Notes to an adventure.

Day 1 of #48Days

Before you embark on an adventure, get a notebook, preferably one small enough to tuck into your back pocket. There is a sense of commitment in writing things down, almost like having a pact with one’s self.

I have several digital note-taking devices and services like Google Docs, Evernote and OneNote synced to the digital ether called the “cloud” and replicated on my phones, computers and laptop.

But digital, no matter how omnipresent and accessible, seems so fleeting, so deletable.

A recent study shows that people remember notes better if these are taken by hand rather than with digital tools.

Continue reading →

RUNKEEPER. The app for iOS and Android not only allows you to keep track of the distance of your run via GPS, it also serves as training log, resource and social network.

Day 1

I’m setting 30-day challenges this month. Today is day 1. The challenges I chose are meant to help me improve my writing and fitness:

  • Run at least 5 kilometers every day
  • Blog every day

To start the month, I just finished a 21K run today, my first long run for a long time. One thing I realized that I really missed in running is the meditative state you are in when running longer distances. I used to be able to think out and outline column pieces during long slow distance (LSD) runs. In my solo run tonight, I was able to come up with several ideas for new projects as well as improvements on current ones.

Continue reading →

Sony Expo 2008 opens in Cebu City

THE worldwide financial crisis has not affected sales of Sony, the company’s president for the Philippines said yesterday.

Sony Philippines president and managing director Toshiya Kagita told reporters in Cebu on Friday that sales of the company’s products were good. He also said the company had no plans of laying off workers amid widespread reports of industry job losses.

Sony Expo 2008 VAIO. The VAIO booth in the Sony Expo 2008 in SM City Cebu. Click to view larger image.

The company’s personal computer product line, VAIO, reported a sales increase that was higher than the general product market’s growth, he said.

Kagita was in Cebu on Friday to open Sony Expo 2008 at the Cebu Trade Hall in SM City Cebu. The Cebu leg of the Sony Expo 2008 is the start of a series of 21 exhibits that will run all over the country until Jan. 18, 2009.

Continue reading →

Tweak Firefox, hack your mind

Do you believe binaural beats can influence the state of your mind in such a way that you are able to relax, focus, meditate, or boost your brain power?

I have a nagging suspicion this is a monumental joke worthy of Belbo, Diotallevi and Casaubon in Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum—that all these talks on the effect of binaural beats on the mind are as true as the existence of the Tres was to the Diabolicals.

Still, I’ve been getting by with two hours less of sleep since I started listening to it. I am able to sleep “on demand” by playing the relaxation mp3 clip in my player. I’ve been able to power-nap better by playing any of the mp3 clips while sitting on the newsroom lounge.

I’m not sure if it really works. Maybe the improvements I am experiencing right now are the result of the confluence of different life hacks: more time in the gym, better eating, less time in front of the TV etc. Or it could be the adrenalin rush unstopped by my being pumped up over projects I’m doing right now. But then again, maybe not.

Continue reading →

Escribitionism with Twitter and Fring

I never thought that I’d be enjoying it but here I am, using Twitter regularly for the past week. Twitter is a micro-blogging service that has become all the rage among tech-savvy folk and many connectivity addicts since last year.

With the service, you can write short (140 characters) updates about yourself and have these published in your Twitter account or your website and blog. These updates can also be sent as text message or instant message (IM) notifications to your friends and anyone “following” you.

I signed up for a Twitter account last year but never got around to using it regularly. I sent a few messages to the account as a demonstration on the use of various media during a seminar for Salesian priests.

The main reason I wasn’t using it regularly was the price for each message you send via SMS. To use Twitter via SMS, you send your update as a text message to an international phone number. For each Twitter update, you are billed one international SMS charge.

Continue reading →

A graphomaniac’s wet dream

At last, Power Books has opened a branch in Cebu. The single storey outlet in the North Wing of SM City Cebu is heaven on a mall for book lovers.

I went to the shop when it opened, fought urges that were bordering on primal, and just checked on books that were on display. There aren’t computer or technology books yet. Members of the Power Books staff said these were still coming.

paperblanks handstitched notebook PAPERBLANKS NOTEBOOK. The pages of this handstitched notebook are acid-free and are held together by coptic binding. Paperblanks and Moleskine products are now available in Cebu, at the Power Books outlet in SM City’s North Wing. Click on photo to enlarge.

Last Sunday, I came back.

The store’s middle counter is a vortex. It drew me in. Around it were displayed several exquisite notebooks. For the first time, Moleskine (official pronounced mol-a-skeen-a) and paperblanks products are sold in Cebu. I went round and round the small counter, picking one notebook after the other.

Continue reading →

Sony Ericsson makes me sing the blues

Inside the junk food section of a downtown department store, I decided to stop listening to my jazz collection at home.

Two weeks back, my family sought shelter in a Cebu City pension house from a scheduled overnight brownout in Lapu-Lapu City. We went to a downtown department store to stock on food and refreshments when we ended up, inevitably, on the biscuits and junk food section.

Sony Ericsson headset, data cable SONY ERICSSON CONNECTORS. If there’s one weak spot in Sony Ericsson phones, it’s the way its data cable and earphone connects to the unit. After a year, you’d start to experience cutting off of connections.

Our four-year-old son kept saying he wanted potato chips so I brought him to where there were rows of various potato chips in different flavors. He got one pack, placed it in the grocery cart, and then sang “you like pot-ah-to, I like patata.” He sang the song repeatedly that night–on our way to another department store, on our way to the pension house, while eating the potato chips.

His brother got into the act, repeatedly singing the line “everyone’s gone to the moon” in a mock Nina Simone rendition. It was a room full of singing, out of tune.

I got the message.

Continue reading →

You want someone to represent the Philippine blogosphere? Get Sybil

Blogger Jayvee Fernandez caused quite a ruckus in several Philippine blogs recently when he accused Janette Toral of “misrepresenting the Philippine blogosphere” for her own merit.

Clueless that I was, the first person I asked, via IM, about Jayvee’s “Bloggers, MISrepresent” post was Janette. She then told me that she suspected that she was the subject of the post. The two, it seems, have now settled the issue. Disclaimer: Janette writes a weekly column for the newspaper I work for but I do not deal with her.

I will not deal with Jayvee’s criticisms of Janette’s presentation. But I don’t think his criticisms are enough to support his allegation that Janette misrepresented “the Philippine blogosphere.”

But a core issue in the whole exchange is something that I feel strongly against. Some people have this unfortunate tendency to box blogging–and the people who practice the craft–in.

Bloggers, including Filipinos, are a varied lot. We’re not a clone army.

Some make a living off their blogs, others don’t. Some are journalists who blog, others are bloggers who are now also journalists. Some blog to get laid, others get laid off because of blogging. Some are atheists, others are devoutly religious. Some use WordPress, others Blogger, Multiply, Serendipity, etc. Some are link whores, others are plain whores (and I love them for it). Some are good cooks, others are kitchen disasters waiting to happen.

To represent such a diverse group of people, you need to have an extreme case of schizophrenia.

Continue reading →

When a blogger strips

I’ve been tagged by Sol. The meme involves sharing eight facts that your readers don’t know about you. Here are mine:

1. The other woman

Rhythmbox says I have 243 Nina Simone songs in 20 albums. That’s 15 hours of the High Priestess of Soul’s music. As of last night, my Last.FM profile page said I’ve played Nina Simone’s songs 531 times in my Linux laptop (the only unit I use with my Last.FM account.)

In my Sony Ericsson K750i, I have at least 50 Nina Simone songs. I have several Nina Simone CD compilations I repeatedly play at home. When our youngest son can’t sleep, I play her music.

My wife, just last night, asked me “how many times have you been playing these songs?”

I first heard Nina Simone sing in, of all programs, BBC’s HardTalk. During the interview, she told Tim Sebastian, the program’s host then, “I need a cigarette. You’re making me hot.” The diva that she is, she smoked during the interview.

If you ask me my favorite Nina Simone songs, it would be “The Other Woman,” “My Baby Just Cares For Me,” “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” “Wild is the Wind,” “Sinnerman,” “I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl,” “Mr. Bojangles.”

Continue reading →