Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Court okays merger of cable TV providers

THE appeals court has denied GMA Network’s appeal to stop the merger of cable firms Skycable, Homecable and Pilipino Cable Corp. while a complaint against it remains pending, saying it is better to let the National Telecommunications Commission to decide on the case.

“[The commission] is in the best position to judge matters relating to the broadcasting industry as it is presumed to have an unparalleled understanding of its market and commercial conditions,” the court said.

“Moreover, it is the [commission] that has the information, statistics and data peculiar to the television broadcasting industry.”

The court also declined to rule on GMA’s claim that the cable companies’ consolidation is unlawful and unconstitutional, saying the commission’s regulatory powers over broadcasting and cable television extends to ownership and regulation.

GMA Network petitioned the commission in 2003 to compel the three cable firms to restore its clear signal and to free it from distortion in their cable systems. It also asked the agency to void their merger.

The network then went to the appeals court after the commission denied its petition, saying it had yet to receive evidence on the matter from the conflicting sides.

But the appeals court agreed with the commission and the three cable firms, who argued that a cease-and-desist order against them would be too early since it would be tantamount to solving the case without the hearings being finished.

It said resolving the issues in GMA’s complaint would entail the use of the commission’s technical standards, and that it could not engage in fact-finding because it would void the rationale for the creation of fact-finding agencies and threaten the “speedy and cheap administrative resolution of controversies.”

“The capability of administrative agencies to draw specialized inferences based on their experience would be lost,” the court said.

“Administrative agencies would become little more than evidence gatherers, and most decisional responsibility would be shifted to the judiciary.” Rey E. Requejo


Sunday, November 04, 2007

Wikipedia wins landmark privacy lawsuit in France

Agence France-Presse

A French court has ruled that Wikipedia could not be held responsible for content posted by its users in a landmark ruling for the Internet giant, officials said Friday.

Three plaintiffs were each seeking 69,000 euros ($100,000) in damages for invasion of their privacy after their homosexuality was revealed on the website, which is written and edited by thousands of anonymous contributors.

But a judge rejected their demands in a ruling reached on Monday, arguing that "the Wikimedia Foundation's responsibility ... has not been clearly established," a decision welcomed by the foundation.

"The decision is very clear and we appreciate the fact the court acknowledges our role as an Internet host, rather than an editor," said Florence Devouard, chair of the Wikimedia Foundation's board.

Founded in 2001, Wikipedia is an "open-source" Internet encyclopedia, which is to say anyone with access to a computer can edit it. The Foundation's task is to work out ground rules and editorial policy and raise funds to pay for IT investments and development projects.

Devouard said the contested information was added anonymously to a Wikipedia article before being "quickly withdrawn, even if it remained accessible for a while through the site's records."

One of the plaintiffs "sent an e-mail which we never received before turning to his lawyer," she said.

"When we are informed of this type of mistake we always try to react in the following hours to withdraw such information," said Devouard, who is based near the central French city of Clermont-Ferrand.

With eight million articles and counting, in 250 languages from English and Arabic to Tagalog or Wolof, Wikipedia says it is used each month by more than 100 million people.

Although its accuracy is reportedly on a par with the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Wikipedia has also faced a mounting battle against misinformation and information vandalism.

Labels: , ,

New Zealander to head Internet oversight board

Agence France-Presse

LOS ANGELES--A New Zealand lawyer has been selected as the new chairman of the international Internet oversight agency ICANN, replacing American Vinton Cerf who has lead the agency since its creation in 1998, the organization said on Friday.

Peter Dengate Thrush "has been elected unanimously as the new Chairman of the Board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers," ICANN said in a statement.

"I am delighted that my colleagues have placed their confidence in me for this challenging and important role," Dengate Thrush, who specializes in intellectual property law and helped draft bylaws for the group, said in the statement.

Cerf, sometimes called the father of the Internet, said the selection of the new chair showed the organization was maturing.

"ICANN has moved from a foundation state to a steady state. Peter understands that and the Board's role and is a great choice to keep the organization strong and focused," said Cerf, who helped invent the core protocols of the Internet.

ICANN, a non-profit organization based in Marina del Rey in Southern California, oversees the assignment of domain names (such as .org or .edu) and Internet protocol addresses that help computers communicate.

Labels: , ,

RP educators say computer games can make learning fun

By Erwin Oliva - INQUIRER.net
Miguel Escaño, English instructor at Ateneo de Manila University, said he learned about the world's geography from a PC game called, "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?"

Where in the World is Carmen San Diego is a computer game that takes you around the world as you track villains.

As today's kids are more computer-literate, educators are now more open to introduce computer games and interactive simulations to make it easier and interesting for students to understand concepts in science, math, English, and even ethics.

Escaña was, in fact, part of a new program in Ateneo that used role-playing games like Neverwinter Nights to teach ethics, story-telling and philosophy.

"Teachers are seeing computers games as a 'weapon.' In the array of choices of instructional materials, games are becoming an option," Ma. Mercedes Rodrigo, associate professor and chairperson at the Department of Information Systems and Computer Science (DISCS).

Rodrigo stressed that computer games have broad applications in e-learning, the most evident of which is that computer games make learning fun.

"It easier to learn when you're having fun," she added.

At the same time, students can do silly things as they learn, Rodrigo said. In one role-playing game, there were two warring clans: the fishball clan and the barbeque clan. The objective was to retrieve the "golden lechon."

To help elementary students understand globalization, Rodrigo said a computer game required them to go shopping.

There are also other text-based games that help student learn foreign languages like French, Rodrigo said.

Diwa Asia Publishing Group Inc., developer of e-learning system Genyo, has been developing interactive games for elementary and high school students. Recently, the company has partnered with Singaporean firm Learning Edvantage (LEAD) to enable students to access interactive content in a web portal.

Jose Maria Policarpio, executive director of Diwa Asia Publishing Group Inc., said that interactive games used in Singaporean primary and secondary schools would be introduced soon in the Philippines through its partnership with LEAD

Labels: , , ,

All set for Cyber Ed

By: Jeffrey C. Tiangco - Journal.com

EVERYTHING is set for the P26.48-billion Cyber Education program of the Department of Education.

The department recently held a video tape session to select teachers for the “teaching demonstration” using optical media despite appeals from academicians and universities not to rush the project.

The teachers said they were advised to report to the DepEd Central Office for “demo teaching.” They added that the DepEd will choose from among the video recordings the ones to be shown in the remote areas.

Jess Ostos, and Miriam Collantes, from Marikina and Manila, respectively, said the “audition” was for master teachers in Science. Teachers from Makati City and Quezon City were also present in last Wednesday’s audition.

Ricky Santos, DepEd special assistant on Information Communication Technology integration in education, said the audition is part of the preparation for the eventual implementation of the Cyber Education project.

Earlier, President Macapagal-Arroyo announced the suspension of the CEP amid controversy generated by the $329-million national broadband network deal.

CEP will use satellite technology to deliver key learning concepts and other educational services to rural schools through television screens.

Education Secretary Jesli Lapus has said the DepEd will “lay down the groundwork” for the project. He said the integration of IT in the education system has become inevitable, noting that the country has been lagging behind in this aspect.

Labels: ,

Google rolls out OpenSocial in Facebook challenge

Agence France-Presse

NEW YORK - Google on Friday launched OpenSocial, a common platform for developers of social websites, in a direct challenge to Facebook and its thousands of software applications.

The Internet search leader said it hopes OpenSocial's set of common application programming interfaces (APIs) will revolutionize the Internet's social powers.

"The web is fundamentally better when it's social, and we're only just starting to see what's possible when you bring social information into different contexts on the web," said Jeff Huber, senior vice president of engineering, Google.

"There's a lot of innovation that will be spurred simply by creating a standard way for developers to run social applications in more places," he said.

The Mountain View, California-based company announced Thursday it had teamed up with the social networking site MySpace in the project that represents an audience of about 200 million users globally.

Google said Friday a total of 18 sites had already committed to supporting OpenSocial, including Oracle, orkut, Bebo and LinkedIn.

OpenSocial marks the first time that multiple social networks have been made accessible under a common API to make development and distribution easier and more efficient for developers, the company said."

"OpenSocial will unleash more powerful and pervasive social capabilities for the web, empowering developers to build far-reaching applications that users can enjoy regardless of the websites, web applications, or social networks they use," it said.

Several developers, including Flixster, FotoFlexer, iLike, RockYou, Slide, Theikos, and VirtualTourist have already built applications that use the OpenSocial APIs, Google said.

The Google launch came after Microsoft and Facebook last week announced they were expanding their advertising alliance and the world's leading software maker said it would buy a 1.6 percent stake in the social-networking website for 240 million dollars.

Google had vied with Microsoft for nearly a year for a tie-up with Facebook, which now claims nearly 50 million active users and by some measurements is among the top 10 websites worldwide.

Labels: , , ,

Website launched to counter effects of ‘brain drain’

By RAINIER ALLAN RONDA - The Philippine Star

A website has been launched to address the effects of the "brain drain" caused by the exodus of skilled Filipino workers for higher paying jobs overseas.

The website will provide an "online forum" where overseas Filipinos workers (OFW) can share their expertise with their countrymen in the Philippines.

The Ayala Foundation, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), and communications firm EON, recently announced the launching of the OneFilipino.net, which they envisioned to become the primary website to be visited by OFWs where they can interact with Filipinos in the country regarding their insights and expertise gained in foreign shores.

The website will feature four chat rooms namely Creative Services and Industries, Off–shoring and Outsourcing Services, Medical and Wellness Services, and Retirement and Education.

Guillermo "Bill" Luz, Ayala Foundation executive director, said that the interaction between skilled overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and Filipino professionals, entrepreneurs and experts would result to great business ideas that would generate entrepreneurial activity and employment here.

"What we are looking for is the exchange of ideas that will stimulate entrepreneurial activity here in the country and will in turn generate employment for our skilled workers here," Luz said.

Henry Schumacher, executive vice president of the ECCP, said that the group wants to generate business activity and employment.

"What we intend is that lots of jobs are generated. We would like to see people staying here rather than being exported. What we would like to see are jobs coming into the country," Schumacher said in the launching ceremonies early last month.

Labels: , ,