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Results of mobile device user survey  
McAfee recently undertook an extensive survey of mobile device users' habits. Given that the number of users in the Philippines, and the Far East in general, is rising all the time, these figures make for interesting reading for a variety of reasons.
Device protection
The survey revealed that more men than women chose to protect their devices (the figures were 74% compared to 65%). This desire to ensure the content of their phones were screened from prying eyes gave rise to two-thirds stating they had considered investing in ‘biometric' security, such as face, voice or fingerprint recognition software.
Post-relationship issues
The survey revealed that 96% of adults admitted they trusted their partners with intimate content or classified information, yet this figure slumped to 32% for those asked who stated they would ask a partner to delete this material after a relationship had finished. Many couples also committed the cardinal error of sharing passwords. Around half of the respondents admitted that they shared mobile phone contents, while as many as 48% shared email accounts.
Another telling statistic that emerged from the survey was the fact that 25% admitted to having checked out their partner's mobile devices in order to look at messages or photos. A fifth said that they would be likely to use their partner's Facebook login details to check out messages and posts, and to perform this activity at least once a month. When it came to admitting stalking ex partners through social media, although the figure dropped, there was still a relatively high proportion (30%) who were undertaking this form of ‘online voyeurism'. By far the highest numbers who were taking part in this somewhat questionable activity fell into the 18 to 24 year old category.
Online affection
While this survey demonstrated significant figures for people involved in what could be termed ‘anti social relationship activities', such as stalking or disseminating private information, it was pleasing to note high returns for those who were, statistically speaking, very romantic! 91% of those taking part in the survey said that they would be using Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to celebrate Valentine's Day. 76% stated that the intended to post direct messages to others, while 58% admitted that they would be sending photographs. The gender balance between men and women celebrating their love through social media every February 14 was 72% versus 80%.
Philippines employment news  
Hot topics in Manila just now include the trends affecting call center employment. For some time now the Philippines have been at the epicenter of a technological revolution when it comes to satisfying customer demand by imposing a layer of dedicated help staff. However, analysts are commenting on the increasing evidence of a seismic shift in this sector of the labor market.
The voice-based services that have been the mainstay of call centers in Manila and elsewhere in this part of the far East are being replaced. The paradox is, that although this evolution in the ways call centers deal with customer demand is aimed at providing greater customer satisfaction at a cheaper rate, it will require more staff training, and increased investment in the appropriate hardware.
Head of the Contact Center Association of the Philippines, Jojo Uligan, underlined what the new, holistic approach to customer services, or ‘business process outsourcing' (BPO), would mean for the future of the Philippines technology-driven workforce. His projections indicate that the nation is set to more than double its number of BPO employees, rising to around 1.3 million by 2016. This represents a climb of over 100%.
Uligan has been working with the Manila government to ensure that the Philippines' often fragile infrastructure is robust enough to absorb such an acute expansion. The fact is that the shift from voice-based technologies to a more generic approach, which would through a host of services into the mix – including accounting and human resources – is happening all over. While Manila and Cebu are certainly the traditional hubs for call center activity, the same factors are having an impact throughout the country.
Philippines has a relatively high unemployment rate, and call center jobs are particularly sought-after because they are continually in demand, and are also considered to be amongst the better-paid for workers at the lower end of the specialized skill scale. The Filipino government recognizes this, and is therefore offering extra incentives to BPO's who are considering setting up here, such as fast-tracked working permits, tax breaks and other perks. Government officials also published the ‘Philippine Digital Strategy' last year, specifically aimed at promoting the benefits of modern communication networks.
The benefits of harnessing the potential of BPO's are there for all to see, and its gratifying to know the government are listening to the advice they have been receiving for some time. Because under-employment is an issue in these islands, the jobs that can be provided by BPO's are most welcome. The one thing employers will be keeping an eye out for is the fact that western governments, especially Barack Obama's administration in the USA, are becoming increasingly committed to reduce job outsourcing and bring jobs back to local employers. So while the emphasis must be on providing value for money, this can't be done at the expense of excellent service.
Writing Stories  
It appears that media and entertainment are slowly making way into the cyber world to allow access to a wider international market. Music, movies and even books now become an online commodity, purchased at will or obtained through illegal means. Despite the growing concerns of plagiarism and theft of intellectual property, it is a transfer that is inevitable as consumers are demanding for a wider choice of products available through the web.
A type of platform slowly gaining popularity is one that allows for budding writers to share their creative works online. Writing stories, articles or even daily ramblings are free and easy to publish on the right websites. Host sites such as Blogger and Wordpress are teemed with talented writers who may not find the conventional methods of publishing helpful. In fact, it may be seen as a hindrance when one has to go through editors and publishing houses and even dissuade a writer from sharing his or her breathtaking story with others.
With a simple search on Google, one can find multiple websites where books of various genres can be read online for free or a nominal fee as opposed to the price of a physical book. In the example of the site, this Canadian-based site boasts to host the largest community to discover and share stories. A myriad of genres can be found and although one may expect works of fiction, one can find non-fictional works with accurate facts and even a collection of political analysis by the site users – just to name a few.
In Wattpad's terms of service, the website explicitly disallows those below the age of 13 and convicted sex offenders from creating an account on the site. Users are also advised to use the site according to the terms stated as the site administrator reserves the right to terminate any account without notice. Perhaps these conscious efforts to ensure the online safety of Wattpad users show how web developers are actively creating a safe environment for all its users. With the transfer of media and entertainment into the World Wide Web, this could ensure a smoother transition for consumers to extend their indulgences to the online network.
Philippines call centers and labor costs  
Speaking of reasons for the current buoyant state of the Filipino call center market, Teleserv's Raffy David explained the benefits of low labor costs. He said that his company now had the leeway to devote capital to new technologies – something they had been investing in for the best part of a decade in any case.
Apparently someone manning the phonelines at his organization earns around $4,800 per annum, so a substantial portion of the money saved in paying operator salaries can be ploughed directly into investing in the new technologies that are all geared towards improving the customer experience. He underlined this attitude: ‘It's all about enhancing the customer's experience. We want to give them a fast, efficient and highly personalised service.'
Another interesting point to note is the fact that Teleserv staff do a lot more than simply manning phone lines – even if these are frequently queuing with eager caller queries. Call centers are now dealing with increasingly frequent levels of enquiry that arrive via email. To deal with this phenomenon, call centers are now developing systems hat allow emails to be filtered. In this way, common subjects can be batched together, which enable any one agent to deal with multiple enquiries efficiently.
An all-pervasive aspect of 21st century mass communication is, of course, social media, and this too has had a significant effect on call center traffic. Because more and more customers are taking the opportunity to make direct content via Facebook pages or Twitter accounts, the call center organizations have had to respond to enable them to meet this increasing need.
At Teleserv, another innovation is a system that brackets all social media into one easily manageable folder. All staff can have instant access to enquiries coming into the center, no matter through which channel they actually arrive. Keeping on top of all this sometimes means that some outsourcing of responsibility is required. Teleserv employ third parties, such as Avaya, who have a proven track record in providing solutions to telecommunication issues.
Edgar Doctolero of Avaya Philippines stated that customer service had to step up to the plate when it came to dealing with the increasing demands of social media. ‘Especially now, with so many people using social media, businesses have to be very careful that their service is good. It's so easy for people to post opinions - either good or bad - on Facebook or Twitter, and their message can go viral really quickly. Imagine the impact that can have on a contact center?'
Samsung Vs. Apple  
In 2013, the whole world was made aware of the Apple vs. Samsung lawsuits. It was a period where non-technologically savvy individuals were made aware of the patent infringing suits between these two multinational companies that saw its peak when courts in various countries ruled in favor of either company. After the entire debacle, consumers worldly still ask the million dollar question: which is better – Apple or Samsung?
As Haydn Shaughnessy wrote on, Apple may be in the lead in terms of brand affection, there is a general reluctance to admit Samsung's increasing popularity with the public. As Samsung manufactures a wider variety of products, it is no surprise this electronic giant relies on brand recognition to sell its products. The newest Samsung Note 3 and Gear is a prime example of an increasing portfolio of products. The Gear doubles as a watch and phone with an attractive aesthetics.
Apple users argue that the Android platform varies on all devices hence, unreliable. The similar interface across all Apple products allow for easy usage by existing users. Some have argued that the operating system responds faster and the younger generation is able to pick-up the how to's quickly. In addition, the absence of a malignant virus that could affect the operating system of Apple products boosts its appeal.
The Apple cult would like to believe that Apple still dominates the phone market despite the death of Steve Jobs. The iOS 5, iPod NANO and iPad mini is testament to the innovative ability of Apple to constantly deliver better products to its users. On the other spectrum, Samsung has been churning out new designs and products for the phone market. Being the cheaper alternative allows the wider masses to purchase a smartphone without burning a hole in their pockets.
Apple or Samsung, the choice is yours but keep in mind that electronics do not last a lifetime.
Relationships and technology  
One of the driving forces of technology in the modern age has been in interpersonal relationships. Social media has had a massive impact on rendering the internet an interactive tool. Technological advancements have had one eye on commercial aspects for a long time, while the other has increasingly focused on making communication ever more streamlined. This has really benefited those who would previously have relied on the cumbersome procedure of sticking hopeful adverts in the ‘lonely hearts' pages of their local newspaper.
Technology has opened up a universe of possibilities for dating in the Philippines and beyond. The advent of slick, instant but, crucially, completely anonymous means of sending messages has meant that there can be few excuses for not wanting to embrace social media.
Instead of sending love letters, singletons or, indeed, not-necessarily singletons, still rely on the power of the written word, only how their thoughts are transmitted has entered a whole new dimension. Some lament that the accessibility of dating websites that allow potential partners to cut to the chase, has effectively muscled romance out of the picture. For those with no interest in a relationship beyond the casual fling, going online presents so many possibilities for embracing the ‘no strings attached' arena. However, this is balanced in the websites catering for individuals genuinely looking to go through the motions of being introduced to ideal partners.
The internet has shrunk the world considerably. Where people once had pen-pals, now they can have full-blown relationships with people living on the other side of the globe, the webcam providing an instant entrance point into their world. There is something so much more exciting about having such a degree of choice at your fingertips, of having literally thousands of websites and apps to sift through as opposed to a couple of newspaper columns of singletons exclusively in your vicinity.
For every detractor remaining unconvinced about the likelihood of online dating ever rising above a matchmaking service for people looking for a quick route to casual sex, there are people who not only meet their soul-mates, but end up marrying. The fact that websites allow users to spend a long time getting to know one another through email exchanges, and then Skype calls or web chats means that it is possible to get a far better idea of the characters, good points (and not-so-good points) of the person at the other end of your texts. Composing emails also gives the writer a sense of making sure that they come across as genuine. There is greater editorial control, rather than conversation, where it can be far easier to put your proverbial foot in it!
Technology development – force transmission  
Many interested in technological advances in the Philippines are accustomed to keeping one eye firmly on what is happening elsewhere in the Far East. Japanese developers have been consistently relied on to provide interesting takes on the world of technical innovation.
Recently a researcher in Japan, Kouhei Ohnishi, unveiled his latest invention – a device that will instantly (and wirelessly) transmit a force between twin devices. At the very least he claimed this experiment proved the potential to allow physical therapists to treat their patients remotely. The so-called ‘force transceiver' may, at face value, seem like the type of thing first dreamt up in the imaginations of the Star Wars screenplay-writers back in the 1970s, but Ohnishi was quick to underline the machine's potential in real-life scenarios.
Chief amongst its properties is the ability to permit two-way communication of the amount of pressure applied, and the resistance encountered, in real time. To place that in a more practical perspective, Ohnishi stated that it could be applied to a robot. In this way, a skilled operator could use his force transmitter to remotely carry-out functions in areas unsafe for humans, such as high temperature, underwater or radiation-hazardous environments.
Ohnishi explained to reporters: ‘For physical therapy, the feeling and movement of therapists must be transferred without any delay. The therapist will also be able to feel how well the patient's limbs are moving, for example, which is a key piece of information'.
Ohnishi went on to elaborate that this technology could also help to reduce the burden on medical systems, while at the same time greatly increasing convenience-levels for patients. Technology would also allow the levels of force being applied to be tempered according to their specific situations. The Keio University system design engineering professor also stated: ‘We could apply this technology to do construction work that could not be done by humans'.
Ohnishi went on to elaborate that this technology could also help to reduce the burden on medical systems, while at the same time greatly increasing convenience-levels for patients. Technology would also allow the levels of force being applied to be tempered according to their specific situations. The Keio University system design engineering professor also stated: ‘We could apaThe force transmitter would allow high-speed wireless communications that was many, many times more powerful than the existing WiFi connectivity used for domestic web connections. Alongside this technology would be high-speed computing capacity.ply this technology to do construction work that could not be done by humans'.
Ohnishi demonstrated the technology behind his theory by building a pair of box-like tools, with levers on the top. A user moved the lever on one unit, and the lever on the second moved at precisely the same force and speed, in perfect synchronization.
Recycling Electronics  
We are all without a doubt, avid consumers of electronics. As such, if we were to keep all the electronics we have ever owned, I'm sure it would fill up an entire cupboard. A common question that any electronic user would ask is: what do I do with my old electronics? All electronic users should realize that it is your responsibility to recycle your own gadgets. Although your old Nokia phone or desktop may appear to have died and never be able to turn on again, you may be surprised to find that your seemingly useless gadget can still contribute in death.
There are many electronics recycling plants that have sprung up since the year 2000. Electronics are made of various materials ranging from steel, gold, copper and even aluminum. If you paid attention in class, you would realize that all these materials can be melted down again alongside any other usable parts to be reused to create new items. For example, the wiring in old computers may hold up to five pounds of copper and circuit boards contain gold. These two metals are used in many other devices and can be taken to be make jewelry or other electronics.
Even old radios, video recorders and cassette tapes can be resold to collectors. This calls for refurbishing works. Refurbishing to reuse old electronic items is just as good as recycling. However, hard drives which contain sensitive information should be properly destroyed to avoid risk of theft of leak of important data. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your electronics recycler is certified to handle your electronics. You can check if an electronics recycler meets proper standards of recycling by verifying if it is certified by accredited independent third parties. Don't forget, that a little effort goes a long way to insure you against future undesirable consequences.
A True Display Or An Act  
More than we think, verbal conversations are giving way to writing forms in which the conversation history can be tracked. A text message can be stored for a long period time in our mobile phones and serve as a reminder. Since the advent of instant messaging, less people are verbally communicating and prefer to type their chats out so that they can read emails or watch videos while waiting for a response – the level of multitasking which all young online users are capable of.
As such, it is no surprise that the degree of warmth one finds in an online chat is tied to the amount of emoticons and smileys that one uses. Acronyms such as ‘LOL', ‘ROFL' and ‘LMAO' have long replaced the simple ‘Haha' as it paints a more intense picture of one laughing at a statement. Are typed expressions of emotion real? How do we know for sure if the person whom we are chatting with, is sincerely laughing out loud or saddened by our words? In reality, this writer really doubts that one is rolling on the floor laughing what more when one says laughing my ass off. Our minds work much better with such depictions than one given by a simple ‘Haha' as it could come off as a conversation stopper or lacking in sincerity.
One would think that with the rise in the use of instant messaging, language proficiency would increase as well. However, in schools, teachers still constantly remind their students to refrain from using abbreviated words or ‘texting language' in essays. Is technology changing the way we communicate and endangering our relationships? Video calls notwithstanding, one might find typing out an entire conversation tiresome or slow. Not forgetting, we inadvertently lose words that convey our exact emotion and our recipient may not read the message with the same emotions as ours.
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