Category: Web Development

Rhombic Triacontahedron

5:02 pm PHT

I’ve mentioned in passing here on this blog that my favorite number is the golden ratio. If you know me, this should not be surprising at all. Two of my favorite school subjects are math and art after all, and aside from fractals (which I also really love), the golden ratio is a concept that straddles both fields, having numerous interesting mathematical properties and being used as an aesthetically pleasing proportion in the arts and architecture. I’m quite sure that I am far from alone in having the golden ratio as their favorite number.

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Three-Month Essay

10:30 am PHT

Unless you didn’t pay attention, you should know by now that I left my 12-year job at Canon and started working for Cadasta since March. The update of my profile on Facebook and LinkedIn should have made that abundantly clear. And it should also be obvious that this career shift was what I alluded to in my post last year, though I didn’t expect back then that I would eventually end up where I am now.

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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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mod_gzip, mod_include, and mod_rewrite Don’t Mix

5:28 pm PHT

The Apache web server modules mod_gzip (or mod_deflate), mod_rewrite, and mod_include apparently don’t interact very well. Specifically, mod_gzip returns to the web browser an incorrectly compressed file when that file is constructed using includes (via mod_include) with virtual URLs rewritten using mod_rewrite. The apparent workaround is to avoid rewriting include URLs or to disable mod_gzip.

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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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The 4th Form Function & Class Mini Web Design Conference

2:45 am PHT

Following up on the third Form Function & Class Mini Web Design Conference held last March, the fourth one happened on March 18 at the G2VC Techbar in Ortigas (where the first and second were held). I must say that the talks this time were quite fun. While Rico’s WordPress theme-making presentation was enlightening, Marco’s Photoshop tips were great, and Rene’s talk about assistive web technologies was educational, my two most favorite talks of that night were Ely’s talk on Branding Design and Luis’ discourse on “Finding Your Soulmate”.

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The 3rd Form Function & Class Mini Web Design Conference

11:48 pm PHT

I posted before that I went to the first Form Function & Class mini-conference last October 30. This was organized by the fledging Philippine Web Designers Organization and they have a whole series of such mini-conferences. I wasn’t able to attend the November mini-conference and so I resolved to attend the January 22 event and to muster enough courage to actually give a talk (and I indicated so at the sign-up sheet, though I had no topic at hand then). Unfortunately, one week before the mini-conference, I still had no topic. After wracking my brain, I settled on giving an introduction to Textpattern, the content management system (CMS) that I’ve used on Vista Pinas and Blogenyo.

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Google DevFest Manila 2008

5:33 pm PHT

Thanks again to Andrew, I got to attend another Google event for developers (the last one was the TechTalk last year) and this is the first ever Google DevFest Manila, which was held last November 7 at the CSWCD Auditorium in U.P. Diliman. Unlike last year’s event which was mostly a short meet-and-greet and roadshow affair with two Filipino American Google engineers from Mountain View, last month’s DevFest was a really long conference where plenty of Google engineers came not only to talk about various APIs of Google, but also to give demonstrations as well. Developer attendees were encouraged to bring along their laptops as well and to try out the demos for themselves via the intermittent free Wi-Fi from both Globe and Smart. (I actually came armed with two ASUS notebooks: my old A6500R laptop and my Eee 701 netbook.)  :-D

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The Form Function & Class Mini-Conference

5:41 pm PHT

Thanks to a videoconference I had to attend at work, I arrived at the G2VC Tech Bar just in time to hear Marco Palinar speak about Building Successful User Interfaces, the last presentation at the Form Function & Class Mini-Conference, which was held last October 30. I think it’s OK that I missed the first five presentations, since the slides for all of them can be downloaded and, except for the RP laws on Web accessibility, I’m quite familiar with the topics discussed since I try to keep up with the latest in Web design.

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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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Me, a Top Problogger?

7:38 am PHT

Well, that’s according to Michael of Basapa. He has compiled this year’s list of Top Pinoy Probloggers based on TLA’s Blog Juice Calculator and as a follow-up to last year’s list. It’s not surprising that Abe is at #1 but I’m surprised that I ended up at a very high #5 with my HBJ (Highest Blog Juice) score of 4.8 and TBJ (Total Blog Juice) score of 6.9.

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Google TechTalk

1:39 am PHT

Thanks to Andrew I was able to snag a slot at the recently held Google TechTalk, which was held in Makati last Monday, November 19. This event was organized by Philippine Google Country Consultant Aileen Apolo. Two Filipino American Googlers from the Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA, Jay Aguilar and Franklin Naval, visited the country to promote awareness about some of the tools and resources Google has made available for developers.

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Vista Pinas is Ratified within the Top 100

12:00 am PHT

Andrew finally updated yesterday the PageRank data of the blogs in after the PageRank kerfuffle three weeks ago. Go check it out!

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PageRank Updates for My Sites

11:11 am PHT

After the Google Toolbar PageRank kerfuffle last week in which a lot of high-profile sites and blogs got demoted a rank or two, it seems everything is back to normal and the ranks are back to what is mostly expected by people. The mass-demotion last week was the talk of the international blogosphere and whether the temporary drop was just an update glitch or a slap on the wrist by Google to the sites that game the PageRank system (PR) is still a question to be answered since Google is keeping mum. A lot of theories are being thrown around and the mainstream conclusion is that the visible PageRank value (i.e., the Toolbar PageRank number) should not used as a sole criterion for a website’s worth. This whole brouhaha is quite a big thing since there is quite a big Internet sub-economy built around the concept of PR (with sites like Text Link Ads and Pay Per Post).

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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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My Google Search Positions

7:26 pm PHT

I was idly looking through my blog’s stats in Google Webmaster Tools and came upon this list of top search queries that led to my site:

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Google Maps Now Made Even More Shareable

11:02 am PHT

It was inevitable that Google has now made Google Maps much more shareable. It’s now as easy to post your very own pannable and zoomable Google Maps in your blogs and websites as you do with YouTube videos. Just browse Google Maps as usual, find the location you want to showcase, add markers via the “My Maps” tab, and then click on “Link to this page” link beside the upper-right corner of the map. Copy the contents of the second textbox and paste it to your blog or website. It’s that easy! You can find more information and examples at the Google Lat-Long Blog.

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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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The Making of Lakbayan (Part 1)

3:41 pm PHT

As promised, here’s the follow-up post for those interested in the technical and behind the scenes details of Lakbayan. This goes out especially to all those people who have been asking me how I implemented the grading system.

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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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Feed Me!

5:15 pm PHT

Yay! I finally upgraded the feed features of this blog.  :D I’m not sure why I put it off for so long but I’ve now made it easier for everyone to subscribe to this blog in your favorite feed reader or aggregator. (If you don’t know what an aggregator is, it’s a software or web service that let’s you subscribe to blogs and news sites and be informed of new or updated entries without having to visit the actual website.) Some popular online aggregators are Google Reader and Bloglines, and for desktop applications, nothing supposedly beats NetNewsWire for the Macintosh. Mozilla Firefox’s own Live Bookmarks feature is a rudimentary aggregator.

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Small-scale Measures to Combat Comment Spam

12:35 am PHT

You might or might not know that I created the blogging software that runs vaes9 by myself. I have my particular reasons why I decided to have complete control over the application layer of my blog instead of opting for the popular blogging systems like WordPress or Movable Type. One particular advantage is the ability to customize and tweak my blog in any way I want. A disadvantage is that it takes a lot more effort to add functionalities that other blogging platforms easily get through plug-ins.

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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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Snap Out Of It!

10:38 pm PHT

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

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No Deal!

7:00 pm PHT

If you remember this previous post, then you should know that I like creating simple computer games in the office. The latest game I did is an adaptation of the primetime ABS-CBN game show Kapamilya, Deal or No Deal, minus the overly enthusiastic commercial endorser/host.

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U.P. Diliman Google Maps Mashup

3:46 pm PHT

I believe I have created the first Philippine-related Google Maps mashup that is more than just placing points on a map. I remembered recently that I have scanned before an aerial photography plate of the University of the Philippines, Diliman area from the early 90s. (These plates are used by U.P. Geodetic Engineering students in their courses.) So last night, I had this brilliant idea to create a custom map in Google Maps with the aerial photography as a new map type. So now I’m proud to present my University of the Philippines, Diliman Map Mashup located at my dormant U.P. community site (which I plan on reviving soon). Please select the “Aerial” map type to view the “new” imagery.

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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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A New Year, A New Home

4:18 pm PHT

If everything works as expected, you should now be seeing this blog in its new URL, Like I mentioned before, I planned to migrate this blog to its proper home instead of squatting on some other domain.

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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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Ideas for Websites and Web Features

12:15 pm PHT

Here are some ideas for websites or web features that I’ve been thinking about lately. I might probably implement some of them, but it’d be better if there were already ideas like these out in the wild already.

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Apostrophes and Google Don’t Mix

8:23 pm PHT

If you’ve ever tried phrase searching in Google then try this query: "ever trust the 8-bit representations"

Got one result? It should lead you to an A List Apart article entitled “The Trouble With EM ’n EN.” Notice that the highlighted phrase search in the results page has the word “don’t” in front of it. So if we add that word to the phrase in the search query, we should get the same result, right?

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7:01 pm PHT

Just a quickie post. I suddenly realized something about the word “dreamweaver” that I never saw before. I encountered the word through two very different ways and only realized just now that they were the same word.

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Syzygy Commenting

11:38 am PHT

Syzygy, my custom-built weblogging software, has been updated to add new commenting functionality.

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Public Comments are now Open

5:25 am PHT

I’m now somewhat finished with the second phase of developing my weblog software, codenamed Syzygy (there is really such a word). What I’ve added is the ability for readers to add their comments to the page publicly. Before, you could send comments, but only to me. Now you, my dear readers, can have the option of leaving your comments for the world to read and react upon, or you can send me your comments privately.

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Give Me Feedback!

2:51 am PHT

You know the feeling that you’re talking about a million things and then you realize that nobody’s listening? Sometimes I feel like that when writing on this blog. Oh I know people read this blog, but it’s kinda maddening not to hear any reactions, comments, feedback, and unsolicited love advice.

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Lucida Sans Italic

10:51 am PHT

That font is the culprit that’s been bugging my blog. I’m using Lucida Sans as my blog’s default HTML body font. Verdana, while more widely available, has become too common on the web, so I wanted another widely available font that’s not Verdana nor Arial. That’s how I settled on Lucida Sans.

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Are You Still Using IE?

12:28 am PHT

From the Web Standards Project comes the newest web campaign, Browse Happy. It shows all the neat alternatives to the dominant Microsoft Internet Explorer browser and the stories from people who have made the switch.

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7:14 pm PHT

As may be noticed by the extremely small readership of this blog, I’ve redesigned. The new style is called Airlight because, obviously, I wanted it to feel light and airy (maaliwalas, my sister has commented). The previous style, which I now call Columnar, looked too conventional for me. It looked good and all but it was missing some personality—it looked too much like many of the other blogs out there.

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Marking Up Taglish

10:24 am PHT

One unique problem with having a weblog when you’re bilingual is that it’s a bit hard to mark up your multi-language text semantically correctly.

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First Time Mo?

9:51 pm PHT

So I finally have a blog. Just like most pseudo-losers, I’ve decided to join all the cool people and jump on the bandwagon, adding my voice to the cacophony that is the blogosphere. It would be an interesting experience maintaining a blog as I never really had a journal or a diary nor even written a regular column in any periodical.

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