Running Bon Echo Alpha; uninstalling Google Browser Sync

I have been using Bon Echo Alpha, the test version of the upcoming Firefox 2 release, these past few days and Google Browser Sync for a couple of weeks. Yesterday, I decided to stick with Bon Echo Alpha, removing my Google Browser Sync extension, which doesn’t work with the program yet.

Ive decided to stop using Google Browser Sync because I find Foxmarks more dependable in synchronizing bookmarks in the Firefox installations in the different computers I use: at home and in the office. At first, I found exciting the idea of synchronizing cookies, saved passwords and browsing sessions between different PCs.

I could just close my Firefox in the office without logging out of my mail or blog accounts and resume the browsing session at home, with all the tabs I left open when I closed Firefox in the office re-opened at home. But then I started encountering synching error and my bookmarks went awry, they were no longer synchronized. Ive never encountered these problems when I used Foxmarks.

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The world is watching. How do you say goal in Chinese?

First off, let me apologize for the lack of postings and failure to answer e-mails and comments. Three words: World Cup fatigue. I’ve also recently breached this blog’s monthly bandwidth allocation but Ploghost‘s Abe Olandres helped me keep this site up. If you ever need a Philippine web hosting company, Ploghost should be your first choice.

From PinoyPress comes this link to a New York Times article: “The World’s Watching – and, Perhaps, Cheering.” Journalist Carlos Conde was quoted in the article as saying: “If there’s anything that can be said of my country, it’s never crazy about football. Basketball, yes, as you know, but not football. There’s absolutely no buzz here.”

Football, sadly, isn’t as popular here in the Philippines as it is in the rest of the world but over the years, its popularity has grown in the island I now call home, Cebu. With live broadcast of matches restricted to pay-per-view channels, I’ve been catching some of the matches through Internet TV, using the TVUPlayer.

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Opera 9 released

Opera has released version 9 of its browser. I’ve been using the latest version for a few hours and I’m starting to really like it. Browsing web pages with Opera 9 feels faster but this may be because I use a lot of extensions for my Firefox installation.

What’s great about Opera 9 is that it now has similar keyboard shortcuts to Firefox when opening a new tab or closing the current one. I used to get crazy switching from Firefox to Opera because I use keyboard shortcuts to open and close tabs.

There’s a slight difference in using the mouse to open links as inactive tabs: in Firefox it’s ctrl + click, in Opera it’s ctrl + shift + click. All in all, I found myself comfortable using Opera in the few hours that Ive been testing the new version. In fact, Opera seemed quicker to respond than my extension-laden Firefox. Opera 9

Another cool feature in Opera is that when you open multiple tabs, you can get a thumbnail preview of a tab by placing the mouse cursor over it. (click on photo to view larger image) This is a really great feature for someone like me who opens a lot of tabs in the browser window. You can also have this feature in Firefox by using the Tab Preview extension.

Here’s a list of Opera 9’s features.

Close encounter of a different kind

If you looked up the Cebu sky last night, you’d have the crap scared out of you. At least seven balls of light were clearly visible in a linear formation (if you squint hard enough and connect the dots, it could be the Grim Reaper’s scythe.) The lights were stationary and stayed visible for minutes.

Text messages were being sent around, asking people to look up the sky. I ran to our office’s canteen and saw the lights for myself. It was eerie and beautiful. (Click on the photo to view the larger image.) Across the street, people were stopping to look at it. I couldn’t make out their faces, whether they showed awe or fear or fascination.

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Portrait of the Filipino as blogger

The latest episode of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Pinoy Pod features several top Pinoy bloggers: Manolo Quezon, Abe Olandres, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, represented by executive director Sheila Coronel, Rickey Yaneza, and Bryan Boy. The “Portrait of the Filipino as Blogger” segment is too short because Pinoy Pod squeezed in two topics for the episode: Pinoy bloggers and two Fil-Am filmmakers.

Central to the very short discussion is the political blogs v. gossip and showbiz blogs issue. As you can see in Pinoy blog rankings like Abe’s Pinoy Top Blogs, showbiz-oriented weblogs hog web traffic.

Manolo told Pinoy Pod: “I was never upset about it unlike some other people because you just have to realize that it will always be a smaller percentage of people interested in politics day in and day out.”

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Watching World Cup matches online

I finally got to try watching a World Cup game online last night and boy was I blown away. Four years ago, the only option for people who can’t leave the office to view the games in a bar or hotel broadcasting the matches was to monitor the latest scores in text-based websites.

Yesterday, I watched the end of the Australia-Japan match and the start of the United States-Czech Republic encounter via peer-to-peer Internet broadcast of the ESPN 2 feed and the quality was great. (Click on photos to view larger images) It’s a bit better than the quality you get from YouTube and Google videos. You can get the application here. You can also check my previous post on other options in watching the games online.

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Early tomorrow morning, Brazil plays its first match. It will be against Croatia. I’m stocking up on junk food and start praying our Mediocre Electric Company (Meco) in Mactan Island, Cebu doesn’t act up again and cut power to our subdivision. We have been suffering frequent blackouts lately. On second thought, I might just watch the games in Marriot or any of those bars in Cebu City broadcasting the matches.

The beautiful game, online

The World Cup opened last week and many football fans are losing sleep keeping up with the games. I know I am. Live matches aren’t available on my cable TV provider but another company is offering live World Cup matches for a one-time fee. What I watch at home are replays of the games broadcast the next day.

Online, the tools of dissent are helping football fans access the BBCs streaming video coverage of the games, erstwhile limited to UK residents. Public and anonymous proxies used to help dissidents in repressive countries access censored content allow you to view the coverage of the British broadcaster, which is also blogging the event. Here’s a great tip from GHacks.net. In another post, GHacks suggests using TUVPlayer and connecting to ESPN2. I might try it out later tonight.

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Segregating trackbacks from comments in WordPress

In most WordPress themes, trackbacks aren’t segregated from regular blog comments. This is fine but if you get a lot of trackbacks in a post, it gets in the way of the arrangement of comments.

For a long time, I just used WordPress’ stock comments template but at the back of my mind, I had listed the segregation of trackbacks and comments as something that I would be implementing in this blog and the theme that I’m finalizing. Last week, however, my post on using Dreamweaver to modify a WordPress theme got a lot of trackbacks and I saw the need to separate these notifications from regular comments on the post.

I didn’t have to search for a solution because I had already bookmarked this post by web designer Rachel Cunliffe. Just copy the code she posted in her blog post and paste it into your WordPress comment loop in comments.php. Replace the code in comments.php starting at <?php if ($comments) : ?> until <?php endforeach; /* end for each comment */ ?>, don’t replace the entire code in your comments.php or else you’d encounter errors.

How to edit WordPress themes using Dreamweaver

It has been more than a year since I used Dreamweaver to design a site. I’ve mostly been running sites using PHP-MySQL content management systems (CMS) and depend on the thousands of ready-made themes and templates to control the site design. For the occasional static page, I use Nvu for visual editing. But after reading this article on SitePoint, I wanted to try using Dreamweaver to edit one of the templates I’m using.

WordPress, like most PHP-MySQL CMS, uses template files to control the appearance of websites. The webpage is assembled from several PHP files controlling specific aspects of the site like the header, sidebar, main content and footer.

To use Dreamweaver to edit or customize WordPress themes, you need to combine these different PHP files into one page so that you can immediately view, while editing the codes, how the page would appear.

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Download, er, borrow e-books, e-magazines for free

I found UP2U (site already down) through del.icio.us and I’ve been hooked. UP2U lists a lot of e-magazines and e-books in PDF format for download. It’s a site you’d know won’t last long because I’m sure, pretty soon publishers of the magazines listed there would be ganging up on it.

UP2U offers The New York Times e-paper, Time, Fortune, eWeek, PC Magazine, PC World, Macworld, Vanity Fair, National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal, Science for download. It also offers a lot of adult e-magazines, from FHM to Playboy to Penthouse and even Private.

It recently placed prominent notices in its site and even in the PDF files that the magazines were meant for “borrowing” and you’re supposed to delete the files after 24 hours and buy the original publication if you like it. Yeah, right.