WEAVING A PUSO. Marco Albeza learns how to weave a puso, a Cebuano favorite, as one of the tasks of the Gabii Sa Kabilin QR Code Hunt organized by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc., Smart Communications, Inc. and MyCebu.ph. (PHOTO BY MAX LIMPAG)

Using technology to preserve, spread heritage

Gabii sa Kabilin or Night of Heritage offered Cebuanos last Friday the opportunity to visit museums and heritage areas until midnight. The yearly activity was started in 2006 by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (Rafi) and patterned after the Long Night of Museums in Germany.

This year, however, the event had a tech twist – Rafi, Smart Communications Inc. and MyCebu.ph staged a QR (quick response) code hunt that brought teams to the different heritage areas in the city. (Disclosure: My wife and I run MyCebu.ph and are deeply involved in all the projects mentioned in this article.)

The QR Code hunt gathered teams of journalists, bloggers, students, runners, police and tech workers. They had to scan QR codes to decipher tasks they were required to do in heritage areas – learn how to offer flowers to the Buddha, sing Matud Nila, weave puso, find a painting, among other things. They then had to perform the tasks and upload photos as well as post in social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.

WEAVING A PUSO. Marco Albeza learns how to weave a puso, a Cebuano favorite, as one of the tasks of the Gabii Sa Kabilin QR Code Hunt organized by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc., Smart Communications, Inc. and MyCebu.ph. (PHOTO BY MAX LIMPAG)

WEAVING A PUSO. Marco Albeza learns how to weave a puso, a Cebuano favorite, as one of the tasks of the Gabii Sa Kabilin QR Code Hunt organized by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc., Smart Communications, Inc. and MyCebu.ph. Marco's team won third runner up and he and his teammate took home a Nokia Lumia. (PHOTO BY MAX LIMPAG)

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Encourage hacker culture

Facebook kicked off its historic initial public offering by holding another of the company’s fabled hackathons, which are all-night events that gather the social networking giant’s employees to work on products outside their office assignments.

Hackathon 31 was held on the eve of Facebook’s IPO and was a strong statement that even as it stands to raise billions, the company was still rooted in its “hacker culture.”

The word “hacker” has been sullied by years of use in media to refer to people who break into computer systems. The word originally meant a person who does clever tweaking of a system to improve its performance. “Hacking is ‘playful cleverness,’” said Richard Stallman, one of the world’s original hackers.

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WP Remote simplifies and centralizes the monitoring, backing up and upgrading of your WordPress sites. It is a free service. CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE.

Running multiple WordPress sites? Here’s a service and plugin you should use

The maintenance of multiple WordPress sites can be tedious and time-consuming. The necessary tasks of updating plugins and themes and backing up your files and database site-by-site can take up a large chunk of your time, depending on the number of sites you manage. This is time better spent writing and blogging.

WP Remote simplifies and centralizes this task with its excellent free service. I have been using the service for more than a month now and it has been a great tool and time-saver.

WP Remote is a free service that provides a single interface to monitor your WordPress installations, back up files and data and upgrade plugins and themes. It is both a service that you sign up to and a plugin that you install in the WordPress sites that you want to manage with the service.

WP Remote simplifies and centralizes the monitoring, backing up and upgrading of your WordPress sites. It is a free service. CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE.

WP Remote simplifies and centralizes the monitoring, backing up and upgrading of your WordPress sites. It is a free service. CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE.

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matt

WordPress rides the open source juggernaut

Eight years after it was started by a 19-year-old college freshman as a blogging software, WordPress now powers 14.7 percent of the world’s top one million websites. It is used in 55 million websites.

In his annual State of The Word address last week, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg also said the open source content management system (CMS) now runs 22 out of every 100 new websites created in the US.

The velocity in WordPress adoption and its dominance illustrate the strength of the open source model, where the community is involved in the development of the software. It is not a coincidence that the top open source CMS packages today, WordPress and Drupal, also have the most active developer and user communities.

Matt Mullenweg giving his State of the Word 2011 address

Matt Mullenweg giving his State of the Word 2011 address.

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Forget PowerPoint, wow ’em with Prezi

DEATH by PowerPoint is illustrated by a slide portraying the complexity of American strategy in Afghanistan. “When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war,” the New York Times reported General Stanley McChrystal as saying, sparking laughter in the room.

The slide, which went viral last year, “looked more like a bowl of spaghetti,” the paper reported. It sparked a backlash, long simmering, against the presentation tool that first went on sale in April 1987 and dominated the market.

“PowerPoint makes us stupid,” one general was quoted by the New York Times. Another banned it from presentations, warning that “it can create the illusion of understanding and illusion of control.”

Walk into any business presentation today and you’d likely find yourself in corporate theater—a dimmed room with curtains drawn and a projector throwing an image of the ubiquitous PowerPoint slide on a board.

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Quick review: Article sharing with Facebook, Google+

Google opened to limited testing earlier this week its latest social networking service. Google+. What immediately catches your attention when using the service is its stark simple and yet beautiful interface. It makes Facebook look like MySpace, said blogger Ron Galloway.

Although Google is still actively developing the service (Googlers are directly engaging with users giving feedback on Google+) , I like what I see. So much so that I started campaigning with the running group that I co-founded, the Ungo Runners, so that we could possibly migrate there.

The huddle feature, which I still have to test, makes me drool at the possibility of uses on organizing group runs on-the-fly. It’s mentioned in this review by CNN’s Amy Gahran. But we all know this isn’t likely to happen soon (think of how long it took many of your friends to transfer from Friendster).

One major activity in online social networking is the sharing of articles and Google+ almost does it as well as Facebook. With bookmark services and applications still not supporting Google+ and with most websites still not using the +1 button, you have to cut and paste URLs into Google+.

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CSS cheat sheets as Android apps: stop taping printouts on your cubicle walls

I need to work with CSS/XHTML often enough that I’d need a reference but rarely enough to make me memorize the damned properties, selectors and syntax. I used to print out CSS/XHTML cheat sheets and tape these on my cubicle wall for easy reference whenever I was working on a website.

Just as I was about to print new cheat sheets to replace the torn and smudged copies that I had, I found handy and infinitely better references—two free Android apps.

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Poynter lists tips on how to build an engaged audience

Poynter associate editor Mallary Jean Tenore lists tips for online journalists to build an engaged audience online in her post “5 small steps journalists can take to build a bigger, more engaged audience.

The post provides great pieces of advice on getting the word out on your article like letting your news sources and people who may have a stake in your article know about the piece through the social networks. To be effective, Tenore suggests that you include their Twitter and Facebook names in the update so that they can be notified.

She also suggests linking to the work of other news sites and informing them about it.

Tenore also suggests engaging with others covering your beat and tweeting follow-ups “that help advance the discussion about your story.”

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Microsoft launches Windows Server 2008 Foundation in Cebu

Microsoft Philippines launched this morning in Cebu the Windows Server 2008 Foundation, its server solution for small and medium businesses.

Microsoft Philippines Geo-Expansion Lead Boy Bawal said the product will help small companies grow their businesses and boost their competitiveness.

Windows Server 2008 Foundation is a server solution that allows a company with less than 15 computer users to set up a network with file and print sharing, remote access, security and other general server capabilities. It comes bundled with server hardware that can cost as low as P57,000. Bawal said this is the first time that a server software is offered at this price point.

The product, Microsoft officials say, is targeted at first time server users.

For the first time, Bawal said companies no longer have to pay client access license for each user of the system.

Boy Bawal of Microsoft Philippines
SERVER FOR SMALL COMPANIES. Boy Bawal of Microsoft Philippines says that Windows Server 2008 Foundation is the first time that a server software is offered as a hardware bundle for as low as P57,000. He said the product will help small companies grow their businesses and boost their competitiveness.

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Building with WordPress: From sketch to prototype to company website in 5 hours

Aside from being a good blogging tool, WordPress is also a lightweight content management system that can be used to run such diverse sites as news or magazine publications, personal and organizational websites.

I recently started accepting paid web development work and website management. Several weeks back, I bought a domain, Tugkaran.com (from the Bisaya word for staging ground), and created a static HTML page as placeholder because I did not have time to configure WordPress to run the site.

Building with WordPress FROM SKETCH TO WORDPRESS DESIGN. The steps I took from planning a site to deploying a custom WordPress theme for it using Yahoo UI Grids Builder, Aptana, and Bluefish.

But when one of my projects was about to go live, I needed to quickly build Tugkaran because I already placed a link to it in the footer. I spent whatever time I could spare from newsroom and web development work building Tugkaran, 30 minutes or so here, an hour there, a few minutes here.

It took me five hours to go from sketching the site on paper, protoyping the design in HTML, and setting up WordPress with the custom theme. The site was designed “live.” Developing it locally and then replicating the work in the server would take more time—which I didn’t have.

The Tugkaran website still needs a lot of work but it will do for now. I’ll polish it when I have more time. If you want to study the files I worked on, you can download it at the end of this post.

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