About 70 million Filipinos or nearly 70 percent of the population are still not digitally connected.
This was bared Thursday during the DigitalBayanihan milestone update program of Intel Philippines at the Asian Institute of Management.
“While we see an increased adoption of digital devices in Southeast Asia and in the Philippines, there is still a growing gap in digital skills that needs to be addressed in order to fully take advantage of the benefits of the digital age,” said Prakash Mallya, Intel Southeast Asia managing director.
“If the 70 million unreached Filipinos can be digitally connected, they can change the landscape of the Philippines,” Mallya said.
In Southeast Asia, there are 374 million people who are not yet digitally connected, said Mallya, citing data from Intel.
He said Intel is promoting digital connectivity to provide access and form a more productive Philippine society.
“We introduced DigitalBayanihan to promote digital inclusiveness in the country and empower Filipinos with access to digital skills training and devices,” he said.
Launched in September 2015, DigiBayanihan is Intel Philippines’ initiative that seeks to promote digital literacy through training, volunteerism and providing access to affordable technology.
Together with 20 partner organizations and 4,000 volunteers, the program promotes the use of digital devices and services through comprehensive digital skills training.
Called “DigiBayanis,” the volunteers facilitate training and outreach initiatives that have touched 1,690,763 individuals and have listed 336,722 who have completed their training across the country this year.
The beneficiaries of the program learned how to use computers, digital devices such as tablets and smartphones, and how to the access the information available on the web.
DigiBayanihan targets to “touch” five million Filipinos and to fully equip one million individuals with information and communication technology (ICT) literacy.
Close the digital divide
For Intel Philippine country manager Calum Chrisholm, the DigiBayanihan is a journey for everyone.
“Every journey has a destination. Our destination is to close the digital divide, i.e., for everyone to be included in the Philippines. That is our shared goal,” Chrisholm said.
“DigiBayanihan is all about digital inclusiveness for everybody. All Filipinos should be included in digital literacy. It is also improving their connectivity. Their basic accessibility is an empowerment and development,” he added.
Partnering with organizations like Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST), National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO), Philippine Society of IT Educators (PSITE), and Technical Vocational Schools and Associations of the Philippines (TEVSAPHIL), Intel Philippines seeks to level up the program beyond the basic digital literacy skills.
NATCCO will offer financial literacy and livelihood programs through their network of cooperatives, while TEVSAPHIL will assist technical vocational schools in acquiring affordable devices.
Chrisholm said the program currently targets women, farmers, educators and students in the rural communities and even a school in Yolanda-hit Leyte.
He also lauded the Department of Science and Technology for providing free wifi access in remote communities in the country.
Intel Philippines wants to level up its digital literacy initiatives by developing a platform where its beneficiaries can buy affordable devices.
DigiBayanis may own affordable devices through loans and special pricing from their respective organizations. Volunteers and their beneficiaries may also go to a special site on Lazada where they can buy specially-prized gadgets and devices whether for leisure or livelihood.
“The DigiBayanihan movement allows us to tap individuals who have limited to no access to digital devices. By introducing DigiBuy, these individuals have more opportunities to learn and apply their digital skills in their daily lives,” said Sreenivas Narayan, founder and managing director of ASSIST.
“We at Intel acknowledge the role of education and connectivity in empowering developing countries throughout the world. With Southeast Asia being a relatively young but strong region in terms of digital adoption, introducing programs that help promote and sustain digital literacy will help increase productivity and lay the foundation for a stronger digital economy,” said Mallya. Anthony Q. Esguerra/DM
For Inquirer Megamobile director of operations, Brigette Tan Villarin, the Guyito stickers are perfect for those who enjoy discussing current events and political issues.
“Because of his outspoken manner and cuteness, Guyito can get away with commentary on political topics,” she said.
Villarin pointed out that the Guyito stickers are also useful for people who find it uncomfortable discussing politics with friends and family.
The free Guyito stickers also marks a first for Filipino companies. The Inquirer is the first-ever local company outside of Kakao to offer an entire sticker set for free.
Guyito first made his print debut on the Philippine Daily Inquirer back in 1985 as the sassy, talking kalabaw with fearless views in Jess Abrera’s iconic comic strip, A. Lipin.
In the 30 years of Guyito’s existence, there have been dramatic changes on how people communicate with each other.
“A lot of conversations today are not so much text-based, but on chat,” Villarin said of the shift from SMS to chat apps. “A lot of people would use stickers because there are some things that you can’t really express using text.”
KakaoTalk’s preference for localized content fits perfectly with the Filipino perception of Guyito, she added.
“We’ve selected mostly casual expressions (for the stickers),” Villarin explained. “KakaoTalk users are mostly young people, and are very casual and informal (in their speech).”
The stickers are available for download from August 10 to September 10. Dan Paurom
NEW YORK — Twitter’s most urgent task is naming a new CEO. But the most formidable one is convincing more people that its service is essential, easy to use and not just meant for celebrities, 16-year-olds and news junkies.
To help with the latter, there are big promotions, such as last year’s World Cup push and this year’s expanded content and advertising deal with the NFL to help broaden its audience.
There are also smaller tweaks designed to help people find new features or take advantage of tools they might not have been aware of.
And there’s just explaining the basics.
Recently, some Twitter users got a message saying “Retweet to share what interests you with your followers.”
While elementary advice for some, the note shows Twitter is still trying to teach people how to use its service. Retweeting, in Twitter lingo, means blasting out someone else’s Twitter post to your own followers, sort of like an email forward.
Although its brand is widely known and its service boasts more than 300 million users, Twitter has been struggling to widen its appeal and its user growth has slowed down dramatically. Facebook, in comparison, has nearly 1.5 billion members.
“(We) have unbelievably high brand awareness globally,” said co-founder and interim CEO Jack Dorsey during the company’s most recent conference call to discuss its financial results. “People all over the world know of the power of Twitter, but it’s not clear why they should harness it themselves.”
With user-growth slowing, Twitter’s management has acknowledged that the service is too confusing to navigate. Finance chief Anthony Noto said the company has “not clearly communicated Twitter’s unique value” and as a result, people who don’t use Twitter continue ask why they should.
“We have not delivered on meeting the new potential users’ expectations of Twitter when they try the product,” Noto said in the July 28 call. “Simply said, the product remains too difficult to use. As Jack mentioned, we need to simplify the product so everyone can get value from Twitter faster.”
Dorsey took Twitter’s helm as interim CEO after Dick Costolo stepped down on July 1 amid criticism over Twitter’s disappointing financial performance and stock-price decline. Besides Dorsey, Adam Bain, head of revenue and partnerships, is also seen a top contender for the post of permanent CEO.
Shares of San Francisco-based Twitter Inc. rose $1.10, or 4.4 percent, to $26.13 in afternoon trading Thursday amid a broader market rally. Still, the stock is down more than 27 percent year-to-date and only slightly above the $26 price of its November 2013 initial public stock offering.
SAN FRANCISCO, United States—Instagram on Thursday broke its square mold with an update that adds portrait and landscape formats to the image-sharing smartphone application.
“Square format has been and always will be part of who we are,” Instagram said in a blog post.
“That said, the visual story you’re trying to tell should always come first, and we want to make it simple and fun for you to share moments just the way you want to.”
Updated versions of Instagram tailored for mobile devices powered by Apple or Android software let users share photos or videos in portrait or landscape styles.
Approximately one out of every five posts to Instagram is in square format, according to the Facebook-owned company.
“We know that it hasn’t been easy to share this type of content on Instagram: friends get cut out of group shots, the subject of your video feels cramped and you can’t capture the Golden Gate Bridge from end to end,” Instagram said of being limited to square imagery.
“We’re especially excited about what this update means for video on Instagram, which in widescreen can be more cinematic than ever.”
Facebook acquired the fast-growing Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion.
MIAMI, United States—Scientific studies about how people act or think can rarely be replicated by outside experts, said a study Thursday that raised new questions about the seriousness of psychology research.
A team of 270 scientists tried reproducing 100 psychology and social science studies that had been published in three top peer-reviewed US journals in 2008.
Just 39 percent came out with same results as the initial reports, said the findings in the journal Science.
The study topics ranged from people’s social lives and interactions with others to research involving perception, attention and memory.
No medical therapies were called into question as a result of the study, although a separate effort is underway to evaluate cancer biology studies.
“It’s important to note that this somewhat disappointing outcome does not speak directly to the validity or the falsity of the theories,” said Gilbert Chin, a psychologist and senior editor at the journal Science.
“What it does say is that we should be less confident about many of the original experimental results.”
Study co-author Brian Nosek from the University of Virginia said the research shows the need for scientists to continually question themselves.
“A scientific claim doesn’t become believable because of the status or authority of the person that generated it,” Nosek told reporters.
“Credibility of the claim depends in part on the repeatability of its supporting evidence,” he told reporters.
Problems can arise when scientists cherry-pick their data to include only what is deemed “significant,” or when study sizes are so small that false negatives or false positives arise.
Nosek said scientists are also under pressure to publish their research regularly and in top journals, and the process can lead to a skewed picture.
“Not everything we do gets published. Novel, positive and tidy results are more likely to survive peer review and this can lead to publication biases that leave out negative results and studies that do not fit the story that we have,” he said.
“If this occurs on a broad scale, then the published literature may become more beautiful than the reality.”
Some experts said the problem may be even worse that the current study suggested.
John Ioannidis, a biologist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, told Science magazine that he suspects about 25 percent of psychology papers would hold up under scrutiny, about the same “as what we see in many biomedical disciplines,” he was quoted as saying.
One study author who participated in the project as both a reviewer and reviewee was E.J. Masicampo, assistant professor at Wake Forest College in North Carolina.
He was part of a team that was able to replicate a study that found people who are faced with a confrontational task, like having to play a violent video game, prefer to listen to angry music and think about negative experiences beforehand.
But when outside researchers tried to replicate Masicampo’s own study—which hypothesized that a sugary drink can help college students do better at making a complicated decision—they were not successful.
Masicampo expressed no bitterness, chalking up the differences to geographical factors, and stressing that the experiment showed how complicated it can be to do a high-quality replication of a study.
“As an original author whose work was being replicated, I felt like my research was being treated in the best way possible,” he said.
There are ways to fix the process so that findings are more likely to hold up under scrutiny, according to Dorothy Bishop, professor of developmental neuropsychology at the University of Oxford.
“I see this study as illustrating that we have a problem, one that could be tackled,” said Bishop, who was not involved in research.
She urged mandatory registration of research methods beforehand to prevent scientists from picking only the most favorable data for analysis, as well as requiring adequate sample sizes and wider reporting of studies that show null result, or in other words, those that do not support the hypothesis initially put forward.
Scientists could also publish their methods and data in detail so that others could try to replicate their experiments more easily.
These are “simply ways of ensuring that we are doing science as well as we can,” Bishop said.
SAN FRANCISCO, United States—Facebook boasted of a new benchmark Thursday in its seemingly inexorable march to Internet ubiquity: a billion people used the social network in a single day.
“We just passed an important milestone,” chief executive and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg declared in a post on his Facebook page.
“On Monday, 1 in 7 people on Earth used Facebook to connect with their friends and family.”
“When we talk about our financials, we use average numbers, but this is different,” Zuckerberg added.
“This was the first time we reached this milestone, and it’s just the beginning of connecting the whole world.”
Zuckerberg also posted a video dedicated to the achievement.
In its earnings update last month, Facebook said monthly active users surged 13 percent from a year ago to 1.49 billion. The number of mobile active users rose to 1.31 billion.
Facebook on Thursday also said it is building new technology that video creators can use to guard against their works being copied at the social network without permission.
“This technology is tailored to our platform and will allow these creators to identify matches of their videos on Facebook across pages, profiles, groups, and geographies,” a blog post said.
“Our matching tool will evaluate millions of video uploads quickly and accurately, and when matches are surfaced, publishers will be able to report them to us for removal.”
Facebook planned to soon begin testing the new matching technology with a select group of partners, including media companies.
The California-based social network said that it has got word from some publishers that videos are sometimes uploaded to Facebook without permission in a practice referred to as “freebooting.”
Facebook is already using an Audible Magic system that uses audio “fingerprinting” to identify and block copyrighted videos from making it onto the social network without proper authorization.
“We want creators to get credit for the videos that they own,” Facebook said.
“To address this, we have been exploring ways to enhance our rights management tools to better empower creators to control how their videos are shared on Facebook.”
PARIS, France—Teenagers who identify as “goths,” a subculture known for its members’ black clothes and makeup, have a three times higher risk of depression than non-goth peers, researchers said Friday.
But they could not be sure whether it was a case of depression leading kids to join this particular subgroup, or being caused by it.
“Our study does not show that being a goth causes depression or self-harm, but rather that some young goths are more vulnerable to developing these conditions,” said the study’s lead author Lucy Bowes from the University of Oxford.
In a years-long study of over 2,300 British teens, Bowes and a team found that 15-year-olds who identified very strongly with the goth subculture were three times more likely than their non-goth peers to be clinically depressed by age 18.
They were also five times more likely to physically harm themselves, the researchers reported in The Lancet Psychiatry.
At 15, the study participants were asked to what extent they identified with a variety of subcultures, including “sporty,” “popular,” “skaters,” “loners,” and “bimbos.” Three years later, they were re-assessed for symptoms of depression and self-harm.
“Skaters” and “loners” also presented an increased risk, but not to the extent of goths, the researchers found.
“Young people who self-identified as ‘sporty’ were least likely to have depression or self-harm at age 18,” said a statement.
It was possible, the team said, that “peer contagion” within the goth subculture was responsible for the link, but it could also be that the group attracted already depressed social outcasts.
“Teenagers who are susceptible to depression or with a tendency to self-harm may be attracted to the goth subculture which is known to embrace marginalized individuals,” said co-author Rebecca Pearson from the University of Bristol in Britain.
Teenage goths should be closely monitored, the authors said, so that those at risk can be offered support.
With the increasing number of techies and users of the Internet in the country, cybercriminals also have more opportunities to prey on netizens, police officials said.
People have to be careful when they go online as criminals also lurk in cyberspace, the Philippine National Police’s Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) warned Thursday.
At a press briefing at Camp Crame on Thursday, the ACG noted that there are now 44 million netizens or users of the Internet in the country.
A netizen spends an average 18.6 hours per week, or 2.6 hours per day, in cyberspace.
From 2013 to 2015, the ACG received 1,211 cybercrime complaints, with online scams topping the list with 366 cases.
Senior Supt. Edwin Roque, the ACG chief, said online scams usually involved online buying or selling, investments, pyramiding scams and other forms of online fraud.
Other complaints received by the ACG were online libel at 240 cases, online threats with 129 cases; identity theft, 127 cases; and anti-photo and video voyeurism, 89 cases.
“The number of complaints are rising because the opportunity for our fellow Filipinos to use the Internet is also increasing. There is more access now to mobile phones, smartphones and the Internet,” said Roque.
According to the ACG, there are 5.21 million Twitter users and 30.66 million Facebook users in the country. The Philippines ranks eighth all over the world, and third in Asia, in Internet use.
Roque reminded netizens to be wary of suspicious messages or offers that they get online. He said they can report such cybercrimes to the ACG through www.acg.pnp.gov.ph, mobile phone number 09985689082, landlines 4141560, or e-mail at email@example.com.
The ACG also issued the following tips to avoid becoming victims of cybercrime:
— Set privacy settings to the most secure setting available. Most social networking sites offer ways to restrict access to make sure information is being shared only with friends and not the Internet at large.
— Don’t post any information that would let someone know that you’re going on vacation or that the house is empty. Posting that you will be out of town for a few days could make you a likely target of thieves.
— Create a unique password for every social site. Consider making the passwords stronger by adding numbers or special characters. Having strong, unique passwords for each site helps prevent hackers from taking over social media accounts to send spam to other users, scam friends or use information against the owner of the account.
— Don’t post anything online that would cause problems if made public. Follow the “front-page rule,” which reminds social media users not to report anything on social media site they would not want to see on the front-page of a newspaper.
— Do remember that employers, school and university administrators and others often check Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites for information posted online.
— Don’t click on links that may appear to be unusual or suspicious, even if they look like they are sent by friends. Likewise, don’t click links sent through spam e-mail, these could launch malicious software or viruses that could damage a computer.
— Be selective about whom to accept as a “friend” or “follower” on social media accounts. Identity thieves can easily create fake profiles in order to obtain personal information that might otherwise have been private.
— Don’t post any information that can lead hackers to passwords for online banking or other accounts. For example, common questions for those who have forgotten their passwords for financial or other sites include “What is your mother’s maiden name?” or “What’s your favorite pet?” Criminals may be able to find those answers easily on social networking sites.
“Batibot” is a local children’s television show that first aired in the early 1980s and lasted until the late 1990s.
Teacher Feny Bautista of the Community of Learners Foundation (CoLF) conceptualized and produced the kids’ show together with the late renowned writer Rene Villanueva. “Batibot” was modeled after “Sesame Street,” a children’s show in the United States that teaches preschoolers basic educational skills through songs, dance, and role-play.
“Batibot” had to go off the air for several reasons, one of which was poor ratings.
Now, the popular Filipino children’s show is making a comeback targeting a very specific market of digital natives.
Digital life is now defined by the apps people use. Through the app, “Batibot” hopes to reincarnate itself in the minds of the children whose parents grew up with the show.
“‘Batibot’ will always be that shared inter-generational experience,” said Bautista during the launch.
CoLF and Smart Communications (Smart) tapped the services of digital startup OrangeFix to develop the app.
Smart recently launched its Smart TechnoCart, a mobile digital laboratory that contains, among others, 20 tablets preloaded with the Batibot app. It also has a laptop and projector teachers could use, a Smart Bro pocket Wi-Fi with prepaid load for connectivity, and Smart One Campus, a learning management system that helps administrators and teachers track and measure their students’ academic performance.
The Batibot app is said to be the first learning app in Tagalog that is “aligned with the national kindergarten curriculum of the Department of Education.” It has interactive features like the classic game “Alin Ang Naiba,” where children are asked to identify what is different from a group of objects and pictures. Kindergartners can also practice writing by tracing letters on their device, and sing along to “Batibot” songs via the app’s videoke feature.
“Kuwentong Batibot” feature provides children with access to stories in Tagalog, “with the aim of establishing a firm foundation for early and emergent literacy.”
Available on Android
The app is available for download on Android devices for now. The version for iOS is currently being developed and will soon be available, according to David Quitoriano, president of OrangeFix.
Additional features will also be made available soon.
“We want the kids and adults to enjoy the app first before we introduce additional features,” he said. “We want to test their reaction and reception first to the app and its contents.”
Some schools have been transforming their textbooks into tablets. Parents may be able to use mobile devices as a way of teaching toddlers and preschoolers right at their own homes so when the kids are finally of age to go to school, they can claim that they are ready.
Interactive learning may entice them to play while unconsciously learning in the process.
But for Bautista, the app goes beyond catching up with the digital world.
“This time, we also see the urgency of supporting very young children as they enjoy their digital play experiences in a language that we hope they would learn to love and be comfortable with—Filipino,” she said. RC
As the number of Internet users in the country rose to 44 million, opportunity for cybercriminals to do illegal activities online also increases, said the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) on Thursday.
Newly-appointed ACG director Senior Superintendent Edwin Roque said cybercrime-related complaints shot up to 1,211 from 150 since the ACG’s foundation in 2013. The upsurge in cyber crimes also meant more challenges for the two-year-old police unit.
“The ACG is ready to face and solve all complaints. But the ACG, to date, has 162 personnel. That’s why one of our thrusts is to add more personnel to directly access the complaints especially in the regions,” Roque said.
As part of the ACG’s capability enhancement program, Roque said the ACG proposed to the PNP leadership to deploy 900 personnel to the cybercrime unit.
In a PowerPoint presentation shown by Roque, the top five complaints received from 2013 to present are online scams with 366, online libel with 240, online threats with 129, identity theft with 127, and anti-photo and video voyeurism with 89.
He said 41-percent of the 101-million populace of the Philippines are using the Internet. Based on nationwide count, the Philippines currently has 93.2 million mobile phone users, 30.66 million Facebook and 5.21 million Twitter users. The average time spent on the Internet by users is 18.6 hours per week or 2.6 hours per day.
Among the common cases the ACG addresses, Roque said scams done online and through text messages are more challenging for the ACG. He said this was because most scammers use prepaid SIM cards, which are difficult to trace as these are not registered unlike postpaid SIM cards.
“We really cannot trace the subscriber’s identification precisely because prepaid SIM cards are not registered. We have to make a request first to the National Telecommunications Communication to inform the telcos to block a certain number,” he said.
The proposed bill of SIM card registration, he said, would make the ACG’s work easier.
“Sinusuportahan namin ‘tong proposal na ‘to para makakuha tayo ng identification ng source (We support this proposal so we can identify the source (of the crime)),” Roque added. Julliane Love de Jesus/IDL
Online scams topped the list of cybercrime complaints since 2013 up to present, according to the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG).
This prompted the ACG to intensify its warning to the social media users who fall prey to online fraud schemes including pyramiding, paluwagan (peer lending circles), false investments and online buying and selling.
“Cybercrime offenders exploit the gullibility of social media users. The solution here is prevention. Our thinking should always be, if it’s too good to be true, then it’s not true,” the acting director of ACG Senior Superintendent Edwin Roque said in a press briefing on Thursday.
With the increasing number of online scam cases, the ACG thus gave tips to avoid cybercriminals.
Roque advised social media users to set their privacy settings on social media to the “most secure setting possible.” “Most social networking sites offer ways to restrict access to make sure information is being shared only with friends and not the Internet at large.”
When you are out on vacation, the ACG said do not make yourself a target of thieves by posting about being away from home for days.
Make a unique password for every social site you are using. Also make your passwords stronger by adding numbers or special characters. “Having strong, unique passwords for each site helps prevent hackers from taking over social media accounts to send spam to other users, scam friends or use information against the owner of the account,” said the ACG.
“Follow the ‘Front Page Rule,’ which reminds social media users not to report anything on social media site they would not want to see on the front page of a local newspaper.”
The ACG director also advised users not to click on links that may appear to be unusual or suspicious, even if they look like they are sent by friends. “Likewise, don’t click links sent through spam email, these could launch malicious software or viruses that could damage a computer,” he added.
When accepting a “friend” or a “follower,” be selective. The ACG warned that identity thieves can easily create fake profiles in order to obtain personal information that might otherwise have been private.
“Don’t post any information that can lead hackers to passwords for online banking or other accounts,” it said.
For example, common questions for those who have forgotten their passwords for financial or other sites include “What is your mother’s maiden name?” or “What’s your favorite pet?” Criminals may be able to find those answers easily on social networking sites. Julliane Love de Jesus/IDL