How to be safe online?

This is my checklist when I create online social networking accounts:

  1. Check the site’s ability to show or hide profile information. If it exposes too much, it would be best that you don’t fill up every field in your profile. The less you share online as public information, the better you secure your identity.
  2. DO NOT automatically share home addresses, phone numbers, mobile numbers, e-mail addresses and IM IDs/names to everyone; share only to friends.
  3. DO NOT automatically share your birthdate and anniversary date to everyone; share only to friends. Consider this: you may need to secure your birth date which is sometimes used to verify your identity in phone and online banking transactions.
  4. DO NOT automatically share family relationships to everyone; share only to friends (and connections). Consider this: you may need to secure your mother’s maiden name which is sometimes used to verify your identity in phone and online banking transactions.
  5. DO NOT automatically share photos and videos to everyone; share only to friends (and connections). Some media are really not meant to be shared in the public domain. First and foremost, treat your original media as your copyright materials; all rights reserved!
  6. DO NOT trust the site to "remember", save or store your bank savings, checking, debit and credit card numbers. Consider entering these numbers only when making actual transactions (and make sure that you don’t let the site "remember", save or store the number). I assure you, the hassle of entering that number every time is worth the security you get in return.
  7. NEVER share your TIN and SSN (SSS number) online. Like your bank and insurance policy account numbers, these are definitely NOT public information.

In using the social networking site:

  1. Be in control! Identify what to share with specific people, friends, connections and everyone. Rule of thumb: if the post is too personal, then keep it private. Remember that in social networking sites, "everyone" can mean the whole world! Don’t publicly share what you can keep within your personal circle.
  2. Some posts (messages, photos, videos, links, etc.) may affect other people’s online preference. Respect other people’s privacy. If you are not sure, ask the person’s permission first. This is especially true when you intend to share the material publicly or to more than just your friends (and connections).
  3. Never share full details about your household’s weekend and vacation plans. Not everyone needs to know that you are "temporarily abandoning" your house. Besides, surprising your friends (and connections) with news about your trips would be more exciting to talk about. If you really have to share your plans, share them only with friends.
  4. Make sure that you know who you are adding in to your network. If you have doubts, don’t! This is very important. You should be able to trust the people in your network. Come to think of it, adding people to your network actually gives them access to the materials that you post or share online.
  5. Private messages, IM’s and e-mails still work. Remember that you can still use them to communicate with friends.
  6. Phone calls and post mail letters still work.  Remember that you can still use them to communicate with friends.
  7. Of course, nothing beats personally meeting your friends — keep what you have to say or share until you meet them in person. This works, too… 100%!

Share yours… Wink


Imagine After Everything’s Digital

Stones and paints; wood and carves; paper and ink… historical mediums to store knowledge and wisdom. They’ve stood the test of time. They taught us about our past. They taught us what we know.
Now, imagine a time when everything is digital — when all information are stored in digital storage mediums… when everything should be shared digitally.
Then imagine that electricity suddenly disappears… completely… for some reason.
How do you retrieve all those knowledge and wisdom kept in hard/flash drives and CDs? How do you even prove that digital civilization existed? What’s there to learn from them? What did they have? What did they do? What happened?
It’s like, once upon a time, a digital civilization existed and the generations of that time couldn’t even prove themselves. Then it becomes a myth… a legend. Eventually, none of them would be remembered. A civilization lost in history… forever.
Think about it…

Imagining The Future…

I picture the future filled with online services and lots of wireless access. What is important to believe in is that the future wireless Internet speed would be very, very, very fast — so fast, that there would be no difference in speed/performance when you open an HD movie via local player or via online streaming. Also, the cloud computing infrastructure/achitecture of the future would be so mature that it is almost naturally dependable, reliable and trustable.
This is how I imagine the future of computing:
1. Crystal Slate
The crystal slate is a multi-touch haptics enabled I/O device which can come in different sizes (mobile, mount, window, wall, etc.) depending on the user’s need for it. It gets power wirelessly. It displays content wirelessly. It may support audio I/O as well. The basic OS chip in the crystal slate allows the user to select what COTA to access.
Computer-over-the air is the norm. COTA can be a computer hosted at home, at work or from a COTA service provider. 
2.a. COTA at Home
At home, a mobile sized crystal slate is just one of the many ways that the user may interact with the computer at home. Many crystal slates can also be installed in one household. A crystal slate "appliance" is basically a crystal slate that is configured to lock on specific applications on the computer such as an entertainment center (for videos, music, games, etc.) or a communication center (for making voice calls/chats, video calls/chats, e-mails, etc.). Depending on the applications available on the computer, a fully computerized home may have many crystal slate appliances that serve specific functions, which may include the light’s on/off/dimmer switch, for example.
2.b. COTA at Work
The crystal slate at work may be dockable for a full computing experience (the keyboard itself may also be a crystal slate locked to a keyboard application).
2.c. COTA Service Provider
Computers may be hosted via provider for 24/7 operation and support. Users may use the crystal slate to access their COTA account online. COTA service providers may include services such as:
– Hardware (performance) upgrades
– OS upgrades
– Backup/restore
COTA hosted by the service provider may not necessarily be physical computers. The "owner" may also opt to use hosted virtual machines. The service provider has options that would meet specific performance and storage requirements.
So that’s it! COTA accessed via wirelessly powered crystal slates. Cool, huh?

A Note on Writing

There’s a lesson to learn from this: Some jokes do not deliver well in text and, as a friend puts it, sarcasm does not translate well in text either.
I am not the first to say this but people should remember NOT to do things online that might, sooner than later, cause regret.
Many of us today use blogging and micro-blogging sites to self-publish writings about… anything. However, for most of us, we forget about the #1 rule in writing: know your audience. 
When you post something online, you have to remember that your audience could be everyone on the Internet — and that most of those in the audience are actually people you DO NOT know. So, for the most part, you should expect that they have no context at all of what you are writing about. If you want to make sure that most of them would actually understand you, then you have to write smartly — not just intelligently, but smartly. Regardless if you’re writing a book, an article or a 140 character long text message, what’s important is that you get to send the intended thoughts right. There is no room for misinterpretations and misunderstandings; and there is definitely no reason for getting jailed just because you shared what’s happening or what’s on your mind.
Knowing your audience allows you to create content that can be accepted and appreciated without causing confusion, madness and chaos. Knowing your audience allows you to write about the things that matter. Knowing your audience allows you to avoid getting in to prison for publishing something stupid. All the more, knowing your audience allows you to filter what you write so you do not expose, too, much information that could put your life and your loved ones’ lives in danger.
Today, social networking sites have revolutionized the amateur art of exhibitionism. We all have the tendency to find our connection in this world. For most of us, there is a need to connect to someone or anyone somehow. We all have something to say (or write) and we all want to be heard (or read). There is really nothing wrong with that. What can be wrong is when we are not being smart in doing it.
Understand that all writers are bias. Now, since most of us are not really professional writers, we have to be more careful about what we write and what we write about. Be sensitive. Be discrete. Be cautious. Your choice of words matters. Even your mood matters. Seriously. The last thing you want to do is to offend a reader you don’t know and get yourself in trouble.
Know your audience. Be aware. Write smart. Wink

Mobile PC Phone

I am announcing a specification of what I want to have as an ultimate mobile device. I hope someone takes this as a challenge and seriously comes up with one:
1. I want a mobile PC (tablet/laptop hybrid) with a size comparable to HTC Shift but as thin as MacBook Air:
    a. Intel Core Duo processors/chips;
    b. OLED HD touchscreen;
    c. Full QWERTY keyboard;
    d. Built-in webcam and mic;

    e. Stereo (2.1 surround) speakers;

    f. Wi-MAX/Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Wireless USB;
    g. Multi-media drives, slots, ports and what have you..
    h. It must have a full version of Windows Vista (Home, Business or Ultmate) Edition.
    i. It must have the latest version of Microsoft Office.
    j. It must have the full line of Windows Live products.
2. It must have a dockable Windows SideShow mobile phone device:
    a. OLED HD touchscreen;
    b. Built-in cameras (for pictures, videos and video calling);

    c. Quad-band GSM, GPRS, EDGE, HSDPA;

    d. GPS, TV and FM radio tuners;
    e. Stereo (surround) speakers;
    f. Wi-MAX/Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Wireless USB;
    g. Multi-media slots, mini-USB port, headset jack and what have you…
    h. It must have the latest version of Windows Mobile.
    i. It must have the latest version of Microsoft Office Mobile.
    j. It must have a full line of Windows Live Mobile products.
If the Windows Sideshow mobile phone device is docked to (or within range of) the mobile PC , they should be able to function as one so that you can access the Windows Sideshow mobile phone device’s applications from the mobile PC as well (e.g. GPS, TV/FM radio, making calls, placing video calls, taking pictures/videos, etc.). They can also smoothly share storage mediums. What’s best… you can get a 4.1 surround mobile PC!
Optionally, the mobile PC may have an expansion dock of it’s own for the external DVD drives, networking ports, S-video/RCA ports, etc. Basically, the things that won’t fit to it compromising for it’s thinness…
Lastly, wouldn’t it be nice to actually have Microsoft Sync technology in the Windows Sideshow mobile phone device as well? That means full voice command and recognition support. I can actually listen to an e-mail and dictate my response while driving. Amazing!

TV vs. “Internet TV”

Bill Gates is excited in this article where he says the future of the TV is in the Internet. I have nothing against his vision from happening. It might, yes, but perhaps, not in 5 years.
First and foremost, TVs are not affected by the number of users concurrently using it as opposed to the Internet’s performance degradation when bandwidth traffic is heavy. Next, for as long as TV broadcasting towers are not damaged, TVs are not affected by earthquakes. TVs are, also, not attacked by viruses, threats and hacks as associated to computers hooked on to the Internet. Lastly, and perhaps the most important, TVs can be accessible without additional connection costs as shows can be broadcasted by TV networks that enables content to be delivered to the masses with only one simple requirement: for the viewer to own a TV set — now, compare that to getting a computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse, modem, phone line, ISP subscription, software, etc. to access an "Internet TV".
Please don’t get me wrong. I do not think that Bill Gates’ vision will never happen. I think it will, yes, but the transition might take longer than 5 years — even if Microsoft, this year, pushes for Windows Vista (with built-in Media Center) and the XBox as the ultimate TV products of the future.

ASP.Net AJAX is Out!

Ok, so I’m late with the announcement. But it’s out! Formerly called Atlas, ASP.Net AJAX is now officially version 1.0. Toolkits and other related products are available as well from the ASP.Net AJAX site. There are also demos available.
AJAX (Asynchronous Javascript and XML) was a name coined by Jesse James Garrett in February 2005. It is basically made up of many old but disparate techniques in using the various web client technologies together (such as HTML, DHTML, CSS, Javascript and XML) in order to create rich online user experiences. The technologies themselves and the techniques were not new. But when they were given their own name, it became something important enough to inspire and motivate the development of the many AJAX frameworks. Read more about the history of AJAX from
Microsoft’s ASP.Net AJAX is one of the many free AJAX frameworks already out in the market. It is designed to work well with Visual Studio 2005 and later. The concept of having a framework is to ease the job of the developer in developing the client and server-side requirements using a common discipline.
Interesting finds for AJAX with the .Net in mind: AJAX.Net and Telerik… although the latter is not free…

Microsoft Office 2007 101

The Microsoft Office 2007 is a challenge to implement simply because of possible user training requirements. This is primarily because of the new UI and the new navigation interface called the ribbon plus the new behaviors and features that highlights the collaborative capabilities of the new Office. Users might find this article from helpful.

Yahoo! Vista

Yahoo! spiced up their instant messenger for Windows Vista. The screenshots show new features that seem to take advantage of the presentation features of the Windows Vista platform. Everything seems to be modern and simplified. I find it interesting that you can now organize the Yahoo! Messenger’s chat windows in to a tab oriented interface. Amazing! Windows Vista is inspiring new ideas in the presentation and navigation designs of applications built for it. Well, you got to see the video preview.

Getting Answers from Filipinos

If you visit and ask a question, you will be answered by a Filipino. Formerly a Google Answers researcher (GAR), Henry Marcos continues his legacy answering random questions.
There were three Filipinos who worked as GARs in Google Answers. The other two were Richard Angeles and Chino Fernandez. "… it was just such a fun ride," was how they described their work. And indeed, isn’t it fun to know you’d be immortalized on the web?
Google Answers retired December 2006 but continues to publish its collection of answers online.