Posting with Flock

Finally, after weeks of waiting, I have now downloaded Flock. I just came from the PCIJ conference on Journalists as Bloggers in Manila where I finally got to meet Jovie Francisco, John Nery, Yvonne Chua, Ma’am Sheila Coronel, Sir Caloy Conde, JV Rufino of Inq7.net and of course Abe Olandres.I also got to meet again Alecks Pabico, my classmate during the Konrad Adenauer training for trainors back in 1997. I learned a lot from the conference and I’ll be posting entries about it later – I just have to finish tasks that have been put on hold when I went to Manila. I had an interesting talk with Ariel of PPI.

In the capital, desperate to try out Flock

I just arrived in Manila and I’m desperate for an Internet connection — I want to download Flock and see what all the buzz is about. I got the email on the expanded beta downloads this morning and I had to fight the urge to immediately download the software and try it out. I knew that had I downloaded Flock, I risked missing my flight to the capital. From the screenshots released by developers, Flock promises to be a great tool for bloggers. Tomorrow, PCIJ is hosting a conference on blogging for mainstream journalists. (Darn, who designs keyboards with power off keys near the delete tab: I used to have this keyboard in the office but I took the power button out with a screwdriver. I can’t do it here: the Internet cafe owner will kill me.)

Off to Manila for PCIJ blogging summit

I’ll be going to Manila on Friday to attend PCIJ‘s blogging conference for mainstream journalists on Saturday. Abe Olandres will be doing a technical session late in the afternoon. I plan to attend all sessions but I’m worried about missing my 6 p.m. flight back to Cebu.

On Oct. 25, Sun.Star will be launching its blogs at the Atrium (in front of Krua Thai) in SM City Cebu during a One Internet Day event organized by Janette Toral. The launching of the blogs is scheduled for 1:30 to 2:30. Cebu bloggers who wish to attend the event, please leave me a note so that I can list you as confirmed attendees. Slots are limited to 50. Bisaya Bloggers, see you there.

Usability guru publishes top ten design mistakes for blogs

Jakob Nielsen has released his top ten design mistakes for blogs. Nielsen said that while his usability guidelines for websites also apply to weblogs, blogs are a special website genre, “they have unique characteristics and thus distinct usability problems.”

The author information you see on the right, the highlights tab listing some of my most read articles and the author photo I will be posting in my profiles page were included after reading Nielsen’s guidelines. To check out his top ten design mistakes for blogs, click on this link.

PocketMod “Sony” edition

I love paper planners, especially PocketMod. I used to have stacks of index cards that serve as hipster PDA but when I found PocketMod, I stuck with it. PocketMod is a flash application that allows you to customize a letter printout that you can fold into a multi-page planner.

I use PocketMod to take notes whenever I’m offline. I’d then enter these notes into my ZiddlyWiki and the tasks list into RememberTheMilk (previously it was BackPackIt). To prepare for two presentations I’d be giving in the coming days, I printed a new PocketMod with several story boards to serve as scratch pad for my presentations.

The problem with PocketMods is that these get crumpled in less than a day. I looked for a blank diskette case to serve as container but found a better one: a case for a blank Sony cassette tape used in one of the radio monitors in the newsroom. The Sony cassette tape case was a perfect fit, you just had to remove the two protruding things that keep the tape in place (I used long-nosed pliers). It even has room for a small pencil.

Pocketmod Pocketmod
Check out the story boards of PocketMod: these are great for planning slide presentations.

Planning a lifehack: quitting cigarettes

Every year doctors would ask me during our company’s physical exam sked whether I smoked. I’d say yes and the doctor would then ask how many sticks I smoked everyday and then I’d say 20 sticks or one pack. Last week, the doctor actually told me “gusto kang malata imong lungs?” (do you want your lungs to rot? or something.) I was so shocked by the mental image that I just had to take a puff in the canteen. Every year I’d say I’ll quit smoking when I reach 30. That self-imposed target and convenient excuse is just months away. Darn, I really need to quit smoking. First target: limit cigarette breaks from the newsroom by sucking lollipops or chewing bubble gum.

Another to-do list

I’ve been trying out RememberTheMilk.com‘s services since Thursday. At first use, I had difficulty entering tasks in my list (this is because I have been used to the interface at www.backpackit.com and I always proceed to using a new service I spot before reading its help pages or FAQ).

But after a day of using RememberTheMilk.com and a cursory reading of its help pages, I was able to quickly transfer my tasks lists to its services. The site’s interface is simple and clean. Unlike in BackPackIt where you can organize different tasks groups as pages that are then listed in the sidebar, RememberTheMilk.com organizes tasks groups into tabs. This, for me, is better.

Remember the milk
RememberTheMilk’s simple and clean interface

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Rolling out my own “Friendster” service

When I found the link to Ning.com, I was intrigued. The company, co-founded by Gina Bianchini and Marc Andreessen, bills itself as a “playground” for building social applications. I immediately applied for an account and requested for beta developer status.

Only beta developers can clone applications. It took me a few days to be given the beta developer account but when I got the e-mail yesterday, I immediately started playing with Ning.com’s services. The first application I cloned was for social networking ala Friendster or FaceBook.

I initially cloned the Bulldogster application to serve as the online storage of profiles of Bisaya Bloggers group members. But I found going through the codes and changing the fields tedious – I was really impatient, I went over the codes for less than five minutes and then gave up. I’d repeatedly miss references to pets or animals in several files. I found that after I’ve set things up – the profile editing field would ask members their breed or favorite park.

I decided to just clone the dating application. The service is now up, it’s at bisayabloggers.ning.com. I’m thinking of cloning the bookmarking application next.

The future of newspapers

The Washington Post recently interviewed Russ Wilcox, the chief executive of E Ink Corp., a company that “has created a paper-thin video screen that combines the ease of reading words on paper with the Internet’s access to information.”

Wilcox told the Post that we’ll see by 2015 the introduction of newspapers similar to that depicted in the movie “Minority Report”: paper thin video screens that can be folded or rolled. Wilcox says newspapers would be buying these gadgets in bulk and hand these out to readers.

Wilcox told the Post in the interview published Oct. 12: “It’s going to be free and the reason is that newspapers are spending $150 per year per reader on making the paper. (Figuring in cost of newsprint.) Within 2 or 3 years you’ve built up $300 to $500 of budget per reader so you can give it away for free because the device itself will cost less than $300.”

The technology, however, may be available even earlier.

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