Remembering the days we used to review WiFi hotspots

I’m reposting a piece I wrote together with Eva Gubat from 2006. This was a time when the blue & black Linksys routers were a status symbol at home because the “next frontier” was being able to add WiFi to your home. It was the age of Apple’s iBooks and PowerBooks — of being able to flex working from a coffee shop. I remember browsing PinoyExchange or MaPalad and the forums would have a list of “friendly” establishments that had free WiFi and allowed you to plug your laptop.

Many phones didn’t have WiFi back then so getting online on a portable device meant having to use a PocketPC or something that ran Palm OS. These were the final days of Symbian S60 and Nokia, which Steve Jobs would then deliver the final blow with the launch of the first iPhone a few months later.

This piece was part of an ongoing series that featured such friendly establishments offering free WiFi. Tech magazines at the time didn’t cross into lifestyle, but publishers soon realized that it was the lifestyle sections that attracted the budgets, so we had to be fashionably geek. Oh how times have changed.

Best of Digressions Geek

My friend Adel

A short tribute to my dear friend, Adel Gabot, who passed away last March 25, 2020.


The ‘need to know complex’

Author’s note: This piece originally appeared as a column entry in the May 2006 issue of MPH where I was one of the founding editors at large. MPH was literally the biggest tech magazine in the local industry that focused on technology that could fit in your pocket. This piece brings me great joy, emanating from the fact that the thoughts are frozen in time – frozen in 2006. Updating RSS feeds. EDGE. WiFi as a novelty. This piece is more than a decade old. And you know what? Some things just don’t change.

Mostly Everything

m|PH is sizzling this April

magazine featuring Phoem Baranda with a swimsuit. There’s an ongoing discussion in the advertising and magazine industry (mostly in the latter) of how putting sexy women on the cover becomes an effective marketing tool to sell. This comes from the notion that the largest demographic of mag readers are male.

Apparently, this formula seems to work because some statistics show that putting women in the cover of magazines contribute to better sales. The formula goes:

Increase in women’s cleavage = Increase in sales

The general question therefore is does sex really sell?

Though it may be a sweeping generalization, there actually may be a direct relationship between putting a an outrightly sensual image of a woman on the front cover of a magazine. However, my boss did once say that if this were the case, then why are the top five magazines in the world not sexy mags? Though there may be some differences, here are the top five mags according to the Chicago Tribune:

2. Real Simple
3. The Economist
4. Cook’s Illustrated
5. Esquire (perhaps the “sexiest” you can get among the 5)

Other magazines that made it to the “top 5” survey include Wytch (a children’s mag), Reader’s Digest, TIME, and Men’s Health. Where is FHM? Where is Playboy?

But consider this point:

Outside creative director Hannah McCaughey says artistic inspiration rather than newsstand calculation is responsible for her magazine’s recent spate of scantily clad covers.

“We always meant to shoot [Carlson] with the garden variety rock climbing clothes on but … I was worried I’d come back with super bland film,” McCaughey says. “For whatever reason it just felt so pedestrian and not like a cover should feel. The