Last week i’ve met Joel to discuss about rebooting the development ofzaatu-ad zaatu.com. Zaatu was meant to address the growing BPO industry in the Philippines, by providing a web service for job listing. Now it will be pursued to be a talent management platform targeted for the small and medium enterprises.

googledocsGoogle Docs has been my free online storage of choice, until recently  i noticed that i’ve been using this as a collaborative tool with my colleagues. It’s free, it fits to sme’s requirement since buying a full featured office suite does not make sense if they are not able to use all of it’s bells and whistles.

I’ve created a new page ‘PM Tools‘ , to review available Project Management Tools in the market.  Managing the PM Processes and Tools for 4yrs now, i’d like to compare or at least identify the gaps from our in-house application. Read on.

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Abet’s 24/7 view

February 10, 2009

24 x 7 operations has been a trend since the boom of the call center industry. But in the food and beverage industry, Kowloon (siopao and siomai) has been one of the pioneers of operating round the clock.  My friend Abet (and his wife Lei) acquired a franchise about 2 years ago. With the franchise business model and some operational tweaking, the couple was able to cope with the startup challenge.

The location of the store and it’s operation timeframe was one of their challenge, without either of their presence.  Although the usual phone call normally solves any in-store issue, the couple is finding it hard to manage what they can’t see.  Lei is a natural internet surfer, after a short discussion about using the available technologies — it’s quite obvious that the solution was installing an IP web camera.

bizwatch

bizwatch

After more than a month in replacing their PLDT account with Globe’s bundled voice and DSL service,  I helped Abet configured their 24/7 view of their store.  We used the service of www.dyndns.org that provided the url for the web cam service. Globe’s router (aztech) needs to be configured to forward the http request to the ip based camera, an encore product which can be bought off-the-shelf.

The router comes with a dyndns client that is supposed to register the ip address to dyndns.org whenever it changes. So far the setup is reliable it’s been working for a week now. PLDT has it’s own service that they offer to SME’s. But with a little tech review it is as simple as setting up a printer to your PC.  The free dynamic DNS services offered by the likes of dyndns.org surely makes the internet a useful utility.

More information about the setup: www.blutopic.com

home network

January 17, 2009

home network

home network

The two weeks off i took before the year ends got me a good chance to document the home network that was gradually getting ‘technical’ from the beginning of ’08. The Intenet subscription has always been there since i was using this to connect to the office when i’m on ‘home-office’ mode — via VPN. I bought the linksys router from the entrpreneur.com.ph forum when a member was migrating abroad to work. I use my N93i with 3G/HSDPA subscription as a backup to connect to the internet when the DSL service is down, though it seldoms happens. I also use this for a quick email check and Flickring images using Y!Go over WLAN.

With a good number of my wife’s relatives living in the United States, it’s only practical to subscribe with Vonage’s VOIP.  It’s a VOIP for dummy’s by the way, since i only have to plug the kit provided by the U.S. subscription ; ) and it’s as good as dialing your neighborhood with the same clarity of voice. And it’s cheaper than any international direct dialing service a local operator can offer!

A desktop is the next milestone when the kids research and project requirements were piling. Being a former IT administrator i did apply account management to my kid’s access, especially on time restriction and internet access. We don’t want them to stare on the monitor the whle day do we. So far the harddisk is still on it’s way to the midpoint. I also use this storage to save my digital images taken from my Canon DSLR. I’m still contemplating whether to save RAW on top of the usual format, while i’m saving for an external storage. Rena is also uploading her phone-taken images from her N73 using a direct connect via USB.

With PSP’s WLAN capablility you can not only play against each other but also use it’s internet functionality, i.e. surfing and chat via Skype.  Although it’s alphanumeric input is not as user friendly as a keyboard or a mobile phone, the RSS feed usability read-only is enough for the meantime. WLAN is also the medium i use when connecting to the network with my IBMX61, i can work around the house.  I configure friends laptops when they do make a visit.

2009: storage and multimedia (at least). Dobbie’s (colleuague at NSN) initiative with small group of home network enthusiasts from the office i plan to upgrade my home entertainment connected to this network.  Movies. Music. Images. And certainly documentations like this.

Who’s your home network? You may not notice you may have something going on – start documenting it, you may forget the IPs or password you’re using.

More Home Office / Small Office Network here.

Micropreneur Trends

December 21, 2008

Brussels, Belgium — Increasingly, consumers are participants instead of passive audience members, and this mega-trend manifests itself in a variety of ways. In fact, the more we hear about GENERATION C making money from its creations, and the more we focus on the financial rewards consumers are reaping from participating in CUSTOMER MADE projects, the more myriad other entrepreneurial undertakings by ordinary consumers make sense.

We have dubbed this trend ‘MICROPRENEURS’: a vast army of consumers turning entrepreneurs; including small and micro businesses, freelancers, side-businesses, weekend entrepreneurs, web-driven entrepreneurs, part-timers, free agents, cottage businesses, seniorpreneurs, co-creators, mompreneurs, pro-ams, solopreneurs, eBay traders, advertising-sponsored bloggers and so on.

read more . . .

GO get your name.

December 4, 2008

No, not that you need to be born-again and register your name. I’m talking about getting your own domain name. Have a business, for personal use or even for your pets, having your own brand  in the internet provides the easiest channel to promote your intent. Imagine how many Jose or Maria, John or Mary names are registered in your community. There are no laws in these duplicates, but of course maintaining a good reputation is another story. But in the world wide web, there can only be a single owner of a unique name similar to owning a business name.

Most if not all large enterprises have registered their company name, tradename or brand name to leverage the internet’s full potential. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are catching up and with the prolifiration of blogging personal domains are also becoming popular. .com, .edu, .net, .org, .country code were the most popular extensions until the database was not enough that new groups were introduced such as .mobi, .tv and .me. The demand has been so huge that you can acquire your own domain for $9.99 for a year. Domain service providers includes the internet bigwigs such as yahoo, google and msn and of course local providers within your community, city, country are also available, you can google domain name and your county.

Owning your brand in the internet and having a web presence may not be your priority but registering your domain name has all the advantages and i recommend you get it as soon as possible. You may park it for the meantime while you are thinkering on what to do about it. Or even profit from it, if you’re not interested and somebody would like to buy it from you. For SMEs, it does not differ from the same intent large corporations on the competetive advantage you may create from this platform. For personal use, the simplest publication of your profession or specialization (online CV) offers a wide range of opportunities.

————

This is a part of a series on ‘How to leverage the Web’

i believe about a month ago, Bank of the Philippine Island (BPI) had a facelift – their homepage that is.  www.bpi.com.ph. And it’s a facelift it is, only a facelift. The same issues they have with regards to usability and performance are still issues that the bank needs to deal with.

  • the bank obviously has a critical mass of subscribers and so loading of pages takes time to the point that it times-out or worst it only loads the banner image. The bank needs to assess their strategy and roadmap in developing their online services. Provide a robust but relatively fast platform.
  • member pages remains to be the same as the old structure and look-and-feel. The contents on most pages looks cluttered, where the core content is mixed with informational material.
  • when logged-in, it reset the authentication on several pages like ‘Home’ or spawns to another page forcing the user to be logged out. Once logged-in, the state should be maintained while providing information.

With the new homepage interface, it was clear that the focus was providing the clients with integrated online services with emphasis to customer satisfaction;

  • emphasis on log-in, going straight into your account.
  • tabular menu for faster access
  • right column link navigation, for majority of mouse users are right-handed 😉
  • rotating banner info-mercial
  • services on multiple platform, atm-web-phone
  • and a lifestyle approach to banking, highlighting testimonial and video

They could have done better by;

  • emphasizing on security, i.e. the logo of verisign can be considered lost compared to the images introduces – ‘Opens 24/7’ image
  • the tabular info material on testimonial,promos,videos are reloading the page, which is taking so long – they could have used ajax technology for these sections
  • and aside from not-so-crisp images, how could they forget the ‘ToS’ information.

Providing financial services over the internet requires;

  • security, client’s peace of mind that their information is moving on a secured channel. Im sure this is every bank’s priority but they need to educate or visually emphasize the strategy
  • speed, there’s always a thought of unsecure transaction whenever it takes time to load a page
  • ease of use (usability), banks can learn from web2.0 usability – the use of bigger fonts and crystal clear pages.

I’ve been using bpi web since day one, but since i’m technically inclined i can manage. Now a common passbook holder can access the internet, the bank needs to put this in mind.

Finally, it’s here! WordPress’ Wordcamp Philippines 2008!

WordCamp Philippines will be on 6 September 2008 (Saturday), from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

How to get there! It’ll be the first in South-East Asia! It’s ashame i may not be able to make it : ( I do have a pre-scheduled trip – at least i’m ordering

wordcamp shirt
wordcamp shirt

Register now!

Congatulations to the PacMan! Manny Pacquiao, currently the no. 1 boxer in the world to have achieved capturing four world titles in four different weight division. The only Filipino and Asian to do it! Aside from basketball and  billiards, boxing is one of the popular sport in the Philippines  — we both excel in the latter two! Growing up, everybody would reserve their Sunday morning to tune to a championship game. From radio broadcast, to tv broadcasting, to cable tv, to pay-per-view, to recently Smart Telecoms launched through Smart TV covers the recent title bout http://smart.com.ph/Corporate/Newsroom/SmartMyTVLifestyle.htm.

When Pacquiao started to caprure worlwide audience, communities around the Philippines started to setup live showing of his fights through widescreen mass viewing — courtesy of our politicians. And taking a commercial route malls or movie theathers will having this event covered for a price, a hefty price compared to a regular movie. And today i took that route; thanks to:

  • a ‘social network’ although i can watch at the comfort of my home or in the movie theathers, there’s no thrill like watching the speed and power punch with the cheers group you ‘know’. Dominic’s HS bacth, a schoolmate at DBTC organized this showing at the auditorium of Busko.
  • the usual ‘SMS’ or text service does the job, a day before the fight i recieved the invite and a simple reply confirmed my attendance. No brainer mobile tech service
  • Pay-per-view service through satellite broadcast, bring broadcast television anywhere. Hook it up to a widescreen projector and everbody’s in synch of shouting whenever  Pacqiao connects his jab, hook, uppercut and whatever he unleashed to David Diaz!

Pushing the available personal technology, if you cannot attend on time you can catch the initial rounds at the palm of your hand, via mobile TV.  Just make sure you’re not driving and watching!

With these setup it’s a pity why the local tv stationstill push their format of delayed telecast — commercial ad-punch-commercial ad-punch, endless. This is why digital television will end this vicious cycle.  Adverts can be inserted within the viewable area, imagine a Bloomberg style of sports broadcasting.  You can view information about the boxers, past fights, statistics and of course advertisments. Imagine you can buy the same boxing shoes Pacqiao is wearing online.

Can’t wait for Pacquiao’s title defense and check how technology is helping fans to experience the thrill of the event!

(The classic solution for traffic jam: Pacquiao fight. It keeps the drivers indoors)

It’s been two years over now since we’ve moved in to our condominium unit. It was the first wave of pre-selling model of real estate developers’ ditch to regain from the slump in the late ’90’s. In the span of two years i’ve seen the community grow, although the whole project has yet to be finished, we moved in as soon as our unit is ready for occupancy when the project was about less 20% complete — now it’s 85% or so.

In our building alone there are about 132 units! If all are occupied, about 260+ residents. In which case i knew 2 on first name basis and about a handful by recognition plus of course the people in the administration office. Not a good statistics if i plan to run for public office. Unlike the usual Filipino neighborhood where most barangay residents knew each other. Condo living tends to isolate you from the rest of the tenants except of course if you’re invited to a party or the association meeting. You need to make an effort to meet up with everybody else. ‘Walang sari-sari store para tambayan’. Apart from what my daughter calls YAI, Yaya Association Inc. which gathers around the rotunda every morning to have their ‘alaga’ sun bathe, there’s not much of community bonding.

 About a month ago, when bai Joel and I started an online project, i also decided to create an Online Buletin Board for our community. Thanks to PHPBB, i had it configured with ease. Now from 2 i have 14 other acquintances. I still have to promote the site to each and every household manually since we don’t have a mailinglist. In short span of time we have discussed common issues and concerns in which we can’t unless we hold a meeting. And that will take a great deal of scheduling.

The forum gives us the liesure to meet at our own convenience and hopefully schedule meet ups, as there’s no substitute to old fashion face-to-face gathering, although our clubshouse cannot accomodate everybody; like any other forum here are some benefits and considerations to take;

  • this medium also documents any informal exchange of information in which we can utilize in the future
  • to grow the community each tenants has to have internet access
  • volunteer moderators is a must
  • forum rules are followed
  • share common interest

We’re (with the subsribers) hoping to grow the community as this breaks the barrier between bulidings and clusters and helps us to be closer as neighbors.

View Tivo’s LinkedIn Profile.

I’m not sure if you have read about the notebook that was developed from MIT Lab for $100. It was not designed to be commercialized rather to aid the less fortunate communities in giving affordable access to technology and information. More specifically for the countries in the African continent.

Here comes a PC for $100, about Php 5,000.00 (depending on what conversion rate you are using). It’s designed and built by no other than Prof. Raffy Mananghaya, from University of the Philippines Los Banos, who happens to be our professor in Financial Analysis for Technology Managers. I’ve heard about as many flavors of Linux out there, but this is the first time I’ve heard of PuppyLinux. Which of course by the name itself will serve miniature hardware specifications (the article contains the complete specifications). In short, “thin” clients that only runs specific applications it was designed for, more specifically web applications. With the advent of applications created to be a service rather than a product, this proposition may revive Sun’s Network Computer where the applications resides in the network somewhere else and the user just need a client to connect to that service. Which does not require computing power, just as the revved-up power computers nowadays.

Keep it up, Mr. Mananghaya! How much is the monitor, by the way? 

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