Friday, January 29, 2010

Software Developers, Please Help Our Country!

One of the best things about technology is that it can be our staunchest ally…if we play the cards right. Applications, websites and online games are always part of our lives. The mere fact you are reading this right now is a testimony that technology works. The OS, the code behind this blog, and the systems administrators that keeps the servers running are only some of the technologies involved so that you can read this small blog. Even the unique and sometimes weird official websites of our candidates happen because of technology.

But come Election Day, technology will be at the center stage. In fact, technology will dictate our nation's future. Forget about who you will vote first. What we should be thinking is this: will the technology work in our favor? Maybe there's a way to do that.

Last year, the COMELEC released a statement on opening the source code of the application that will run the automated poll. The exact date of the press release was August 26, 2009 which means there are no software yet as they are still on a bidding war. But the press release promises that before the end of February 2010, the customized code for the 2010 Philippine Election will be ready for scrutiny.

Everyone is invited to review the source code. Of course, you have to be qualified to do that. For that reason - AMA, STI, UP, La Salle, ADMU and all those software developers working for some obscure company, please come out and ask to read the source code.

Why you should do it? Here's a small snippet I found online: Renato Garcia who works for Ateneo and also a consultant for 2010 Election is asking some international certification agencies about the application. So far so good but here's what he said. (Quote taken from

"One of the five international software certification bodies, have already expressed interest to do the formal review of the customized automation software. This body, we found out, has been conducting a software review for Canadian-based Dominion, the software provider for Smartmatic's poll machines,”

The only one interested so far is the company who works for Smartmatic. This simply means they will review their peer's source code.

So step up to the plate guys. I know the ILOVEYOU virus is not just some random act of a genius. My flash drive is often destroyed because of the local KULOT virus so please use your skills for something even better :)


Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Best Website: VP Edition

We have extensively covered the official websites of the presidential candidates. It's now the turn of their running mates who will be the 2nd most powerful person in the country. There are only eight VP candidates so this will be relatively shorter compared to others.

Before proceeding, we would like to say thank those people who voted in the last poll. To those who didn't…there's always a next time.

Now on with the reviews:

Edu Manzano

Information: 2 - there should be more than this. I can't seem to find more than just basic information about his track record although they are impressive. There are only 4 blogs and they should be updated at least twice or thrice to reach out to more people.

Interaction: 2 - not much to be seen here. The only impressive feature in the site is the link to Facebook which is faithfully updated.

Aesthetics: 3 - the Wordpress theme is actually good but it has not lived up to its full potential.

This could have been better if more information were gathered about the candidate. He's an actor so there should be a lot of videos and photos out there.

Bayani Fernando

Information: 4 - his official website simply had the high score because there are a lot of things you can learn from this site. I have to admit this is actually the first time I learned that he's an Engineer. The photos, videos and personal bio is actually well presented.

Interaction: 5 - his site has a very active forum which really helps because you can practically say anything (short of bashing). There is also a poll and various social network.

Aesthetics: 4 - it may not the best website but it's very easy to navigate. The tabs (like Edu's) makes it easier to find what you need to learn.

His website can be called "just enough" which means it's not overloaded with information. The forum is actually the best feature in the site.

Loren Legarda

Information: 5 - one of the most detailed official website of a national candidate. Her site has many features only some candidates can dream of. The streaming headlines, videos (especially her stint on Big Brother), links, bills passed and speeches are all found in the website.

Interaction: 5 - shoutbox, blog that links to, twitter widget and bookmarking tools should be more than enough to overwhelm the user. You can practically spend an hour in the site clicking on the links trying to see what's in store in the next page.

Aesthetics: 5 - going for green is a great call.

Call me biased but compare her site to any official website. Only Perlas', Gibo's, Noynoy's and Manny's can rival hers in terms of content and she crushed them all with the interaction and presentation. Kudos to anyone who created this site.

Jejomar Binay

Information: 3 - it could be the browser but, from my end, the window is very small. The information provided is not that extensive as the links will lead you to relatively short paragraphs.

Interaction: 3 - it could be the "Makati thing" but a Flash (or maybe JavaScript) based page is not that enticing. Internet in many places is slow so accessing his site could be a bit challenging because they have to wait until the full page loads.

Aesthetics: 4 - the redeeming factor for Mayor Binay's official website is the look. It's very good looking and it's not too dazzling. It's good enough for everyone to enjoy.

Mayor Binay's website is good but more information is needed. The Flash page is ok but it could have been used for additional presentation of information.

Mar Roxas

Information: 5 - you really have to appreciate Mar Roxas' official website because of its candidness. I really think it's him on twitter and his blogs are just amazing. The Politics and Web 2.0 piece explains his stand on what's good online. He has also extensively discussed his plans for the country.

Interaction: 5 - this is my first time visiting his website and I visited Loren's site before his. This actually rival Loren's site when it comes to interaction. There are also forums, links to his social networking sites and testimonials.

Aesthetics: 5 - another winner because it's so simple that it works. You can't find a lot on the homepage but it will lead you to a lot of information to what he believes and what he'll do for the country.

Candidates, please heed my call. If you want a good looking website, browse Loren's and Mar's official website.

Jun Chipeco
(Note: the party website only lists the candidate, here's his personal website)

Information: 2 - I have to give him credit for blogging as early as September. But we're looking for more information about Jun and it can be found in another website.

Interaction: 2 - the website is a blog and they are not that updated.

Aesthetics: 2 - A very simple site that shows every blog post in one page.

More work should be done in his site or at least more blog posts so that we'll know what he really wants for the country.

Jun Yasay

Information: 4 - this website is perfect for those who are not aware who this guy is. His background is detailed and his vision for the country is also provided. The Q and A portion regarding various topics is very informative.

Interaction: 3 - there's not much to enjoy except the articles regarding his belief and past.

Aesthetics: 4 - Mr. Yasay's website looks great. You don't have to scroll a lot just to find an interesting link.

A good and informative website. More interaction could be added aside from the Donation page :)

Jay Sonza
Website: None

For some reason, a guy that knows the power of media ignores the internet to spread his message.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Changes on Site

Welcome to (now with K!)

Here are some changes on the site:

* News feeds (click on the orange thing to see the latest
* Donate button (feed the site and the blogger)
* Small revamp on sidebar :)

More content and changes are coming! Stay Tuned!

Changing the country one blog at a time....

Mabuhay and Pilipinas!!!

Nicanor Perlas as President? Maybe.

Nicanor Perlas as President? Maybe.

Because Acosta and Perlas was never featured in our previous posts, we decided to catch up and look at these gentlemen. We're already done with Mr. Acosta so we move on with Mr. Nicanor Perlas.

Here's the deal: Mr. Nicanor Perlas has a very impressive record for a Presidential candidate. He has been working with the government and non-government institutions and the latter earned him a well known award. Still, not everyone is convinced he could be a great leader. Recent survey suggests that he is nowhere on the top 5 candidates.

Right Livelihood Award

Mr. Perlas is known to be the recipient of the "Alternative Noble Prize" or properly known as "Right Livelihood Award". This award is given to those who are able to provide smart and immediate answers to various problems. The winners gets to share the prize of EUR150,000. There are three winners and one honorary winner. Mr. Perlas is not the honorary winner which means he (and his partner Walden Bello) is EUR50,000 richer. But I think the money they won will go to their foundation.

Prolific Speaker

His website has a very extensive list of his speeches and experiences. According to some sites, he has visited nearly 70 countries because of his experience in green livelihood.

Green, Green, Green

Which brings us to the topic of green livelihood. Some sources online indicates that he was part of the technical advisers for the government where he strongly opposed the use of Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. He's actually the original green activist.

Bid for Presidency

His resume is very impressive and his experience is never lacking. But why is his bid to become the leader of the land is still slow? The answer actually is not what he is doing but in the current climate.

Sir, if you're reading this. You have to work harder to make more people aware of your existence. Unfortunately, your existence is not an automatic vote for you. There are still many things you should do to get people understand your previous award. I have to admit, social network sites will help but it's smaller than the tip of the iceberg.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Who is Vetellano Acosta? Answer: I Don't Know

The better answer is: no one knows.

I am proud of what I do - I stay in front of the computer no less than 12 hours a day scouring for information online. I devour every information I can get so that I can use it for personal amusement and sometimes for profit. I was able to help my family because of this self-imposed skill.

But when the name Vetellano Acosta popped up in the Comelec reconsideration list, I started to look for information and I felt belittled. Who is he? Where did he came from? Is he real?

Apparently he's real but little information is known to him. Even a trusted website for political information doesn't have a lot about him.

Here's the only information I can find online:

Job: Financial Cosultant
Party Affiliation: KBL
Residence: Cityland 10 Building, H.V. De la Costa Street, Makati
Voter on: Precinct 6 of Tejeron, Sta. Ana, Manila

The weird thing about this is that Jay Sonza is actually a lot more popular than this guy. If you're near 30 years old, you will recognize the name from the talk show "Mel and Jay" every Sunday evening in ABS-CBN. He is currently working for UNTV.

I can't even find a decent photo of the candidate. Google for image about this guy and you can't find anything.

My conclusion, it's a small blunder with a hint of conspiracy from Comelec. Mr. Acosta should come out often and explain to everyone who he is where he came from and he's not another Eddie Gil.

If you got sources, please help me. Comelec's site is down (again)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Philippine Election 101 - Paid for by Friends of (Insert Name)

Election is coming and we see a lot of commercials in newspapers, television and radio that features one or two candidates. They don't tell what they run for but it's too obvious. Unless you've been living under the rock for the past two years, these candidates are aiming for the highest position in the land, vice-president, senator or any of the positions in your area.

In every advertisement about the candidate (printed or not) we always something that goes like this:

"Paid for by friends of"

This means someone paid for the commercial instead of the candidate. This also means the presidential candidates are the friendliest people in the land because they have so many friends willing to pay for these ads.

I was a bit curious and I researched why did this happen. While I did not get direct responses online, I found out that candidates are limited on their campaign funds. By law the presidential candidate is only allowed to spend PHP10 per registered voter. There are more than 40 million voters in the country which means each candidate should spend around 400 million.

400 million per candidate is a lot but think about it - ad spots in various media outlets costs a lot. It's even a conservative estimate that a candidate might spend half a million in television, radio and newspaper ads every day. They also have to spend on travel and pay a lot of people to work for them. 400 million is never enough.

One way they might skirt this limitation is to simply add the phrase "paid for by" if everything is paid for by their friends, it might look like they did not spend anything at all.

So what do you think? Are they really friendly enough or just trying to make things complicated?