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

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.


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.



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

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