Monday, February 27, 2017

The Children of Technology

Posted By: The Mail Man - Monday, February 27, 2017

Children being technologically adept is no longer surprising. In our neighborhood, children started to use laptops and smartphones as early as 5 years old. Even my own niece learned how to use an iPad even before she was linguistically fluent. 

What is of note is that no one among them told me that they had any training for the use of the gadgets. They just used the powers of observation.

TechBlade has already featured children who did code as early as 10 years old. The affinity to technology can be attributed to early exposure to technology products, tools and equipment.

The powers of observation, the environment of nothing to unlearn and the natural curiosity of children are the perfect breeding ground for tech savvy children. 

Like in my neighborhood, children as young as those mentioned above are taking to coding like fish to water. David Baek, the Korean general manager of Center for Creative Technology said  “In [South] Korea, everything is now connected to the Internet. Even opening a car is now done via smartphone. Homes are controlled by smartphones,”. This was at the five day conference of the Asian Productivity Organization (APO).

 With children the quickest to assimilate any form of language, coding or programming will easily learned. 

The fast-paced lifestyle today, the internet and transactions being done via Wi-Fi connections is the impetus for the young citizens to be part of the world and thrive in it. Baek said that programming or coding will be at the center of it all and it would be the best way to prepare the children for their future. 

TechBlade has also featured a robot that is able to be programmed by tiles that the children can manipulate so as to give the skills for future programming work. 

It is forecasted many jobs will no longer be used in the next 25 years. Robots will be used from accounting to air traffic control. That is the reason why today’s children be proficient in coding or programming. Smart factories to smart farms will be the wave of the future and coding will be the language to make them run.

Baek said one company that adopted high technology but retained its employees by training them for new skills such as use of sofware programs and machine maintenance.

Filipino Researcher Given Recognition in Japan

Posted By: The Mail Man - Monday, February 27, 2017
Chitho Feliciano

Chitho Feliciano was awarded the Da Silva Prize Prize for Best Oral Presentation at the Interdisciplinary Workshop on Science and Patents during the Tsukuba Global Science Week that was recently held in Tsukuba, Japan. Feliciano is a doctoral student in Biomaterials Science at the University of Tsukuba in Japan.

The senior science specialist from The Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) who is currently undertaking a doctoral course in the University of Tsukuba added the prestigious award to other recognitions given.

The awards for his research on nanoparticles made significant contributions in enhancing current chemotherapy procedures.

Chemotherapy protocols usually is a shotgun approach in treating various diseases such as cancer and tuberculosis. This therapy targets the diseased cells but also causes damage to healthy cells in the process.

Feliciano’s research uses nanoparticles so as chemotherapy will target the specific malignant cells but avoids the healthier cells. 

In particular, the research uses nanoparticles in improving the effect of nitroxide radicals in therapy. This has benefits in reducing the effects of skin aging, inflammatory disorders in the skin that can be caused by ultraviolet rays and other forms of radiation.

This has important impact on skin cancer treatment and other therapeutic protocols that require the use of medicines in combinations to effect treatment of other diseases.

Skin cancer is one of the prevalent forms of cancer and exposure to direct sunlight that has ultraviolet rays is one of its causes. Exposure to the sun’s radiation mutates the skin cells that develop into skin cancer.

This results in lesions that require chemotherapy protocols in its treatment. Exposure to direct sunlight is not only for those who get exposed for recreational purposes but also for those whose work and professions require that they be outdoors. 

Feliciano also garnered two Best Poster Presentation awards at the 6th Chemistry Society of Japan Festa in Tokyo and in Sapporo at the Asian Conference on Nano-Science and Nonotechnology.

Feliciano is a doctoral student in Biomaterials Science at the University of Tsukuba in Japan.

5 Indicators on What VCs look for Startups

Posted By: The Mail Man - Monday, February 27, 2017

Last month and this month, Techblade has covered 2 significant events in the Philippine Startup scene. The first was the HealthHacks Hackathon at Microsoft and the 2nd was the Manila Startup Weekend at the De La Salle University in Manila.

The passion for startups has never been hotter than this year. Those 2 significant startup events are proof that the efforts for technology driven startups has caught on and that big strides have been made in the Philippine startup system.

Along with the bright ideas, technical proficiency and flashy presentations there are also the quiet and unassuming Venture Capitalists (VC) in every event that features Startups.  

For every startup founder, it is a given that their ideas will not be enough. There is a process that goes beyond the initial idea and technical expertise. Every startup will need funds to get it off the ground and also more funds for initial capital expenses and operational expenses until such time that the startup achieve traction and critical mass in its target market so as to create viability.

Here are 5 tips so as to rie above the rest in enticing and piquing the interest of VCs. 

1. Find a problem that only you can solve.

Find a problem, present a solution that only you can give at that given time and make sure that it is scalable so as to be financially viable. Make sure that the early lead made will be but a springboard to greater participation in the market.

2. The Forest and not only the trees

Macro scale understanding of the market derived from macro-scale analysis and studies with regards to the solution the startup intends to get engaged is a must when making the pitch. Make the potential VC fall in love with the idea based on sound macro fundamentals.
3. Create a startup that is based on the future

VCs always look towards the future in their investments. They need not use their resources that will earn for 2 – 3 years only. Create a startup that will be viable and open to scalability from 5 years onwards.

 4. Target VCs that share a geographical commonality

A region-centric approach in enticing VCs makes more sense since a certain uniqueness due to location of both the startup and the VCs can be a synthesis of bigger things to come. Also, common economic, cultural and social understanding for the need for solutions will be a plus. 

5. A balanced Startup team

As what was experienced in the recent startup activities and events, not everybody in the team needs to be Techie. There are a lot of dimensions in business that needs non-tech members who have expertise in other fields such as finance management, marketing, promotion and even plain old perseverance in manual based business operations. 
This will attract the attention of VCs with regards to total management of the startup and its ability to sustain its operations and viability.

PH to create Space Agency

Posted By: The Mail Man - Monday, February 27, 2017

The launch of Diwata-1 in 2016 ushered in a new era for Philippine Science, Engineering and Technology. The micro-satellite has been a poster boy for NASA because of its versatility and even its more accurate photographs being sent back to earth. 

Diwata-2 which is a much more improved version of the superlative Diwata-1 is also slated for launch and deployment on 2018. The strides of the nascent Philippine Space Program have been accelerating and it is only logical that an agency be established for its long term planning, development and implementation.

The National Space Development Office will soon be created upon signing of the order by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña said the president supports the Philippines in participating in using space for national development.

This will make the country take a quantum leap with regards to communications, increase military capabilities, have a more in depth agriculture programs and projects and also disaster risk reduction and management.

Congress is set to push a bill for the establishment of the agency with an intial budget of Php1.0 Billion for its operations for 1 year.

This is a more rational course since currently, the country spends Php3.0 Billion for purchasing satellite photos from other countries.

Long term plans laid include the development of launch rockets and an astronaught program.

The Philippines is also an ideal location for rocket launches according to DOST.

Friday, February 24, 2017

2nd Filipino Satellite Diwata 2

Posted By: The Mail Man - Friday, February 24, 2017

Diwata 1
TechBlade covered the preparations for the staging, launching and deployment of Diwata-1 from the start last year. Although a first in Philippine Space Program efforts, Diwata-1 managed to exceed expectations.

Diwata-1 is used in multiple ways such as agricultural mapping, disaster risk reduction and management, research, weather monitoring, land–use mapping and planning, the micro-satellite also became NASAs poster child for Small Spacecraft Technology. 

Now, Filipino engineers are designing and building Diwata-2, the country’s 2nd microsatellite. According to Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato dela Peña, the schedule for the launch is next year 2018. Diwata-2 will be biggar than Diwata-1 which was launched into orbit last year. It has yet to be determined if it will be on the 1st half or 2nd half of next year since it will be subject to “economic” conditions. But there will be innovations for Diwata-2 that is not present in Diwata-1 according to Filipino engineers involved in the program. 

These engineers are in Tohoku University and Hokkaido University in Japan who were sent on government scholarship grants. Their scholarships for MS degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanical and Space Engineering is parallel to their involvement in the microsatellite building program which includes the design, fabrication and assembly of the Diwata series of microsatellites. 

Ariston Gonzalez and John Leur Labrador are at Tohoku University while  Delburg Mitchao, Benjamin Jonah Magallon and Kaye Kristine Vergel are at Hokkaido University. The engineer scholars are scheduled to graduate March 2017. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

DICT Unveils its Official Logo

Posted By: The Mail Man - Wednesday, February 22, 2017
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is proud to present its Official Logo, which serves as the trademark symbol of the Department and signifies its visual identity.

A call for the submission of proposed DICT logo designs was announced late last year to the public, after which entries were individually sorted and reviewed. Out of almost 1,000 entries, 50 logos were shortlisted for final evaluation of the Selection Panel. The published criteria and scoring system was then used to determine a top five, ultimately leading to the selection of a grand winner of the logo contest.

The new DICT Logo embodies the essence of and symbolizes the new organization:

“D-ICT by the People, D-ICT for the People”

The Logo uses curve radiating lines to represent the pulsating radio waves or frequencies, with the lines using the tri-colors of the National Flag: red, white, and blue. At the center of the sphere is the yellow silhouette of the map of the Philippines, in lieu of the yellow sun and stars of the Philippine Flag. The curve lines outside the map also indicate the sometimes placid or surging waters of the Philippine archipelago, evoking the feeling of dynamism brought about by ICT. The 17 connected dots within the silhouette of the map represent the 17 Philippine/DICT regions connected by technology. The numbers around the spherical Logo are the binary equivalent of the acronym DICT and 2016, the year the Department was established under Republic Act (R.A.) No. 10844. The straight lines radiating from the spherical Logo and intersecting the acronym DICT (outside the sphere) represent the frequency waves as they travel in space in straight lines; they also represent the encompassing reach of ICT and telecommunications. The colored sphere is not circumscribed because communications, the service, are without borders.

The new DICT Logo exudes power, inclusiveness, novelty, freshness and innovation, and ubiquity brought by technology.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Startup Weekend Manila Day 3: Process Driven

Posted By: The Mail Man - Sunday, February 19, 2017
Startup Weekend Manila DLSU: Awaiting final pitches on Day 3

On the third day of the Startup Weekend Manila held at the De L Salle University Henry Sy, Sr. Hall, the 14 teams have each managed to develop with a startup product or service. 

The teams came only into being last February 17, 2017 in the initial convening of the Startup Weekend Manila. Pitches were made and 14 pitches were escalated to the next level.  

The “Founder/s” whose pitches were chosen drafted members of the entire participant’s pool to form their own teams. The teams underwent a series of activities for capacity building and team cohesion. Having realized that they have to work together to attain an objective, these activities primed the teams to identify roles and duties.

Having undergone coaching and mentoring on Day 2, the participants started to crystallize their ideas but have yet to finalize a startup service or product. Utilizing the mentoring and coaching lessons that were given, they followed the needed steps. This started with having an idea, building the idea, testing and measuring the idea and learning from the lessons derived from each prototype.

The startups needed not only coding expertise but also design, marketing and even having financial models to prove the viability and sustainability of their startup. It was providential that many of the participants where non-technical students and professionals since their skills were also of critical value to the team enterprise.

The teams worked almost overnight in undergoing the above-mentioned process to come up with polished and finalized startup products and services. It was told by 1 team that even sub-processes like survey methodology were also subject to validation 50 times!

By the early morning of February 19, 2017, the startup teams commenced to validate and test again and again their final products and processes. Tweaking continued all morning and supported by coaches and mentors from industry related sectors.

By 5:00 pm. The same day, the final presentations/pitches will be made and the winners will be announced.

In fact, all of the teams are winners since the most important lesson for the Startup Manila Weekend DLSU was to have a structure, logical and process driven development for a startup.

Congratulations to the organizers and the participants. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Startup Weekend Manila Day 2: Crystallizing

Posted By: The Mail Man - Saturday, February 18, 2017
Mr. Christopher Star , VP of Regional Digital Marketing at Paktor

The initial pitches of the participants of the Startup Weekend Manila  held at the De La Salle University have been made and now teams have been formed for their respective products or startups. 

The different tracks chosen by the teams had their respective resource persons/speakers. And these talks were held at the DLSU Engineering building. 

It was divided into Non-Tech/Marketing; Design; and Developers. This covers the gamut of strategic components for the startups. Coming from industry leaders and the academe, the lecturers/speakers conveyed basic lessons on how to approach having a startup and making the best possible decisions for the startups to get off the ground.

As in the previous night’s mentorship talks, they emphasized on finding the problem/s shared by a target market. This is crucial in determining and formulating the right product. Also, the testing phase and measuring phase of each startup development cycle was emphasized again.

The main point has always been do not assume solutions. The participants were taught on how to listen and empathize with their potential market or customers.

The speakers also did not spare any chance to reinforce that knowing people, where they are coming from with their concerns and that the most effective way of finding out is to encourage them to tell their stories. That will be the jump-off point for developing, creating and implementing solutions that will be marketable for the startups.

With regards to Design, there was a mini-workshop conducted wherein the participants were made to design a wallet for a potential customer. Then it was evaluated if it fits what the customer needed. The lesson learned was that one must find out what the contents of the customer’s wallet are before designing a wallet for the customer. This was done by Mr. Phil Smithson, a Software Engineer.

Ms. Ace Gapuz of Blogapalooza, Inc. and Mr. Christopher Star presented marketing strategies. What are the most important aspects in having a successful product. Again, People made the most important factor in any marketing campaign. But again, failure is to be expected so the product or service that any startup offers must be subject to metrics and validation of data obtained while the product is being tested or initially offered.

The Mentorship Period begins in the afternoon and mentors will be available for 15 minutes per team since there are 14 teams participating.

The teams will then prepare their pitches to be presented on February 19, 2017.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Startup Weekend Manila at DLSU has Started!

Posted By: The Mail Man - Friday, February 17, 2017

Startup Weekend Manila 2017 just commenced at the Brother Andrew Gonzales Hall, De La Salle University in Taft Manila today. Now on its 3rd year, Startup weekend Manila aims to encourage and produce startups mainly from the youth composed of students and young professionals.

The startup sector in the Philippines is still at its nascent stage but has grown in momentum the past five years. Now on its third leg, the Startup Weekend Manila has garnered a record number of participants numbering a little over 100.

Mostly, the participants have yet to develop their own ideas about what to do for a startup but that is what the Startup Weekend was designed for. The participants are include coders, designers, accounting and finance students and professionals. A good mix for a startup team.

The event was opened with a rousing presentation from Startup Mentorship PH's Mr. Carlo Valencia. The talk of Mr. Valencia centered on Failing Fast. The idea is to not to look for an idea. Instead one has to look for problems. Yes, problems to solve. That way a startup will come up with a solution that the target market wants. But not all ideas are perfect. Of every 100 startups, 90 will fail. But according to Mr. Valencia, that is part of the process, a foundation based on failures that will eventually perfect the product or service to be developed.

Mr. Valencia exhorted the participants to get out and listen to their customers to find out what they want and need. This will enable them to come up with the correct idea for a process, service or product that can be successful in the market.

Come up with an idea, build it, measure it and then learn. That is the brutal evolution to success. Startups are mostly process driven an must be process driven and the only way to winnow out bad ideas is to fail. 

This is just the beginning of Startup Weekend Manila DLSU but the impetus is no palpable among the participants. There will be mentoring and coaching of the startup teams from a formidable array of Startup sector experts. The final pitching will be held on Sunday February 19, 2017

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Ex-soldier’s 17-year-old Nokia 3310 still functioning

Posted By: The Mail Man - Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Nokia 3310

A former army man from the United Kingdom claims his 17-year-old Nokia 3310, which has stood the test of time and has survived bloody battles, is still working good as new.

Back in 2000, Dave Mitchell bought the petite mobile phone and since then, it never got damaged and continues to “serve its duty” up to now, Mirror UK reported.

His handy phone was always at his side when he was stationed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan and Germany, and now the 49-year old Mitchell takes pride that his Nokia 3310 always still has four bars of signal.

Just like his life, his phone survived numerous battles; it has been thrown, stepped on, dropped, grilled in the washing machine, and doused in hot curry sauce, but it only needs charging once every ten days.

Mitchell said, “Whenever something happens to my Nokia, I just have to click it back together again – it seems to be made of kryptonite.”

But what does he have to say about the things he might be missing out on from not using today’s latest smartphones?

“For me, a phone is for making and receiving calls and texts,” Mitchell told the news site.

Whatever happens, Mitchell is bent on not letting go of his aging gadget in exchange for an iPhone or Samsung. “I was given a newer phone with internet access by my son a few years ago but I just didn’t want it,” he added. “My needs are very basic. The phone has a calculator and games like Snake 2 if I’m bored.”

As expected, his unique fondness of Nokia 3310 was the epicenter of his tech-savvy friends’ jokes. He elucidated, “A lot of people laugh at me but when push comes to shove their phones break much more easily,” he said. “I’m not a dinosaur and I know how new technology works but I don’t want to be looking at my phone every minute.”

“If I want to go on the internet, I am happy to wait until I get home or work and sit at a computer,” he sums it up. “I think there is a real sense of freedom in doing that.” 

Monday, February 13, 2017

BloodSeeker wins Smart 13th SWEEP Awards!

Posted By: The Mail Man - Monday, February 13, 2017
BloodSeeker Team

A lifesaving app won the top plum at the Smart 13th SWEEP Awards. Developed by a team from the University of San Jose-Recoletos, the BloodSeeker is a mobile and webb app that helps in finding blood donors and match them with those who need blood transfusion.   

This app searches for matching blood types within a one kilometer radius. Standard questions for blood donors include queries about their health, drug use, sexual habits and travel history as pre-requisites for donation acceptance.

The Smart SWEEP Awards was founded in 2003. SWEEP means Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program aims to enhance the quality of engineering and Information Technology education in the Philippines.

The Program is a cooperation between the academe and the private sector wherein trainings and lectures are provided with the latest in wireless technology.

The runner up is BuyONG or Buy Online-N’Go. Users will use the app for groceries from home. It was developed by the team from Batangas State University. The online shoppers can then pic it up via a drive thru system. 

The team from the Ateneo de Manila University came up with an app that allows drivers to have an optimal route for them when having multiple destinations. Using heuristic algorithms, this is useful for delivery services since destinations within a day can be inputted and the app plans the trips and routes and these even comes with an estimated time of arrival per destination. The app is called TRAFFIX.

Then AgriLife from the Wesleyan University-Philippines team is for the use of farmers. This app can connect them to potential investors and registered cooperatives. This is a solution for financing that is needed by farmers for their pre-harvest requirements. Investments via the app can be as low as Php100. In turn, the investors will then be able to re-invest, withdraw their money and even buy the crops harvested using Smart Money or PayMaya accounts.

The BloodSeeker team won Php300,000 while the BuyONG Team was awarded Php200,000 and the TRAFFIX Team won Php150,000.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Win a staycation for 2 in Teleperformance’s Love is in the Air promo

Posted By: The Mail Man - Sunday, February 12, 2017

Love is definitely in the air. Have you figured out where to take your special someone on Valentine's Day? Share your sweet moments with Teleperformance for a chance to win a travel package, a staycation or a romantic date with your significant other.

To join the Teleperformance My Valentine Photo Contest, the participant must be at least 18 years old; a permanent resident of the Philippines and must like the Teleperformance Philippines official Facebook fan page within the contest duration. Contest duration is from February 10 to 28, 2017.

To qualify, one must take his/her most memorable picture with his/her partner and include a short description of how their love story began (maximum of 100 words).

The participant should upload the photo-entry in his/her respective Facebook timeline with the hashtags “#Teleperformance” and “#TPLoveIsInTheAir” on it. The participant should tag the Teleperformance Philippines Facebook fan page in the post. After the photo has been uploaded, the participant should send the link of the post to Teleperformance Philippines official Facebook fan page via private message for verification of the entry.

Entries must be submitted from February 10 to 28, 2017. Within this period, the participant should ask their friends to like the Teleperformance Philippines official Facebook page, and their photo entry that were posted on their respective timelines.

Photos with large numbers of likes will be reviewed and verified by the Teleperformance Social Media team to make sure all are legitimate and to avoid spams.

Participants must also observe the following guidelines:

1.       The photo entry should depict a wholesome and sweet photo of the couple.

2.       Photos that display profanity, obscenity, competitor name/brand/logo, trademarked logos, designs and venues that are not fit for public posting will be disqualified.

3.       Participants are allowed to use creative filters, frames, and other design elements such as stickers, texts and emoji.

4.       A couple may only submit one photo entry (i.e., only one of the couple should upload the photo on his/her timeline).

Participants may win only once.

The top 10 entries with the most number of likes as of the cut-off date (February 28 at 5:00 PM) will qualify for the final selection. From the top 10, three (3) winners (grand prize, 2nd prize and 3rd prize) will be chosen based on the following criteria:     Creativity = 50% Impact = 25% Theme Adherence = 25%

The rest of the seven (7) finalists will be given consolation prizes.

Representatives from Teleperformance Recruitment, Human Resources, Finance, and the SVP for Human Capital Resource Management will serve as judges.

Should disputes arise in the execution of this contest, the decision of the SVP for Human Capital Resource Management of Teleperformance Philippines will be final and irrevocable.

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