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Blogs Personal

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.”

Categories
Mobile Personal Photography

Upgrading to Sony Ericsson K800i

When my wife needed to upgrade her phone several weeks back, there was no question on which brand she’ll be getting. The question was which Sony Ericsson model best fits her needs and our budget.

I am a Sony Ericsson fan boy and my fanaticism must have rubbed off on my wife because she decided to dump Nokia. Not even a recent marketing fiasco by Sony Ericsson Philippines can dampen my Sony Ericsson fanaticism.

Sony Ericsson K800i A PHONE ANY BLOGGER WOULD LOVE. The Sony Ericsson K800i comes with a 3.2 megapixel camera, which makes it great for taking photos for websites and blogs. The 3G phone can also display RSS feeds. Click on photo to enlarge.

My wife chose the Sony Ericsson K800 or, as it is being marketed here in the Asia-Pacific region, K800i. The phone is part of the company’s Cyber-shot line, phone products with image taking qualities good enough to carry the Sony brand for standalone digital cameras.

The K800i is no longer the latest in its line. Sony Ericsson has already upgraded the line by launching the K810i and announcing the coming availability of the K850i.

What stands out in the K800 line is the ability to upgrade the firmware over the air. In previous Sony Ericsson versions, you need to attach your phone to your PC via a USB cable to upgrade your unit’s firmware. With the K800, you can upgrade your firmware from the phone itself.

Categories
Journalism Personal

Blogging break

It’s been an exceedingly hectic week in the newsroom since the May 14 elections. This is my 4th election coverage and it was as it has always been: frenzied, tiring, and stressful but ultimately exciting and fulfilling.

News events such as elections make you want to leave the newsroom for the field. Out there, the adrenaline rush is stronger. In the newsroom, you somehow feel cooped up.

Blogging had to take the backstage. For days, I didn’t visit my blog, let alone posted an entry. I left my RSS feeds unread. I set aside all my experiments and suspended work on a site that I will be launching soon.

Philippine Blog Awards trophy BLOG AWARD. I finally got my Philippine Blog Awards trophy. The fragile package was mailed to me by Gail de la Cruz-Villanueva, one of the organizers. Click on photo to enlarge.

But a package I received last Sunday got me back into blogging mode. It was my trophy for winning the best technology blog awards in the Philippine Blog Awards last March. Gail de la Cruz-Villanueva kindly took the effort of mailing the fragile trophy to me.

The first thing I did after going back to blogging mode was update my WordPress installation and those of sites that I help run or manage.

Blogging break is over, I’m currently working on a few posts.

Categories
Free services Internet Personal Wiki

Ghost in the machine

I found the Sun.Star Cebu newsroom abuzz yesterday over a website that seemed to know a lot of details, even intimate ones, about people and things. When I entered the newsroom, I found reporters, editors, librarians, and newsroom assistants gathered around TV host Jude Bacalso, the paper’s lifestyle editor, who was entering questions and getting correct answers on the Peter Answers website.

peteranswers.com ANSWER TO LIFE, THE UNIVERSE, AND EVERYTHING. It’s in PeterAnswers.com. Have fun fooling your friends with the website. Click on photo to view larger image.

At first glance, it was freaky. How could the website know the names of a co-worker’s children, the pet peeve of an editor, what I was doing at the precise time the question was asked (holding out my cellphone), what was on a reporter’s head (a polka-dot headband), and what one reporter told another reporter about his mother-in-law?

I initially thought that Jude had a conspirator on hearing distance providing the answers but no one within the vicinity was typing when Jude entered the questions. It was also impossible for Jude to have pre-programmed the answers because the questions were thrown at him at random.

Jude, it turned out, was providing the answers himself right before our very eyes and none of us noticed it. In defense, though, Jude is a great actor and he did put up such a convincing show.

Categories
cebu news Journalism Mobile Personal

Is Sony Ericsson trying to buy off Cebu journalists?

What if politicians announce, during their press conferences, that they will be holding a “writing” contest and the journalist who publishes the “best article” about the press conference gets to win P5,000 in cash.

What do you call that? If you were a journalist or a blogger, what would you feel?

That, in effect, is what Sony Ericsson is doing in its media campaign to launch its new phones in Cebu.

It was a good thing I decided not to join the press junket organized to launch the latest Sony Ericsson models in Cebu. It was a curious event–curious in the sense that they decided to hold it in Sumilon Island, a slice of paradise in southern Cebu that’s hours away from the city. The launching was scheduled for the entire day last Saturday.

I asked a colleague why organizers decided to launch the phone models in such a remote area where the telecoms signal might even be spotty. I told him that if I were to launch a phone, I’d gather reporters and bloggers covering the telco and consumer electronics beat in a room, have them play with the units and have trained staff on standby to answer questions they may have about the new phone models.

He said it was just an excuse to take the journalists into a junket.

I rarely join press conferences and the prospect of spending my dayoff attending a press junket scheduled for at least 12 hours didn’t appeal to me. I’d rather be spending time with my wife and kids, blogging, or working on my web experiments.

I declined the invitation and asked a UP Cebu mass communications intern to attend. Now if Karla Bautista, who is scheduled for an internship in Sun.Star Cebu (including in my section), had started her duties with my section, I would have sent her and I would have readily exchanged hours playing with Drupal to join the junket. Just kidding, I’d take Drupal anytime.

Categories
free software Highlights Open source Personal WebTech

Giving people Ubuntu envy

While preparing for my presentation to the staff of the Sun.Star website last week, I was a bit worried whether Ubuntu Feisty Fawn would detect and work with the office’s LCD projector.

I’m a stickler for backups. I finished my OpenOffice Impress presentation in the laptop and then converted it into a PowerPoint file. I then saved the file in my USB stick and phone’s memory card.

ubuntu presentation PRESENTING WITH UBUNTU. Demonstrating installation, maintenance, and upgrading of WordPress to Sun.Star website staff. Click on photo to enlarge.

My Ubuntu laptop runs an Apache, PHP, MySQL server for local web development and demonstration. I recreated an Apache server on my USB stick using UniformServer in case (dear God no!) I would be forced to use any of the Windows XP units of Sunnex, the department that runs the Sun.Star website.

Just in case I encountered problems, I did a web search for issues with Ubuntu and LCD projectors and then copied possible solutions for different problems. I assumed, correctly it turned out, I wouldn’t be able to access the Internet in the remote Camotes Island resort we were billeted in.

Come presentation time, I was crossing my fingers when I plugged the LCD projector cable into my laptop. I need not have worried. It worked flawlessly.

Categories
Highlights Internet Mobile Personal

Mobile e-mail on the high seas

There’s probably room enough for only 10 people on this islet of six trees (or shrubs) and a single hut.

Yet on this islet near Olango Island and for several kilometers near it, you can still connect to telecoms networks and send and receive text messages, make calls, and browse the mobile Internet. It boggles my mind when I thought I’d “get away from it all” during a trip to several islets yesterday that I was never out of range of the telecoms network.

Gmail on Sony Ericsson k750i E-MAIL ON THE HIGH SEAS. Checking Gmail on a boat in the middle of nowhere. Click on photo to enlarge image.

Up until two years back, I still heard of stories and jokes on how people on several areas of Cebu had to go to a certain spot or climb trees just to send and receive text messages. I seem to remember being told of connection problems in Olango.

Categories
Blogs Highlights Internet Open source Personal

Winning in the Philippine Blog Awards

In 1997, someone told me I’ll never understand FTP. Last night, I won in the best technology blog category in the first-ever Philippine Blog Awards.

What difference a decade makes, huh?

The colleague who told me I won’t be able to grasp FTP probably never meant it as an insult. He was grumbling on being given the added task of sending magazine pages via FTP to the server of a Hong Kong-based company. He was right to grumble, imagine the upload speeds in 1998. I asked him what FTP was and I think he meant it to be a brush-off when he said I wouldn’t be able to understand it.

I’ve gotten more familiar with FTP, among other things, since then.

Categories
Mobile Personal

Judging people by their phones

What’s your phone? Mine’s a Sony Ericsson and, according to a survey by Nielsen Media Research, I’m likely to be an ambitious, success-driven, professional, and individualistic young man.

Nielsen Media Research, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, found in a survey in Australia that certain customer types were attracted to certain phone brands.

I’d like to believe I fit the profile of the group that showed an inclination towards Sony Ericsson. I certainly am ambitious. At 31, I can still be young, depending on which side of the age line you are on. I’m also deeply individualistic although I make it a point to do more than my share in a team.

According to the same survey, Nokia users are likely to be family-minded, balance-seekers, health-conscious middle managers. Motorola users, according to the study, are likely to be fashion conscious, fun seekers, under 24, and individualistic.

Categories
Highlights Internet Journalism Personal

A meandering: Philippine blog awards, nostalgia, and The Ballad of Tom Jones

This blog is one of the finalists in the technology category of the first staging of the Philippine Blog Awards. I’d like to thank the people behind it for the honor. It may sound passĂ© but it is indeed honor enough to be one of the finalists. Never mind winning, I’m up against great tech blogs.

One of the finalists is the blog of tech journalist Chin Wong of the Manila Standard Today. Of the three teachers in my Diploma in Online Journalism course, he was the best. It was under him that I wrote one of the articles I liked the most, which was printed in the Cebu Yearbook of Sun.Star Cebu.

His is the type of work you try to set as standard for your own.

The finals come as I got yet another warning from my web host that I’m nearing my bandwidth allocation. It seems I need to upgrade hosting plans again. A major headache of hosting your own blog is the technical work that comes with it. But this is the type of headache I welcome. I’d like to think I’m no masochist but I get obscene pleasure, at times, with technical problems.

What does not destroy my blog, server, PC, or phone, makes me wiser.

I have been blogging more lately, and my drafts of blog posts continue to grow. You can say I have found my blogging mojo. But I think it’s because of the lifting of a fog of gloom that had been over me for nine years.