Category: Technophile

Goodbye, Google Reader; Hello, Feedly

7:02 am PHT

Like many other people, I was very dismayed to learn that Google was discontinuing Google Reader. I had hoped that Google would not push through with their plan, but given Google’s history and resolve (I think the decision to shut down Reader was not taken lightly and was likely debated internally at length by Google management) I eventually accepted Google Reader’s fate.

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Kubuntu Chronicles: Why Kubuntu?

2:38 pm PHT

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Kubuntu Chronicles: A Tale of Two Laptops

1:06 am PHT

Guess what? I have finally taken the plunge and switched to Linux, specifically Kubuntu, as my primary operating system on my main home computer. Although I am using Eeebuntu (now known as Aurora) on my netbook and I work with Slackware at the office, my operating system on my main home computer had always been Microsoft Windows (Windows 98, Windows XP, and Windows 7).

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My Eeebuntu Experience

10:18 pm PHT

I’ve had my ASUS Eee PC 701 for over a year but I never did replace the stock ASUS Xandros OS that came with it. That is, until about two months ago. I’ve been pretty contented with the default OS and I especially liked how blazingly fast it booted up and shut down. And just like Markku, I’ve been using it as a development PC for my latest website (still under wraps) and had installed XAMPP on it.

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FFC, GTUG, and Fx Events this November

6:55 pm PHT

The third week of November looks to be an exciting month for Web enthusiasts as there are three Web-related offline events happening within eight days of each other. The first one, targeted to Web designers, is the Form Function & Class Mini Web Design Conference this Saturday, the 14th. The second event, intended for Web developers, is the Google Technology Users Group meetup on November 17. The third, for plain old Web surfers, is the Five Years of Firefox in Manila party on the 21st.

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QuickBASIC, SEAV Softwares, and GeoCities

6:10 pm PHT

Back in the early to mid 1990s, I was already a geeky young man having taught myself how to program BASIC from several books borrowed from the school library. While I enjoyed playing games on the PC (Sid Meier’s Civilization rocks!) and the Nintendo Family Computer (Super Mario Brothers 3 is still the best), I eventually realized that it was more enjoyable creating programs and with it, the ability to create my own (simple) games. I eventually discovered the QBasic and QuickBASIC variants of BASIC that have their own IDEs and it was such a powerful feeling having the power to create your own EXE files. When the World Wide Web came to the Philippines, I quickly discovered that there was a worldwide community of QuickBASIC enthusiasts with plenty of websites containing tutorials, programs, and discussion forums.

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In the Market for a Notebook II

1:40 pm PHT

After three and a half years, I was forced to retire my ASUS A6500R laptop. The main problem was that it wouldn’t boot up properly anymore. The symptoms started a few months before but it managed to eventually start up after some combination of jiggling around with the battery, the master reset button, and the power cord.

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Mozilla in the Philippines

7:35 pm PHT

Last October 10, I and bunch of bloggers met Gen Kanai, who is Mozilla Foundation’s Director of Asia Business Development. Gen was in town to attend the 2009 Philippine Blog Awards after being in the country last September for WordCamp Philippines 2009. Over dinner at Cafe Juanita (which, by the way, has great food in a really quirky ambiance), Gen talked with the bloggers regarding our thoughts and ideas on how to make Mozilla’s products more useful and relevant in the Philippines.

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Up in 3D!

11:20 pm PHT

I have to say that with the release of Up, Pixar shows that it still has the magic of turning good family stories into full-blown CGI masterpieces. Also, I think that Up is Pixar’s best film to date. It has a lot more heart in it than Monsters, Inc., action that can almost rival The Incredibles, and lovable characters like in WALL-E and Finding Nemo.

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The OSM-BMW Meetup

11:29 pm PHT

Last June 28, Maning, Rally, and I met a bunch of guys from the BMW Car Club to talk about OpenStreetMap. The meetup happened at Centerstage KTV along Jupiter Street in Makati. The KTV is owned by Mikey, one of the club’s members. (BTW, the KTV seems to be an excellent videoke place; it’s quite similar to Red Box.)

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Google-Globe Developer Workshop

11:30 pm PHT

For the most part I’m a big Google fanboy (well except for some things here and there). And because I’m nominally a web developer, I certainly will try to attend as many developer-oriented Google events as I can. The first event I attended was the Google TechTalk last November 2007 and the second one was the first ever Google DevFest Manila back in November 2008. So it should not come as a surprise that I turned up at the Google-Globe Developer Workshop last June 20. This event was held at Tech Portal of the really, really, really cool U.P.-Ayala Land TechnoHub in U.P. Diliman (see a rough map at OpenStreetMap  ;-)). Did I mention that the TechnoHub is really cool?

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Cruising Manila Bay at the Acer Aspire Timeline Launch Event

3:20 pm PHT

I was invited to a pretty unique media/blog tech event in May. This was the Manila launch of Acer’s Aspire Timeline series which was held last May 25 while cruising on board the M/V Spirit of Manila in Manila Bay. Well, it’s not often that you get a chance to ride a boat and see Metro Manila from the sea so I grabbed this opportunity (taking a half-day leave from the office in the process). The pips from Acer joked that they did the cruise idea so that they’re guaranteed a “captive” audience. Heh.  :-)

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Smart’s Sandbox: Needs Vast Improvement

1:00 am PHT

If you’ve seen the TV commercials and the billboards (and maybe even the blog posts from your favorite local blogger), then you should know by now that Smart has finally launched their sorta Web 2.0 portal attempt called Sandbox. The slogan for this website is “Now everything’s in one box” and it tries to do just that. Sandbox aims to be a content download site, a social network site, a mobile blogging site, a marketplace (e.g. Digisoria), and what else have you.

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Belated Introduction to the Newest Member of my PC Family

10:54 pm PHT

For this post, I’m going to be talking about my ASUS Eee PC 701 netbook. Yes, this is a pretty late topic and totally out of date but it’s my blog and I can write whatever the hell I want, right?  :-) I won’t do a review since there are plenty of them out there (most are over a year old), but I’ll just write down my personal insights and observations from the more than eight months that I’ve been using this little baby. (I’m actually typing this entry using it.) The Eee PC has joined my PC family, together with my desktop and my laptop—I’ve definitely skewed the computer-per-capita figure in my household. Hehehe.

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Early 2009 Eclipses in Stellarium

6:45 pm PHT

There were two eclipses that were visible from the Philippines in the last four weeks. The first was a partial solar eclipse that occurred in the late afternoon of January 26 and the second was a penumbral lunar eclipse on the night of February 9. I wasn’t able to view these two eclipses since for the solar eclipse, I couldn’t go out of the office the view of the sun from my office’s windows is blocked by skyscrapers and for the lunar eclipse, I forgot all about it. Besides, since the lunar eclipse was penumbral, it wouldn’t be as spectacular as a partial or even a total lunar eclipse.

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Official Philippine Launch of Google Map Maker

3:00 am PHT

I was invited to attend the Google Map Maker Power User’s Launch last October 7 at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel. If you know me, you’d know that I won’t refuse such an event. Unfortunately, I arrived at the venue from work a bit too late for the presentation, but I managed to get to talk with Dickson Seow, Corporate Communications Head of Google Southeast Asia (based in Singapore), and Jason Chuck, Product Marketing Manager for the APAC region (based in Hong Kong), regarding my questions and opinions about Google Map Maker. Apparently, Dickson had been looking forward to meet me and Jason had even read some of my blog posts. I guess Aileen Apolo, the Google Philippines Country Representative, had briefed them about me.  :-P

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The Untold Story of the Globelines DSL Outage

7:04 pm PHT

It’s been more than two months since our home DSL broadband connection with Globelines got disrupted for 24 days. So in the interest of consumer interest, I decided to recount my own “horror” story even though it happened a long time ago. All I can say is that it was quite a difficult three weeks and I managed to subsist on retail Wi-Fi in various hotspots and about a week of ümobile 3G. it’s really a good thing that my livelihood is not dependent on having reliable broadband connection at home, though my sister could not telecommute in her work as a result. Our troubles started on the night of June 25 and lasted until servicemen from Innove restored our DSL connection on July 19.

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Google Dumps Navteq; Opens Up Map Maker for the Philippines

7:08 pm PHT

Here’s a couple of interesting development on the Google Geography department. First, the quick news item: Google has dropped Navteq as one of its mapping data providers (i.e., companies that provide street, point-of-interest, and routing data) in favor of continuing to do business with Tele Atlas. This is not unexpected since Navteq was recently acquired by Nokia and the industry movement of these two companies in the past year have made them competitors of each other. This latest move by Google was first revealed last Friday, September 19, in a blog post by Mike Blumenthal. The announcement from Google Maps Guide Adam contained this snippet:

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Get Free Microsoft Products at the EEEnstallFest

11:13 pm PHT

Microsoft Philippines has a promo for the students and faculty of my college department, the Electrical and Electronics Department at U.P. Diliman, wherein they can get free licensed copies of Windows XP, Windows Vista, Visual Studio, and Expression Studio. All they need to do is go give blank CDs/DVDs to the Engineering Student Council office together with a photocopy of their Form 5 (registration form). The optical media will be returned with installer burned into them and presumably with a license sticker for the OS.

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Globe DSL Woes and ümobile 3G

11:12 pm PHT

There’s nothing like the loss of Internet connection to confirm that you’re an Internet addict.

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Firefox 3, Woot!

11:10 am PHT

In lieu of yet another Mozilla Firefox 3 review (there are thousands out there if you want) and instead of encouraging you to download it (I’m sure I would’ve been preaching to the choir here), I’ll just give my first-time impressions of the latest version of the browser that I’ve come to love. (If you’re curious about this article’s title, you should check out my blog posts for Firefox 2 and Firefox 1. Hehehe.)

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Pinoy Wikimedians at the Philippine Open Source Summit

6:21 pm PHT

Shown above is the Cebu International Convention Center in Mandaue City where the first ever Philippine Open Source Summit will be held. The Summit will happen on June 23 to 24—that’s next week, Monday and Tuesday. Surprisingly, Microsoft Philippines is a major sponsor of the said summit so it’ll be interesting to see what Microsoft can contribute to the Open Source Community. (It’s also expected that there will be discussions and debates regarding Microsoft’s Office Open XML, an XML-based format for office documents that got ISO standardization early this year amid numerous controversies.)

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Am I the first Pinoy Plurker?

12:10 pm PHT

Or at least the first one based in the Philippines? If you don’t know what Plurk is, it’s a Twitter wannabe but apparently cuter and more fun with its innovative timeline presentation of “plurks” and its grouping of responses into threads. (I don’t use Twitter, Pownce, nor Jaiku, so I wouldn’t really know the difference. Yeah, such a boring life I lead.) See Andrew’s post for a view of Plurk from the Twitter perspective.

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Bloggers’ Talk with Nokia Philippines

1:50 pm PHT

A little less than two weeks ago, I and several other bloggers were invited by Nokia Philippines to a discussion over dinner at Sugi in Greenbelt 2. There, Nokia presented the global company’s future direction and solicited fedback and insights from us. Representing Nokia were William Hamilton-Whyte, General Manager, Rhomel Marcojos, head of various marketing stuff, and Nikka Singson-Abes, Corporate Communications Manager. William is actually a quite a fascinating expatriate. He’s Scottish-French, born in Kenya, and has lived in about a dozen countries before taking the country General Manager position for the Philippines’ most successful mobile phone brand.

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AideRSS, Good for Managing Feed Overload?

6:13 pm PHT

While browsing around the blogosphere, I came across this interesting website called AideRSS on one of the comments on Google Blogoscoped’s article “Tips For Dealing With Information Overload”. AideRSS is apparently a free tool that takes an RSS or Atom feed, collects some statistics, and then gives each post in the feed a PostRank, which seems to be an objective measure of a post’s quality, based on “relevance and reaction.” (You might say that PostRank is similar in name and function to Google’s PageRank.) Among the metrics it uses are the number of comments, Delicious links, Digg votes (?), and Google Blogsearch backlinks. You can then use PostRank to filter a feed for the best posts if you so desire.

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ASUS Eee PC 900 Philippine Press Launch

4:22 pm PHT

The ASUS Eee PC 900 Press Launch this morning was the first time that I’ve attended a PR event that’s not primarily for bloggers. Thanks to Abe for the spur-of-the-moment endorsement of invitation. The press launch was held at the swanky Makati Shangri-La Hotel in Ayala Center Makati and its basically what you expect it to be: basically a series of presentations (including one from Intel and Microsoft each) showing of the drool-worth ASUS Eee PC 900, a worthy successor to the wildly popular Eee PC 701 (which I still don’t have). And the answer to the grand question? The Eee PC 900 costs 25 thousand pesos in the Philippines (about US$590).

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Filipino’s Memristor is Now a Reality

2:32 am PHT

The big news that’s rocking the physics, electrical and electronics engineering fields is the proof of the existence of the memristor. “Mem-what?” Well, that’s what my initial reaction was, too. The memristor is apparently the missing fourth fundamental basic element of electrical circuits, alongside the resistor, the capacitor, and the inductor. And the cool thing about this is that the memristor was first hypothesized in 1971 by Leon Chua, a Filipino-American professor at the University of California at Berkeley who got his degree in B.S. Electrical Engineering at the Mapúa Institute of Technology in 1959, here in the Philippines! Yay, Pinoy!

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Intel Cavite Closing Down, for Real?

2:35 pm PHT

Almost one year ago, Yuga raised the alarm that Intel might move their Cavite operations to Dalian, China. Well, it didn’t happen at that time. Also, when Intel announced last year that they will sell off their flash memory unit to form a new company called Numonyx, the closing fears circulated the rumor mill again since half of the operations at Intel Cavite was in the manufacturing of flash memory. Well, just yesterday, an internal announcement came that Intel Cavite might close off for good within the next six to nine months.

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Manila Earth Hour 2008 Aftermath

2:17 pm PHT

San Francisco just finished their turn at Earth Hour about two hours ago, and more than 17 hours after Metro Manila switched off its own lights. Earth Hour is a viral movement that started in Sydney, Australia last year and became an international affair in 2008 as 28 partner cities and hundreds more supporting towns and cities switch off lights and other non-essential electrical devices for one hour to raise awareness about global warming and climate change.

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“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”

2:40 am PHT

Connie, over at Write Life Guide, asks “Can you remember your first Internet experience? How was it like?” Well, surprisingly, given the fact that my non-work waking life is centered on the Internet, I can’t remember exactly when I first got on the Internet or what was the first web page I visited.

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Early 2008 Mapping News

1:23 am PHT

Herewith are some mapping news to start the year.

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Organize Your Feed Subcriptions by Priority, Not by Topic

5:57 pm PHT

One big productivity step I took a few months ago was to organize the subscribed feeds I had in Google Reader into folders by priority. The result is that I no longer feel overwhelmed if I have hundreds of unread items in my feed reader, and I now able to use my time more wisely by scanning those feeds that I really am most interested in.

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ASUS Eeenvy

4:15 pm PHT

Even though I already have a desktop and a laptop, I can’t help but want the ASUS Eee PC. Several bloggers such as Juned, Ade, and J. Angelo have already bought it, and a majority of the reviewers I’ve read say they love it. J. Angelo, with some content from Ade, has already launched his ASUS Eee blog, there’s a local unofficial EEE Philippine Users Group already, and there’s also a global gadget blog dedicated to this tiny notebook and its niche even before it came out in the market.

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Shai Coggins, ASUS Eee PC, and an Interview

1:37 am PHT

I arrived terribly late at the Blogger Meet and Greet because I had an important errand to do in Manila, yet I didn’t really miss much and I had a really great time. I finally got to meet Shai Coggins, the b5media Vice President for Community and the special guest of honor of this event. (This brings to three the total number of siblings of the Manuel clan that I have met.)  :-)

The event was held at Kape Isla at Serendra, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig and besides meeting Shai, bloggers also got to play around with Juned’s drool-worthy ASUS Eee PC. I also had an impromptu interview by Azrael Coladilla for my Blogenyo webcomic.

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Google’s Android and Sun’s Java

2:38 pm PHT

There are two technology fields that Google has recently entered and will prove to be interesting battle grounds: one is the cross-platform mobile application development space, and the other is the social-networking Web application space. Google entered the former by announcing the Android platform and launching the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), which includes Intel, Motorola, and T-Mobile, and the notable absence of Microsoft, Apple, and Nokia. Google forayed into the latter field by releasing the OpenSocial API with notable partners Friendster, hi5, imeem, MySpace, Six Apart, and LinkedIn, and the notable absence of Facebook.

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On Web-based Feed Aggregators

2:49 pm PHT

The previous post on Bloglines and Google Reader brings me up to a another topic, that of feed reader lock-in. Both Google Reader and Bloglines support the export and import of feed subscriptions via the OPML standard (that’s how I switched from Bloglines to Google Reader in the first place). This means that both aggregators do not lock-in customers. Nominally.

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Bloglines vs. Google Reader

2:48 pm PHT

I had been using Bloglines as my feed reader/aggregator since 2003 before I completely switched over to Google Reader a few months ago. I tried Google Reader early last year but it didn’t stick with me then. What made me decide to switch now? I got sick and tired of the way Bloglines marked every unread item as read when selecting a feed. If you neglect to check your feeds for a while and one of them adds tons of new items, you’d be forced to invest a lot of time to catch up on that feed if you don’t want to miss anything.

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3:31 pm PHT

When I was reading blog entries and comments about the (Night) Sky in Google Earth, I came across several references and comparisons to other similar applications. One of these is Celestia (Wikipedia), which I raved about three years ago, and a program called Stellarium, which I’m going to rave about now.

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2:54 pm PHT

Markku once talked about false productivity and asked for suggestions. I commented by explaining my organizational system consisting of scattered to-do lists and organizing mechanisms.

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Night Sky in Google Earth!

12:20 am PHT

I really try to avoid back-to-back Google posts, but this new feature/product/service by Google is too good to pass up posting about. Download the latest version (4.2) of Google Earth then switch to the Sky view by clicking the astronomy icon in the toolbar or selecting the “Switch to Sky” menu option under the View menu. You’re now presented with a view of the night sky!

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OpenStreetMap Does the Philippines

4:43 pm PHT

I’ve heard about OpenStreetMap (OSM) (see the Wikipedia article) maybe one or two years ago and was interested in the collaborative aspects of it. This mapping project aimed to create a free (as beer and in speech) street geodata of the whole United Kingdom and Ireland. While Great Britain already has excellent mapping data care of the Ordnance Survey (the national mapping agency of the UK), the problem is that this data is not free (as in beer and speech). The Ordnance Survey holds the copyright to the mapping data and charges people who want to use it, despite being funded by taxpayer’s money. So the OpenStreetMap project was born.

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Yahoo! Has Satellite Images of Manila and Davao

11:47 pm PHT

Playing catch up with Google Maps, Yahoo! last year added satellite imagery to their Yahoo! Maps website. Naturally, being the map geek that I am, I checked out their offering last year and was disappointed to find out that they didn’t have any high-resolution satellite imagery for the Philippines, unlike Google Maps which had some back then.

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The Making of Lakbayan (Part 2)

6:26 pm PHT

Here’s the second part of the story behind Lakbayan. You should also read the first part or the launch blog entry if you haven’t done so.

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Lakbayan: How Much of the Philippines Have You Visited?

1:31 am PHT

Today is the 109th anniversary of the Philippine Declaration of Independence and I’m celebrating it by launching the beta version of Lakbayan! See how much of the Philippines you have visited! To whet your appetite and give you a preview of what to expect, my personal result is shown below.

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New Google Earth Satellite Imagery for June 2007

2:53 pm PHT

As anticipated by Google Earth enthusiasts, Google has updated its public satellite imagery in Google Earth (see the announcement). I checked in Google Earth and it seems that in the Philippines, only one new Digital Globe image was added: Honda Bay in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. Shown below is the world-class Dos Palmas Arreceffi Island Resort in Palawan.

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OMG: Google Maps Street View

7:58 am PHT

Oh. My. God. This has got to be the coolest thing I have ever seen on Google Maps by far. Google has now integrated street-level panoramic views of practically every street in 5 U.S. cities: New York, San Francisco, Miami, Denver, and Las Vegas. The photos only require a flash player, is zoomable, pannable 360°, and it’s interactive! You could practically do a virtual drive around these cities! It’s almost as good as being there.  :D

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Introducing Vista Pinas

3:12 pm PHT

After months of planning and setting up, I am extremely pleased to announce that we have finally launched Vista Pinas, my second blog where I give you a virtual tour of Filipino sights as can be seen from satellite imagery found in Google Maps and Google Earth. It’s like Google Sightseeing done Pinoy-style!

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Broadly Banding at Last

11:59 pm PHT

Last year, I speculated on getting a broadband connection. Now, after years of subsisting on dial-up and chewing on months of free Wi-Fi, I’m finally munching on high-speed Internet, baby!  :D In a stroke of good timing, Globelines/Innove have recently began servicing my area and they have been aggressively promoting their broadband services around the time we got back to Las Piñas. While PLDT already provides MyDSL services in our village, we hear more horror stories about PLDT and their customer service (e.g., Rico and this hapless call center conversation) that signing up for Globe was an easy decision. My friend, who lives in the adjacent subdivision, has vouched for Globe as well. Not even Max’s gripes with Globe dissuaded me (and being the winner of this year’s Philippine Blog Awards Best Technology Blog, Max’s opinion must count for something).

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The Linking Economy

9:59 pm PHT

Due to the recent announcement of Google’s top SEO guy Matt Cutts of a way to report to Google sites who sell links on their pages, there has been a lot of online discussion about the whole economy of buying and selling links and how it affects search engine rankings, with particular emphasis on small people like bloggers who use text links from brokers like Text Link Ads as a way to get additional income. For instance, Yuga touched a bit on the topic by talking about links from WordPress themes.

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Live Blogging at iBlog3

2:41 pm PHT

Yay for free Wi-Fi. I’m finally blogging live about something for the first time. I’m at the iBlog3, or the 3rd Philippine Blogging Summit, held here at the School of Economics in U.P. Diliman. Today is Day 2 of the summit and right now, J. Angelo Racoma is talking about blogging as a form of mainstream media (i.e., Social News, like Digg).

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Drive from Newfoundland to the Canary Islands

5:22 pm PHT

The Google/GIS blogosphere is having a field day with the Google Maps easter egg instructing you to “Swim across the Atlantic Ocean” at a distance of 5,572 kilometers (taking 29 days) if you want to drive from any point in the continental USA and Canada to Europe. See for instance any of these posts: Kottke, Google Blogoscoped, Metafilter, and The Map Room.

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More Free Wi-Fi

12:25 am PHT

Apparently, Airborne Access’ Wi-Fi network is indeed glitchy. While that’s usually a bad thing, on the balance, I like it because I keep on enjoying more free Wi-Fi access. Similar to the first time, I was able to essentially double the minutes of my Airborne Access Wingspan prepaid cards. The other Saturday, I used some of the prepaid cards I got from the Eastwood City Wi-Fi promo. Sometime into my second hour, the network went dead and so I finished my web surfing session. Last Saturday, I checked the balance of my cards on a whim and was pleasantly surprised to find my minutes unused! Two more free hours!  :D

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New Species of Palm Tree Introduced in the Philippines

11:59 pm PHT

While going to work Wednesday morning, I noticed a strange-looking palm tree planted at the southern end of the Manila Golf Club near the Fairways Tower and McKinley Road. It was definitely a new species, probably yet unseen by the country’s botanists. So I took a picture of it this morning:

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Google Maps/Earth Updated Coverage 2

9:55 pm PHT

Google has updated their data for Google Earth and Google Maps last February 28. In terms of Philippine content, I only see just a few more areas with high-resolution satellite imagery care of Digital Globe. Below is my updated hi-res coverage map. (See the previous version.) The blue spots show areas with added hi-res imagery. The red spots indicate places with already existing hi-res coverage.

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Snap Out Of It!

10:38 pm PHT

Annoyed by those intrusive Snap Previews? Disable them for good. (Via Kottke.)

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Free Wi-Fi in Eastwood?

8:55 pm PHT

No, I’m not talking about the free Airborne Access Wingspan pre-paid cards promo. I’m talking about real free Wi-Fi access like the one you get in Robinson’s Galleria.

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The iPod as a Purchasing Power Parity Measure?

4:16 am PHT

I read an interesting business article yesterday saying that an Australian bank has developed a new purchasing power parity index called the iPod Index. We all know about foreign exchange rates. But we also know that just because the U.S. dollar is equivalent to 49 Philippine pesos, does not mean that an apple that sells for 50 cents in California will go for 24.50 pesos in Cebu.

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Eastwood City Wi-Fi Promo

12:20 am PHT

After leaving the office early today, I redeemed 3,000 pesos worth of receipts at the information booth of Eastwood City and got myself three hours of Airborne Access’ Wingspan pre-paid Wi-Fi cards. Eastwood was congratulating itself for being the first “city” to have full Wi-Fi coverage and it’s celebrating by having a promo in partnership with Airborne Access. Basically, every 1,000 pesos worth of receipts dated this January 2007 from any Eastwood City establishment nets you a free 1-hour Wi-Fi access!

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Super Escher

9:52 pm PHT

I have the lucky timing of being in Tokyo during the time a selection of M. C. Escher’s works were being displayed at an exhibit in Shibuya. The Dutch M. C. Escher has been one of my favorite artists, ever since I saw his work, Relativity, in a Childcraft volume from World Book Encyclopedia. If Relativity seems familiar, it’s because the concept has been used many times, the most notable reference for me being the climax scene in the movie, Labyrinth. In fact, Relativity can be seen hanging on the wall of the bedroom of Sarah, the movie’s lead character.

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Japan Travelogue (Part 3)

12:31 am PHT

It has been almost two weeks since I’ve been here in Tokyo. The weather has been mostly overcast, with isolated rain showers, and the temperature is slightly uncomfortable at 10–20°C. (The coolness is actually quite bearable, if it weren’t for the icy wind.) Right now autumn is catching up with about half the trees still in summer green and the other half in fashionable fall colors or winter nakedness.

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Raishuu Watashi wa Nihon e Ikimasu 2

12:23 am PHT

Well, what do you know. I’m going to Japan again. That’s the second time this year. I’m staying there for 4 weeks as well, same as last time. I’m actually looking forward to this trip, though I’m kinda put off by the cold temperature that’ll greet me (5 to 15 °C—colder than your normal aircon!) and that’s not even the coldest it can get in Tokyo. I’m just glad my trip’s not in the middle of January.

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Firefox 2, Woot!

9:01 pm PHT

Yay! Finally downloaded Firefox 2 last weekend. Among the new features, I like the inline spell-checking the best, something which Yuga has been raving about. And I agree. Whenever I write a blog entry, I use Google to verify words whose spelling I’m not sure of. Now it’s all in the browser. Sweet. (Tip: configure the layout.spellcheckDefault option to also enable spell checking in single-line input text boxes.)

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Sulit sa Airborne Access

8:06 am PHT

Wow. I was able to enjoy my 100-peso 1-hour Airborne Access Wingspan pre-paid Wi-Fi account for almost two hours. I don’t exactly know how, but it’s probably a temporary glitch on AA’s part, which may or may not be related to the PLDT DNS problem that Yuga blogged about and that my web hosting provider e-mailed their clients on (AA is connected with PLDT).

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Google Maps/Earth Updated Coverage

1:56 am PHT

Following-up on my previous post about the updated satellite imagery in Google Maps and Google Earth, below is version 2.0 of the Philippine hi-res coverage that I have shown before. The bright blue spots on the map below indicate the areas that have added high resolution satellite imagery. The red spots indicate the areas that already have hi-res photos.

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Cloudless Makati in Google Maps!

7:51 pm PHT

Hooray! Due to the most recent update (October 3) of Google Maps/Earth satellite imagery data, we now have a seamless, and more importantly, cloudless, satellite view of practically the whole Metro Manila!  =D Finally, the Central Business District of Makati is now shown in all its glory! For example, here’s PBCom Tower, the country’s tallest building.

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The Flash Drive that Blogging Won

12:23 pm PHT

I went to the first ever Philippine BlogCon 2006 last night at the National Sports Grill in Greenbelt 3 sponsored by Globe Innove. I finally got to meet some of the people behind the local blogs I read such as Abe Olandres and Markku Seguerra.

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Gapless Playback? Check!

11:51 pm PHT

Not even a half-year after I got my iPod nano, Apple introduced even yummier nanos last Tuesday. Thinner? Check. Twice more storage for the same price? Check. Twice the battery life? Check. More colors? Check. Scratch-resistant aluminum casing? Check. Brighter LCD screen? Check. And the oft-requested gapless playback feature? Check, check, check!

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Nokia -580

3:47 pm PHT

I bought myself a new cellphone early last June. Not because I want to, but because I needed one. You see, as I was trying to reconnect my 2-year old Nokia 6610 to the computer via the data cable, it suddenly conked out and started asking for a Restriction Code, which I have never heard before. So I rebooted the phone and it shows a “Contact Service” message that won’t go away. Gah. Looking it up, it seemed that it was a very bad thing.I suspected that the software got corrupted and so I brought the unit to Semicon at SM Southmall. That was a Saturday.

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Google Maps Now Has the Updated Satellite Imagery

8:26 am PHT

That was fast! Via Google Maps Mania I read that Google Maps now has the same new satellite imagery that I mentioned before. Wheee!

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Google Maps: Before; Google Earth: After

6:48 pm PHT

Since there’s a lead time between the introduction of new satellite imagery in Google Earth and its deployment to Google Maps, you can use the lead time to spot interesting before-and-after scenes. And we’re in the middle of such a lead time right now, due to the recent update in Google Earth.

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Google Earth Hi-Resolution Coverage

5:27 pm PHT

Well, sorry for the Google Earth-related posts but I’m just excited. Hehehe. Anyway, I explored the Philippines on Google Earth and compiled all the areas with high-resolution images into the image below. The red spots (they’re not exact) mark those areas.

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Kennon Road in Google Earth

11:42 am PHT

When I found out that Metro Manila, among other Philippine cities, have hi-res satellite imagery in Google Earth, I lamented the fact that I still don’t have broadband access since Google Earth works much much better on when you have fat data pipes. (See this thread over at SkyscaperCity (old dead link) for a whole bunch of Google Earth screenshots.)

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Broadly Banding

9:00 am PHT

It’s almost inevitable that I’ll be subscribing to some sort of broadband Internet connection someday but I’m holding on to my dial-up access like some old guy afraid of technology.

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Photoelectric Effect

6:41 am PHT

Can anybody guess how I did this photo below? I discovered this nice effect by accident.  =)

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Google Maps Updated Imagery

9:17 pm PHT

Yay! Due to a recent update of Google Maps’ data, satellite imagery is now at par with what Google Earth has. What does this mean? We now have hi-resolution imagery of five cities in Mindanao! We can now spy on Cagayan de Oro, Davao City, Cotabato City, Butuan City, and Bislig City. More playing grounds for my other blog.  =)

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What Do You Know? I Did Get An iPod

11:58 pm PHT

Remember when I said that I wouldn’t get an Apple iPod? Well, I changed my mind. I’m now a proud owner of a black Apple iPod Nano 4GB, which I bought in Akihabara for only ¥24800 (around 10,600 pesos). I can’t wait to turn my younger sister green with envy. Hehehe.

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Canon IXY Digital 800 IS

11:38 pm PHT

One nice thing about Japan is that they have unbelievably affordable consumer electronics here. And the Akihabara district in Tokyo is definitely the place to go to if you want digital cameras, portable media players, mobile games consoles, cellphones, and computer parts and accesories. In fact, most of the PSPs, digital cameras, MP3 players and 3G cellphones owned by people in my company were bought in Japan.

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My Baby Now Has a Sibling!

9:35 pm PHT

My almost one-year-old desktop PC now has a companion. Like I mentioned before, I got out and bought me a spanking new laptop, just in time for my Japan trip.  =)

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In the Market for a Notebook

10:20 pm PHT

I’m going to buy a notebook/laptop by the end of this month and I would like to solicit suggestions on what are the nice mobile computers out there. I’ve never owned a laptop before and so I don’t consider myself informed about the possible choices.

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Experimenting with Google Maps API

12:07 am PHT

I’ve added a beta Map page to my second blog, Tanawing Pinoy, (now named Vista Pinas). Like the original Google Sightseeing, I plan this page to be an interactive embedded map pointing to all or a subset of the featured sights from the blog.

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Tanawín ang Pilipinas

3:32 pm PHT

I’m proud to introduce to you Tanawing Pinoy, my weblog dedicated to highlighting Pinoy sights from Google Local. Well-versed web surfers will recognize that this blog is really just a localized Pinoy version of the popular Google Sightseeing blog.

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No Unlimited Text For Me

7:14 pm PHT

I’m so glad I don’t have any Sun unlimited account. I realized that I’d be pretty annoyed by the people who would send me inconsequential texts. For instance, a dormmate of my brother would send him on his Sun account essentially the same message in several texts. Then there are people who would forward stupid messages like in the early GSM days of Smart and Globe.

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Averaging Gradius

8:58 am PHT

If you’ve ever enjoyed playing Konami’s Gradius on the Nintendo Family Computer (a.k.a. NES, for those stateside) you need to see this interesting video, Averaging Gradius.

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No More Piso per Text to Singapore

12:01 pm PHT

Today is the last day of Globe’s CelebRATE Promo where you can call and text Singtel subscribers at rates as if they were on the Globe network.

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IP Paranoia

2:24 am PHT

There is this technology company, on the top 200 of both the Fortune Global 500 and the Forbes Global 2000, with revenues in the tens of billions of dollars, that recently decided to ban the use of all software licensed under the Apache License and IBM’s Common Public License.

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The Great TBL Has a Blog (and A Look Back In Time)

4:10 pm PHT

Tim Berners-Lee has a blog! If you don’t know who he is, then you either probably haven’t read Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons, or you haven’t carefully read Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons. For the still clueless, he’s the reason you’re reading this blog entry now; he’s the inventor of the World Wide Web.

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Cell Tracking

6:46 am PHT

Recently tried out Globe’s Family/Friend tracker service, which they newly promoted. The locations it gives me were, while technically correct, can be misleading. I wouldn’t have tried the service if it weren’t for my mom who asked to enroll me so she can supposedly track me.

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Megacities and Time

11:26 pm PHT

I just watched the majority of two episodes of National Geographic’s Megacities Week, which explores the underlying vital infrastructure that powers or protects eight cities in the world. The two episodes I caught dealt with the power and electricity demands of Las Vegas in the United States, and the defense systems and engineering safety that built Mexico City in the wake of the devastating 1985 earthquake.

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9:51 pm PHT

Hay. Malas naman talaga o. I went home last night, turned on my PC, and wondered why it wouldn’t detect my new S-ATA hard disk and why there was some weird clicking noises when I boot the PC up. It seemed that the hard disk crashed. The brand-spanking-new hard disk. The 5-year Seagate warranty sticker on the hard disk mocks me.

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I Can See My Church From Here!

2:48 pm PHT

In a reference to the oft-mentioned phrase, “I can see my house from here!” I’d like to show you the Google Maps Satellite view of the Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Philamlife Village, where my family goes to mass every Sunday. (See also my earlier post on Google Maps Satellite view).

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iShuffling and iTuning

11:05 pm PHT

My dad got lucky and won a 512-MB iPod shuffle in a raffle. Naturally, my younger sister went agog over it and protested when my dad announced that he’s giving it as a present to my mom. Even my younger brother and older sister were quite excited as well. In the end, my siblings got what they wanted and now they share it among themselves.

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How to Make Applications Work in Windows XP Limited User Accounts

9:03 pm PHT

Here’s something I’ve learned when I was using my new PC. I’m writing this down so that other people might benefit.

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I’ve Got a New Baby!

12:03 pm PHT

I can’t think of a clever and witty rejoinder to that title so I’ll go straight to the point and announce that I bought myself a new computer! I’ve been meaning to buy one for a very long time since my 5-year-old AMD K6–2 500 MHz PC with its 64 MB of SDRAM and running Microsoft Windows 98 SE is now inadequate for my computing needs.

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Hotkey Goodness

10:59 pm PHT

I’ve owned my Nokia 6610 for almost a year now, but I only discovered two of its nice hotkey features only recently. You’re welcome to skip this post if you’re not interested in techie minutiae. (I’m a self-confessed geek. So sue me.)

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No iPod for Me

11:33 pm PHT

If ever I would buy my own portable music player, it definitely won’t be an Apple iPod no matter how cool it is. That doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t appreciate someone giving me an iPod as a present—I would be thrilled to receive one—but I wouldn’t buy it with my hard-earned money.

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Firefox, Woot!

10:54 pm PHT

Yay! Firefox 1.0 has landed. My browser of choice for the past two years has finally come of age. And, my God! The installer is only 4.7 MB! I remember downloading Phoenix (the browser’s first incarnation) at almost 7 MB and thought it was small. Now they managed to bring it down to a comfortable 4.7 MB; it’s almost as fast as downloading an MP3 song.  :)

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10:33 pm PHT

Celestia is definitely one of the best open-source software that I have ever tried. I followed the link to this software via Dave. Celestia is a 3D-based simulation of outer space. You can explore the solar system, go to the nearest stars, and see in three dimensions the arrangement of the Local Group of Galaxies (which includes the Milky Way, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, and the Andromeda Galaxy).

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Gmail, Woot!

2:34 am PHT

I’ve actually had a Gmail account for about ten days now. But it is only now that I’ve tried to really play with it. I’m impressed. Now I understand why people have been raving that it feels very much like a desktop application. The response is quite fast, even on the dial-up connection I’m using.

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Nokia +460

10:30 pm PHT

Last Tuesday, I bought myself a new Nokia 6610. It’s a great cellphone. It’s features include a 128×128 4,096 colored screen, tri-band capability, Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), downloadable Java™ applications, polyphonic ringing tones, integrated stereo FM radio, and WAP 1.2.1 over GPRS. Best of all, it has all these features, without an integrated camera!

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