I’m in charge

Contrary to most people’s belief, exercising the right to vote is an objective action rather than a subjective one. We vote not because we feel it’s right but because we know it’s right. Our best chance to pick worthy candidates is to evaluate their quality –accomplishments, reputation and goals – rather than leaving everything to instinct. Our best chance is to let history – not sympathy –guide us. We are days away from deciding the fate of our ailing country, if our vote is solely determined by our feelings, we are leaving everything to chance. We left everything to chance before and look where it got us. We trusted our feelings before and look how it betrayed us. This time let us take full accountability for the fate of our country.

I am in charge of the fate of my country. I will vote wisely.

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Filed under Election, Personal, Philippines

Bangkok: first and short

So I did it. I was able to come back in one piece. It was my first time leaving the country so it was kinda of a big deal. Our destination: the “City of Deity”, the capital of Thailand, Bangkok. It was a very short but I have to say well-planned and well-executed, jam-packed two-day trip (kudos to us!). Initially I thought I booked it for four days. Rookie that I am, I realized later that the we leave the Philippines on 9 o’clock in the evening of March 5 and come back 12 in the morning of March 2008. So all we have is 2 days. Tricky, tricky. Nonetheless, setback is never a reason not to have fun.

DSC07185We landed around 11 in the evening at Bangkok airport. It’s nothing like when I saw Baguio for the first time. You know, that weird feeling you have when you are in a foreign land (though, technically Baguio is not a foreign land but you get my point). Bangkok strangely feels the same. The place somehow looks the same. People look the same (don’t get me started on how many times we were mistaken as local people). I had a mental picture that Bangkok immigration would somehow find problem on my passport and interrogate me and our entire trip will end to an episode of ‘Border Security’. But no, everything went smoothly. Later, I just found ourselves exchanging some dollars for Baht, that’s when I realized “I’m in Bangkok”!

We head straight to our hotel, called CentrePoint Silom. CentrePoint is a chain oDSC07196f hotel in Bangkok. Its a nice and decent hotel. Price is very reasonable. For $60/day, you’ll have a room for two with nice view, amenities and breakfast. I know it’s silly that UI have to mention this, but when traveling always get the one with breakfast included, it saves a lot of hassle plus most breakfast are buffet, yeah! After breakfast, we had our first item in our itinerary (shameless plug: itinerary courtesy of Tripit, you have no idea how much I love this tool): temples. From our place, there are several ways to get into the temples, but the best way is through ferry. Instead of taking a regular ferry, we rented a private one for 1600 Baht.  It was a well-spent money. The ferry toured us in Chao Phraya river and took us to one of Bangkok’s floating market. The ferry trip was a lot of fun. There are so many sights to see. It’s amazing how Bangkok was able to convert the river as one of it’s public means of transportation.

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The floating market can be reached through narrow canals branching out from Chao Phraya river. It’s a  30-minute ride from the dock. Here, food variety is insane. There are gazillion of foods around here. Most of them looks really interesting. Eating them can be a different case (maybe because I’m not that into exotic foods). Food here are very cheap but also mostly around Bangkok so it’s not really big deal. After that we went to see the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew which sits right next to each other. These two are testaments on how amazing Thailand’s culture is. The level of detail for every temple, wall and monument is  unbelievable. We also visited the Royal temple and met one of the locals. He was very hospitable and generous enough to give us some backgrounder on Thailand’s history. We weren’t able to finish the temples on day 1 because they are closed for King’s visit. So we have to go back the next day. Instead, we went prowling the street of Bangkok. Man, we’re glad that we did. It was fun just walking on the streets, riding the tuktuk, eating street foods and just immersing on the place. For the dinner, I did some research on where would a good place for fine dining. Here’s what I found: Spring/Summer. A very  modern restaurant that serves some of Thai’s best dishes. The food there was amazing. The service was also great. By the way, this place is very hard to find. Even on some of the blogs I read, they had a hard time finding the place. So I suggest take your map with you and learn a few direction-related Thai language. Don’t worry, it’s totally worth it.

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The next day, we picked up where we left off, the remaining temples: Wat Arum and Wat Pho. Wat Arun can be reached by crossing to the other side of the river on That Tien (last ferry station). It will cost you 3 Baht for the ferry and 35 Baht for the entrance on the temple. The temple’s architecture is just mind-numbing. The level of detail and attention put to this is unequivocal. You just have to see it for yourself. Pictures and words just won’t do justice in describing them. The climax is climbing the temple itself which can be pretty intimidating. I’m not kidding when I say that it’s an 80-degree climb! But it’s part of the experience so we have no choice but to climb. The last temple that we visited is Wat Pho. There’s an entrance fee of 50 Baht. The main attraction here is the Reclining Buddha, a huge, 46 meters long Buddha. Our last itinerary is, of course, shopping and where better to do it in Bangkok than in Chatuchak market place. It’s the Divisoria of Bangkok. You can buy virtually anything here at a cheap price. Well, maybe. Compared to Divisoria, it didn’t sound that cheap to me. But it was close enough that we were able to get some stuff for both of us.

On our last night, we felt that we’re done eating Thai food and we need some familiar flavor for our tongues. Walking a few blocks from our hotel, we found an Irish pubs that serves steaks and San Mig light. Oh what a relief! A perfect way to end our first and short escape. Next, Saigon!


Filed under Bangkok, Personal, Thailand, travel

almost a blog

Despite my conviction to do a weekly blog, I’m just barely doing it this week. We’re headed to Olongapo today to visit our families and probably meet some old friends. We will be hitting the beach and have some fun. It has been a while since we did this. I hope this will be a fun weekend for everyone. Speaking of fun, here’s a song that I’m sure can cheer everyone up.


Happy weekend everyone!

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Filed under Personal, travel

zune hd’s tripit and flickr app (-ish)


It’s no secret that there’s an app shortage for Zune HD. Right now, there are only 15 high quality apps available for Zune HD and more will come. I know, I know I’m making it sound like there’s an awful amount of hope. Anyway, you can add two additional apps(-ish) on your Zune HD. These not really native apps, they’re web apps but they are good enough. Here’s how:


Point your web browser to http://m.flickr.com, once logged immediately exit the browser by pressing the home button. On the main screen, your history should show a Flickr icon, press and hold that button until the context menu shows up. Select the ‘Pin to Quickplay’. Viola! You have your own Flickr app right on your main screen.


Follow the same steps like the Flickr app except this time point your browser to http://m.tripit.com

The icon (favicon.ico) of the web app makes a lot of difference. With that, its nice to pin it on the main screen. Anyway, web apps can satiate your hunger for apps in Zune HD for the mean time. Here are other web apps that you can use on your Zune HD.

Digg – http://m.digg.com
Facebook – http://lite.facebook.com
Flickr – http://m.flickr.com
Tripit – http://m.tripit.com
Google Reader – http://www.google.com/reader
Gmail – http://mail.google.com/mail
Windows Live Messenger – http://mim.live.com/wlm 
Yahoo Mail – http://m.yahoo.com/
Yahoo Messenger – http://delaware.ebuddy.com



Filed under Gadget, Tech, Zune

cloud vs desktop?

 sword_fight_smallSpeaking of cloud computing, I’ve been itching to write an article about it.

Ever since the inception of Web 2.0, it has been prophesized that it will kill desktop computing. Some people believe that browser is the new operating system and the underlying OS is now irrelevant or it will come to a point that it will be irrelevant. This reached fever pitch when Google  announced Chrome OS, a cloud OS that will change the way we interact with computers. Personally, I think it’s foolish. Here are my reasons why.

  1. Cloud purists (yeah, I said it) believe that online and offline computing are mutually exclusive i.e. one is the antithesis of another. I strongly disagree on this matter. I believe that the future of computing, web 3.0 if you will, should be the marriage of online and offline computing. One that harnesses the benefits of both worlds. Think about it, they are doing it now but won’t admit. Both worlds are trying to outflank each other by implementing each other’s core strength. Here’s how:

    • Desktop apps are now starting to implement online capabilities. Take MS Office for instance. Office 14 have now collaboration features and the ability to be saved on the cloud.
    • Web apps now increasingly mimicking desktop apps. Google has released Gears to enable offline capabilities. Google also released Native Client (NaCl) to allow browsers to run native (sandboxed) code locally. On the UI side, we’ve been pushing AJAX and CSS to copy rich desktop applications.
    • Flash and Silverlight are new breed of platforms that harness the power of both worlds. They are blurring the line between desktop and web applications. Silverlight has now the out-of-browser experience that allows application to persist outside the browser.
  2. Internet’s reach is now well extended beyond PC and we can’t expect every device to have a browser. Internet experience should not be confined to the browser. Rather, the web experience should be connected to the device’s experience. iPhone is a monumental evidence for this. Yes, browsing in iPhone is cool and fast but you have to admit, it’s still broken (don’t get me started on that). The same reason it is broken on an Android, Blackberry or a WinMo phone. Mobile web browsers just don’t cut it. That’s why developers chose to develop native apps for iPhone despite the fact that Apple initially offered web apps for the iPhone. Today we are increasingly living in a connected environment. Phones, TV, portable media devices, photo frames, etc are now internet capable. Pushing a browser into these devices is just burying our heads in the sand.
  3. Personal computers (even devices!) these days are just too powerful to be left untapped. The ubiquity of low cost yet powerful device is just too huge to ignore. Yet web applications barely scratch this computing power while users demand too much from them. Web apps have been pushed too much even on some areas they’re not supposed to. What we have are sometimes missed, sometimes hit user experience *cough* Google Docs *cough*. Native apps can deliver incredible great user experience once done right. Why? They can take advantage of computer resources such as local storage, hardware acceleration and GPU processing.

These are 3 compelling reasons why cloud alone is not the panacea of computing. Rather, together with desktop computing, it can create the seamless experience every user is looking for: an experience that takes advantage of all the resources – networked and local.

The issue of standards

Despite of the points I made there’s one thing that outweighs them all: standards. Yes, native frameworks / OS are proprietary (most of them anyway). In these days of open source, open standards and anti-trust lawsuits, people just go nuts over standards. This is for good reason. I am not in any ridiculing what standards have brought to us. Standards allow fair competition and encourage innovation. However, the same standards are holding us down. Standards are slow to implement and too much politics are involve. This is where I think that standard has to also evolve into something else. They have to evolve from specific implementations to strict guidelines of native frameworks. Let the companies innovate as long as they operate under the rules. This way, again, we are harnessing the best of both worlds. It’s a stretch, I know.

What’s your take on cloud computing? Hit the comment section and let me know.


Filed under Cloud, Desktop, Tech, Web 2.0, Web 3.0

life in sync

sync_logo_bg One of the most frustrating aspects about computing is being able to access your data anytime, anywhere. Some people will say “That’s easy, store it in the cloud”. As promising as cloud computing may be, in reality it is still not the be all and end all solution. For starters, cloud computing requires internet connection ALL the time. A point MAY come that everyone will be connected to the internet but as of the moment we are not. With that, the cloud falls short in solving the problem. For this limitation, various tools can be used to achieve data ubiquity.

As an IT professional, it is almost mandatory that you have access to your data anywhere, anytime. Imagine doing a presentation and telling your audience that you forgot your presentation material in one of your computers. Or finding that you forgot to attached a report to an email for your boss. Having your important data always available makes your work more predictable and controlled. It certainly a good habit to practice.

Here are the tools that can help you in making your data always available to you:

  • Live Mesh – is a free file synchronization tool. It allows you to sync your files to any device and the cloud. It supports Windows, Mac and Windows Mobile. I believe this one of the best synchronization product out there. It is nicely baked into the OS that you need almost zero attention when and how to sync data. Download Live Mesh.

    Other products that you may use: DropBox, Box.net

  • FeedDemon (w/ Google Reader) – is an RSS reader for Windows (the best one!). You can manage all of your RSS subscription from here plus, with Google Reader, it synchronizes your subscriptions on all of your machines. Download FeedDemon. Sign up for a Google Reader account.

    Other products that you may use: MS Outlook, Web browsers

  • RoboForm (w/ GoodSync) – is password manager plug-in for IE and Firefox. It also stores your credentials on the cloud and can sync it to any machine that you use. I must say after using it for a few days, I can’t imagine how I lived without it. It makes browsing such a pleasure! Download Roboform here.

    Other products that you may use: Keepass

  • Windows Live Mail – is desktop email client. Synchs your email to any machine and the cloud. I use most of Windows Live products since they are a combination of software + services and nicely integrated to Windows. Get Windows Live Essentials here (Windows Live Mail included)

    Other products that you may use: Thunderbird, Zimbra

I hope these can be a good addition to your arsenal as an IT professional. If you have other tools that you use please hit the comment section and let me know.


Filed under Mesh, Tech, Windows Live

consistency dependency

This is crazy. Suddenly, I have the urge to blog again. Not only I that resurrected my blog but I impulsively purchased my own domain and linked it to my WordPress account. Its been months since I blogged – if you can call that a blog. I think I got really lazy. I settled to Twitter and Facebook. Not that I hate them – maybe a little – I just think I could do better. Better than 140-character ‘’tweets’ and status updates. So, in a way, this is me saying that “I will do better.” There are couple of times where I had a good opening line for a blog but eventually get lost in my thoughts. I have this really bad habit on jumping from one thought to another and totally miss my point. Specially if I’m creating long paragraphs. Rookie mistake, I need more discipline in that. That’s one thing about not putting your thoughts into writing, its easily swayed into something else. Anyway, I don’t want to make this sound like a big commitment. I just want to be more consistent with my blogging habit.  Consistent not seasonal. Yeah, that’s more like it.

‘See you guys around.

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Filed under Personal