Monday, July 6, 2009

Let's talk "Green Campus Computing"!

[Note: This is a reply to Mr. G.'s thread in USEP-IC forum - Assignment 4: Find three(3) URL's that talk's about "green campus computing" and suggest ways how the university can adopt this concept.]

I have surfed the net for some 'meaty' discussions about green campus computing, and these are what I found.... [my apologies for having a looong post...the forum reacted it can't be posted'...sorry I just got carried away by the topic. hahaha] lol! have fun reading!

Source: San Diego State Green Campus Program


When you're not using your computer, you can save energy by putting it to "sleep." When your computer is in sleep, it's turned on but in a low power mode. It takes less time for a computer to wake up from sleep than it does for the computer to start up after being turned off....
[more about this, pls click the corresponding link]

This site gives step-by-step guide to readers on examples of making effective ways to save energy in using computers. I believe these are just easy steps that can be done by students and teachers alike in their home, office, and schools. Our university can adopt this simple concept by practicing this in computer laboratories or even in offices (as long as they're using computers). I believe this is not that hard to implement. And I also believe that if our school will acknowledge every little way of conserving annual costs (including energy/electricity expenses) the administration should implement this practice in the campus. (I'm talking about making this legal, I mean, as in make conserving computing energy a MANDATE in every office/laboratory in the university). Well, in that case, we all have reasons on making these steps possible. As I've said, this is not that hard. The other institutions are already mandating their staffs to not use computers during lunchbreak, and/or the like... Although the above suggestions won't be nearly impossible since some parts of our campus have very important transactions using the computers, perhaps we can implement these in computer laboratories. Especially when between periods of laboratory classes. Coz I've also noticed that there are some computers which are not turned off or completely plugged out since the other class will be using the units. And there are also cases when there is minimal usage of computers especially when there is no 'formal' laboratory or hands-on session. As mentioned above, putting the computer to sleep mode takes less time to wake up than what it takes a computer to start up. Plus, it takes less energy, thus, making it less hassle for the user (if the user is thinking not to turn it off completely coz it will be used again... :-) )

Source: Alliance to Save Energy: Creating an Energy-Efficient World

About Green Campus

The Alliance to Save Energy’s Green Campus Program is currently in place on thirteen California university campuses: Humboldt State, CSU Chico, UC Berkeley, UC Merced, UC Santa Cruz, UC Santa Barbara, CSU San Bernardino, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, San Diego State University, and Stanford University....
[more about this, pls click the corresponding link]

The above site is just one of the many institutions/organizations who present program goals and rationale about implementing green campus computing. We can adopt this kind of movement by implementing similar green campus program structures in our university. In relation to what I stated in the first item, the university has the power and authority to make mandates about the program. In implementing ways to conserve energy, be it simple just like above or greater, we can always find ways in doing every little way to make our campus computing greener. The university can create a council or a certain group that takes over or spearheads the green campus program. The faculty, staff, and students can help by promoting the program goals and objectives to others so that the program will be acknowledged not only by those who are actively part of the spearheading team but also to those who are being shared by the good news. Every success starts by a single step, as what they say. But it would be more successful and remarkable if we not only make the first step but take it by heart and make succeeding steps. This is where the over-all participation of every part of the university comes in. If each USEPian finds the green campus computing movement a very remarkable one just by being aware of the strong program structures, many will realize that the administration is seriously inclined to it thus making it easier for everybody to participate in actively.
Source: Office of Information Technology - University of Utah
url 1:
url 2:

url 1:
Green Computing Best Practices for End Users

With thousands of desktop computers in use at the University of Utah, there is a great amount of power used and a great amount of both paper and electronic waste produced. Some simple solutions can help to reduce the impact of these deployments. Please make use of these best practices in order to develop a practice that best fits your individual needs. These suggestions are intended for users who manage their own computer. If you have a computer administrator, you will want to discuss these practices first on order not to interfere with any automated processes that may be running on your computer....
[more about this, pls click the corresponding link]
url 2:
Hardware Retirement and eWaste at the U

University Policy 3-40 requires equipment which is no longer usable or no longer required by the University to be sent to the University Surplus and Salvage Department (US&S) for disposal. This includes equipment purchased for less than five thousand dollars ($5,000).....
[more about this, pls click the corresponding link]

My third item has two url's. I included both because the website is just the same and the topics are somehow related. It can be noticed that even the words 'green campus computing' are not found in the two sources. But I believe that both can be effective ways to achieve the movement. The topics really sparked my interest because somehow I had an experience in MY university (a concrete example!). During the middle weeks of June, as far as I could recall, I've noticed our friendly office clerks and (..and janitors, perhaps) hauling stuffs like papers, boxes/ cartons and loads of newspapers, papers, and papers! hehe..and some CDs, floppy disks, and the like, from our faculty and dean's offices. What made me interested was that I thought of my dad who oftentimes had hard times finding scratch and unused papers to help aid in making bonfire (or whatever you call that...basta panghaling sa kahoy or uling para pangluto..>_< ) so I thought of asking some scratch to bring it home. Only then I realized that they are not just plain outdated newspapers and office scratch papers but also past projects of our higher-years studes. So I and my classmates decided to gather some research studies and projects to have some future reference (well, what a helpful recycle!haha) But then again, not all past projects are in written forms, for we noticed COUNTLESS CDs and floppy drives included in the stuffs. That was when "e-waste" came into my mind. And the thought of the universities' and certain organizations' campaigns to proper e-waste management made me decide to take most of the CD-RWs, floppy disks, etc home (including the papers for my 'panghaling' ^_^ ) so to spend some extra time to inspect it and maybe recycle whatever helpful info I could have from it and recycle the disks itself! Call me weird but I guess i have that strange habit of collecting wastes (even at home! haha!). I also thought of asking the janitors to let me, on behalf of our youth organization in our community, ask it as a source of our fundraising for we may sell it in Bote-Bakal-Dyaryo, etc or Recovery Materials Facility booths. But the janitors said that I can't get it that simple because I might be questioned by the school guards if they notice somebody bringing bulks from the campus through the school gates. Only then I knew that even a single paper that will be brought outside the campus needs a permission. When I asked the janitors where the wastes will be going, they said they will just place it in the proper bin where the CENRO will get it. See? The wastes will be directly collected by the city garbage management disposal team. If only (I thought of this) the university will have programs that manage the mismong e-waste of the campus, we will be able to help the city garbage management disposal team in waste management. The amount of garbage they will have to dispose will be lessened if right in our campus, the wastes (esp. the electronic ones) will be already reduced, reused, and recycled. I hope the school admin will find ways on this matter. I just hope.

I would appreciate anybody's comments especially about my third item on this post. Thank you very much!

Thoughts About Automated Elections

[Note: This is a reply to Mr. G.'s thread in USEP-IC forum - Assignment 3: Your thoughts about automated elections with reference to the current situation...]

With the height of technology we have in the world today, chances of automation of various manual systems we use in the old centuries becomes extremely bigger. In the case of third-world countries like the Philippines, maybe not all systems have been computerized, or less. The Electoral process is just a concrete example.

Other nations have been developing, testing, and using automated elections for the past years. And we have our century-old manual system of counting votes. As years passed, it has been observed that troubles caused by election frauds are getting more frequent and the situation worsens through time. This may be due to delays in counting and canvassing that tends to become prone to schemes of deceitful people who have their intention of manipulating votes in favor of their chosen candidate(s). The longer the time it takes the votes to be counted, the more exposed the ballot boxes are, the chances of fraud becomes fatter.

To address this kind of problem, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) decided to go on a computerized election process this coming May 2010 Election. Duly supported by majority of the Senate leaders, with the House Bill 5715 (Automated Electoral System Act) being passed by the Congress and was signed by the President, the P11.3 billion supplemental budget is now being allocated. (All go for automated elections in 2010, Comelec had already the winning bidder, Smartmatic, a foreign company, in partnership with Total Information Management Inc., for the machines that will be used for the elections. Although there were some Senate leaders who are not in favor of the automation and few lawmakers and IT professionals who are skeptic, they are pursuing the automated election system.

As an IT student, I see an opportunity for technological advancement of our country in this issue. This is a chance of breaking out to the old system of manual counting of votes to a computerized operation. Here we can truly realize the advantages and benefits of computers and we can fulfill the solutions offered by modernization. Such is a stepping stone to future advancements in our country and the people. Considering that the election is a critical system, the use and application of technology, I should say, should be implemented long ago.

Several solutions that this Automated Electoral System (AES) bring focus primarily on the speed of canvassing and counting votes. Since the machine will automatically count after the voter inputs his ballots, the time it takes for the results of the votes to yield is much faster making it less prone to possible frauds along the canvassing state. The cheaters who are not that knowledgeable in computer will realize that they can no longer use their old tricks. Also the possibility of misreading and manual tampering of Election Returns (ERs) and Certificates of Canvas (COCs) will be lessened. (Automated Election Fraud, Manuel Alcuaz Jr., Phil. Daily Inquirer). Programmers and developers and IT professionals would be highly recognized in this mission-critical situation.

However, as I read about the articles in the net, I found several chances of electoral fraud as noticed by some concerned individuals. Yes, the possible deceptions of controlling the results will be prevented as the time is narrowed down. But it does not necessarily mean that there will be no faults. In fact, the probability of electoral frauds is much higher compared to the manual system.

It is been described that in the election process, the voting is done manually and the counting will be automated. So in other words, it is not FULL-automated elections contrary to what the Comelec Chair Jose Melo stated that we will be having a full-automation this coming election. The Precinct Counting Optical Scan (PCOS) will be used in the automation. PCOS is a ballot-based system in which the voter will mark his choices on a specially printed ballot that features security markings. The ballot will then be fed into a scanner, which records and stores the votes. (All go for automated elections 2010,

In the old manual system, the hard copy of the precinct ERs were brought to the municipality to be read and entered in the statement of votes, which was visible to watchers. Watchers could compare the statement of votes with their own copies of the ER. Before the ER was read and added to the statement of votes, the authenticity of the ER was first verified.

In this measure, only the person who is in charge of the operation of the machine knows the real score of what was really going on. Whereas, the previous manual system in which the board of election inspectors writes ‘sticks’ corresponding to every single vote offers a good view of the ongoing tally for the watchers and the people in the precinct levels to see. Thus, transparency is lost. Voters will not know if there is fraud taking place.

The automated system uses the Internet making it connected to the official election monitoring parties online. As we are aware of it, Internet has all the ways – be it good, or evil. This offers a vast opportunity for a third party to interfere with the automation process. And there is similar probability that this person will be able to ‘twist’ the truth by accessing the system. Likewise, the monitoring parties will only be able to monitor the canvassing or the ongoing process through online. This means that they rely on the actual counting of votes that the system does, and perhaps not doing their own canvassing independent of the results of the automation tally.

OMR machines are used in schools for scoring tests and in survey companies for tabulating survey results.Members of the administrative staff in schools and survey companies do not change the source code. They provide a scoring or tabulating table to modify how the OMR machine scores a test or tabulates a survey.By changing this table, fraud is easily committed. In order to cheat on the OMR counting machines, all that is needed is to download a new counting table that changes for whom a shaded circle is counted.In areas where the candidates that want to cheat are weak, the table can be modified so that votes will be switched.. How would the counting tables be switched? Since the OMR machines are connected to the Internet, it is possible for an outside party, in connivance with Comelec or system vendor people, to enable an unseen computer to load the fraudulent table. At the end of counting, the original table can be reloaded so that any tests would indicate that the machines are counting correctly and honestly. It could also be possible for someone that seems to be authorized to quickly insert a USB memory stick that would load the fraudulent table.

Having experienced a lot of times about the uses of a memory stick and the Internet, I could say that the above probabilities is not hard to do. Even I, a non-Election Inspector could have the skill to manipulate the system if the complexity of the automation system does not have a strong error-checking or security.

I could see that if there would be no high security in terms of safeguarding our votes, the essence of the Automated Electoral System will not be fully appreciated. It will instead create a massive fraud since there are many weak spots noticed.

Issue of the Smartmatic-TIM

I’ve learned that Filipino-owned Total Information Management (TIM) withdrew its joint venture with partner Netherlands-based Smartmatic Corp., the winning bidder of the poll automation supplies. The Comelec and the Smartmatic people themselves did not expect for this since it was a fairly good negotiation with the contract. But according to TIM, the reason is due to some irreconcilable differences.

I don’t really understand why TIM pulled out of the contract signing all of a sudden after all the joint venture agreement TIM and the Smartmatic had during the bidding process. If ‘irreconcilable differences’ are their grounds, I don’t believe it’s reasonable enough to back out. I have a feeling something’s going on behind. Moreover, Smartmatic alone cannot continue with them only signing the contract. For it is not allowed that a foreign company does not have a Filipino partner to do business inside the country.

So what will happen now in the planned full automation process this coming election?! Furthermore, I guess it was also better that, problems such that arises in the present, than meeting it on along the way almost near to the Election Day itself.

Reflection on the IT aspect

When I heard the expression of the Edupro Inc. president of the Nexus Technologies Group during one of the Tech Update Sessions of the recent COMDDAP 2009 Expo I’ve attended, I realized how great is the call of responsibility of an IT professional to his customer is.

When he challenged the speaker of the Open Source for Business Applications session on what’s his stand towards whether to use proprietary softwares for mission-critical events like the Automated Elections, or use open source developed applications. Having the situation we have right now – the pulling out of the TIM with its Smartmatic partner – the possibility of implementing a full automation is threatening to slim down. Rumors say, we could have the option of letting our local software developers help configure the automation system. In the case of proprietary software, we could utilize the programs/system developed by foreign countries that may have used similar automated electoral system and test it in our process. On the other hand, we could choose to have the open source developed applications, use it, let the system be developed by local software specialists, validated by foreign companies, then, after the election, it could have the chance of offering it to other countries where it can be improved.

The situation is just synonymous to a person typing in a text editor. “If you type in Word, would you spend almost 4,000 plus to buy MS suite or would you just download it from the net? I suggest you download it from the net,” the president of the Edupro stated. What I’ve learned from what he said is that, the options call for the needs. If you work for an enterprise, and there are such big factors like security and reliability, you go for proprietary. The decision of the developer should focus on the client’s needs where there are several factors to be considered. These are the liabilities of the programmer. In the case of proprietary, say for example there is a failure in using the system, chances are the corporation who developed the software will be blamed.

Now in connection to the automated elections 2010, the considerations focus on 10 to 20 hired developers who will build up the system. Say for example, if you hire them for 6 months or so, will you lock them in and hide them inside a workroom where they can’t be seen by the media so they would not be embarrassed and pressured by the press if their developed system is a failure? Will you feed their families for 6 months since they’re away from home? Will you provide security for their loved ones knowing there may be some politicians who might influence them and insist demands? These are just some of the risks of doing it locally.

The gentleman concluded his sharing in an message that says “Nothing is free. In some point in time, you will pay for it. You may have to pay for it.”

Relating it to the ultimate question of whether to use proprietary or open source development software this coming automated elections, I don’t really know my stand. One thing’s for sure, I will see to it that my user’s needs are gratified, and I will not make anything that might harm my self, my client, and the others. I hope this is the same thinking that the officials will have as they prepare for our country’s Automated Elections.

lol! lol! lol! lol! lol! lol!

My grateful appreciation to the following sources which provided me the facts I needed to construct this reflection...
Kristine L. Alave, Michael Lim Ubac, "All go for automated elections in 2010 ", Phil. Daily Inquirer -
Shiela Crisostomo, "Smartmatic partner pulls out; Comelec eyes its own tie-up",
[Smartmatic partner pulls out; Comelec eyes its own tie-up ]
Manuel A. Alcuaz Jr., "Automated election fraud ",Philippine Daily Inquirer
Aurea Calica, "Senators see danger in 2010 automated polls ",

Risks associated with business and IS/IT change...

[Note: This is a reply to Mr. G.'s thread in USEP-IC forum - Assignment 2: Based on the organization that you visited, what do you think are the risks associated with business and IS/IT change?]

In relation to my assignment number 1 in which I have identified some best practices in IS/IT of a certain organization, I will now first discuss about the risks associated with business and IT/IS change to the first company we have visited before - the Columbia Computer Center.

Various threats poses to a company's business and security matters as much as they have their edges in modern practices of technologies. As I recall, Columbia uses the following practices: Biometrics, MYOB, and CCTV to name a few. These practices offer convenience, data-reliability, and security to their business process. Yet there are also several disadvantages in usage of these things.

In the case of Biometric system, in which they use fingerprint scanners and code inputs for employees' log in and log out, the main disadvantage here is the instance when the scanning machine malfunctions. If that would be the case, the management will have no choice but to temporarily go back to the manual system of recording the attendance of the employees to be reflected on their daily time record. This would give hassle to the company since the work will be doubled. The view of the other offices through the CCTVs relies on the Internet. If there would be no Internet signal, the branches especially the main office would not be able to monitor the other office online. Another main disadvantage is, if the other branch would turn off all CCTV cameras connected in their office. Naturally, the accessing branch cannot see what's going on since the CCTV streaming is live. Also, the company is dependent on the Internet in that, when some customers ask for certain descriptions of some products, and to easily describe it, the employees search it online. Internet plays a big role in the business. The networking of data by branch is done also through QuickShare and that includes Internet usage. The MYOB (inventory system) would greatly affect the business operations if the data would not be backed up, and if the system will fail, there are no network connections from which the saved data will be copied from (because only the main branch holds the data of the other branches, and it is only the main office that is able to access the records of the other offices. The other offices only have access to their data. As they describe it, their accounting, sales or inventory, credits, etc are placed in the same software program...

The second company I've visited is the Davao Light and Power Co., in Ponciano St., Davao City. In our interview (me and several classmates) with the Report Infrastructure Manager of the IT Services Group, we first discussed the evolution of the Information Systems that the company has right now. As we were informed of a part of the company's history, I was able to notice the gradual change in the hardware/software aspect(s) to cope up with the needs of the organization. They've changed various servers - mainframes, programming language, networking.

In their Password Management side, where they use Biometrics in employees' log in and log out, they have to change their password every 90 days. Our interviewee added that the passwords should not repeat otherwise their account would be locked. Passwords also have recommended format. It should be alphanumeric, with a minimum of 2 alpha characters and 2 numeric characters, and should have a length of 8 characters. I think this is quite bothering to the employees' part. What if they run out of potential passwords? What if there would be instances that the employees tend to forget their current passwords? They have to call for some IT personnel for help and this is hassle on both sides of the employee and the programmers. If there were also complicated passwords such as those containing special characters adds to the complexity of the system.

In what they call as Systems Development Cycle where they form group policies to also address security, they organize a User Acceptance Test in which new strategies will be tested, and users must actually complain before the actual system will be finalized and implemented. In this case, I think this is quite time-consuming in the sense that if there would be no sooner reactions from the users who tested it, the implementations would be delayed, thus, delaying the process of addressing the problem.

It was on 2005 that they changed from Clipper to Oracle. Clipper is a good programming language but is not robust. It is because of this primary issue that they've changed into Oracle. As years passed, their data bacame bigger and bigger so there was a need to migrate into a more robust database. Clipper is good in terms of network connections since it can hold many clients, making it convenient to use. Yet they have to let go to a another database so to cater their needs especially in security aspects.

Another risk is the issue of 'piracy' in their employees. In our modern technology today, many people know several programming languages with the help of the Internet and open source softwares. More and more people are skillful enough in various fields. In the history of Davao Light, they have experienced several instances where their IT personnel were pirated to another companies and some reasons were of personal preference. Like for example, salary or income. Others will give in to some offers of other organizations which they think is better than what their company can provide. Sir Emil said that the company cannot really stop anybody from that because those were personal decisions of their employees. On this matter, I think it would be a disadvantage on the company's part. If most of their IT personnel would be like this, there would be instances in the future when almost all of the employees will be pirated. Those who are trusted in their particular tasks, once leave the company, their tasks would also be left, either uncompleted or discontinued or hanging. The administration will have to spend trainings for the ones who will replace those who left. The company will surely regret it if the trusted people or those who are already masters in their fields will be gone in the company for good. Their skills are of course, needed in the company yet the management can't stop them if they decide to prefer to the greener pasture where better opportunity calls.

Nothing is constant except change. In order for an organization to gain success in business, they have to undergo several changes in the management, equipments, material and supplies, and operations. That is why there is a need to upgrade programs and systems to cope up with the advancement of technology in the modern era. But not all changes bring benefits, they also have disadvantages. But according to Davao Light, it is based on what is really needed in a certain organization that necessities are addressed. If you opt for a secured system, then you might consider less convenience. If you choose to be convenient in using the system, chances are, you might have slight security difficulties. In order to properly address the problems of the organization, a good decision should be made, a fair and balanced decision should be made.

Friday, July 3, 2009

COMDDAP Davao 2009

A lot of computer sales and services companies, dealers of communication tools and equipments, distributors of multimedia accessories, computer developers, IT practitioners, digital solution providers, and even those who belong to the business corporate world, students and teachers, young and old, gather together to this annual eve
nt called COMDDAP (Computer Manufacturers Distributors and Dealers Association of the Philippines) Davao Expo 2009 held at Apo View Hotel, Davao City on July 2-4, 2009.

The event is open to all especially those who are interested in IT. But because of limited seats, there is a need for a registration. Same as the other year, our professor, Mr. G. invited us to visit the exhibit and attend the seminars scheduled o
n the first two days. When I and my classmates arrived at the hotel, there are already a lot of people at the Grand Ballroom where the exhibit is being held. Some of the exhibitors who participated in the last time I attended the same event were there (as far as I could remember) but I also noticed few companies whose names sounded unfamiliar to me. There were also a lot of students from other universities.

Well, aside from attending the seminars, my goal is to view the exhibit where I could have a glimpse of the new trends of technologies and its gadgets. Apart from that, I can have the chance to collect those product infos in flyers and glossy papers that I’ve been yearning for in this once-a-year event where almost all of the dealers and distributors of computer h/w and s/w, multimedia, etc meet. I have that strange hobby of collecting souvenirs. Hehe. And of course, the opportunity to join in the raffles and get freebies! Hahaha!

Well guys, let’s get serious here. The Tech Updates Sessions were actually being given by some of the known names in the world of IT developers, namely The Nexus Group, Jupiter Systems, Inc., Edupro Inc., and Spinweb Inc. The sessions were of free registration (over the internet thru the website) but there were only limited seats. I registered for the afternoon sessions on the first day. I could say that most of the audiences were composed from our institution, IT and CS students from University of Southeastern Philippines. (Because we were required to do so. Lol.) The seminar started late so we spent the time roaming around the exhibit area first.

The first speaker talked about the ERIC [Enterprise Resource Information and Control] Dealer Management System (DMS). It is an end-to-end software solution for automotive dealer operation. ERIC DMS' range of solutions covers Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Vehicle Sales and Administration (VSA), and Service Management (SVM). It is also supported by a robust back-end system on parts and supplies inventory, over the counter sales, purchasing and the requisite financial modules for financial accounting and reporting. It was developed by Jupiter Systems Inc., which I heard of as a 100% Filipino-owned industry. ERIC DMS’ international support includes Ford, Mitsubishi, Honda, Mercedes Benz, and Nissan, to name a few. The first session is not quite that entertaining although very informative, as I have taken note. Because most of my classmates (including me) remarked ‘we can’t relate.’ It talked about automotive business management, and we had less interest in cars. Luckily, after a few moments, someone from the corporate world asked regarding if there would be any problem in data conversion if in case the current system that is being used in business companies now will be replaced by the ERIC DMS. (I didn’t really hear the person right but I guess this was what he meant, more or less). There it is! What I’ve been waiting to ‘relate with’ came in. I guess as IT and CS students we should gain more interest on the technicalities of the system itself. The speaker explained that the system was made using Microsoft SQL and migration of data to the system is not a problem. Programmers will first base the data in MS Excel and check if the data are accurate before they will dig it into the new system. The process is similar to what other companies’ systems also had and most of the features of the program are also basically related.

In general, the presentation is very good, especially when the speaker explained the parts of the s/w program they developed. As an IT student (and a programming student), I could say it was so complex and may have spent a long time debugging for the program’s successful implementation.

The next presentor is someone from Nexus Technologies Inc. who talked about the HP Thin Client. He even had an actual computing device in front of us for his demo. Before he began, he said they will be giving freebies (i.e. USB Flash Disks, T-shirts) for those who could answer his questions after the presentation, and that suddenly filled the room with enthusiasm. Haha! And so, expectedly, the students listened eagerly to the discussion and we even took down notes. Thin clients sounded familiar to me at first but I only knew its real meaning and function this time. A thin client is a computing device without a hard drive, which displays data and applications from remotely located servers, blade PCs, and virtual desktops. As the speaker discussed about the features of the HP Thin Client, we couldn’t help but be overwhelmed of its capabilities as a device. The thin client is primarily designed for task-based users, or those who only had 1 or 2 applications running on their machines, such as ticketing offices, internet kiosks, and the like. It is also to address the concern of IT professionals who are faced with challenges in providing information security (i.e. loss of data due to hardware/software failures, virus and malicious attacks, theft and natural disasters), deployment and maintenance, and total cost of ownership (TLO). Some of its benefits are its proactive capability (if there are any changes due to malwares, etc, you just simply have to reboot it and its fine!), self-healing, and lock-enabled. Plus, it is has hardened embedded OS (no need for antivirus; intelligent & secure USB), has failure rate which is ¼ of that in desktops, 80% less power consumption, longer life, 75% reduced foam, surface-mounted thus space-saving, and overall, more reliable. I have also known a technique in computing and comparing hardware cost – a basis whether you want to buy a desktop or choose the thin client – that is, annual hardware cost divided by the number of usage in years (before changing h/w). Truly, who could not be convinced with these nice advantages! The last part of the presentation was of course, the Q&A portion. The speakers even found it hard to choose the ones who will answer their multiple-choice questions because everybody raised their hands to answer. Unfortunately, I was not meant to get a freebie. Hmmp.

I was not able to hear the third presentation which was the Retail Management System Overview by the Nexus Professional Services and Solutions (NPSS) because we thought the session was ‘by invitation’ only so we went out to the exhibit area. (Only then I found out that some of us did attend the third one. However, I was able to catch up a part of the last session which was Open Source for Business Applications by Spinweb Productions Inc. I heard the speaker discussed and showed some websites made by open source software and applications. A gentleman from our side raised his hand and challenged the speaker on what’s his stand towards whether to use proprietary softwares or open-source developed applications in mission-critical purposes like the 2010 Automated Elections. Suddenly, it made me remember my assignment which is related with the Automated Elections. The gentleman shared his insights about his query. What he was discussing about made me realize how responsible an IT professional is, in terms of developing digital solutions to the customers, system users, and even the government. I was impressed by how he delivered his opinion regarding the matter. Even though he was not one of the lecturers, he conveyed his message to the audience, and that gave us, young students who may be future software developers someday, a very important lesson. [more about reflection on 2010 automated elections on my post on assignment 3 thread…]