Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Stop The Cycle Now!

SToP THe CycLE Now!
CDs, DVDs, and the Reduction of Optical Media Waste


Electronic waste products count among those toxic materials and hard-to-recycle plastics. The 21st century’s mind-boggling technological obsolescence issue and voluminous amount of electronic production pose additional problems to our currently ill managed waste disposal system. This IEC material seeks to address this issue by providing alternatives in production and disposal of one of the most common electronic media – the optical discs.

Green Living Tips (2008) notes that “CDs and DVDs are made from various lacquers and aluminum and sometimes gold; but by far most of their weight is the polycarbonate plastic - yet another plastic made from crude oil.” For this reason, they are incredibly challenging to recycle. It is said that they don't break down readily and over time can release Bisphenol A, a toxic chemical which has health implications (Green Living Tips 2008).

Being a popular data storage format, CDs and DVDs proliferate almost everywhere. Music, video, data discs and increasing amounts of advertising material nowadays come on CD and DVD media. Furthermore, with the high level of poverty in the Philippines, the selling of cheap pirated CDs and DVDs has become an alternative livelihood to those who want to cash-in extra income. Thus amassing CDs and DVDs has been more popular to most Filipinos than renting these.

This IEC material seeks to inform the general CD/DVD buying/using public of the alternatives of reducing the production of CDs and DVDs thus contributing to waste disposal management of these electronic wastes. Moreover, as the IEC material provides insights on CD and DVD waste reduction, it also partially seeks to address the growing concern over media piracy in Metro Manila.


Eco Geek Blog. (2007). Where Do CDs Go to Die? Retrieved 20 August 2008 from

Green Living Tips. (2008). DVD and CD Recycling. Retrieved 23 August 2008 from

Mid Sussex District Council. (2008). Top Tips for Reducing Your Waste and Recycling. Retrieved 23 August 2008 from

Novey, Levi. (2008). Pirated DVDs Sold in Peru Will Pollute the Country for a Long Time. Retrieved 20 August 2008 from

Wikipedia. (2008). Bisphenol A. Retrieved 26 August 2008 from

27 August 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

Where to Buy Your DVDs: Post Good Earth Fire

The DVD retailers from the Good Earth Plaza are now dispersed in Quiapo and adjacent areas. Here are some text msgs from the DVD girls of Good Earth Plaza:

5 Sep 2008

"mga suki my mga bgo kming dvd blue ray,c malou 2?lumipat na kmi sa emerald second floor stall N7."

30 Aug 2008

"Mga suki c malou 2 ung suki nyo sa dvd,lumipat na kmi sa shoppers gold,hrap nang good earth.second floor stall N 7.d2 nlng kyo pumunta,marmi kmi bgong blue ray,slamat"

30 Aug 2008

"ngbkaz n kmi sh0opersgold... jehan 2"

27 Aug 2008

"Hi kuya god pm musta c lyn poh e2 lumipat n poh kame sa NBI dhil sunug na ung robnson"

08 Aug 2007

"Kuya dun kmi li2pat odeon mall kz nasunog ang g0odearth.."

Thursday, August 21, 2008


A Free Riding BitTorrent Client

BitThief is an ongoing project of the Distributed Computing Group at ETH Zurich.

The project deals with incentive problems in peer-to-peer filesharing systems. The lack of incentives to upload potentially results in a total collapse of the network, implying that it is essential for a completely decentralized system to incorporate protocols that ensure a fair sharing of resources. We developed a BitTorrent client that free rides on BitTorrent, that is, it downloads from BitTorrent swarms without contributing any resources itself which illustrated that the BitTorrent protocol currently fails to prevent uncooperative behavior as it does not provide any countermeasures against free riding clients.

We argue that the BitTorrent protocol has to be modified in order to effectively prevent selfishness.

Our proof-of-concept client BitThief is a byproduct of our HotNets-V paper "Free Riding in BitTorrent is Cheap".

Note that, as it is a scientific project, we require measurements of the performance of our exploits. For that purpose, the client occasionally transmits data to our webserver. The transmitted data merely contains information about the time required to download files of any size. In particular, only a hash of the info hash is transmitted, which means that it is not feasible to determine what has actually been downloaded which is not of our concern. However, we advice all testers not to download any copyrighted material.

Download your BitThief here:

Friday, August 8, 2008

Good Earth Plaza: After the Fire

I'm re-posting Senor Enrique's blog on Good Earth Plaza Fire here. You can view more photos of the building at

Those who grew up in Manila during the '60s will remember that Good Earth at the corner of Avenida Rizal and Bustos Street was the largest and first department store along Avenida that boasted having escalators in the building.

My brothers, cousins and I used to go to its coffee shop for a late morning merienda after attending mass at the nearby Sta. Cruz Church. I always ordered the shrimp salad sandwich served on toasted white bread.

However, I don't remember having bought anything at Good Earth. Ready-to-wear clothing was not popular back then as they are now; the trousers and button-down polo shirts I had were custom-tailored with fabrics purchased separately at Central Market. Also, my eldest sister who was then studying in Chicago used to send me Banlon and other knit shirts.

The building that was once Good Earth is now Good Earth Plaza which houses several establishments, including a motel on the sixth floor; unlike when it originally opened as just one huge department store. And at dawn last Monday, it was gutted by a fire.

According to a PDI article, it took firefighters nearly 22 hours to put out the blaze; finally extinguishing it at 3:00 am, Tuesday. The arson investigation division of the Manila Fire Department suspected the fire stemmed from pieces of rubber in the first floor of the building. Chief Inspector Myra Bico roughly estimated damages to property at P26 million.

The fire destroyed several stores inside the building, including Robinsons Supermarket and several stalls selling electronic items, cell phone accessories, pirated DVDs, and jewelry.

Although only the ground floor and basement of the eight-story building were damaged in the fire, thick smoke and intermittent rains made it difficult for firemen to battle the blaze. The fact that most of the stalls inside the building were closed made the job even more arduous.

The building's close proximity to the LRT's Carriedo Station forced the LRT 1 that runs above Avenida to suspend operations, then cut in half. Full operations only resumed the following morning, Tuesday.

Meanwhile, according to a GMA News report, the office of DOTC Undersecretary Guiling Mamondiong is considering filing a P700,000 damage suit against the owner of the Good Earth Plaza building. The P700,000, Mamondiong said, represents the amount of lost income for the disruption of the Light Rail Transit Line 1's operations.

On Tueday afternoon when these photographs were taken, many stall owners were in the vicinity to ask the authorities when they could possibly enter the building to collect whatever undamaged property and inventory they might have left. And sadly, many who used to work in the building also milled around to learn about the status of their employment.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Good Earth Plaza Fire

Mall fire disrupts LRT

Update: I received a text from one of the DVD maninindas this morning. "Kuya dun kmi li2pat odeon mall kz nasunog ang g0odearth.." The DVD retailers will be moving to Odeon Mall (formerly Odeon Theater) near LRT2 Recto Station. I was informed that it would take around one week to set-up their stalls at Odeon Mall.

Philippine Star - Tuesday, August 5The big blaze that hit a shopping mall in Sta. Cruz, Manila near the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 station disrupted rail line operations yesterday, causing inconvenience for thousands of passengers and revenue loss anew for the LRT Authority (LRTA).

The fire of still undetermined origin razed the eight-story Good Earth Emporium building, which housed the Robinson's Supermarket and the Paradiso Hotel located at the corner of Bustos street and Rizal Avenue.

The building, now owned by Colony Investors Inc., was built in the '60s and was once a famous landmark in the Sta. Cruz district. It had undergone several renovations, but old-timers still refers to it as the Good Earth building.

The fire, which reached the fifth alarm, started at the ground floor at around 5:22 a.m.

Melquiades "Mel" Robles, LRTA administrator, said they were forced to bypass the Carriedo station in the middle of LRT Line 1's morning operations at 9 a.m. when thick black smoke billowing from the burning mall made the loading and unloading of passengers impossible at the said station.

Robles said that the situation worsened at around 10:30 a.m., forcing them to implement "half-line" operations at the rail line.

The implementation had LRT operating only at the southern end of the line running from the Baclaran station in ParaƱaque to the Central station in Manila and back. The Monumento to Carriedo line was closed.

"In times like this, the safety of our passengers, as well as rolling stock - our trains - is of paramount consideration," Robles said.

As of 1 p.m., Robles estimated the revenue loss for the rail line disruption to be at P.7 million.

"We expect it to go higher since it seems that the fire will not be controlled any time soon," he said.

The rail line also suffered revenue losses when a fire hit the Puregold shopping mall near the LRT Line 1 Libertad station in Pasay City last July 17.

Robles called on the owners of buildings and establishments near LRT stations, to look into their electrical wirings and other potential fire hazards to avoid such incidents.

"We urge them to attend to fire prevention measures in their respective establishments so we can avoid such unfortunate incidents. It is also for their own good," Robles said. - Rainier Allan Ronda With Nestor Etolle/Philstar