Conference notes: podcasting, CMS, and don’t open Google Reader in the conference room


I’m learning a lot both in the sessions and off-session talks with participants of the Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace conference here at the Asian Institute of Management Conference Center.

I had a long talk with Bryan Nunez, technology manager of Witness, a website that uses video to expose human rights abuses. Bryan is a geek and an open source enthusiast. We got to talk about open source content management systems, an area that fascinates me: Mambo, Joomla, Drupal, Civic Space, Props, Cofax and even Campsite. I told him about the Xinha Here extension for Firefox and how this makes developing CMS easier because you no longer have to work on integrating a what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) editor for your system. Bryan, here’s the link to the developer of the extension. Here’s a link to my post on it.
With Bobby Timonera
Bryan and I also talked about Sun.Star Cebu’s citizen journalists project. He was interested in how Sun.Star was running the site. I also got to meet Bobby Timonera (in photo) of Mindanews, Alecks Pabico said Ma’am Carol Arguillas was scheduled to arrive later yesterday.

Conference participants were treated to a dinner in a restaurant at the Manila Bay by Sen. Juan Flavier. On the way back to the hotel, I was seated in the bus with Steven Gan, editor-in-chief of MalaysiaKini, how cool is that.

Steven asked me where I was from and when I said Cebu, he said “yeah that’s near Iloilo.” He has been to Iloilo but has never been to Cebu. Then we got to talk about CMS. MalaysiaKini, he says, uses a custom CMS. He said commercial systems are expensive and open source packages do not fit their needs. He did mention though that they are selling their CMS package. Their CMS has one very important feature, caching. Caching is very important in database-driven websites, especially those with high traffic, because you reduce the server load by caching your files. Sun.Star’s CMS caches data by writing HTML files.

Vodcasting session
Yesterday afternoon’s session on podcasting and vodcasting was really informative. It was done by Jeremiah Foo of the Southeast Asian Center for E-Media. I had been planning to try podcasting using the Sony Ericsson K750i. I’ve been stumped with the conversion from AMR to MP3, I might give it a go in a day or two to write about the setup. Jeremiah had promised to list the equipment and software needed to podcast or vodcast from the “poor man’s setup” to the high-end units. He demonstrated vodcasting via a cameraphone by asking Bryan to take a sample video.

One of the embarrassing things I learned this afternoon, though, is to never open Google Reader in the conference room. The organizers set up laptops with Wi-Fi connection for use by participants. I used one of the units despite the browser being Internet Explorer and proceeded to open my Google Reader account. I primarily keep up with sites using RSS feeds and my account includes certain not safe for work (and conferences) subscriptions. The thing with Google Reader is that the main page immediately takes you to the feed items.

When I opened my account yesterday, one of the NSFW items was displayed and I immediately hit ctrl + t (the shortcut to open a new tab in Firefox to cover the current window), forgetting I was in Explorer. Starting to panic, I scrolled down and the succeeding items were from that same feed (flickricious, if you’re curious) and the feed item was displayed for close to a minute, visible to people in the back, I think. I’m never opening my Google Reader account in the conference room, ever. Darn, I should have thought of my Bloglines account.

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  1. a similar thing happened to me at iblog2. i forgot to clean up my camera, so when i attached it to my laptop and it automatically started downloading everything, some for-my-eyes-only photos were exposed unintentionally. it’s a good thing there weren’t too many people yet.

    btw, some people were looking for you at the problogging session. hope to meet you today. i’m sitting next to alecks =)

  2. Thanks for the tip about the WYSIWYG editor and the shout out on your blog! It’s an honor to be refered to as a geek and an open source enthusiast. Good luck with your new theme.

  3. I was there in the conference. Well, actually just for Mr. Andrew Liys talk on wikis. He invited the Pinoy Wikipedia community but it seems I was the only one who made it.

    The really passionate guy who sat beside Mr. Quezon raised an interesting point about creating a venue for writers who dont have the resources to maintain a blog or the confidence to start one. Mr. Liy then showed us the Daily Kos.

    Wouldnt it be great if we had something similar in the Philippinesa site where a large group of writers (not necessarily professional journalists) can post well written articles or essays related to Philippine politics, history, current events, etc; quality controlled perhaps by the community itself; and maybe front-page story selection by the community as well? Im sure many Filipinos both in and outside the Philippines would want to contribute. What do you think?

  4. Nino,
    The “really passionate guy” is Dean Jorge Bocobo. You have a great idea there and I’m sure someone would set it up in the very near future. I run projects (one existing, another one in the pipeline) that can partly answer this need for such a site. I run the Sun.Star Cebu citizen journalists project where people can post opinion pieces in a blog, the portal of the project. The site, however, is Cebu-centric, being run by a Cebu-based newspaper: Sun.Star Cebu. We are a member of the Sun.Star Publications network and maybe, one of these days the network can expand it to other areas.

  5. Oh, that’s Dean Jorge Bocobo… I imagined him to be older…

    The citizen journalist project looks promising… how does one join?

    Btw, the VECO announcement is posted thrice…

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