The Hound of the Wolf

For the strength of Pack is in the Wolf, and the strength of Wolf is in the Pack -Rudyard Kipling

Saturday, April 26, 2008

GIS and Public Health Mapping

Island Cove, Cavite -- The Department of Health - Information Management Services conducted a two-day workshop and training session on Geographic Information System using the WHO AccessMod. Dr. Steeve Ebener of Information, Evidence and Research (IER) of WHO facilitates the activity. For GIS newbie like yours truly (although my undergrad thesis is a GIS), the workshop managed to illustrate the vast and realistic application of GIS. Being a natural curious individual, I am the first one who threw Steeve a question: "Would you consider GoogleEarth as real GIS?"

Steeve: "Yeah, only that GoogleEarth provides information thru visual overlaying and not thru spatial modelling and analysis".

Alison: "Cool! "

The course of workshop starts with the definition of GIS, then it's application to public health. Three major domains have been identified where GIS specifically AccessMod will be very useful.

1. Availability (placing of appropriate resources within a location)

2. Accessibility (mapping of thematic images such as road, mountains, rivers and provides info how accessible are the health facilities to the target population)

3. Spatial Analysis (assesment of the location of health facilities and evaluation of its utilization status (underuser or overused)

Two critical components that are often taken for granted when GIS is being talked about: TIME and SPACE. According to Steeve, a map is just a snapshot of a certain period. What was Novaliches 50 years ago might not be the same Novaliches presently. Failure to recognize the importance of time and space will yield to inaccuracies in placing correct health facilities (i.e. a health center at the middle of a river).

In line with the course / workshop being develop by the National Telehealth Center (courtesy of Max ), we were able to share experience and gather relevant information to supplement the material. I am more than excited to have my first full blown GIS be published in a world reknowned GIS journal. Now, back to map plotting and Arc View hacking...

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Struggling, Fighting, Conquering

April 2000 - scrambling back and forth in order to catch the last spot for summer enrollment of Math 52. Second retake for DOST survival

April 2002 - took a full summer load to catch up with backlogs. Pass all subjects despite allowance cut-offs and other non-academic issues

April 2004 - participated in the ubiquitous suffering of Catholic devotees during the Holy Week by using a Pentium 2 - 64 Mb memory PC to finish coding the Learning Resource Center Online Tutorials Reservation System for completion of summer practicum. Did it with impunity

April 2006 - attended and march for UP Manila Graduation for sake of formality. Conquer pride to show up amidst humbling battle scars in the course. Three days later, my father's health faltered leading to his departure. Fighting guilt, loss and agony to rise up for the family.

April 2008 - wrapping up deadline for UPCM-related projects, has attended and conducted tons of seminars and conferences here and overseas yet found no long lasting satisfaction until I get hold of the beast from the swamp ...

Let hell extends its arm of misery. This kid will stare it directly from its eyes and overcome it with torrid impunity.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lessons from Alpha Males in History

Some excepts from an article found in the website about key lessons that one can extract from different personalities who are considered as Alpha Males (top guns) in their respective fields. Very informative and enlightening thoughts that I cannot resist not blog.

1. In team building, do not tolerate mediocrity (on the management style of chef Gordon Ramsay)

2. Always come prepared (on Muhammad Ali's work ethic)

3. Embrace your superior skills and use them to elevate those around you (on Wilt Chamberlain's NBA championship anchored in teamwork amidst his dominance)

4. Personal convictions don't mean personal restrictions (on Hugh Hefner's putting his belief and convictions (regardless of how many are against it) into his advantage)

5. When you give your word, always deliver on it (on Douglas MacArthur's promise of going back to the Philippines)

6. Don't underestimate the power of presence (on John Wayne's iconic image as an ass-kicking , brash-talking cowboy)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The 2008 NBA Playoffs

The regular season is over and the real test has just begun. The 2007-2008 NBA Regular Season is full of twists, turns, ironies and downfalls. The fall of traditional powers like Dallas Mavericks paves way to the rise of new ones like the New Orleans. Just like I did last year, I am presenting the protagonists for the first round NBA playoffs and projected outcomes. Detroit Piston will win the ring this time around.

Eastern Conference:

1. Boston Celtics (1) vs Atlanta Hawks (8). Boston 4-0

2. Detroit Pistons (2) vs Philadelphia Sixers (7). Detroit 4-1

3. Orlando Magic (3) vs Toronto Raptors (6). Orlando 4-1

4. Cleveland Cavaliers (4) vs Washington Wizards (5). Washington 4-3

Western Conference:

1. Los Angeles Lakers (1) vs Denver Nuggets (8). Lakers 4-2

2. New Orleans Hornets (2) vs Dallas Mavericks (3). New Orleans 4-3

3. San Antonio Spurs (3) vs Phoenix Suns (6). San Antonio 4-3

4. Utah Jazz (4) vs Houston Rockets. Utah 4-2

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Breakthrough of the Day

$diff = ((strtotime($time2) - strtotime($time1))/60)/60;

Tsk, tsk... buong umagang pinag-isipan ang solution sa pagkuha ng time difference in hours. Low adrenaline.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Morph Code Elevator Pitch

April 5 2008 marks the second day of the Morph Code (Software as a Service) SaaS workshop. A barrage of topics (17 all in all) are to be presented in front of a panel of judges in a Elevator Pitch style. "Fast and furious" as what George Telenko of Morph Labs described. Our group, the Outstanding Informatics, presented Community Health Information Tracking System. Appyling SaaS strategy to CHITS will augment the difficulties of having to go to the 2,300 health centers nationwide to bring the application. Seeing an appropriate business model with CHITS is another thing given constraints and challenges the team is facing ahead.

One good thing about the Morph Code "competition" is that potential technopreneurs are given the opportunity to present their ideas in front of seasoned entrepreneurs. It will really take one hell of guts to stand up and do your stuff without knowing if your saying the right things. The good thing with the judges is that they do not only criticize for the sake of criticizing but provide necessary and indispensable comments. Kudos to the organizers!

In the event that CHITS will be accepted in the Morph Labs mentoring program, it is foreseen that we can catapult the application further in terms of not only having footprints from North to South but making this formula happened:

Open source Business Model + Community Involvement + Social Impact = Multi-million enterprise.

Yet on the pragmatic side, with or without Morph support, the team is still determine to push through. It is hard to imagine how a group of five people can cover the whole Philippines with CHITS footprints but such feat is doable. The strategy is to divide and conquer. In between divide and conquer are countless revisions and improvement. The team has to work like well-oiled engine with a "Machine Learning" component.

Life ahead is full of excitement!