Perfectly timed death

In crime news reports, you’d hear or read victims being brought to hospitals and declared “dead on arrival.” It seem such a perfectly timed death – victims dying on arrival.

Of course, what is meant by the phrase is that they were declared dead by doctors when their bodies were brought to the hospital.

“Dead on arrival or DOA is a notation that a patient was brought to a hospital and immediately pronounced dead by a physician. The term arises because first responders such as emergency medical technicians (a.k.a. paramedics or ambulance drivers) do not have the authority to pronounce a patient dead (in the U.S. at least), and they are obliged, in the absence of a do not resuscitate order, to attempt resuscitation if there is any possibility of life and to continue resuscitation until the patient has been examined by a physician, which usually occurs only after the patient has been brought to a hospital.”


Coming soon: NerdTV

PBS will start NerdTV, its first downloadable series, on Sept. 6. The series will be broadcast exclusively over the Internet. Not only is PBS allowing downloads of the series, it is encouraging people to “copy the shows, share them with friends and even post them on their own Web sites – all legally.”

NerdTV ( will feature columnist Robert X. Cringely’s interviews with personalities in the tech industry. PBS said the “viewers will be able to choose which content or format they download to their computer: MP4 video of the whole program, MP4 video of the “juicy” excerpt (for a more general audience wanting just a nugget) and MP4 video of the “nerdy” excerpt (for a more technical audience wanting just a nugget).” The site will also offer audio-only versions of the series in AAC, MP3 and ogg vorbis formats.

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New theme

Yesterday, I changed my site’s template from Jakarta to the 3-column version of Relaxation. Jakarta has great graphics but it was too heavy on the eyes. Relaxation lives up to its name. It’s the theme used by pundit Manuel L. Quezon III in his must-read blog.

Using Jalenack’s Ajax shoutbox made the integration of the tag board easier. The shoutbox easily fit the layout and I didn’t have to do anything save for unchecking the use textarea option.

What’s your football pedigree?

I’m an Askal – an asong kalye. Philippine football fans, according to this Sun.Star Cebu report by my brother, want the national team named after the ubiquitous street dog.

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I think it’s a great idea and a great logo (rendered by sports writer Glenn Michelena based on a sketch by retired goalkeeper and Sun.Star Cebu copy chief Noel Villaflor).

Philippine football, like the askal, doesn’t have pedigree and is impoverished for lack of support. The askal, however, is a survivor – a trait RP football would do well to emulate. Based on its last Tiger Cup outing, RP football is improving. There is guarded hope it may be able to win a medal in the SEA games.

But what to call the fans? Some say RP football fans can be Irbogs for irong buang or rabid dogs. Now that’s a name that would do a football hooligan proud.

So you want to live in Lapu-Lapu City?

Don’t. Our less-than-a-year-old TV set conked out last week after a power surge. The service of Mactan Electric Company (MECO, which at times may mean mediocre electric company) has become more erratic than it already is lately.

To be fair, Meco’s services have improved, albeit incrementally. Last year, whenever rains were particularly strong – the type when raindrops hitting your face actually hurt – you can expect a blackout to follow. This year, though, there are times when we still have power even during exceptionally heavy rains.

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Blogging, not blogging

I haven’t been able to post entries lately. Events in Manila are getting in the way. I’m posting entries at Sun.Star’s Citizen Watch: The Arroyo Presidency. For the first time, I was able to publish a story of an ongoing press conference before it had even finished. I was prepared to do rewrites if the story changed substantially after I posted the article. It didn’t so I left it as is since a more comprehensive article would be coming from the news wires or the different Sun.Star branches.

There’s something about Imee

The drone of politicians’ voices in the TV set near my work station was interrupted Friday night by the grating voice of Ilocos Norte Rep. Imee Marcos answering a GMA 7 reporter’s question on who she thinks should lead the country.

Imee, acting like a teenager being asked to divulge which F4 member she had the biggest crush on, said “Swanie.” My high school clique would have described the way she answered the question as “pa-demure.” Imee later said she was “Susan-powered.”

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Turning a discarded PC into a newsroom intranet server

(Note: This is version .5 of the article. I estimate five more rewrites to finalize this.)

The newsroom recently upgraded computers used by its reporters. The computers, with clock speeds ranging from 166 Mhz to 500 MHZ, were early generation Pentiums and were primarily used for word processing.

I told our editor-in-chief I wanted to try to build a newsroom intranet that would host an online version of our Sun.Star Style guide and a searchable index of contact details of news sources. I then asked the newsroom IT in-charge to clean up a 400 Mhz unit and add RAM to it.

The newsroom already had an intranet — a search interface to our archives. It was set up by the company’s IT department. I wanted to try to install a more integrated one – a portal to documents and data that reporters and editors need. I’ve long been searching for a ready-to-deploy newsroom intranet script but I haven’t found one. What I’ve found, however, are open source scripts that could be used to handle certain data that a newsroom needs.

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In Chile they call it davilar

A Taiwan stock trader, according to a Reuters report posted in, “mistakenly bought $251 million worth of shares with a misstroke of her computer keyboard.”

The report said the company is looking at a paper loss of more than $12 million. The report said “the trader was unfamiliar with new computer systems and will be fired.”

The act might dislodge davilar (a verb) from the vocabulary of stock trades gone bad – really bad.

In 1994, Jan Pablo Davila of Chile, a former employee of the state-owned Codelco Company, was reported to have sent “buy” instructions through his computer when he meant “sell.”

According to this entry in Wikipedia: “He subsequently attempted to recoup his losses by making increasingly unprofitable trades that ultimately lost 0.5 percent of Chile’s gross national product. Davila’s relentless achievement inspired his countrymen to coin a new verb, ” davilar,” meaning “to botch things up royally.”

CFJ offers fellowships for working journalists

Here’s an announcement from Konrad Adenauer Center for Journalism at the Ateneo de Manila University. I’m currently taking its Diploma Program on Online Journalism.

MANILA, June 25 – Fellowship grants will be awarded by the Konrad Adenauer Center for Journalism at the Ateneo de Manila University (CFJ) to working journalists interested in pursuing the Master’s degree in Journalism in the second semester of the current school year, which begins in November.

The CFJ fellowships for the master’s degree support the graduate studies of outstanding seasoned journalists as well as young journalists who have the potentials to do excellent work and contribute to the practice of good journalism in their communities. A grant covers full tuition and costs of travel, accommodation, and books, among others.

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