Blogs Highlights Journalism Personal

Why mainstream media don’t get it

There are articles that make you nod your head all the time you�d fear getting stiff neck. I just read and reread one an hour ago. It’s by Bob Cauthorn and it discusses blogging by mainstream media. The article sums up, in an acerbic tone, how most mainstream media outlets fail to understand blogging.

Some of the points in the article were points I’ve already raised before, including in this discussion in Abe Olandres’ site on what constitutes a blog. There are people who complain that at times, my letters or memos can be harsh but boy do I wish I could write like Cauthorn.

Now, Cauthorn is one guy you should listen to. Not only are his writings sensible, he is also (for people who do not weigh arguments based on its merits but on the so-called curriculum vitae of the proponent—isn’t this a fallacy of authority?): the former vice president of digital media at the San Francisco Chronicle and the third recipient of the Newspaper Association of America’s prestigious Digital Pioneer Award. More importantly, he “is generally considered to have delivered the first profitable newspaper web site in 1995.”

Blogs Personal

Blog of the week

I was writing the second part of my search for the perfect TiddlyWiki (which I’ll post later) when I decided to take a break (the testing of various adaptations left me writing in CamelCases even if I wasn’t using a wiki) and checked blogs that I frequent. It was a surprise to see a screenshot of my page in Pinoy Blog. I’ve been chosen as the site’s Blog of the Week.

The description of my blog is really flattering. My celebration was subdued as I was at home with my kids and very patient wife fast asleep. Had I been in the office, I would have let out a whoop. Thanks Pinoy Blog for featuring my Cybercafe Experiments.

Why call this site The Cybercafe Experiments? For a while, previous versions of this site was my actual experiment for my open source content management system feature for Sun.Star Cybercafe, a weekly special section I edit. This site is the fourth version. The article that resulted from that experiment was published in November last year and discussed the building of a blog using open source programs and scripts (FileZilla, Nucleus CMS or Serendipity) and free services (free 100MB PHP/MySQL hosting from 100Webspace.)

Highlights Wiki

Finally, a perfect TiddlyWiki to manage my notes, tasks

(My notes’ journey from TiddlyWiki, GTDTiddlyWiki, ZiddlyWiki to “no name” TiddlyWiki)

I organize my notes and tasks lists using GTDTiddlyWiki and a bunch of index cards that serve as a hipster PDA. GTDTiddlyWiki is a single web page that serves as a browser-based scratch pad or notebook. The notes are organized into Tiddlers – chunks of information that are easy to hyperlink and edit.

GTDTiddlyWiki, however, isn’t online and I have had problems synchronizing my GTDTiddlyWiki versions in my home PC and my office computer. I transfer the files either using a diskette, a CD or through Streamload, an online drive. I lost quite a few notes when I mistakenly overwrote the current version with an older one saved in my online drive.

I needed an online TiddlyWiki, one that can be saved on a server.


“Ing” weakening verbs

Apparently it does. See how stronger the headline would be if you say: Ing weakens verbs. Poynter’s Roy Peter Clark writes in his 51st writing tool “Too Many ‘ings’“:

Let me offer reasons why ‘ing’ might weaken a verb.

1. When I add an ‘ing,’ I add a syllable to the word. This does not happen, in most cases, when I add an ‘s’ or an ‘ed.’ Let’s take the verb “to trick.” First, I’ll add an ‘s,’ giving me ‘tricks’; next, I’ll try an ‘ed,’ giving me ‘tricked.’ Neither move alters the root effect of the verb. But ‘tricking,’ with its extra syllable, seems like a different word.

2. Verbs with ‘ing’ begin to resemble each other. Walking and running and cycling and swimming are all good forms of exercise, but I prefer to point out that Kelly likes to walk, run, cycle, and swim.

Clark’s tips are a great help to writers. I’m midway into it. You can read the writing tools by clicking here.

Blogs Free services

Create your own favicon

Crossposted in Sun.Star Blog Chronicles.

In some sites and blogs, you’d see an icon displayed before the website address in the URL field instead of the Internet Explorer icon or the globe icon in Firefox.

This is the favicon or the favorites icon. The icon is also displayed before the website’s name in your favorites list.

If you want to create your own favicon, follow these steps:

Highlights LifeHacks PC Work

Managing e-mails, one message at a time

I have three personal e-mail accounts and one office-assigned address. I check my main personal e-mail with Gmail as soon as I wake up and upon reaching the office – from then, the browser isn’t closed until I leave the newsroom. When I get home, I check my mails again if I decide to go online.

I check my office-assigned address – online_editor (at) sunstar (dot) com (ph) – only twice a day – as soon as I reach the office and shortly before I go home. As a result, my Sun.Star e-mail address is clogged with press releases, questions from readers and personal communications that are left unanswered sometimes for weeks.

I knew it was time for an inbox makeover. Merlin Mann, in his article in Macworld, suggests re-organizing your e-mail folders according to required action on messages. He says that as soon as you receive your mails, evaluate what type of actions are needed and sort these out in appropriate mail folders.


GlobeQuest rolls out Wi-Fi in Manila malls

Innove’s corporate arm GlobeQuest has partnered with Ayala Center to deploy Wi-Fi in Ayala Malls. GlobeQuest, through its Wireless Internet Zone (Wiz), placed W-Fi hotspots in Glorietta, Greenbelt, and Alabang Town Center, and other popular hang-outs in Metro Manila.

The hotspots allows users in these establishments to browse the Web, access e-mail, play network games or make Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) calls using their Wi-Fi enabled laptops, personal digital assistants or phones.

GlobeQuest head Jesus C. Romero said in a press release that shopping malls “represent the next frontier for the increasingly mobile work force and for people who simply want Internet access on the go.”

Ayala Center Cebu has had Wi-Fi connection since last year but the coverage is limited to just a part of the mall. Romero said the Wi-Fi rollout in Manila is the first time that an entire mall will have wireless internet access.

Blogs Free services

Podcasting without really trying

A website is offering to automatically create podcasts from text-only blogs for free. Talkr has long been offering this service but previously limited it to well-known bloggers.

While many companies have been releasing podcasting tools in the past months, Talkr is different, says its chief executive officer Chris Brooks in a press statement.

“Those other tools are great if you have the time and patience to install a new application and then record, host and distribute a podcast. However, many people don’t have the time. If you already write a blog, Talkr will give you a podcast with little effort and zero cost.”

Talkr says setting up a service takes less than 10 minutes.

I tried it several minutes ago and found that signing up did take less than 10 minutes. In a short while, my site’s posts were already converted to MP3 files – with the words read by a female voice that sounded robotic. Some of words – like Cybercafe – were mispronounced.


Free as in beer — really

A group of college students published under a Creative Commons license the recipe for a beer they brewed. The license allows anyone to use the recipe “for pleasure or profit.”

Here’s part of the Wired article on the news:

Their inspiration wasn’t just to get drunk, but to see what happens when an open-source structure is applied to a universally known product like beer.

“Why not take the legal framework, the open-source licenses, and apply them on analog products?” said Rasmus Nielsen, a member of Superflex, an art organization that helped create the beer in conjunction with a student group called Vores Øl (Our Beer).


Pro Evolution Soccer 4 not as good as Fifa 2005

Here’s a review I wrote for Sun.Star Cebu’s Cybercafe page last year. I posted this in one of the previous versions of Leon Kilat: The Cybercafe Experiments.

THE first time I played Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) 4, I was a little bit disappointed.

I’ve been playing EA Sports’ Fifa franchise for months, starting with Fifa 2004 and then Fifa 2005 (which I’ll review for Cybercafe in the coming issues).

Unlike EA Sports, Konami failed to get licenses from many football leagues and national teams for their PES 4. As a result, the German national team has as goalkeeper a certain Kalm, which, at first glance, you might misread for (Oliver) Kahn.

If not for persistent reviews that PES 4’s game play is better, I wouldn’t have bothered installing the game. While checking on soccer gaming websites for Fifa 2005 add-ons and patches (which I haven’t dared installing yet for fear it could crash the game and wipe out my four-year career record), I keep on stumbling on reviews that trumpet PES 4’s superior game play and action realism.