprung into action after a controversy earlier this year involving the latest edition of the "Grand Theft Auto" game which could be modified to include graphic sex with a modification called "Hot Coffee" available on the Internet.

"I have developed legislation that will empower parents by making sure their kids can't walk into a store and buy a video game that has graphic, violent and pornographic content," said Clinton, a possible 2008 presidential candidate.

"Today's report is yet further proof that we need to make sure parents have the tools and support they need to make informed decisions for their children."

The legislation would make it a crime for any business to sell or rent a Mature, Adults Only or Ratings pending game to anyone younger than seventeen.

On Monday, the gaming industry said Sony's next-generation PlayStation 3 would join the new Microsoft Xbox 360 in giving parents tools to limit access to computer games deemed too risqué or violent.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Cops turn to computers for help

Inquirer News Service

COMPUTERS chart when, where, and which crimes occur to make police deployment more effective, according to a senior police official.

Deputy Director General Avelino Razon Jr. said the police, in a few key cities, now use computers to create graphs of the crime situation.

"Through comstat (computer statistics), we found out that our [police] deployment was wrong. In many areas, we deployed more men during the day when there were more crimes committed at night," Razon said.

The official clarified that to deploy more men at night was "not the rule of thumb."

"It depends on the precinct commander, but now deployment is aided by comstat," he said. "A precinct commander must know when, where and which crimes occur [in his territory]."

There are about 115,000 uniformed and non-uniformed police personnel, a third of them on duty at any given time.

The Rizal Police had used a similar computer program to plot crime data on a chart. Senior Superintendent Leocadio Santiago, then provincial police chief, developed the program and offered it for free to other provincial police stations.

Razon said he got the idea of using computers from a book on the crime situation in New York City.

When the New York Police District started using computer models to plot crime rates and occurrence, the NYPD's deployment of cops became more effective; it helped bring down their crime rate, according to Razon

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Smart conducts 3G network test in Cebu

By Ehda M. Dago-oc The Freeman

A week after its rival company publicly tested the 3G (third generation) technology, Smart Communications Inc. also countered with its network test showcasing its capability in this latest development in telecommunication industry.

Smart conducted the first inter-network 3G video call in the country during an international telecom conference held in Shangri-La's Mactan Island Resort Wednesday.

The video call was the first public demonstration of Smart's test 3G Network, awaiting the commercial permit to be released soon by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on the 3G technology. It was made between Smart and roaming partner Telecom Italia Mobile.

"The success of this video call between our 3G test network and that of our European partner is proof of Smart's capability to offer 3G-enabled services and its commitment to always stay a step ahead of the others," said Smart head for Network Services Division Rolando G. Peña.

The 3G wireless communications technology will make possible high-speed data, voice, and video services. It promises greater bandwidth and higher transfer rates ranging from 384 kbps (kilobyte per second) to 2 Mbps (megabyte per second), a quantum leap from GSM technology maximum speed of 9.6 kbps. This speed also allows easier Internet browsing and the downloading of huge files.

Peña vowed to immediately offer the service as soon as it gets the NTC permit, that would probably a year from now. It is expected to attract initially the high-end market, while this particular service will be first introduced commercially in key cities and class A municipalities.

Globe Telecom also held a public network demonstration of 3G in the country last week in Cebu, tested by its chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala.

According to Peña Smart started conducting tests with 3G technology five years ago. In December 2000, the company together with communications solutions provider Nokia, and then NTC deputy commissioner Nestor Dacanay completed the first every 3G trial in the Philippines.

The trial focused on testing the video conferencing capabilities of the system, which ran on a Wireless Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) platform. Transfer speeds of this year 2000 test run were recorded at 216.9 kbps.

This time around, Smart is demonstrating its 3G capability. With trial permit and frequencies from the NTC, Smart has set-up a 3G test network in Mactan to in time for the Inter-working Roaming Expert Group (IREG) Conference at Shangri-La which was attended by over a hundred delegates from all over the world-rarely held outside Europe.

IREG is the group within the international body GSM Association that addresses the technical, operational, and performance issues supporting international roaming services. The group is composed of different telecommunications operators from around the world.

"We have decided to stage our test facility for 3G in conjunction with the IREG event to show our international counterparts our capability in providing mobile broadband services," Peña said.

3G, or as the name implies, follows the first generation (1G) and second generation (2G) in wireless communications. 1G began in the late 1970's and lasted through the 1980s. These networks featured "cellular mobile radio telephone" that uses analog voice signaling.

The 1990s ushered in 2G, which features digital voice encoding. Since its inception, 2G has steadily improved, with increased bandwidth, packet routing, and the introduction of multimedia.