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Friday, September 21, 2007

Marketing 101 for Developers

It's 3AM when I went home from a party but I couldn't sleep so i picked up one of my fiancee's book which she left titled "Marketing Magic" by Don Debelak, It's a good book for those who's into small-medium enterprises which teaches you the basics about marketing. Note: I also identified a lot of BS stuff on it which is typical since most marketing people won't share their trade secrets.

You might find it weird that a system engineer/programmer like me would read such books but IMHO after finishing the first 5 chapters I'm persuaded that this should have been part of our BSCS college curriculum in the first place.

So I tried applying what I read so far from the book to my work.

I equated stores to webapps, and likes stores there are those who sell products and those who sell services -- which is true for webapps as well. There are sites whose main purpose is to promote products and there are also tons of sites who sell services like Digg, Google, and YouTube.

According to the book, one of the basics in marketing is finding costumers and for shops these which is ain't just all about ads. The author noted that he is not a believer in advertising anyway.

Boutique owners for example must layout their store in such a way that it's easy for potential customers to find all the products -- this may be done by arranging clothes by gender, sizes and lifestyle, same goes for supermarket, book stores and convenient stores like 7eleven and Ministop where each product is arranged by categories. This basically applies to webapps as well, we must categorize all the contents and functions then render them into link hierarchies and site maps where in it's easy for users to find and navigate the site. The easier it is to navigate the site; the more uses will browse your site. This is basically the same idea why malls has spacious corridors and wide open store window to allow people to window-shop easily.

Now imagine if you walk into a bookstore where all the books stacked randomly together and most of the shelves are blocking your path? IMHO I wouldn't last 5 seconds inside because its basically just takes to much effort to find the book that I'm looking so I might as well better off finding another bookstore.

As you see, these aspects has been inherent in those so called killer webapps as well.

Gmail made it easier to read and search threaded mails, Digg made it easy to categorize and rank stories, Flicker made it easy to categorize, browse and search pictures, Picasa made it easier to share Photos while Google Maps made it easier to navigate streets, give directions, and find places.

Another basics of marketing is how to make what you offer better than others, this can be done is many ways and one of my favorite is specialization. Basically a store can sell almost any product and target a broad audience, this is basically what we also do with webapps. We want traffic -- tons of traffic to our site.

Which is wrong.

Not all traffic is good because if we attract the wrong type of users, we will be spending more resources serving them than serving those target users that generates our revenue. For example malls attract people but not all of them would buy and they would take up space which would have been used by potential buyers -- people who are actively looking for the products they want.

Here is from my own experience. I went to All-Flip-Flops to buy my fiancee a pair of their latest slippers but when I got there, a crowd has already filled the store so most of us have to fall in line to enter the shop. As I observe, around 1 out to 30 people would buy a pair while others were just attracted to go there due to the crowd and they would stay there inside the shop for 5-15 minutes just browsing and trying out pairs. The rest of us who were in line got impatient in waiting and we decided to go somewhere else and get back later after the crown subsides (I went for lunch ^_^). When I got back the crowd were gone which gave enough room to browse call my fiancee without having to shout against the crowd noise and in the end I bought 3 pairs because I know I'm lousy when buying gifts for women -- which was a good thing I it did because my fiancee only liked 1 out of the 3 pairs I bought.

Same applies for webapps, you would rather have users in your site which contributes contents and pro-actively interact with users and refer other users to the site rather than attract hordes of lurkers whose attention span last only for a month. Also attracting the right users makes sure they would refer your site to their friends which would have similar pro-active tendencies. This is the new rule of Web2.0 -- subscriber base size isn't good enough anymore.

Therefore if you look at all of these, It is not just about programming skills anymore -- that trend is only true during dot com era.

Today a junior programmer can out perform a senior programmer given the right framework and the right attitude to actually use those framework and follow pseudo codes and standards.

Developers and engineers has also evolved, reaching beyond the system analysis and design -- we must also have proper knowledge of the business the models. Designers shouldn't just make nice layout's and graphics, they must understand the impact of those design decisions in the overall marketing strategy.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Google Account Authentication for Installed Apps for Drupal 5

* Drupal 5.x
* PHP4 or PHP5
* PHP Snoopy v1.2.3


This first version of GoogleAuthApps allows you to login to a Drupal site using your Gmail username (ex: and password.

This module makes use of Google Account Authentication for Installed Apps (, PHP Snoopy ( and CURL.


1. Unpack and upload the googleauthapp folder to the Drupal modules/ directory.

2. Activate the module via the Drupal module configuration menu:
"Administer >> Site building >> Modules"

3. This default installation assumes you are running linux with CURL in /usr/bin/curl, to change this; open googleauthapp.module and set $snoopy->curl_path at Line 17 to the absolute path where CURL executable binary is installed. For linux users, execute "which curl" to know the absolute path.

4. In "Administer >> User management >> User settings" make sure this is checked:
"Visitors can create accounts and no administrator approval is required."

5. Login using your Gmail account and password, this will create a new user with same credentials.

This is a very beta version of the module I developed under one hour so excuse for the lack of administration page.

PHP Snoopy v1.2.3 comes with this package; I'm not sure if this is allowed under the distribution license of PHP Snoopy but to simplify explaining how to download and unpack it on correct directory, I have included it on this distribution. As of the moment I'm not able to contact the developer of Snoopy so please email me at rpfilomeno+googleauthapp[AT]gmail[DOT]com for clarifications.

Download Package: googleauthapp-5.x-1.x-dev.tar.gz

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Makati Pacific Star Shootout

I was on a jeepney along Kalayaan Avenue when this happened.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cheapest way to upgrade your laptop -- using USB!

I'm using an aging T41 IBM ThinkPad for work, I don't mind working with this dinosaur since it has proven to be robust enough to sustain my daily battering.

Since Windows is popular for crashing every once in a while, the T41 Leveno system installed make sure that Windows will not be corrupted. It just freezes everything and with just a reboot will bring back it to life -- even Windows doesn't seem to know it had crashed either thus it wont run all those recovery utilities that makes a simple crash worser.

But since this is a dino-laptop, finding peripherals for it are hard. That's where the USB devices comes in handy.

Disk space is one of my major concern, I use much of it for development especially when working with C# server applications so I bought a USB to IDE cable for 400 pesos and plugged-in a normal 80Gig SATA SeaGate HD for desktop.

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As a bonus it can also 2.5 (laptop) HD, the only cons is you have to carry around the extra power strip since desktop PC eats up more power that what USB can usually provide -- but its cheap! So cheap that I afford to just buy another HD any day if it gets full or if it crashes. I also found out that you can plug this during boot up so you can install/run another OS into the desktop HD.

Here is a video (kinda blurry) where detects the HD on USD a physical HD with 3 partitions rather than as removable disks.

Here is a screen shot of My Computer window, I'm using Vista Drive Icons for a cooler effect ^_^

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As I said, I use up a lot of HD so I still ran out of portable storage most of the time, so I also bought a 1Gig USB MP3 player for emergency cases. This also comes with Voice recorder, Video Player, built-in Radio plus I can play basic hand-held games like Tetris and it only cost 1200 pesos. That beats iPod shuffle by folds -- plus I can add additional 2Gig via it's built-in micro SD slot!

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With all these USB drives I quickly ran out of USB ports on my laptop but no worries, I just bought a 4 port USB Hub so I can fit in my USB mouse and bluetooth dongle at the same time and it only cost 150 pesos. There's a cheaper circular orange version which only cost 80 pesos but I fancied the neon yellow color ^_^

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So what's next? I'm planning to buy a USB TV tuner (1300 pesos) so I can watch my favorite sport's program whenever I'm stuck at the office and it can also record or output my desktop into a normal TV during office film showing sessions. I can even plug an additional LCD monitor and upgrade my dual desktop into a 3 way view desktop! ^_^

PS: If you want to go this path with your laptop upgrades just visit first CDR-King, they have lot's of cheap USB devices where I also bought most of the stuff I featured here. If you're a USB fanatic like me, just blog it post a link under comments so I can link it with this post.

USB poweeeer! ^_^

Monday, September 17, 2007

iPhones unlocked for Philippines Globe and Smart

It must be the biggest cult phenomenon next to fans X-Files... The iPhone Unlockers Movement.

William Yu posted on his blog his experience in unlocking the iPhone and comparing it to the methods used 2 months ago, it's now purely software base. Visit William's blog It's hip2b2 for pictures and the full method on how to unlock your iPhone.

So what's next? Change the OS of course -- rip Mac OSX (the OS) apart to build a better iPhone!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

4 Geeks and A Paradise

"All work and no play makes..." well if you're a workaholic like me then you know how the saying goes.

So Charlie, Rishi, Chris and me, the 4 geeks, took a weekend get away from work to 1 paradise. The nearest of course from Makati is Puerto Galera which is about 3-4 hours away depending on traffic conditions.

We decided to get most of the trip weekend so we packed early at 3:00am from Regenes Hotel where Charlie and Rishi had stayed during their visit here. It was a chilly morning and I had to take a jeepney from my house to the hotel to fetch them. I arrived to wake them up and Charlie struggled to get up from bed. Chris who spent the night also at the hotel was snugged comfortable at the sofa. "Guys we really have to go if we want to be there early as planned", I reminded them. In my mind, waking up early in the morning here is not much of a problem for me but when we were vising at Melbourne I couldn't possibly even get the blankets off me. Not to mention take a shower *shivers*.

After much effort packing while half asleep we got out the hotel and took a cab to MRT Pasay, from there we got into the first bus we spotted going to Batangas port. The bus was half empty, it was Saturday anyway, so each of us took a window seat so we could see the view on the way. It was close to 5am when the bus finally departed Pasay on our way to Batangas port.

The bus trip lasted over 3 hours due to some heavy road construction at SLEX past Alabang, we arrive approximately 8am where we waited an extra 30mins until the boat was ready to depart. Our destination is the White Beach resort which basically recommended by my friends. It has good rooms at the right price, we could have stayed at lavish resort but its not practical since we would be staying for just the night.

The boat trip took around about an hour because of the heavy waves and the boat couldn't dock near there so we ended disembarking on another port about 1km away from the resort.

Finally we arrived at our paradise, and about time too since were so hungry already. After settling into our rooms, we decided to have lunch at a pizza place, Rishi settled for a vegetarian pizza while the rest of us go with as much toppings as we can.

Time for the beach! We'll it took a lot of skill to get into water, the waves were outrageously high so we ended up getting dragged into the sands as you enter the water. By the time you pass the break point, the water becomes really deep and the waves are a feet high above our heads. In the end Charlie and I were the only ones who dared to venture into the waters and we kept going back to the shore to rest because we have to swim against the currents so we wouldn't be dragged by the waves back to the shore or pulled out into the deep parts. Overall it was a fun morning, even just watching Chris and Rishi as they attempt to enter the waters but gets knocked down and dragged by the waves. Hahaha.

Around 3pm we decided to go snorkeling by the reefs. We first explored the shallow ones, it was so shallow that when I jumped into the water my toes hit slightly one of the corrals. Chris was clever to bring some bread with him so I took a few crumbs and started luring the fishes.. wow, were they hungry -- I was virtually surrounded by them and even spotted two 'nemos'! On the second site, Chris and Rishi hired small boats to tow them around the entire stretch of reef while Charlie and I stayed much on the boat watching after being stung too many times by jelly fishes. After about 3 hours, we had enough and the jelly fishes stings are starting to increase anyway.

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During dinner time, our resort hostess were kind to cook us anything we wanted which delighted Rishi since he has special requirements for the vegetarian dish he ordered. Charlie got a whole snapper while Chris and I went for Calamaris, it was awesome. Having to eat fresh seafoods is one of the major attraction why we chose to go here.

After dinner we went to a bar where an amateur bikini contest is being held, the contest hosts were making fun of the contestants and even the guest that i laughed so hard till my lungs hurts. Charlie and Rishi, although they couldn't understand much of Tagalog were equally amused by the awkward candidates they had -- which is actually staged to make people laugh.

We went back to the hotel past 1am, but Chris and I were looking for something else to put us fast into sleep and decided to hit the bar near by. Shortly Charlie followed and brought chips and nuts we bought earlier. We had a pitcher of God-knows-what but it was good anyway, we talked mostly of what we do outside of work and recounted the snorkeling experience we had earlier. It was around 3am when we finally had the pitcher hung to dry, on the way back we kept on yelling "here it comes!" as outrageously high waves smashes on to the shore and up to the hotel's front entrance.

By morning, were traveling back to the city -- dead tired. I was so tired that I actually slept till Monday, dreaming of all the wonderful stuff we saw on Paradise.

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