Photo gallery fixed

I’ve been using the FAlbum WordPress plugin to display my Flickr photos in this site since last year. But for a couple of months, some of my Flickr pictures won’t load in this site. I tried fresh installs and waded through both the plugin’s forum and the WordPress support site but I still could not find anything I could use to fix the error.

I visited the plugin’s site last week and found that the author released a new version. I also found that the plugin I’m using was already two version late from the latest one. I re-installed FAlbum and when I checked this site, I found that the photos page was again working.

If you’re upgrading, please change your falbum-wp.php file. Before I changed mine, I encountered a bunch of errors when I clicked on the photo gallery. I fixed it by editing the file using the instructions here.

Having a smashing time

I haven’t been able to post in this blog lately nor visit my usual online haunts and my “later” to-do list has doubled these past several days. The reason: an office table tennis tournament.
Ever since the office put up a new table in preparation for last year’s Cebu tri-media tournament, more and more Sun.Star people have been playing table tennis. I’ve taken up the sport I learned in high school drinking sessions and have been enjoying it. It’s not football but the exercise helps. I’ve been meaning to take up football again after reading one of those press freedom week features that showed most desk editors in Cebu die of heart ailments.

And as with anything I do, I take to the Web for tips. I found these helpful table tennis tips videos from About.com. The videos helped me unlearn the bad habits in playing the game that I took up when I learned it under the influence of alcohol.

Listing of top Philippine news sites

The government-owned Philippine News Agency listed yesterday the top mainstream Philippine news websites based on Netcraft ranking. The data is taken from browsing habits of users of the Netcraft toolbar. I don’t know how big and representative that user base is.

I also don’t know how PNA compiled the list, I tried looking for a listing of the top Philippine sites in Netcraft but couldn’t find one. There’s a listing of the most visited websites with site rank scores but this isn’t grouped by countries and there isn’t even a link to succeeding pages. You can also get the site ranking when you do a web server query in Netcraft. I don’t know if you can access the list if you have the Netcraft toolbar, which I don’t (I hate toolbars-except for the web developer toolbar for Firefox).
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MediaShift goes live

Update your blogrolls and RSS feed readers, PBS MediaShift is now live. The blog is run by journalist Mark Glaser, who previously wrote a column for Online Journalism Review of the USC Annenberg School of Communication. He also writes the OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association.

MediaShift “is a weblog that will track how digital media technologies and techniques such as weblogs, RSS, podcasting, citizen journalism, wikis, news aggregators and video repositories are changing our world. It will tell stories of how the shifting media landscape is changing the way we get our news and information, while also providing a place for public participation and feedback.”

Bumps on the information superhighway

The Cebu Yearbook 2006 is out. Here’s part of the unedited article I submitted for publication:

One municipal government’s website in Visayas is being maintained by its meat inspector.

Frederick Amores, Visayas group head of the National Computer Center (NCC) Field Operations Office, could barely contain his laughter as he said this in an interview. The NCC was conducting a seminar for IT workers of local government units (LGUs) and Amores was checking the background of the participants when he saw the meat inspector’s bio-data.

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Cebu City’s biggest party is over

Sinulog is Cebu City’s biggest street party and gathering. People take over Cebu City streets in the annual street parade, held every third Sunday of January. Although there were fewer contingents last Sunday, the crowd that watched the parade appeared to be bigger.

Here are some photos Marlen and I took of the celebration honoring Cebu’s patron saint, the Holy Infant.

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BEST FLOAT. This contraption by the Cebu Contractors’ Association was picked as the best float.

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Fatal song

Supreme Court Associate Justice Renato Corona warned judges over the weekend not to sing Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” in karaoke bars. The song has been blamed for a lot of karaoke-related killings in the Philippines.

Corona made the statement when asked to comment on the suggestion of arming judges after the recent killing of Pasay Judge Henrick Guingoyon.

Many people have been killed while singing My Way in karaoke bars. The song, an English translation of a French tune, is a favorite in karaoke bars (at least in those that I used to frequent when I was still with The Freeman ages ago). Ironically, the song is also said to be a favorite in funerals.

I recall reading at least three stories on killings in karaoke bars in Cebu but, save for one, I’m no longer sure which songs so enraged the suspects so as to kill their victims. In February 2004, a man singing the “Spaghetti Song” in Moalboal town was shot. In December 2001, a man was killed in Lapu-Lapu City, where I live, after two customers ganged up on him for hogging the microphone.

Meditation increases attention span, sharpens focus and improves memory

Researchers using advanced brainscanning technology “are beginning to show that meditation directly affects the function and structure of the brain, changing it in ways that appear to increase attention span, sharpen focus and improve memory,” Time reported.

The magazine also reported that “one recent study found evidence that the daily practice of meditation thickened the parts of the brain’s cerebral cortex responsible for decision making, attention and memory.”

“The forms of meditation (scientists) are studying involve focusing on an image or sound or on one’s breathing. Though deceptively simple, the practice seems to exercise the parts of the brain that help us pay attention.”

Ive been trying out meditation breaks for a couple of weeks now and I find that it helps me deal with stress better. What I do is I listen to MP3 files from Zencast and follow its instructions. A couple of times I tried listening to Bedroom Radio, which has a great selection of songs, but its not a podcast for meditation, there are parts that can be distracting (in a not-for-meditation way), to put it mildly.

Cebu City gets makeover for annual mardi gras

Streamers and buntings are now all over central Cebu City, the route of the annual Sinulog street parade. Among the changes in this years mardi gras: 10 Cebu tourist spots will be showcased in tarpaulin installations in key areas of the parade route; contingents will be asked to perform their program usually reserved for the Cebu City Sports Center on the streets; more spectacular fireworks and bigger prizes.

Gen. Maxilom Ave. Cebu City

Blog design trends: big, bright and highlighted

ProBlogger links to a post on blog design trends written by Rachel Cunliffe in the cre8d design blog. Cunliffe, in her post, enumerates elements of current blog design trends: big fonts, big headers and footers, top border, bright colors, speech bubble comments, rounded corners, highlighted links.

I won’t go as far as calling it a trend but I get to see more and more sites with neat (some say this is already tiresome) background patterns (slashes, dots, or horizontal lines) and shiny, almost glass-like button interfaces or graphics. And most of the sites using these elements are well-designed and pleasing to the eyes.
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