Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Unlocked iPhone


NTC: AT&T complaint needed vs iPhone SIM 'hacking'

Unless AT&T complains, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) cannot stop people from unlocking the subscriber identity module (SIM) card of the Apple iPhone so that it can operate on a local network.

"When a SIM is unlocked and cloned, that is illegal. But we are talking of individual SIMs you paid for. If someone hacks into your SIM to unlock it, that's wrong," said NTC Deputy Commissioner Jorge Sarmiento, in a telephone interview.

"Strictly speaking, it is wrong, but unless AT&T complains, we cannot act on this," he added.

Apple iPhone users in the Philippines can now access a local mobile network without using a roaming arrangement with AT&T.

This was after a certain forum user "Dubeditions" posted a photo and a short entry in a website forum indicating that he had found a way to unlock the iPhone and make it work on the network of Globe Telecom, a local telecommunications firm.

Froilan Castelo, vice president and head of Globe Telecom's regulatory affairs, said "I don't know about this. But we don't condone hacking. NTC has rules declaring illegal the unlocking of cellphones."

In a post dated August 15, 2007, Dubeditions revealed to members of the Philippine Macintosh Users Group (PhilMUG)'s forum that he had cloned the iPhone's subscriber identity module (SIM).

The Apple iPhone, which combines a mobile phone with the company's iconic iPod music player, has not yet been released in Southeast Asia. iPhones in the US are exclusively available on AT&T's mobile network.

"If you read closely, the original poster mentioned supersim. This means he is claiming to use methods (recently posted around the Internet) which involve writing data onto a blank 'supersim' sim card to unlock the iPhone's full network capabilities," PhilMUG subscriber Danieldy further explained in the forum.

In the same forum, Dubeditions confirmed Danieldy's short explanation.

Another post from a PhilMUG member Cyberprince in the forum explained that Dubeditions was able to extract information from both the AT&T and the old Globe SIMs, and then combine them in a new card.

source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Teen disables porn filter


Australian teen disables government's porn filter

SYDNEY -- The Australian government Monday admitted no Internet child safeguards were foolproof after a teenager claimed he was able to break through its multi-million dollar pornography filter in minutes.

Sixteen-year-old Melbourne teenager Tom Wood said it took him less than 30 minutes to override the cyber barrier technology which was launched by Prime Minister John Howard earlier this month.

"I downloaded it on Tuesday to see how good it was, because for $84 million [$69 million US], I would have expected a pretty unbreakable filter," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"Tried a few things, it took about half an hour and [it] was completely useless," he said, having effectively disabled the software.

Communications Minister Helen Coonan said that the NetAlert filters, which the government has announced will be free for every family, were always going to be challenged by teenagers.

"Sadly, just as a seatbelt will never prevent every fatal car crash, as the government has always maintained, no filter is foolproof," Senator Coonan said.

"But a computer with a filter is infinitely safer than one without."

The company which provided the technology was investigating the unconfirmed hacking report, she added.

The filter system was one of several measures, including an information and education campaign and telephone hotline, announced by the Australian premier earlier this month to make the Internet safer for children and families.

source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

IT in School Curriculum


Integration of IT in school curriculum sought

MANILA, Philippines -- The integration of information technology in basic education and making it free as a college course are being pushed by two lawmakers at the House of Representatives who filed separate bills on the proposal.

Marikina Representative Marcelino Teodoro filed House Bill No. 8 seeking the inclusion of IT as a compulsory subject in public and private elementary and high schools.

“Whereas before, intelligence and emotional quotient would be sufficient for the holistic development of a child, we could no longer limit ourselves to these factors considering the changing of time," Teodoro said.

He stressed in his proposal that teaching IT in schools would encourage young people to put technology to good use, as well as make them more globally competitive when they grow up.

Cebu City First District Raul Del Mar filed House Bill 442 mandating students to avail of free college IT education from state universities and colleges.

Del Mar said the bill, to be known as the "Free Information and Communication Technology College Education Act of 2001," seeks to provide a two-year free college education in ICT courses to all high school graduates of public schools.

The proposal also indicates that the funds for the free college IT education will come from the National Treasury, Commission on Higher Education and the Department of Education.

The funds needed in the ensuing fiscal years for the program’s implementation shall be included in the appropriations of the State universities and colleges in the General Appropriations Act.

The bill also mandates the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to formulate a two-year college curriculum geared towards providing students with training or skills consistent with the manpower demands of a highly competitive business environment.

"Given the present business practice that places a premium on formal post-secondary education or college training, and given the sheer number of graduates of our public school system, this proposed legislation is a first concrete step towards providing the deserving graduates of our public high school with appropriate quality college education keyed to the demands of a highly competitive marketplace," Del Mar said.

The beneficiaries will have the right to choose the public or state college or university within the city, province or region, as the case may be to enjoy the free college education program.

source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Dream Orchestra in Iloilo City


Getting closer to a dream orchestra in Iloilo City

ILOILO CITY – Inspired by stories that her grandfather was once a conductor of a local orchestra and that school orchestra competitions drew huge crowds in Iloilo decades ago, a 36-year-old Filipina, born in Manila but who grew up in Canada, has set her mind on forming an orchestra in Iloilo City.

Finding nothing to start with, Melissa Lopez-Exmundo opened classes in violin, teaching children from three years old and up, hoping to build a base for a chamber orchestra she dreams of.

Exmundo is among those who reversed the migration of professionals to North America and elsewhere. In 1998, she decided to stay in Jaro district and teach because she was amazed by the talent she was able to coax from her young students, who are now saying they want to be musicians playing in an orchestra.

In a country where beauty parlors and movie theaters overwhelmingly outnumber concert and music halls, Exmundo’s effort caused naysayers to shake their heads, probably until they saw her students straining their bows to get the right sound from their violins.

“I missed watching opera and playing in orchestra (in Europe and Canada). Sometimes I am invited to play in Manila. But if I create opportunities here, I could enjoy it too,” she said.

In other countries, the way to join an orchestra is to take lessons and audition to join the orchestra. What Exmundo did was unusual. She gave group lessons to train children in orchestra playing. If they are serious about their music, they can audition for an orchestra later.

Melissa taught violin at the University of San Agustin and Central Philippine University. She also taught French at the University of the Philippines-Visayas campus and West Visayas State University. But she wasn’t happy with the results of her violin classes because many of her adult students were taking lessons mainly for academic credits and less for the love of music.

‘Twinkle Twinkle’

“The problem with adults is that they have an expectation of what they should sound like, and if they don’t get results, they give up sooner. Their arms are not that supple. Adult students are more busy and hard on themselves. Kids are more resilient and they don’t mind playing ‘Twinkle Twinkle,’” she said.

Exmundo started giving private violin lessons in June 2002. “I had no name, just a private class and all by word of mouth,” she said.


Her class of seven students grew to 20 and later an average of 25 to 30 per module. Since then, more than 50 students have attended her class, some of them on a continuing basis. Others have started coming, brought by their parents who heard about Exmundo or have seen her students perform in a recital. She didn’t turn them away even if her classes were already big because many of the children showed promise even at the tender age of three or four, which is about the same age she started to play a violin.

Exmundo and her family migrated to Canada when she was two years old. She remembered playing with pseudo violin when she was three. She had a Hungarian violin teacher until she was six years old and she continued to take private lessons. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a bachelor’s degree in Music Performance.

In Toronto she played in and coached youth orchestra and ensembles. She went to Prague in 1993 and stayed for a year to take private lessons in violin under Professor Ivan Strauss.

She went to Japan to teach English and in preparing for her trip she took lessons on teaching English as a second language. The experience helped her prepare for violin teaching years later.

Even if she was not trained in music education, she reads up on strategies in teaching music and designs modules that combine the Suzuki method and the conservatory way of learning music. Each module ends with a performance, which is the most-awaited part by students and their parents.

source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Madrigal Singers win European Grand Prix


Madrigal Singers win European Grand Prix for the sec
ond time

MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine Madrigal Singers won the prestigious European Grand Prix for Choral Singing Sunday night (Monday morning, Manila time) in Arezzo, Italy.

The Madz, as the choir is popularly known, is the first and only choir to win twice in what is known as the choral Olympics of the world.

It won the European Choral Grand Prix (GPE) for the first time in June 1997 when the Madrigals represented the Tolosa Competition, the first and only Philippine choir to win this competition.

When it won the Florilege Vocal de Tours in France in 2006, the Philippine choral group earned the right to represent the Tours in this year’s choral Olympics, held on Sunday at the Church of Sta. Maria della Pieve in Arezzo, Italy.

The Madrigals beat formidable choirs such as Russia’s Vesna Children’s Choir, Hungary’s Cantemos Mixed Choir, Cuba’s Schola Cantorum Coralina and the Taipei Chamber Singers.

“Its overwhelming. Up to now we are very happy and pleased. No words can describe it,” Mark Anthony Carpio, the Madrigal’s choirmaster told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone from Italy.

Carpio said the choral group performed a 20-minute program for the competition which included: John Pamintuan’s arrangement of “Pater Noster,” a French madrigal, a German art song, the American contemporary song “We Beheld Once Again the Stars” by Z. Randall Stroope and a children’s song from Maguindanao titled “Kaisa-isa Nyan” by Nilo Alcala.

The 44-strong Philippine choir is scheduled to arrive in Manila on Tuesday at 10 a.m.

Carpio said the Madrigals were set to perform a homecoming concert in October before leaving for the US.

The Philippine Madrigal Singers was founded in 1963 by National Artist for Music Andrea O. Veneracion, who led the choir in winning various choral competitions from all over the world. Veneracion passed on her choirmaster’s task to Madz member Carpio, who led the choir in winning the latest choral Olympics.

“I never had the ambition of becoming the choirmaster of a group I have admired for a long time,” said Carpio who took over in 2001. “But I trusted Prof. Veneracion’s decision. She had been praying intensely for this when the Madz won the 1997 GPE."

Carpio was overwhelmed when the Madz made history by winning its second GPE, this time, under his leadership.

“Nothing is more enjoyable than to see our hard work pay off. Feeling good about ourselves inspires us to even work harder. As Prof. Veneracion always said in the past, competitions are not the end; they are just means for us to see how well we are on track," Carpio said.

"We worked hard to achieve what we believed is the composer’s desire for each of our pieces. We did a lot of studying and research. But most of all, we did a lot of rehearsals," he added.

According to Carpio, there is no such thing as an ideal sound in any choral competition. The sound that the choir always tries to maintain is a free and relaxed sound but at the same time versatile and flexible.

“I believe there is no ideal or perfect sound for a choir. I have made this conclusion after listening to so many choirs from different countries of different cultures and ages. Each one sounds good but different from each other," he said.

"There are qualities that are common to choirs. They are homogenous and the different voice parts are well-balanced. This is what conductors find very challenging: How to make the different individual voices blend together. This is difficult but attainable," Carpio added.

The GPE is an annual choral competition for the winners of six European choral competitions. It was inaugurated in 1989.

The six competitions are the Concorso Polifónico Guido d'Arezzo (International Guido d'Arezzo Polyphonic Contest) in Arezzo, Italy; the Bela Bartok International Choir Competition in Debrecen, Hajdú-Bihar, Hungary; Concorso Cesare Augusto (C.A.) Seghizzi, (C.A. Seghizzi Competition) known more popularly as the Seghizzi contest in Gorizia, Italy; Concurso Coral de Tolosa (Tolosa Choral Competition) in Tolosa, Spain; the International May Choir Competition in Varna, Varna Province, Bulgaria; and the Florilège Vocal de Tour in Tours, France.

By winning the Tours competition in June 2006, the Madrigals qualified to join the GPE.

Despite its name, the GPE is not strictly for European choir groups. Any group from around the world can join in the competition in any of the GPE’s six member-cities. The competition is also not limited to adult choirs. Two past winners are children’s choirs.

Sweden has produced the most number of GPE winners with four choral groups. Lithuania has three winners, Hungary and the US have two each. Denmark, Japan, Latvia, the Philippines, Russia and Slovenia have one each.

The last winner of the 2006 GPE held in Tolosa, Spain is the University of Utah Singers from Salt Lake City, US.

source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Philippine Silicon Valley



When people hear me say the words incubation or incubator, the next phrase that normally follows is "What’s that?"

Then people begin to think that I’m either- somehow involved in delivering newborn babies or that I’m now in the poultry industry.

The first answer — that of delivering newborn babies — is probably closer to the truth.

However, in the case of the UP Ayala Technology Business Incubator, what we incubate are young technology companies that are just starting to grow their wings before soaring like eagles into the sky.

So what exactly is an incubator in the context of nurturing young companies?

Simply put, it is a place where they can concentrate on developing their technology products (or sometimes services), and pool together other concerns like accounting, legal, use of a common printer pool, and the like.

In other words, we give the technology entrepreneur time to concentrate on their technology innovation, and let the incubator worry first about mundane things like business permits, and the like.

It also has to be cheap. Most of the tech products of these tech start-ups came from old dissertations and thesis papers that were able to avail of some angel investment capital (e.g. less than half a million pesos).

In some cases, there was no capital upfront except that there was already a purchase order in which case the developers had to work for free until they were able to bill the client.

The incubator, therefore, has to have fairly lower rates than in places like Makati and Ortigas (although that can never be assured, of course).

It doesn’t have to be big either. Two- to three-man software start-ups, with their computers can sometimes operate in spaces as small as 20 to 30 square meters.

But what matters is a careful understanding of the anthropology of behaviors that support these start-ups.

For example, if the technology requires frequent access to the labs and faculty of certain universities or industries, then it would make sense to locate these incubators near those institutions or industries.

Case in point is the Ateneo de Manila start-up called Blue Chips, which is run by some ADMU professors to build software for some Japanese printer companies.

The reason it makes sense for the ADMU faculty to make their business and their teaching practice work, is that their office is literally a stone’s throw away from the ADMU campus.

Currently, and only because the UP Ayala TBI is limited in space to incubating a maximum of nine start-ups, it is still unable to satisfy the demand from around 50 tech start-ups that would like to be incubated, too.

What many people probably do not realize is that the Hewlett Packard/Apple model of incubating in a garage is more common here than what people think.

In the Diliman-Loyola Heights area alone, there are many tech start-ups — mostly software, a few hardware — that populate Xavierville, Teachers Village, UP Village, the condos along Katipunan, and various other places in these areas.

How do I know? Because every so often, we hold a Kapihan at UP Ayala TBI, and that is when these people come out of the woodwork and update me on what they are doing.

The only reason we don’t think there is a Silicon Valley model in the Philippines is because we have never seen it. But I assure you, it exists below the radar, quietly simmering and developing.

source: www.itmatters.com.ph

Red moon rising


Red moon rising’ on Tuesday

MANILA, Philippines -- Watch for the “Red Moon rising” on Tuesday night, but brace for cloudy weather, too.

A total lunar eclipse will occur today, and -- weather permitting -- will be visible in the Philippines, the United States, the Pacific, eastern Asia and Australasia, the weather bureau said.

The eclipse starts as the moon enters the earth’s penumbra (outer shadow) at 3:52 p.m. An hour later, the moon will enter the earth’s umbra (inner shadow), culminating in a total eclipse at 5:52 p.m.

During a total lunar eclipse, the moon’s disk can take on various colors ranging from bright orange and blood red to dark brown and very dark gray, astronomers said.

Sounds spectacular -- if the band of clouds hovering over the Philippines does not spoil one’s view.

If that happens, the next best option for the stargazing public who want to catch a glimpse of the eclipse is to tune in to National Geographic on cable TV, weather forecaster Robert Rivera said.

“This band of clouds will be predominating for the next five days,” Rivera said, pointing to a satellite image of thick clouds hovering over the Philippines on a computer screen.

“So I suggest they watch the lunar eclipse on National Geographic, the red moon rising, unless there’s a break in the cloudiness,” said Rivera.

Eclipse to last 90 minutes

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) forecast cloudy skies with rainshowers and thunderstorms across the country for Tuesday and the next three days after two low pressure areas swirled into the country’s area of responsibility.

The total eclipse will last for 90 minutes, but the entire process itself will end at 9:22 p.m., according to PAGASA.

“At around 5:50 p.m., the moon’s silvery color will be discolored, and turn into somewhat orange,” weather observer Ruben Cunanan, who mans the PAGASA astronomical observatory at University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, told reporters.

“Since the moon rises at 6:08 p.m., we won’t be able to see the initial phase of the eclipse. By 6:08 p.m., the eclipse is already midway through,” Cunanan said.

Bicolanos will be first

Provinces in the eastern part of the country, like Catanduanes, will be the first to catch a glimpse of the eclipse.

A total lunar eclipse also occurred on March 4 this year.

A lunar eclipse can only take place at full moon, and only if the moon passes through some portion of the earth’s shadow, according to astronomers.

If only part of the moon passes through the umbra, this is considered a partial eclipse. But if the entire moon passes through the umbral shadow, then a total eclipse of the moon occurs, they said.

The penumbra or outer shadow is a zone where the earth blocks some, but not all, of the Sun’s rays. The umbra or inner shadow is a region where the earth blocks all direct sunlight from reaching the moon, astronomers said.

Weather experts said cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms were expected to prevail over the archipelago until Friday because of the two low pressure areas east of Quezon province and west of southern Luzon.

The light rain falling on Metro Manila was induced by the low pressure area that hit Quezon Monday. The low pressure area swirling over the South China Sea west of southern Luzon is expected to bring rain in the western section of Visayas.

“We will continue to monitor two systems. These will be inducing cloudiness and rainfall for the next 24 hours for the whole country. We expect widespread rain in Southern Luzon, and the western section of Visayas,” Rivera said.

He said the two low pressure areas were showing no signs of intensifying into cyclones.

source: Philippine Daily Inquirer