Chat boxes and pop-up ads

I’ve been looking for a WordPress tagboard — the message board you see on the sidebar — since Friday. Cbox is great but it’s really annoying when their servers are down. When I read SepikMom‘s blog today, I found another reason to stop using Cbox — it generates pop-up ads. I never noticed this before because the popups never appear when I visit my blog since I always use Firefox as my browser.

Opening a site in less than a day

This is my fourth and final blog address. I started blogging last year when I wrote an article for Sun.Star Cybercafe on how you can build your own site using only free services and open source programs and script. Before I wrote the tutorial, I tested and installed Pivotlog, Nucleus CMS, Blog:CMs and Serendipity — thatís why the site is named the Cybercafe Experiments.

I hosted the site on a free 100MB PHP and MySQL account from 100Webspace. After the article was published, I decided to continue posting entries on the blog.

Later, I transferred the Cybercafe Experiments to one of the Sun.Star servers, using Serendipity as a blog engine. I tried to upgrade the site and botched the process because I forgot the password I used to connect to the database. I started a new Cybercafe Experiments blog, still hosted in the Sun.Star servers, and made sure I listed the settings and kept the paper in a safe place.

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“Mac and Media” orientation



“Mac and Media” orientation, originally uploaded by maxlimpag.

The Mac mini: finally, a CPU that is possible to misplace. I’ve seen photos of the Mac mini and I’ve read specifications of its dimensions but I was shocked by how small it really is when i saw it. The Mac Mini is even smaller than the hardbound edition of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and to think that I misplaced that book. Itís not as if youíd be lugging the Mac Mini around, which you can, itís that the computer is so small youíd wonder at how Apple engineers managed to fit the parts in it. The Mac Mini has a DVD drive but it doesnít have a disk tray, just a disk slot.

Dreamtech Enterprises, an authorized Apple reseller and service center in Cebu, held an orientation for journalists and members of a photography group at the City Sports Club. I didnít finish the orientation because I had to catch a chat schedule for an online course Iím taking. Iím scheduled to interview Dreamtech owner Richard Lee, though, for a feature on the Mac Mini for Sun.Star Cebuís Cybercafe section.

PCIJ shines through blog

The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) is an institution in Philippine media. PCIJ writers have written some of the best investigative reports on social issues and governance in the country. Check out these stories: link 1, link 2 and link 3.

PCIJ has also been responsible for the training of scores of journalists, many of them from community publications. As far as I can recall (my memory is failing me) the first training on journalism I attended was done by PCIJ, with Howie Severino as lecturer.

Before starting their blog, PCIJ was largely left out of the day to day coverage of news events. You’d expect PCIJ’s take on a news event weeks after the story breaks and it would come in a multi-page and multi-part article that would thoroughly dissect the issue.

With its blog, however, PCIJ editors and writers have been able to write on breaking stories. I used to visit the PCIJ twice or thrice a week. This week, I visited it daily. The blog is an excellent source for updates, insights and background information on the latest scandal in government: the alleged wire-tapped conversation between President Arroyo and Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano.

You can download MP3 files of the alleged wire-tapped conversation at the PCIJ blog.

Blogroll Me!

Hipster PDA


Hipster PDA
Originally uploaded by maxlimpag.

I said in a previous post that you should ditch those index cards for the GTDTiddlyWiki – I still think you should, that is if you are, like me, a person with proclivity for losing notebooks or pieces of paper containing notes.

But if you want to continue using paper organizers, you’d better check 43 Folders’ article on the hipster PDA. I printed out the hipster PDA templates (in PDF) at lifehack.org and pasted these on index cards (see photo). I use it as reminders of tasks already entered in my GTDTiddlyWiki page.

An easier way to write tutorials on how to use software

Writing a tutorial on how to use a software or web script can be difficult. People understand instructions better if there are visual cues to follow Ė and there lies the difficulty, how to get screen captures to use for the illustration.

Recently, a group sought my help for their website. They wanted to have a better way to run their site without having to spend much for the services. I installed WordPress for them. Although I think Serendipity is the better blog script, most people I know find WordPress easier and better to use.

I decided to write a tutorial for the group on how to maximize the use of their new WordPress-powered site. I wanted to include screen captures to illustrate the steps to take in managing a site, editing entries or posting articles. The prospect of hitting the Print Screen button and then pasting the captured data into a graphics editing software every time I want to illustrate something seemed daunting Ė Iíd have to take more than a dozen screen captures manually.

Luckily, I remembered copying into my del.icio.us account a bookmark for a free tutorial software. I logged into my account and found the link to Wink. I downloaded Wink and 20 minutes after I installed it, I already finished my visual, step-by-step tutorial on how to manage a WordPress-powered site (check out the image below note: I blurred the website name to protect the privacy of the group Iím helping.)

Wink simplifies the writing of graphical tutorials on the use of a software or script. You can choose whether you manually control when the software takes a screen capture or you can let it take successive screen captures. You can also choose whether to export the tutorial into an .exe, shockwave, HTML or PDF file.

If you need to write software or web script tutorials, you should get Wink. It can be downloaded at www.debugmode.com/wink/.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

“The page one pope”

Sun.Star Cebu‘s page one story on the death of Pope John Paul II is included in a book reprinting the front pages of newspapers from around the world. The collection, according to Amazon‘s book description edited by Poynter, “includes 144 reproductions of front pages from newspapers in the United States plus major newspapers from around the world…presented without comment as each newspaper remembers the pope in its own way.”

Poynter has an online gallery of some of the pages included in the collection. Check out Roy Peter Clark’s The Page One Pope: A Legacy of Questions.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Throw away those index cards, use your own wiki page

Do you still organize your notes using index cards? I used to do this in college and I’d have a bunch of cards for each subject I took. I can’t recall using index cards regularly for my reporting. I did use the cards for at least one special report I wrote for The Freeman.

Through the years of using the computer, my handwriting has worsened (talk about using it or losing it — I do 98 percent of my writing on computers). Sometimes I’d even have a hard time reading what I just wrote hours earlier. I’m also a slob when it comes to keeping notes. I’d lose notebooks or pieces of paper on which I’d jot down ideas, websites I need to check and tasks I need to do. When I do manage to keep a notebook or a paper, though, my two sons would eventually find it and write or draw things on it.

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