It was a drizzling yet hot day on the 29th of November 2017 at the busy streets of Taft Avenue.
The students of Philippine Christian University (PCU) were as excited as kids ready to open up presents at Christmas eve while they patiently wait for the doors to welcome them for Campus Devcon at PCU.
The Developers Connect volunteers along with the Association of Computer Engineering Students (ACES) officers were busy getting ready for the afternoon-long session of sharing technological and innovative knowledge to the future programmers and engineers of the world.
Ms. Rencel Vocales, the event lead, enthusiastically introduced what and how DevCon works.
The first speaker was Mr. Chi Shing Wan, the student ambassador of VR Philippines (VRPH) has introduced the advantages he had experienced firsthand and the impact of this community to the public. VR Philippines has been known as the community of virtual reality enthusiasts. He also said that it is not only open to student or professional developers but open to all professions with utmost interest with this topic. They organize meet ups and workshops to all those who are interested.
The second speaker Mr. Robert “Bob” Reyes, a Mozilla representative, has talked about Mozilla and Open Web. He showed how much Mozilla Firefox has improved through years of customer analysis and search engine development.
The following are the reasons why Firefox is better today than yesterday:
- 2x faster than the previous version
- Brings VR to the masses through WebVR
- Smoother browsing
He also briefly explained what A-Frame is – a web framework to implement VR, Cargo, TOML, and etc.
He introduced RUST, “an open-source systems programming language that focuses on speed, memory safety and parallelism. Developers are using Rust to create a wide range of new software applications, such as game engines, operating systems, file systems, browser components and simulation engines for virtual reality.” ("Rust", 2017)
He shared his experiences on working with Firefox and convinced the students to be a part of the team. It is undeniably a great opportunity to work with such company given that interns will gain knowledge and experience abroad without paying any fees.
Mozilla has been aiming to battle the rampant and wide-range spread of fake news throughout the internet by planning to develop a product that can be used to literate end users and continuously research for improvement. They also aim to develop and integrate Artificial Intelligence by firstly creating a database of human voice. Additionally, along with other search engine companies, they aim to innovate the future of open web by providing standardization.
The third speaker was Mr. Joseph Felix Pacamarra, the Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of CERT Philippines, started his talk by stating an observation that most students were busy with their phone and warned them not to be paranoid after his topic – Future of Cyber Threats in PH - was discussed.
He also stated that “first step in solving any problem is recognizing that there is one.”
He then showed and specified some examples of local and international data breaches. From the leakage of Game of Thrones episodes that caused nearly $200 M worth of money to the hacking of firmware in a car’s computer box.
Furthermore, he said “… but civilians cannot grasp the importance of security”. He exhibited how people are lax with their security and they should be more aware how IoT devices are easily accessed by hackers by doing a demo of a 42kb file app ran through his laptop. He then accessed all files of his phone through this app. Another application is the AirHopper decoder app that can access phones even with the absence of sim card and data connection. It uses radio frequency to connect with one device to another.
He ended his talk by saying “Hacking is a natural order of things. It is not taught rather it is a special skill” along with advices and samples of software that the students can use to simulate hacking.
This Campus Devcon was fun and informative that also gave the students a chance to question their curiosities and asked for advices with their observed problems within their surroundings. Everyone was tired yet they took home loads of new information that is undoubtedly useful for their studies.