Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I Keep Going Back to Boracay :D


Boracay island is famous for it’s beaches, one of the best in the Philippines and maybe the world. I was pushing to go there for one of our family Christmas vacations and finally we decided to go there this 2009. It’s located about 1 hour away by plane from Metro Manila.

zest

The whole December it had been sunny but the day we left it was showering! and on arriving in Kalibo, the ground was still wet because it had been raining the previous day and night. I was worried. Rainy weather would ruin this part of our trip.

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We had to take the Kalibo route since the Caticlan airport was closed when we purchased the tickets 3 months ago. From Kalibo, it was a 2-hour van ride


View Boracay Island in a larger map

and a 10-minute small boat ride.

bangka and we were there…

4225298712_b7023951a2_o[1] I guess the best compliment about Boracay i’ve heard was from my mom. She’s the type who’s restless doing nothing and when she asked what was there to do in Boracay, I told her “Nothing, just relax and stroll” and she said she didn’t think she’d enjoy it there. I didn’t expect her to enjoy the stay there either. But turned out she was the one who complained that we only got to swim in the sea once and said that NEXT time… I guess she was seduced by the place, too.

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Christmas 2009: Boracay




We have always spent christmas as at home as a family except for 2 or 3 times when I had to be on duty in the hospital. For the past 3 years we have made it a bit of a tradition to go out of town and spend christmas in a different place.

This year we spent it first in Boracay. I have been there 3 times before (2000, 2005 and 2008) and it is still paradise for me.

Even if it has become a lot more commercialized over the years, it is the only beach I've been to that actually pulls me into the water. Powder-fine soft white sand, crystal clear waters that seem almost freshwater-like, and cool breezes that have the right amount of humidity mixed with bright sunshine... Perfect! :D

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!




So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The war is so long
And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let's stop all the fight

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so happy Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
And a new one just begun

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Aura


Have you ever met someone or seen someone (even a person you don’t know) whose very presence, even without talking, seems to brighten the room? or someone whom, when present, makes you feel gloomy even if your day has been going great? This is what some may call an “aura”.

I came across an interesting article by Arlene Taylor, a licensed brain-function specialist in the May-June 2009 issue of Health and Home magazine. According to her our body has its own magnetic field.

28_03_Earth_magnetic_field A magnetic field is defined as a region around a magnetic material or a moving electric charge within which the force of magnetism acts. The North and South Poles have the strongest electromagnetic activity and their interaction results in the Earth’s magnetic field.

Science says that this magnetic field is responsible for many things on earth - from the pointing of the compass to north, migration of birds across thousands of miles, the seasons, weather, and many other things. They also say that even a slight change in the magnetic field of the Earth would cause major, if not catastrophic changes.

When 2 or more magnetic fields come in contact with each other, there is an interaction - either one or both could become stronger or weaken, they could cancel each other out, or nothing at all could happen.

aura[1]"...Think of your body as an electromagnetic field. It both produces and absorbs electromagnetic energy..."

The author’s findings aren’t hard to believe. Our bodies every movement and sensation is carried by electrical signals via our nerves and her finding that our brains form a prominent magnetic field. This is expected since it is the center of all action and sensation - most electrical activity in short. She also noted that the magnetic field formed by our body is not the same. It is constantly changing, depending on what we are feeling (presumably because feelings cause different ranges of electrical activity in the body). And not only that, like the magnetic fields of the planets and other celestial bodies, the magnetic fields formed by our bodies interact with the magnetic fields of other people causing changes to one or both fields.

She also noted that the magnetic fields of different persons are of different strengths and are constantly changing.

But there was another interesting discovery. She found out that the brain isn’t the strongest contributor to the body’s magnetic field. Her research showed that the heart is a much stronger contributor.

"...of the two, the heart is by far the largest generator of electromagnetic energy its magnetic field is 5000 times greated than the brain's... the heart's EM field extends beyond your body, up to 12 or 15 feet. It carries information about your emotional state to people around you..."

So the magnetic field or “aura” of a person is a result of the interactions of the electrical activity of the brain and the much stronger field of the heart, just like the Earth’s magnetic field is formed by interactions of the South and stronger North Poles.

Everytime we come in range of the “aura” of another person, there is always an interaction - maybe we interpret this interaction as our “impression” of that person, whether we feel comfortable, suspicious, hostile, or friendly; or maybe even if we suddenly feel happy, sad, excited... it is a very complex interaction.

"...Studies have shown that your inner thoughts, feelings, and impressions directly impact your electromagnetic energy... if your emotional state is appreciative and affirming, you have the potential of positively impacting the environment around you..."

Some of us may even have an “aura” strong enough to fill a whole room while some may only affect those with whom they are physically close to. The point is that our very presence has an effect on others and theirs has an effect on us.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Listen To Your Gut



Gut feeling, gut instinct, gut, intuition, conscience, small voice, or even the Holy Spirit - call it what you want but we can't deny that there are times when we have this feeling that something is wrong (most of the time) or right. I've had my gut warn me... well actually made me feel that what I was planning wasn't such a good idea. Most of those times I didn't listen and regretted it. [read one explanation of gut feelings]

Every instance I recall being told something it was about the timing of plans of going somewhere. Often I've ignored it and ended up with all sorts of misfortune like loosing stuff, not having a good time, etc.

Just this weekend it happened again. I planned to go out in the afternoon and buy some stuff for an upcoming trip. But when I woke up the morning of that day, I had this 'feeling' to move my plan to following day instead. I almost listened but instead just moved it to a later time in the evening. BIG mistake.

The whole evening was a mess. Tempers (mostly mine) flared and what would have been a great evening christmas shopping became a stressful waste of time. I have this feeling that I missed out on something good because I didn't follow my gut.

I'm reminding myself again - pay attention and listen to my gut feeling because I never know when it'll speak up.

Have you had similar experiences?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Getting High


It was the Saturday 2 weeks before my licensure exams. I was in church when someone approached me asking if I was free the following week to come with them on a medical mission sponsored by a sister church. I gave my usual “I’ll have to check my schedule” answer and expected to follow it up with a text message saying “I’m sorry, but I have prior engagements.” Medical missions are usually exhausting activities.

But as she turned away, I suddenly felt guilty - I mean I was in church praying all the time that I would pass the examinations and yet I didn’t want to help out in church activities. I suddenly became afraid of karma :p so I ran after her and said, “Yes.”

The day finally came and it didn’t start well. I was told that we would meet up at 7:30AM. I was taking a shower at 6:45AM when my phone rang. It was the lady who invited me to join. She told me that out meeting time was moved to 7AM instead. It’s another one of my pet peeves - changes in schedule. Considering that we were neighbors and considering the numerous ways of communication... well, there went breakfast.

There were 4 of us from my church and we met up with the main group at our sister church. The whole group came to about 50-60 people. And then the 2nd bit of news - There was a bit of walking involved and a short “bangka” (small boat) ride. And then the lady who invited me again told me that she FORGOT to tell me to wear rubber shoes!

I wanted to back out there and then. Hiking isn’t exactly my favorite activity. I mean I’m sure I’ll get to wherever place but by that time I’m sure my companions would have thrown me over a ledge or something because of my nonstop complaining :p AND I was overdressed for this occasion. That info about rubber shoes would have changed the whole outfit... I think I was dressed to kill haha.. and it looked liked I was the one who’d get killed.

pic1

The boat ride, it turned out, was to get across a shallow river because there was no bridge. Even just a simple bridge would do but there was none. Where was the government? Just because it was a poor community didn't mean they should be ignored.

Then came the walking. It took about 15 minutes of walking on MUD! Literally it was slippery all over. But there was no turning back now.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Best of November 2009


I've decided to compile a monthly list of the best posts I've read every month from my blogroll.

Kansas Bob's post about priorities and sometimes misplaced priorities inspired me to make my own post on the topic. I guess it's not as clear-cut as we think. Reyjr's How Personal Is Your Blog? also pushed me to react with a post of my own.

Bury Me In This Dress  raises some questions around the massacre in Maguindanao.

Meanwhile Discreet Manila's sentiments about the Commission on Election pretty much sums up what I feel about their playing the morality card on those wanting to secure political recognition. Pinoygossipboy had a lot of stories to tell but what caught my attention was the story of the mystery woman seen ni Pacquiao's car just after his interview on Jimmy Kimmel.

I though I'd loose one of my favorite blogs especially the 'Friday's for you' but I'm glad Layla is still Writing from the Inside Out - Again :D. I also love It's All a Matter of Perspective's newspaper approach although I don't think I can manage that style.

He's very young but has a lot going on alread - Kelvinonian Ideas really give a lot of tips and I love the Photoshop tutorial on how to get rid of pimples and smoothen skin. Calvin's hub, which I consider a tech hub gave very useful tips on using a camera in cold weather. And speaking of youth, Verum Peto's Inner Childhood reminds us to continue to enjoy the simple things.

Tristan Tales shows how to celebrate Thanksgiving wish I could do the same hehe while The McVie Show's version of Star Wars had me laughing out loud. Although it couldn't top the return of Bernadette who went on a 3-year hiatus. I guess most of you won't be able to understand his stories but it's really your loss :p

The story of the Missing Piece and the Big O is one I really recommend on Life, Love and Lust. It really hits home.

It seems like Beki has been bitten by the love bug, Congrats :D and also to CC who has had many accomplishments, I envy you :D. As for World Peace, Rudeboy's video link shows that not every one is ready for peace hehe. Not everything is about being happy. The Cat Loves Curiosity's ongoing story reminds me that sometimes things doesn't work the way we expected it to. But we learn, and we cope.

Celebrity Doc Zorlone's poem "Crossroads" also remind me that choices are never easy. And if you ever wondered if Farmville causes addiction, just check out Writing to Exhale and find out if he's in withdrawal already :D

If I've skipped some blogs in my list, I apologize. This is the first month I'm doing this and I'll be more critical next month :D thank you for allowing me to read.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Emotions on Thanksgiving Week


This was some week.

APPREHENSION. about the upcoming licensure exams this coming sunday and monday. This should have been the only thing on my mind but somehow, it was the least of my worries. I’m worried because I don’t feel worried.


OUTRAGE. at the IMPUNITY (this is the strongest word I could find) of the people behind the massacre in Maguindanao where 57 people, all civilians were brutally killed while exercising their democratic rights. Either the masterminds were SOOOO STUPID to think that they could get away with it or they were so brazen because they KNEW they WOULD get away with it. And after seeing the government’s actions so far, they might actually get away with it.



WORRY. Our 8 year old dalmatian had to be admitted to a vet clinic. He had been straining every time he pees for the last 2 weeks. We were planning to take him to the vet after the exams but last Wednesday, he couldn’t even get a drop out. EMERGENCY. Turns out dalmatians are prone to kidney stone formation and that seems to be the case because there were stone fragments after he was catheterized. I’m worried because we might have to decide to have him put down if he doesn’t improve. I don’t know if I can handle being part of that decision.



PRIDE. yes, there was a good thing that occurred. A Filipino, Efren PeƱaflorida was awarded by CNN as hero of the year for his pushcart classrooms. It reminds me that there still are selfless people here and not just the power-hungry, soul-less bastards that caused my feelings of outrage.

I'm looking and hoping for a quiet week ahead.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mahogany


Kansas Bob’s post, On Life Space, & Priorities, he posted the story of an astronaut who was space-walking when his daughter was born (back on Earth). Bob commented,

“...I wonder how often the rest of us miss important life events because of work or other seemingly important things.”

When I finished my medical degree, I didn’t go into specialty training because I was burnt out from the many years of school. What I said would be just 2 years has already become 4 years and counting. I could be a specialist by now.

But...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My First Blog Award :D


I've been blogging since 2005, but this is the first time a fellow blogger has passed something like this :D


1. Thank whoever gave this to you: Thank you Layla! I don't really know how long we've been reading each other's blogs but I've made a friend through blogging.

2. Copy Award

3. Post it in your blog.

4. Tell us 7 things your readers don't know about you: This is the hard part, hmmmm.....
        a. I have 3 college degrees already but still live with my parents
        b. I'm afraid of spiders
        c. This isn't my real name but i've been using it for more than 10 years, I wouldn't mind legally changing my firstname if it wasn't such as hassle :D
        d. I hate being made to wait during planned activities.
        e. I secretly wish I had more beauty than brains haha
        f. If I can't have "e" I'd settle for more money :p to buy gadgets
        g. the most important thing you may not yet know about me is burried in the old posts of this blog

5. Link 7 new bloggers
        Jarred, Bob, Reyjr, Jae, Zorlone, Dale, Kelvin

6. Notify winners of the award with a comment on their blog

7. Keep being awesome.

Life & Death, and Facebook


I saw this status on a Facebook account of someone I know:

“going home to the Philippines to bury my dad”

It’s shocking news. But I don’t wanna react yet. Maybe the “dad” he refers to is someone else other than his biological father. Someone whom he fondly calls “dad”. I really, really hope it’s not his biological father.

[fingers crossed]

UPDATE: text messages to people around seem to confirm that it's true. Feel so sad suddenly. Heavy heart.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Broadband Wars: PLDT myDSL


broadbandspeedchart[1]

The Philippines isn’t even on the chart! Maybe it’s because the major telco over here is still promoting 384KBPs DSL speeds bundled with their landlines. Maybe if I was in Japan, I wouldn’t mind loosing 1 or 2 MBPs but over here every KB/s is worth fighting for.

I’m not one to rant easily but recent discoveries really have annoyed me. 3 years ago we had our first ever broadband connection - 384KBPs courtesy of SmartBro for about $20/mo. Service was consistent but there could be up to 3 computers using the net at a given time at home so we needed more bandwidth

Towards the end of 2007, we came across PLDT’s offer of ‘up to 1MBPs’ for the same amount of $20/mo. Not to be defensive, but I made every inquiry as to if we were qualified to subscribe to them and every answer was always “YES!”. We subscribed to Xperience.

pldt_mydsl_promo_plans2

Speed was consistently (ave and max) at 600 - 650KBPs. I inquired about this several times and was told that the speed we received depended upon many factors like distance from the relay station, # of subscribers in the area, etc. etc. Anyway, the service was also consistent, aside from not ever reaching 1MBPs we had no complaints.

2008. Most telcos now offered ‘up to 1MBPs’ speeds at $20/mo but hey, that’s what we had already… or so we thought.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Movie Review (MR): 2012


I like movies that don't require me to use my brain :D Just pure simple entertainment and no mental activity.

2012. Plot is simple: earth undergoes interior decorating, most earthlings die. That's exactly what you get. Those who want something with more depth will find their intelligence insulted by this movie.

2012-picture

Visual effects are great. They tried to also show the disaster from a personal perspective like War of the Worlds and that's where it falls short for me. I mean acting wasn't that good. If there was a bit more drama it would have been a great movie but the actors couldn't pull it off (Dakota Fanning was busy shooting New Moon). Somehow there was more drama in Transformers2 amidst the explosions and metal wreckage (loved this movie, pure testosterone).

My other complaint is, in Independence Day, the director, Roland Emmerich didn't send an alien ship to hover over Malacanang Palace,

malacanang-independence-day

and in 2012 he didn't even show the sinking of our city... He could have just used the recent footage from the recent typhoons :p and saved millions of shooting costs.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ordinarily Uneventful


During the past few months I’ve added a lot of blogs to my reading list. Seems as if I’m one of those with only a few things to write about. It really takes effort to think of something to blog about that isn’t about computers and the internet. It really gets me thinking sometimes if my life is really uneventful and routinely boring.

I’m not really a risk taker and even if I’m complaining, I think I prefer routines than surprises. But once in a while, it would be nice to have something out of the ordinary to tell. Something that would inspire, something funny, or even heartwarming.

But I’m afraid I’ll get what I wish for. So, for now I’m content blogging about the ordinary and the uneventful :D

Here are some tips that I should follow but am too bad at following :D

Monday, November 16, 2009

Photoblog: 1000 Words


I’m officially launching my photoblog. I needed somewhere to place the pictures I have gathered. Drop by every now and then and I’d appreciate it if you could leave a comment or two or three… :D

Ribbon-cutting

Friday, November 13, 2009

Blog Renovation


Last Saturday, I decided to apply the finishing touches to my blog template. If I knew then of the headaches it would cause, I wouldn’t have started it. Here are the changes:

NAV BAR
This includes the decorated columns on both sides. Somehow the source file was missing when I first used this template from Bloggerstyles. Fortunately I came across it. It took me a whole night to fix this. It turns out that that Flickr and Photobucket offers the file only in resized versions and not the original if it’s more than 1024 x 768. I used Skydrive instead to host the file (and yet Internet Explorer refuses to display it).

TWITTER UPDATES

I got this idea from another template on Bloggerstyles and copied the code. Thankfully it wasn’t that hard to integrate.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Keeping It Personal


A fellow blogger recently posted “How personal Is Your Blog?” I take it that this means how much of myself I reveal in my blog. That really got me thinking. The reason I started blogging was because I wanted to be able to tell things the way I perceived them, to be able to talk about anything (including myself) without fear of being judged.  Another blogger friend recently moved her blog address in case her future employers would try to learn more about her via her blog. I guess Freedom of Speech, like all other freedoms, has it’s consequences…

Is my blog personal? It was easy at the start, when there were only a few readers and it helped that I didn’t use my real name. But there was also this part of me that wanted people I knew to read what I wrote. Slowly I spread word of my blog and eventually a few people who know me personally read it from time to time.

But I can’t have it both ways - being able to talk/write freely and letting people know what I’m writing. If you look at my previous posts, yes, this is a very personal blog. I think along the way I have made it very clear whatever it was that I really wanted to say.

3bears-01[1]

 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

For Better or for Worse



Just had a home call recently. A retired couple requested for me to visit them at their home. The wife was strong and had a sharp mind but the husband was going through regression. If you know someone going through the same thing, you understand how hard it can be on their loved ones.

I don't really know if its hard but I can't see otherwise by looking at them. I don't know how the wife manages to cope. Instead of being partners, she's now a mother again who has to take care of a toddler.

Maybe that's love... Or it might also be resignation to the fact that there's no other choice.

I just think that the wife's life is being wasted. She could still accomplish many things. Instead she's stuck at home taking care (literally) of her husband. How could anyone accept that fate?

(PS: for the past few posts you may have noticed that I have been writing about techy stuff. This is still a personal blog and not a Tech Blog... It's just that since mid-september, I have been caught up in computers / internet again and my social life has taken a vacation)

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Search for the Perfect Laptop BackPack


Actually I already found it at the Travel Club shop in SM North, but at the price of $140+ I’m pretending I didn’t find it… so the search goes on.

Since I inherited my dad’s laptop, I’ve been bringing it along most of the time. The laptop itself isn’t heavy but add the power cables, USB drive, external harddisk, USB broadband modem, cellphone chargers… you get the idea. I have a backpack but it just isn’t very ergonomic or comfortable to use for long walks.

So I’ve been obsessing with finding a laptop backpack that will bring and end to back and shoulder pains and which hopefully at the same time won’t become a pain in my pocket. I guess if money wasn’t an issue I wouldn’t be posting about this.

Well I’ve narrowed my choice down to 2. I just loved the Euro Pack backpack I found in SM North’s Department store but (1) the display model was the last one and (2) it was $56 scrooge! of course my back wasn’t hurting yet so I passed that by and regretted it once I got home and felt the backpains

I found another good choice. This time from Samsonite (unfortunately the model isn’t in their website). It’s bright red (yey!) and $54 *sigh* . I was still hoping for a cheaper one.

So I spent a whole 2 hours thinking and rethinking which one I should buy… The Euro Pack had better functionality and seemed to be as good (even better) quality as the Samsonite. Then I found out that Euro Pack was a local brand Whaaaaaaaat! I don’t mean to put down locally made products but the $56 was it’s sale price down from $80! whaaaat! I mean c’mmon! I thought it was made in a European Country *sigh* I really like the way it’s made.just an idea :D

As for Samsonite… well it’s Samsonite.

Of course the real question is, am I willing to part with $50+ considering that Christmas is just around the corner and I may have other things I need to buy.

Seems like I’ll be having back pains till the end of this year. :D

If you’re having a hard time thinking of what to get me let make it easier… I want THIS or a great fully-padded ergonomic smallest size backpack that can fit a 13-inch laptop :D

Friday, November 6, 2009

Tech Rush: Ubuntu (Linux) - The Underdog



A few days ago, I posted about my experience and opinions using Microsoft Windows and Apple Snow Leopard.

[UPDATE: I've since upgraded to Windows 7 and it really does improve on Windows Vista. But it's more of streamlining changes. I don't really see why Microsoft says its a brand new OS rather than an update to Vista.]

It turns out, there was still another OS very capable of providing what 'average' users require - Linux. Basically how I understand it is that Linux is the source code of an operating system. Many developers have made their own user interfaces around the Linux code. The interface I've recently been hearing about often is Ubuntu.

I've really looked down on Linux for the past years. There are many laptops sold here at a cheaper price often come with Linux as the operating system. I snobbed those models.

I don't really know why, but the news about Ubuntu in various websites and from twitter users made me curious. Without even looking at it's webpage I downloaded the installation file, burned it to a DVD and installed it.

I was surprised! What I thought was a 2nd rate OS, turned out to be a quite capable one. It automatically installs many programs to get you started immediately. There's Firefox for browsing, Open Office which takes the place of Microsoft Office and many, many others.




It boots up a lot faster than windows, it can use as litte as 2.5GB of disk space, it uses less memory, it'll run on almost any machine with ease, and Ubuntu and most of the software for it is FREE!

The only thing I'm looking for is a good blogging client, and a Linux equivalent of Adobe Indesign. If you make complicatedly long documents or you're a graphic designer maybe Linux isn't for you because Microsoft Office and Photoshop don't have Linux versions. But if you're like me who makes the occasional word document, blogs, chats, tweets, uses Facebook, listens to music... Linux is more than enough.

Sure if you want to customize you're Linux desktop, you may have to go into the Terminal (gasp) which looks like the DOS prompt of decades ago and arm yourself with programming skills. But if you not into that much customizing you'll be content with Ubuntu.

It's FREE!

(PS: This post was made purely in Ubuntu)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Jackets Out


There are 2 things about me I've discovered thanks to blogging:
  1. 1. I don't know how to make an introduction of myself. I dread those "About You" "Describe Youself" "Your Profile"
  2. 2. I don't know how to make a good ending. Blog posts, lectures, presentations, The ending always seems... well it doesn't seem like an ending.

When I was writing my previous post, I was enjoying the warm sunshine and cool breeze. Well that has changed. Just the following day it started raining. Not strong but enough to get you wet if you happen to go out without an umbrella.

Now people have an excuse for bringing out their jackets, which have been in closets for the better part of the year. I personally don't like cold weather. For some reason pimple outbreaks always coincide with cold weather. Christmas photos usually need more time under Photoshop :D

And when it's cold, I'm usually too lazy to take a shower :p

Yup, this is the end of this post :D

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Describing my Boring Day


I forgot which of those in my blog list tried making it kinda poetic in describing his day. Somehow I've realized that if I blog in English I tend to be a bit formal with my words. I'll be trying out blogging in the vernacular from time to time (with English translation of course). For the meantime here's my day so far:

Woke up to sunshine shining through my window. It was nice to feel some warmth after several weeks of cloudy skies and typhoon-filled weekends. It was my favorite kind of day: hot sunshine and a continuous cool breeze. I call it beach weather.

Had to work for half a day. Nothing much to do except catch up on my reading. As usual, after the first 2-3 pages, I was half asleep. This time I was prepared. I brought audio reviewers too so when I felt groggy enough, I put on my mp3 player and listened instead of read. When work came, I'd feel awake enough to read again... and get sleepy again so back to the audio... after a few cycles, I had a headache.

Lunch came and went and I had to go to the mall and do some errands... bank transactions actually. Weather was still great. Every seemed to be enjoying the day. No one was in a hurry, no blowing of horns, no fast paced walking.

Now that I've spent the last 2 hours waiting in line at 2 banks (it was a long weekend and the end of the month) I'm here at Krispy Kreme enjoying the free wifi while enjoying their donuts and oreo drinks. Hmmmm.... it really is very unhealthy but sweet :D

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tech Rush: TweetDeck & Digsby


I am still looking for the perfect desktop client for Twitter AND Facebook. There are many Twitter clients that offer full functionality and even additional functions like automatic URL shortening and uploading of pics to twitpic and other similar sites. However, I haven't found a Facebook client (even standalone ones) that completely removes the need to log into Facebook via a browser.

For the meantime, I'm using 2 programs: TweetDeck on the Mac and Digsby on Windows.

TweetDeck - this program runs on Adobe Air which is a kind of mini-OS. The advantage of Air is that applications run the same way on whatever platform. The downside is that programs running on Adobe Air usually use up more memory. TweetDeck offers columns for a variety of feeds. You can have columns for tweets, another one for direct messages, mentions and others. Here you can tweet back, retweet and others. For Facebook, there are columns for the main news feed, photos, videos, etc. You can "like" and comment on posts. Even if the main window is minimized, notifications appear onscreen for a few seconds when there are updates. You can tweet back, retweet, like, comment via these notifications during those few seconds.

tweetdeck

I still am looking for additional features on the Facebook implementation: Friends cannot see that you're online and you don't get any notifications when others comment or "like" your posts or the posts you have commented on. The lack of the latter is really what turns me off because I still have to log into Facebook to check for new comments. It supports multiple Twitter accounts but only a single Facebook account. After about 3 hours of use, it's not uncommon to have memory usage reaching 200MB+!

digbsy Digsby on the other hand uses the Instant Messenger approach. It's interface is similar to YM and Windows Messenger. It supports YM, AOL, Google Talk, Windows Messenger, and Facebook chat. Online contacts appear in it's window just like YM. Feeds from multiple twitter and Facebook accounts appear as pop-ups where you can tweet, retweet, comment and "like" posts. Your online friends in Facebook can see that you're online, which is a good thing.

A nice feature here is that if you are doing something else while chatting with your contacts, a small pop-up window appears on your chosen corner of the screen showing the most recent message and a space for you to reply. After replying the window disappears allowing you to continue whatever you were doing without switching windows. It also uses less memory than TweetDeck.

The only thing lacking is also the absence of notifications of new comments on your Facebook posts. This is a feature which I really think will be the deal breaker among the social networks clients because this is the only thing that brings me back to the website. Mac compatibility of Digsby is still upcoming so I'm still using TweetDeck on the Mac.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tech Rush: Browser Wars


I’ve used the pictured browsers for some time in either Mac or Win [ ] and here are my impressions:

image  Microsoft IE [Win only]: It's installed with Windows. That should say it all. I haven't been bothered to use IE for quite a while. It takes up a lot of resources and feels slow. I know that there have been a lot of improvements on it but I don't really think it performs that well. The only reason I don't uninstall it is because there are some websites (usually local ones) that only display properly on IE.

image Firefox [Win & Mac]: Firefox is the only browser (so far) that I use in both my PC and Mac. It seems to have the same performance on both OSes. It's faster than IE and it was the first browser I used with tabbed browsing (although all have followed suit). What really makes Firefox indispensable to me is its many addons. Stuff like downloads, saving websites, blocking  ads, weather reports, tweeting, blogging,  etc. etc. are made easier because of the addons. I think it's almost as fast as Safari (more on this later) but a bit slower than Chrome. What really bugs me about Firefox is that it seems to have poor memory management. After hours of use, it isn't unusual to see (via Task Manager [Win]; Activity Monitor [OSX]) it using up to 200+MB of memory even with just 1 tab open!

image Safari [Mac only]: it's 64-bit although I really haven't noticed any performance difference. Its faster than Firefox BUT... it seems to load the whole webpage before displaying anything. Contrast that with Firefox which gradually displays parts of a page while it's loading. That alone makes a difference to me since I get to see stuff faster on Firefox even if the full loading of the page completes faster on Safari. It doesn't have addons either but there are work-arounds.

image Chrome [Win only]: the newest and fastest of the browsers I've used. I also like its minimalistic interface - no distractions. This has taken the place of Firefox as my primary Windows' browser. Downside is, it doesn't have addons or extensions so there are quite a number of instances where I have to fire up Firefox. Chrome is the only browser I've used that runs tabs in its own memory space. Technically that means that if a webpage goes bad, only that tab should go down. Unlike Firefox and Safari where a badly programmed webpage could stall the whole browser. I haven't really been able to test this feature yet but of the 3 browsers, Chrome has the best memory management structure. I'm looking forward to test the Mac version of Chrome, which is still in alpha testing.

 

 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Shower Factor


Showering Anyway while waiting for my turn to have a facial (“,) I picked up a magazine and started browsing. I came upon the article “How to determine if your boyfriend is gay”. One of the items in the list was how long a guy takes in taking a shower. According to the article, straight guys pieaverage 7 minutes in taking a shower. If a guy takes 20 – 30 minutes just showering than warning bells should go off!  

Well if that’s a fact, then I’m straight! haha. I don’t really know how I’ll take more than 15 minutes to shower. I mean pour water, shampoo then wash with soap from the face down and then pour water again. What else is there?

Although I have friends who take 30-minute showers (they’re the one’s always late for meetups) hehe. In any case if there’s any guy out there who doesn’t know how to take a shower, instructions can be found here.

After-shower rituals is a whole new story though :p

 

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Standing Still


If you have been long time readers of my blog, I guess you know at least one reason why I don’t use my real name in my facebook account. I don’t even use it here. But the sad thing is this identity is actually who I really am.

However the recent fire that destroyed my highschool forced me to setup another Facebook account using my real name so that I could get in touch with my classmates and former”?” friends from elementary and highschool.

A lot has changed in the last 14 years since we graduated from highschool. My classmates have done something with their lives while I feel I have nothing to show. I still live in the same area, go to church in the same church while they have married, have different last names, had kids, started working abroad, earning a lot…

Sure I have some diplomas to show… but still, except for my age now, I’m almost exactly the same as I was back then. Somehow setting up that 2nd Facebook account doesn’t feel all that good.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Tech Rush: OSX vs Windows


OSX vs Win

I can say that I’m fairly comfortable using both Apple’s OSX (currently Snow Leopard) and Microsoft’s Windows (currently Vista). Each one has it’s own strengths and weaknesses.

Ease of Use - I’d give this one to Windows. Majority of computer users are familiar with the user interface, and the upcoming (just released) Windows 7 is said to offer some good refinements. But it’s not saying that OSX is hard to use. It’s just like using an iPhone after you’ve been through year with Nokia.

Stability - This one goes to the Mac. it just simply works. But it’s not as clear cut because most of the instability of windows is due to 3rd party software and poor quality hardware which is also from 3rd parties. Quality control is easier on the Mac side since they make the OS and the hardware.

Customization - hardware and software there are just a lot more options for Windows and its machines. I could argue that Mac, with its beautiful interface doesn’t need customization but I could say the same thing about Windows 7. It’s just that if you want to do more or design your own, you have more choices in the Window’s world for both the hardware and software.

Compatibility - this one is a tie. Major software like Microsoft Office, Photoshop, Net browsers are available for both Mac and Windows. Although gadgets like celphones (Nokia, SonyEricsson, Samsung, Blackberries, GPS devices, audio equipment may be delayed in coming up with Mac compatible software there’s always Bootcamp.

Price - a tie. you get what you pay for. Mac’s are really more expensive if you look at the hardware specifications which is hard not to do when Apple started using Intel processors in their machines. But from experience even if you have the same specs on paper, the actual performance is a lot difference and most of the time in favor of Macs. Maybe it’s the architecture or maybe the fact that only one company designs both hardware and software while Windows has to deal with 3rd party vendors. And looking at design & quality - well just actually touch and feel the MacBook Pros and iMacs.

If you have any questions about the specifics, just place a comment or email me and I’ll try to give an answer. Windows Vista has been good to me and I don’t really see what the complaints are about. Hopefully I get to try Windows 7 soon and post my experience with it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My HIgh School Burned


October 21, 2009 between 3PM-4PM I was busy calibrating the PC monitor because the colors seemed off when our home phone rang. It was my mom bringing bad news - my high school (just a few blocks away), was on fire. I don’t really know if it was indifference or because I though that there was nothing I could do right then, but it didn’t make me leave what I was doing. I immediately sent a tweet to a fellow alumni and went on calibrating while the noise of fire engines’ sirens became louder

After a few minutes, I received text messages, twitter messages and a phone call from my cousin all telling me that the school was totally destroyed. It was just then that I decided (reluctantly) to have a look for myself.

The high school is inside a small compound which it shares with the elementary school and is adjacent to the church we go to. When I got there, the fire was already under control although there was still thick smoke coming from one portion of the compound. Fire engines and onlookers were in the street.





From the gate, I saw that the structure of the school was still standing but the walls of the rooms on the 2nd floor were blackened and the roof appeared to have partially collapsed.



It was only when I got a closer look that I saw that although you couldn’t say the school was burned to the ground, the fire had almost totally damaged it and it looks as if it has to be torn down instead of being repaired before it can be used again.




What was I supposed to feel in a moment like this? Of course I definitely didn’t feel good, but I wasn’t shocked or uneasy. I had been a student here for 4 years, 10 if you include elementary years. On a positive note, no one was harmed (as far as I know) and finally the long overdue plans to renovate the school structures could start, whether planned or not.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

One Last Straw


If you have experienced an adrenaline rush, you know the feeling of exhaustion when it has passed. That’s what I feel right now. I’m run out of things to tinker with on the computer and on the net and I can’t think of anything else to occupy my time.


This morning though brought about a sudden rush of adrenaline. It appears that our ISP for the past 2 years did not inform us that the current facilities it has in place in our area could only provide half the bandwidth of what we were paying for. I’m hoping that this is just an issue of making the proper adjustments but so far, according to their tech personnel, upgrading of their infrastructure is what is needed.

That they have been providing consistent and reliable service is besides the point. We opted to use their services ONLY because of the bandwidth that was advertised. It should have been their responsibility to inform us if it was physically impossible to provide it, and we wouldn’t have gone through with the subscription.

Of course I have been monitoring our bandwidth these past few months, but then I attributed the less than expected speeds to other factors like congestion, distance from the relay station, cable noise... etc. I already accepted the fact that certain things would prevent us from reaching the promised “up to #MBPs” speed, but it was very clearly stated when we applied that our area was capable of reaching those speeds.

But it seems it wasn’t. Out of curiosity I just decided to call their hotline and inquire. A technical representative told me over the phone that the maximum bandwidth capable of being delivered to us in our area was just half of what we were paying for. That sent me into overdrive. If this was true, our application should never have been approved in the first place. If you look at it, it really seems that we were ripped off by paying for services that couldn’t be delivered.

I had to postpone all my plans for the day and immediately draft a letter of complaint and immediately went to our ISP’s nearest office. It was no use being hot headed at the branch since the person who attended to me was just a customer representative.

However the question “Why didn’t you complain about this earlier?” almost made me loose it. I held it down and simply said, “If this was a problem of software adjustments or having the wrong bandwidth cap applied I’d accept part of the responsibility. However, if it is true that the facilities to deliver the services wasn’t in place (and still isn’t) 2 years ago, the ISP should have never approved our application to subscribe in the first place.”

I’ll have to wait until next week for their findings and possible action.

I suddenly felt so tired and our internet speed suddenly feels very slow.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tech Rush


For the past months I have been content with what I know and have when it comes to technology. New gadgets and developments in both hardware and software did not make me even curious if I would need them (that’s the way its supposed to be) but three weeks ago, 2 things happened that made me rush back into the tech world:

  1. my dad purchased the new 13-inch Macbook Pro, and by default I inherited his 2 year old (but still in good condition) 13-inch MacBook. I must say that after a long time of being happily contented with what I had, that Macbook Pro has become an obsession (which I think will remain just that). Anyway, I had a laptop again all to myself so I started along the path that all people with new gadgets take – customization
  2. Typhoon Ondoy (International Name: Ketsana): Yes, a typhoon. It’s not as if Filipinos aren’t used to typhoons when this is a tropical country and we have only two seasons - wet and dry. Sure it was raining all night (September 25) and all throughout the next day but there wasn’t anything striking about that. September 26 found me going to church despite the rains and it seemed that everyone else went about their usual business armed with umbrellas, of course. About 10 in the morning, text messages from friends started coming in - certain roads were becoming impassable because of rising flood water; traffic jams; still continuous rains. but that wasn’t something new. I guess everyone thought that they were isolated incidents.

    What caught my attention was a text message that the South Luzon Express Way was shutdown because of flooding. That wasn’t usual... little by little text messages from friends all over Metro Manila started coming it and it became apparent that something wasn’t right. It was the internet that broke the news: Twitter, Plurk, Facebook, Youtube, and various other sites and blogs showed pictures and videos of what was going on. It wasn’t until September 28 that the whole picture became apparent to me. That started me back on the internet, which I don’t think I’ve left for the past 3 weeks.

I’ll try my best to sort out what has been happening since.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pet Peeve #3: Q & A


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I had this professor in college who was a lawyer. He taught Philippine Constitution and Ethics and Logic. The one thing that impressed me was that he insisted that us students answer ONLY what was asked of up. If the question required a “yes” or “no” answer, that was all that was needed. I don’t know if its a cultural thing to Filipinos or that it doesn’t matter where you come from - that you have this tendency to answer more than what the question calls for.

Which brings me to my 3rd Pet Peeve - it really gets on my nerves when people during debates, panel discussions, pageants or any other public presentations don’t seem to listen to the question. I was unfortunate enough to attend church during which students who volunteered for a religious outreach activity were asked some questions about their experience.

There were 3 boys and 4 girls (I think) in that group and listening to their answers one by one really made my face flush with frustration. For example the question, “what was your most memorable experience during the outreach?” the key word being MOST. Still, every one of them gave multiple experiences. And listening to each one answer the question, “Would you still consider joining future outreach activities?” with YES, because blah blah blah blah really got to me.

I picked a bad time to leave my mobile phones at home. Texting is my stress outlet, and during this time I was really getting stressed out.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Against the Odds: Swept Away


During the height of typhoon Ketsana and the massive flooding it brought to Metro Manila, the internet and TV stations were flooded! with picture and videos of the disaster. Among them was this video of a group of people clinging onto debris while being swept away by the strong current of a river and going under a bridge:

…Romeo's entire family was standing on a rooftop with no escape route when the swollen river plowed through the rows of houses at around 8 a.m. Rather than being swept away, they jumped on a floating, entangled mass of garbage, tree trunks, galvanized iron roofing, and plywood that had clumped together. Some of the other people on the accidental raft were strangers whom Romeo says might have been carried by the current from upstream.

 

As they neared the San Mateo bridge, Romeo looked at his wife Mary Jane and their two children – Marjorie, 13, and Mark, 10 – and wondered if they would make it past the concrete span. The water had risen to the same level as the bridge, and their flimsy raft would certainly smash into its massive concrete supports.

 

“Kami ng asawa ko magaling lumangoy kasi lumaki kami sa tabi ng dagat, pero yung mga anak ko hindi (My wife and I are good swimmers because we grew up near the sea, but my children aren’t)," he said… [GMA News]

Their raft of sorts broke in to several pieces and they were all thrown into the water. Despite being separated from each other, each member of the family miraculously survived.

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Dead Pixels


I just found a dead pixel on my laptop screen and it’s becoming larger and larger in my mind than it actually is. I’ve been retracing my steps yesterday but no matter how hard I try to recall, I can’t remember anything I did that could have caused this speck to appear. I wish it was just in a corner, but somehow it decided to appear on the lower mid-third of the screen. NOTHING I can do about it but how I wish it would just go away.

And I was wondering how 1 mistake could ruin someone’s reputation; or why people always remember what you did wrong and not the many things you did right... well, it’s one or two pixels among thousands of pixels and it’s driving me crazy.

Friday, October 2, 2009

GMA’s SONA vs Katsena (Ondoy)


Anticipating the Worst, Hoping for the Best


Just last Saturday, Metro Manila suffered from the heaviest rainfall (brought by typhoon Ketsana) in about 30 years. Many areas were flooded and many people displaced and forced to seek shelter in evacuation centers. Those worst hit with the flooding are still in the evacuation centers while many others have just started picking up their lives. As if adding insult to injury, another typhoon, this time a super typhoon, Parma, is nearing exactly the same place where typhoon Ketsana made landfall. Ketsana’s wind speeds reached about 85kph while Parma’s is up to 210kph!

Since yesterday, groceries and supermarkets have been jam-packed with people buying noodles, canned goods, and other stuff in preparation for the nearing super typhoon. Yes, we are all expecting the worst. The ground is still saturated with water from Ketsana’s heavy rains, and it won’t take much rain to cause another round of wide spread flooding.

Right now the weather is very calm. Although it’s cloudy you won’t be able to tell that a strong typhoon is approaching. But telltale signs are everywhere. Billboards have been pulled down and there is a certain hurriedness to the way people are going about. There’s this desire to be with loved ones when the weather worsens. I guess it’s because many people were away from their families when the flooding occurred last week.

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Of course we’re hoping that the effect of this new typhoon will be minimal. It again is left to be seen how the government is going to handle this addition to the crisis that seems to have overwhelmed them.

And by the way, Last July 27, 2009, in her State of the Nation Address, President Gloria Arroyo very proudly announced:

“As a country in the path of typhoons and in the Pacific Rim of Fire, we must be as prepared as the latest technology permits to anticipate natural calamities when that is possible; to extend immediate and effective relief when it is not….The mapping of flood- and landslide-prone areas is almost complete. Early warning, forecasting and monitoring systems have been improved, with weather tracking facilities in Subic, Tagaytay, Mactan, Mindanao, Pampanga.

 

“We have worked on flood control infrastructure like those for Pinatubo, Agno, Laoag, and Abucay, which will pump the run off waters from Quezon City and Tondo flooding Sampaloc. This will help relieve hundreds of hectares in this old city of its age-old woe.

 

“Patuloy naman iyong sa Camanava, dagdag sa Pinatubo, Iloilo, Pasig-Marikina, Bicol River Basin, at mga river basin ng Mindanao.”

Hmmmmm… I wonder who advised her of these facts. Thank God for the Non-government organizations and major television networks and all the other private citizens and corporations who took it into their hands to reach out to those affected by last week’s typhoon. I hope we are better prepared this week.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Pet Peeves


I don’t really get mad that easily and it takes a lot of effort to piss me off. But I’ve noticed that there are at least 2 things that get to me easily.

  1. I hate being fed - whether someone’s being cute or just wants me to try out a new dish, I really, really, hate it when they bring the food to my mouth. Whether it’s on a spoon or even if they just keep insisting that I taste something I’ve already turned down.
  2. I rarely ask. When I do ask something it means I really don’t know the answer. No matter how obvious it might be. And once I ask something, I really hate it when a question is thrown back instead of just answering the simple question. For example, I recently got into a tempered misunderstanding over a trivial thing as editing a document:
                Me: on what page are the corrections you don’t want to accept?
                You: everything I didn’t incorporate
                Me: on what page are they?
                You: can’t you see them?
                Me: if I could, I wouldn’t be asking....

I really hope nothing get’s added to my list :D

Monday, September 28, 2009

Aftermath


Thanks to Calvin's Hub for the pics

 

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