Bad UX design could lead to security holes (BPI Express Case)

How bad UX design could lead to security holes (BPI Express Online Case Study) Like most banks in the Philippines, the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) is a major cause of migraine for customers. Its user experience design (UX) is badly done and the web service is unreliable. Both of these headaches lead to a third, much bigger problem: security holes. This probably explains why some BPI customers recently fell victim to phishing scams where unwitting victims divulged their passwords to a website pretending to be the BPI's online service. 
BPI's UX design problems  Due to a badly designed user experience, the BPI website creates problems that punish the user. Forgot your password? You would have to call customer service to get a password reset. Maybe they think that this is more secure than doing the password reset online, but really, it's the same thing or even worse -- the human to whom I'm giving my details could jot down my credentials.
Let's discuss the f…

Yummy Filipino Adobo

Filipino Adobo stores well and gets better as you keep it for several days. Store it in the fridge and fry/heat it up as you consume. The recipe/s below combines different recipes I've learned from friends and relatives. If you're new to cooking adobo, try the Basic Prep instructions first.  
The Kapampangan adobo recipe varies from the one I record here. When I get the time, I'll also write that one down. There are many variations of Filipino adobo, as much as there are Filipino families, I bet. The word adobo is Spanish for sauce or marinate, so don't be confuse Filipino adobo with the Mexican version.  
Got some tips? Share them in the comments below. 
Yummy Filipino AdoboIngredients2 lbs - pork (belly and/or ribs is great, but any cut is okay)1 cup - soy sauce1 cup - white vinegar (rice vinegar is okay)4-6 pcs - bay or laurel leaves1-2 tbsp -  ground/cracked black pepper1-2 bulbs - of garlic - with cloves crushed, peeled, and sliced (the more garlic, the be…

What's a fake news site?

What’s a fake news source? 

This question is important especially in the aftermath of the 2016 elections in the Philippines. What I'll discuss is a very simplistic view, just enough to frame an answer. It will not be sufficient in many ways and is just a tiny tip of the prod-user/prosumer iceberg. 
To me, a fake news site or source is a website or Facebook page -- social media in general -- that is not backed by a real news organization. Here's a simplistic and minimalist checklist, based on a traditional view of media (because this will help us form a simple definition of "fake media source"): A genuine news organization will have a trained team. That team adheres to a vetting process. Trained writers and editors verify the info they receive from interviewees and sources. A standard practice for verifying investigative pieces is to cite sources and cross-validate a story using a second, independent source. Again, that list is the bare essentials. So, halimbawa -- Get R…

Pancake Bot draws stuff using pancake dough, then cooks it

Another popular, fun exhibit at the World Maker Faire 2015 was this robot that draws figures using pancake dough. It's drawing board is a hot surface, ergo, the output is pancakes.

Watch the video below. Listen out for references to MC Escher and tessellated turtles.

#WMF15 #makerfaire

Kit Rex: a cheap, cardboard dinosaur costume kit

Kids and adults love Kit Rex -- a dinosaur costume made out of cardboard. The makers of the costume say it started as a school project which generated lots of interest.

It was one of the most popular booths in the World Maker Faire and you'll see why in this video (below). Now it's got its own Kickstarter campaign.


SeeMore: a kinetic sculpture that's also a cluster computer

SeeMore is more than just a kinetic sculpture. Each "leaf" here is a  Raspberry Pi computer node. A total of 255 computers can perform parallel computations. In this video, SeeMore is doing a map reduce search. 
As work is distributed to a leaf, it folds out. As it completes its computation, it folds back in. The farther away it folds out, the more intense the processing it's doing. The search results are read out of a monitor beside the sculpture (not shown in this video). 
It's mesmerizing to watch and listen to, as the nodes undulate in and out.

What I learned at the World Maker Faire 2015

I went to the World Maker Faire 2015 at the Hall of Science in Queens, New York. For two days, I drank in an intoxicating mix of 3D printers, robots, drones, quirky musical instruments, and other inventions. The Maker Faire brands itself as "The Greatest Show and Tell on Earth" -- a reference to PT Barnum's circus tagline. But beyond all these, one of the most important lessons I picked up was over late lunch in one of the show and tell tents where David Lang, co-inventor of OpenROV, gave a talk about how to start making. The lesson? Don't let your lack of knowledge and skills stop you -- just start making something.

David was promoting his book,Zero to Maker: Learn (Just Enough) to Make (Just About) Anything. The title piqued my curiosity, because I faced the same dilemma as David did -- he jumped into the OpenROV project (mission: build a robotic submarine) without possessing any of the skills needed to build a submarine.

So I sat at a nearby table and listened to …

Convert your scanned documents to text files with free Google Drive OCR

Google Drive offers a free Optical Character Recognition service. If you have scanned documents that you've always wanted to convert into searchable text files, try this.

Here is what Google says in its help page:
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) lets you convert images with text into text documents using automated computer algorithms. Images can be processed individually (.jpg, .png, and .gif files) or in multi-page PDF documents (.pdf). These are some of the types of files suitable for OCR:
Image or PDF files obtained using flatbed scannersPhotos taken with digital cameras or mobile phones To access this service, follow these steps:

Sign in to Google Drive.Upload your scanned image or PDF.When the file is done uploading, right-click on its icon and choose Open with... > Google Docs.Wait a few seconds (longer, if you have a bigger document) as Google Drive processes the file. Your document will open in Google Docs with the converted text inside.

Note: There are limits, so pl…

The Hunter and The Outfit (comicbook adaptations of Richard Stark's Parker novels)

This comicbook series is a superb adaptation of the Parker novels by Donald Westlake (writing as Richard Stark). Tightly written, cleverly plotted, and witty in unexpected places, the novels' protagonist is Robert Parker, a thief with a surprisingly strict and simple sense of moral code.

In The Hunter Parker returns from a long hiatus to go after Resnick, a former heist partner who betrayed Parker and left him for dead. Parker simply wants his money back, but things escalate quickly when Resnick asks for protection from a criminal syndicate known as The Outfit. So Parker shifts his sights to get his money back from The Outfit, who somehow can't believe that Parker is crazy enough to go all the way to the top just just to recover, get this, the exact amount of money that Resnick stole. But Parker is a sociopath, and it is often said that many sociopaths are geniuses.

Parker executes a plan that, in the end, gets him back his money. How he does this is the highlight of the sto…

The benefits of Scrum come naturally

The benefits of Scrum come naturally if you keep the practices and understand the Agile principles behind them. 
The ceremonies and artifacts performed each sprint, combined with regular inspection, adaptation, and transparency, motivate the Team to get into "The Flow". In turn, "The Flow" allows the Team to surmount any obstacle, getting better and better at each iteration.
As long as we learn and grow, the team enjoys what it does. When the team enjoys what it does, it delivers an enjoyable product. The end of each sprint makes the Team look forward to the next sprint. We go home highly satisfied.
See also: Shu ha ri.