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Monday, July 28 2014 @ 10:21 AM EDT

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Companies Should Be On Alert, After Cyber Attack Against TVN: Mejía

Internet & TechnologyThe former Minister of Government and Justice during the administration of former President Martín Torrijos, Severino Mejía, today warned that the cyber attack against TVN- 2.com, coming just five days before the upcoming national general election, should serve as a clarion call, and that all private companies and government institutions should be on alert.

Mejia said last year more than 4,000 cyber attacks were detected in Panama, and the attack against the TVN (channel 2) website was intended to stifle information, and to impose a gag.

"It is not a matter of speculation, it is an alert that should worry all of us citizens in the run-up to the election," Mejia said. (TVN)

Editor's Comment: I noticed the TVN.com website dropped a few days ago, and was offline for awhile. Apparently they've gotten it fixed. Their website is back up and running normally. There's a crew of hackers who either work directly for the CD and Martinelli, or they are at the very least sympathetic and willing to wreak havoc and do harm against the CD's political enemies. They have been responsible for several attacks and other cyber stunts over the past five years.

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The Coronado Computer Whisperer

Internet & Technology Nestled between two restaurants directly off the Panamerican Highway in Coronado across the street from the Coronado Mall, lies one of Panama’s best-kept retail secrets: Punto G Electronics.

This is a computer store unlike any you've ever seen (or are likely to see) anywhere else in the world. The owner is Vera Bucek, a glamorous and flirty native New Yorker who opened Punto G Electronics exactly six months after she moved to Panama four years ago.

What makes this computer store so unique is the upscale boutique-factor, the personalized customer-service, Vera’s contagious laughter, and her uncanny knowledge of a variety of technology.

After many years in the technology field and a B.S. degree in Information Technology under her belt, Vera moved to Panama in search of a tropical environment and a place where she could add value to a community by sharing her love of technology. Having visited each and every computer store in whatever city she lived or visited, she felt what they all had in common was a lack of warmth and personality.

So, on her first visit to Panama, when she saw there were no computer repair stores in the area and that the construction of the Coronado Mall was nearing completion, on-the-spot she decided to make Coronado her home and open up shop. Her goal was to create a one-of-a-kind retail and repair store that reflects her fun personality where even a non-technical person could feel comfortable, and where the selection of products was unique and interesting. She also felt it was vital to provide Coronado with competent and accountable professional technical support, using honesty and integrity as the building blocks of the store’s culture.

Her dream was realized on 10 December 2010 – the day she opened the doors to Punto G Electronics, S.A. , fondly referred to by locals as “The Computer Ministry.”

Vera easily admits at first, it was very rough going because she was caught off guard by the overwhelming number of Panama’s “obscure” business and employment laws. On top of that, she had no idea of what to charge customers. She recalls the many all-nighters she worked for free because of employee errors and misunderstandings with customers. But what she did know was that she did not wish to emulate any other computer store, and that Coronado needed her.

Immediately when you walk into Punto G, you can’t help but to notice that the decorative style and earth tones make you feel like you’re in someone’s well-appointed home instead of in a computer repair store. While you’re there, you’d be cheating yourself by not enjoying one of the flavorful Jolly Rancher candies always available at the sales counter. Vera personally brings these candies from the States and they are one of Punto G’s signature pleasures you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in Panama. And if you’re in the store for more than a minute, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself tapping your feet and humming to the Motown tunes playing on the store’s stereo system.

Typical Services:

1. Networking (commercial and residential);

2. Computer Repair:

a. Hardware

b. Software

c. Mac

d. PC

e. Linux

f. iPhones and iOS

g. Android tablet and phone customizations;

h. Data Retrieval

3. Computer consulting;

4. Custom Computer Builds;

5. Security Systems.

Unique Services:

1. Cozy entertainment display area with red leather seating;

2. All English new and used DVD’s in manufacturer’s packaging;

3. Apple TV jailbreak expert;

4. Hard-to-find cables;

5. Cool and new one-of-a-kind products;

6. On and offsite technology support;

7. One-on-one computer classes on pretty much any topic;

8. Webstore with real-time product availability;

9. All support staff speaks fluent English;

10. All English computers;

11. Shipping via Courier all over Panama;

After nearly two and a half years in the Coronado Mall, on 22 April 2013, Punto G moved across the street to its current location between California Burger and Asados Del Campo.

As the first computer repair store in Coronado, Punto G has achieved a reputation as a valued asset to Panama’s Gold Coast Beach community. Wherever she goes in the area, Vera is recognized as the Coronado Computer Whisperer and you can easily spot her by the group who invariably gathers around to ask her all sorts of technology questions.

Since nearly all of the store’s products are imported from the United States in very small quantities, Vera rarely needs to explain to her customers that while Punto G cannot compete with the big brand stores in terms of prices, they cannot compete with Punto G in terms of customer-service and attention to detail.

Whenever you’re in the Coronado area, you simply must make a point to visit this gem of a computer store. If you find something you like, you’d best purchase it immediately because their exclusive bleeding-edge products are usually only available in limited quantities, and it’s pretty much a guarantee that you won’t find the same items anywhere else in Panama. You may even want to drop your computer off for a thorough virus cleaning or bring your phone in for an upgrade or custom operating system installation, and experience firsthand how they go the extra mile to please their customers.

You can give them a call at: 345.3877, or visit their website at: www.puntogee.com.

Although Punto G’s business hours are 10a-7p Monday through Saturday, Vera can always be reached at 6911.8760 for any digital emergencies.

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The 311 Launched Its Mobile Application

Internet & TechnologyThe 311 Citizen Service Center, from the National Authority for Government Innovation (AIG), officially launched the campaign "I am an Active Citizen, Mobilize your City with the 311 Mobile APP," which aims to inform all the country about the operation of the new app to report citizen complaints so these can be addressed by government entities.

This new system allows citizens to report their complaints in less than 30 seconds, by providing the pictures of the situation reported and in the case of some phones, the geo-spatial coordinates to determine the exact location of where the reported situation is located.

The general administrator of the AIG, Eduardo E. Jaén, said "with this application, Panama becomes the pioneer in the use of a mobile app for the service of the city in Latin America, getting the citizens closer to the government, one of the goals of the Martinelli administration."

Meanwhile, Rodolfo Caballero, director of 311, said "through the 311 Mobile App the citizens can send photos, videos, voice messages, and also receive notifications about different activities offered by public entities for the benefit of Panamanians."

To download the app to your cell phone, citizens only have to access the website www.311.gob.pa/apps and then register your name and email to start receiving notifications and report their cases, said Caballero, who also said they have received over 3 million calls and have resolved 94% of the reported cases for 4 years.

"With the 311 the citizen now has a single channel of communication so their complaints are answered immediately by the relevant authorities, and it is available 24 hours and 7 days a week," and also said that with this new application they can give faster results to all Panamanians.

Meanwhile, Jose Marante, general manager of Microsoft in Panama, said "we are very pleased that an application as important as the 311, which shortens the distance between the government and citizens, is now available for the Windows Phone platform. The proliferation of mobile devices and their connectivity with the cloud computing system is a great opportunity for the national government to deliver more services more quickly and efficiently to the citizens, businesses and the government itself, in order to reach their full potential through this new era of innovation." (Critica)

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ASEP Starts Technical Assistance On Digital Television

Internet & TechnologyWith the collaboration of the European Union, the National Authority of Public Services (ASEP) will start on Monday, June 3, a Regulatory Technical Assistance on digital terrestrial television under the DVB-T standard in Panama.

This technical assistance, made under the Support of Standard Implementation of DVB-T Agreement, celebrated between the ASEP, SERTV and the European Union, includes the training of the representatives of the state and the private sector in the research of content production and the regulatory technical support for migration to Digital Terrestrial Television.

In 2011, Panama became the first country in the region to formally make the open transition of analog television signal to digital, in order to provide the television viewers with better audio and video quality. (Panama America)

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Panamanians Presented Projects To The NASA

Internet & TechnologyA group of Panamanian specialists attended the open innovation event "International Space Apps Challenge" sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). This group was congratulated by the Authority for Government Innovation (AIG).

The purpose of this event was to present several proposals for software solutions involving the dissemination of science and technology.

The projects of the Panamanians are being evaluated by the NASA at the time.

Among the projects presented by the nationals is the project BRAINLY, which is a mobile application for the challenge "My Virtual Mentor", a program that allows students to interact with engineers, astronauts and NASA scientists with the aim of motivating them to pursue careers focused on the area of Science, Engineering and Mathematics.

The space agency is considering this option to use it in its summer program in the United States and will be available for smartphones and tablets.

Another application presented, which is 100% Panamanian, is the "WEWIT" defined as "Smart Cities", where a team of physicists, computer programmers, software engineers and mechanical engineers, developed a method for users to determine thermal and environmental sensations in different places of the city of Panama, through the GEORED platform from the AIG and it locates all the information, with the purpose of issuing alerts in the case of extreme or high risk situations.

A very interesting application was the project E-CHICKEN, which seeks to address the challenge of poultry production in residential yards. The purpose of this system is to help farmers and residential producers to improve their knowledge in poultry farming, providing information on the registry of expenses, breeding results and benefits; besides the construction of a community of poultry farmers to help promote sustainable agriculture. (Panama America)

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'Panama as a regional data center'

Internet & TechnologyPanama is emerging as a strategic center of the Americas for data storage and processing, this is shown by the dozen companies that have invested about 250 million dollars to open operations in the country.

Most of these firms offer their services to banks and telephony in Central America and the Caribbean, and "they have found in Panama a safe haven for their data," said the head of the Panamanian Authority for Government Innovation (AIG), Eduardo Jaen in an interview.

"Panama respects the information in those storage sites and, in fact, we want Panama to continue being a center in the forefront of this whole industry," said Jaen, an industrial engineer with a master's degree in business administration.

The Central American country, one of the nations with the fastest economic growth in the world with 10.6% in 2012, seems to have everything needed for the development of the data industry.

It has an exceptional international connectivity, with five systems of undersea fiber optic cables and "two more being studied," Jaen said. The country, with a territory of 75,517 square kilometers and about 3.5 million people, also has a "high degree of sophistication of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT)," said the engineer.

Jaén said the government of the Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, has been developing since the beginning of his term in 2009, "a very ambitious program to provide free wireless internet to the people and we have done it from border to border."

"When we took over the government in 2009, Internet penetration was 35% and it now is 46%, one of the highest in Latin America. This motivated companies to improve their broadband infrastructure and now Panama is the fourth country in Latin America in terms of broadband infrastructure," he said.

Other factors that make Panama attractive as a regional data center is its geographical position in the center of the hemisphere and out of the path of hurricanes and cyclones, and its political and economic stability, said the Panamanian engineer. Therefore, large firms like Britain's Cable & Wireless, the Mexican Kio Networks and Telefónica from Spain have installed and maintained processing and data storage sites in Panama.

"We have been working with companies in the category of Google, HP, Dell, with the largest ‘cloud’ computing infrastructure from Latin America here in Panama," which have also established their headquarters in Panama, with more than 3,000 employees, stated the head of the Government Innovation Authority.

Kio by itself has invested more than 60 million dollars in Panama and has a category 4 data center, the strongest in the region, that can withstand hurricanes, earthquakes and has 100% redundancy in all systems, he said.

Panama becoming a regional data center "is something that is already happening" because "the ecosystem is being built: undersea cables, datacenters, multinational companies, large processors already giving services to those companies that are here", he added.

Storage centers "are a consequence of technology, they are taking everything to cloud computing," and this trend will remain and expand to all sectors that handle large volumes of data.

"We anticipate it will evolve to other sectors such as health, in industries that require processing power and large storage because the more equipment they can put together, the cheaper the service becomes," said Jaen.

The processing and storage of data "is a fast growing field in Panama," said the head of the Government Innovation Authority, allowed to "speculate that future investments" in the sector will almost certainly be "much bigger than 250 million", which have already been paid out. (Mi Diario)

Editor's Comment: Yet another rapidly expanding sector of the Panamanian economy. Can anyone remember the last time I had to write a negative story about the Panamanian economy. I can't...

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An APP will be launched for the 311 system

Internet & TechnologyThe National Authority for Government Innovation (AIG) reported on Thursday, April 2nd, they will soon launch a new mobile application (APP) to support the services provided by the Center of Citizen Services (311) so that citizens can report from their mobile phones damages to infrastructure in their communities.

Rodolfo Caballero, director of 311, said they are will launch a mobile phone application to allow users to report damages and make suggestions, send photos of the reported events and locate with the assistance of geospatial systems the exact site they are reporting.

This application, according to Caballero, will be of great help to many institutions because it will help the staff of the Institute of National Aqueducts and Sewers (IDAAN), to better determine where to focus their efforts in order to improve service for citizens, particularly when there is leakage caused by flaws in the distribution networks.

Starting today, complaints regarding the quality of service in the Social Security Fund will also be received on the line 311 and he also reminded the users that they can file their complaints regarding public transportation in the city by dialing 311 from the Center of Citizen Services.

According to AIG, 97% of the 190 000 cases documented through the 311 line, have been resolved.(La Estrella)

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Conference on Cyber Crime To Be Held In Panama

Internet & TechnologyA total of 18 countries will participate in the Cybercrime Conference 2013, which is supported by the Organization of United Nations (UN).

During this conference the participants will discuss the various types of cyber crimes and ways to address them.

The conference will be held in Panama. (Telemetro)

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Panama.com Hits The Market With A $1.6 Million Asking Price

Internet & Technologyby Michael Berkens - TobyClements.com just sent out his daily domain newsletter and topping the list today is the domain name Panama.com.

The asking price is $1,600,000.

Panama.com is obviously a great domain and one which I haven’t seen on the market before and one which Toby says has “never been available on the aftermarket and is still owned by the original registrant’.

Panama has a booming economy and is the financial center of Latin America.

Panama has a population of around 3.6 million and has a GDP of $36 Billion

As for the domain name, Panama.com it is parked but still has a Google PR of 4.

Complete.com is showing the domain getting only around 1K visitors a month.

We wish the owner the best on this domain and it will be interesting to see if anyone steps up to the plate and buys the domain.

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La Estrella Website Hacked

Internet & TechnologyThe web page of the newspaper La Estrella was hacked on Wednesday December 12 at about 5:50 pm.

The damage, caused by a hacker, was looking to damage the systems because they introduced a code which defaced the format of the website, and the notes contained a strange text.

Because of this hundreds of visitors could not access the articles and the strange text on Twitter, because everything was changed, and the news was reissued, but wrong.

"We denounce it as a serious attack on the freedom of the press, but we were not fazed in the least," said Eduardo Quirós, president of Grupo Editorial El Siglo & La Estrella (GESE).

Just after 10:00 pm, the team from La Estrella was still working to repair the damage caused by the hacker.

Many followers of the news talked about what happened, and their comments were framed within the context of the publication of the exclusive video about the transfer of Manuel Antonio Noriega and the participation of the today Deputy Minister of Security, Manuel Moreno.

Starting on Monday, 10 December 2012, the video clip was published exclusively by La Estrella, which shows the former dictator sending greetings and smiling with his guards.

The video has been viewed 12,000 times and has caused a stir in Panama, Latin America and the United States, and CNN in Spanish and the Associated Press broadcast the footage. (Estrella)

Editor's Comment: Many had the same reaction to the video as I did - big deal. The guys at La Estrella have been milking this 20 video clip for all it's worth all week long. Now they got hacked, and they are assuming the two things are related. Maybe, maybe not.

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