The I-pod of reading

Slate editor Jacob Weisberg, according to this story, is optimistic on the future of online magazines. “He predicts a dedicated device will be created within the next several years that will be used for reading electronic-based editorial content.”

“We’re waiting for the iPod of reading. Someone’s going to invent it. And when that happens that’s going to be a huge advantage to us,” Weisberg told This Is Not A Blog, a webzine produced by the Digital Journalism class of New York University.

I don’t know about the chances of a “dedicated device” for reading maybe there’s a better chance for bigger screen music players or next generation PDAs (with music players) with better support for PDF and not those proprietary e-book formats.

Another interesting point in the story is that Slate editors “learned early on that most people don’t like reading long articles online. If a story requires more than 1,000 words, it is usually broken into installments.” Read the full article here.

Rep. Martinez faces charges over funds release

Rep. Clavel Asas-Martinez, one of the proponents of the plan to split Cebu into smaller provinces, is facing charges over disbursements in development assistance funds.

Here’s part of Sun.Star Cebu’s story on the issue:

Where is the P26.5-million in development assistance funds that Rep. Clavel Asas-Martinez allegedly diverted to a personal bank account by using as conduit the Girl Scouts of the Philippines (GSP) Cebu Council?

The anti-graft office wants to find out because, as far as their investigation is concerned, Martinez still has the money, released in three separate dates, after depositing it into her bank account on June 14, 2002, Sept. 19, 2002 and Sept. 23, 2003.

Read the rest of the story in Sun.Star Cebu.

Still with Friendster, Multiply or Blogger? Get an blog

I’ve been offering to help officemates who wanted to start their own personal websites. A couple are already blogging using either Friendster or Multiply. While Friendster is backed by an excellent blogging platform – TypePad from MoveableType – the address it offers its users is so long you can’t recite it in one breath.

Superbalita reporter Joseph Tubilan was the first to approach me for help. I helped him open an account with Blogsome but he wanted more customization with the WordPress theme and I couldn’t find a way to FTP theme files to his Blogsome account.

I told him to open a PHP/MySQL account with He opened one and I installed WordPress for him. 100Webspace, however, displays its banner ads on top of your pages and it sometimes gets in the way of the blog design.

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Journalism experiment and recovering from a ZiddlyWiki disaster

I was asked to write a special report on a topic I can’t disclose yet. I’ve already sent preliminary e-mails to people I would be interviewing. I had planned to do all my note-taking using ZiddlyWiki. While finalizing my notes it occurred to me: why not give the people I would be interviewing read-only access to my wiki? After all, the topic I’m writing about isn’t controversial – where people might try to influence you on how your draft article is shaping up.

I immediately set up a new wiki for the notes. I had previously hosted my notes in my main wiki. ZiddlyWiki allows you to easily create multiple wikis, you just had to copy the index_html file and place it where you want the new wiki to be hosted.

I created a new sub-folder and placed the index_html file there. I, however, forgot to create a tiddlers folder in the new subdirectory. Because of this, the subdirectory was using the tiddlers of my main wiki and when I started deleting notes not related to the article – I also deleted these notes from my main wiki. The disaster would have been complete had I not saved a copy of my main wiki in another sub-folder. I was able to partly reconstruct my main wiki using data saved in the abandoned sub-folder.

Great Firefox plugin for blog template users

I found Aardvark through The product is a free Firefox plugin that allows you to check elements of a webpage and how it is constructed. It is particularly useful for non-geeks like me who want to customize templates of blog content management systems like WordPress or Serendipity.

Aardvark allows you to check parts of a site and see which HTML or CSS element controls its presentation. If you place your mouse pointer over a part of a page, the block will be highlighted an a text below the block will indicate which element it is.

With the tool, you’d know which part of your style sheet to edit if you want to change a part of your CMS-backed blog.

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Tikasana nimo uy, mura man kag si Gloria

That’s the ad lib of my favorite Filipino singer Gary Granada (at least it sounds like him – there are a lot of voices in the song but his distinctive Bisaya accent comes through) in the “Values Education” song available for free download at the PCIJ blog.

In Cebuano, it’s “You’re such a cheat, you’re like Gloria.” I think there’s a better usage for Gloria. In Cebu, we say people are “pa Gorio Gorio” when you talk to them on an issue you are sure they know about and yet they pretend not to have a clue. Will that expression change to “pa Gloria Gloria?”

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Gary Granada is, in my opinion, the country’s best songwriter. I used to have tapes of most of his albums (remember cassette tapes?) and even a recording of one of his concerts in UP Diliman but these were borrowed and never returned while some got lost in my frequent transfers of boarding houses.

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Why open source makes sense for non-geeks like me

If you hold a gun to my head demanding that I write a PHP code to print “Hello World” without searching the web for hints, I’d be dead in a minute. I do not know how to program – in any computer language. If the technology world were J.K. Rowling’s universe, I’d be a squib.

And yet I was able to install and deploy various content management systems for my Cybercafe experiments, personal sites as well as sites of my friends. I was also able to deploy an online classroom for participants of both my and my wife’s lectures as well as classes under Newsletter Solutions. I was also able to deploy a newsroom intranet system (using a discarded PC) with a portal, an online news style guide and a searchable database of new sources.

I was able to do all that because I use open source scripts.

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Firefox 1.5 beta 1 out

The first beta release of the next major Firefox update is now out. The beta release “is aimed at testers, extension/theme authors and Web developers.”

Mozilla says the final release of Firefox 1.5 is scheduled for later this year. Firefox 1.5 Beta 2 is scheduled for release on Oct. 5 and the first release candidate is expected on Oct. 28. If you want to try the new beta release and help provide developers user feedback, you can download the release at the Firefox project page.

Here are the browser’s new features as listed in the Mozilla site:

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NerdTV episode 1: Andy Hertzfeld

NerdTV, the weekly online TV show of tech journalist Bob Cringely at, opened its 13-episode series with an interview of Andy Hertzfeld, described by Cringely as the first Macintosh programmer. If you’re as fascinated as I am with the geeks who drive technological innovation, you should download the show. The show is available as an mpeg 4 video file as well as in various audio formats.

One part of the interview that I particularly enjoyed was when Hertzfeld talked about what happened after the airing of “Triumph of the Nerds,” another Cringely documentary. I saw the documentary as part of Chin Wong’s Reporting on IT course of the Konrad Adenauer Center for Journalism.

In that documentary, Steve Jobs said “The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste, they have absolutely no taste, and what that means is – I don’t mean that in a small way I mean that in a big way. In the sense that they they don’t think of original ideas and they don’t bring much culture into their product.”

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New Firefox version – any day now

Firefox’s next version is due for release any day now. I’m trying out the release candidate. The release candidate looks good. The new release promises security enhancements, improvement to blocking of pop-up ads and even faster web navigation “with improvements to back and forward button performance.”

Another cool new feature is the ability to drag and drop tabs to reorder the sites opened in your browser. I find this useful because it now allows me to reorder tabs so that related sites are tabbed side by side. I open a lot of sites at the same time and my tabs tend to get too crowded. This ability to reorder tabs offers me a way to organize my browsing.

The problem with new versions is that the extensions take time to be updated. And the theme that I love – Brushed – still isn’t compatible. Maybe these would be updated in time for the actual beta release.