Thursday, August 31, 2006

[Essay] A Random Book Musing

A Random Book Musing

Books can be a double-edged sword. If you own a book (or a bookshelf), it makes us feel smart. If we're not as well-read, however, we might enter a bookstore and feel quite ignorant because of all the books we haven't read.

Moral of the story? Stare at books you've already read before. You'll feel better.

But honestly, intelligence, and more importantly, maturity isn't about how many books you've read or know about. It's about applying what you've read and experienced.

Perhaps that's the beauty of children's books. There's no need to prove to one's ego that you need to read a thick book to read a good book. More isn't necessarily better. And sometimes, the message is clearer, simpler, and more concise. Wisdom isn't exclusive to complexity after all.

There's beauty in long, complicated narratives too. It challenges our self, our discipline, our perception, our cognitive processes, and our soul. It won't always be easy, but medicine didn't always come in sweet packages.

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[Blog Entry] Tips to Burning CDs and Downloading from the Internet

Tips to Burning CDs and Downloading from the Internet

Burning CDs

1) Just because you can burn at the fastest speed doesn't mean you should. Content is sacrificed for speed. The fastest I've burned from experience is 24x on a CD-ROM, and I recommend aroudn 4x on DVD.

2) Don't run other applications while you're burning. Again, content integrity suffers when you're running something else that accesses the hard drive (such as playing mp3's). And please, don't use Photoshop while you're burning something to disc.

3) Quality isn't always proportional to cost. Let's just say that just because you're using a branded burner or CD that it'll work just fine.

Observations I've Made About Downloading When on Broadband

1) Just because it says it won't interfere with your browsing or downloading doesn't mean it actually won't. Try running it on dial-up, you'll notice the speed difference. (Also another reason to turn off your auto-updates.)

2) You'll seldom use 100% of your total speed. If you have a 384 kb/s connection, you'll rarely, if ever, be downloading at that speed. Realistically, you'll be downloading files at around 10% of your connection. The technical term for actual speed is throughput.

3) The fastest speeds can be achieved through direct connections (i.e. IRC, P2P). If there's anything that breaks rule #2, it's this. You can double, even quadruple your actual downloading speed if you have a direct connection to the other user, such as a download from Mirc, or accessing files from Torrents (assuming there are either lots of seeders or the opposite end has the bandwidth to spare).

4) Incoming and outgoing bandwidth doesn't necessarilly feed off each other. In a 384 kb/s connection, you can be uploading 20 kb/s without slowing down your 30 kb/s download.

5) While you may not necessarily exceed your maximum download speed (around 10% of your total), you can be downloading several files at high speeds. It's possible with a 384 kb/s connection to be downloading three files at 30 kb/s, for example, and uploading 3 20 kb/s files.

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[Blog Entry] From Tech to Emo (Five Random Statements)

From Tech to Emo (Five Random Statements)

"Malice isn't necessary to hurt someone. Human beings can be quite fragile."

"If someone is capable of hating you, then that same person is also capable of loving you."

"Love doesn't always occur at first sight. Sometimes, it can be earned."

"Intent doesn't always have to be conscious. Your body can betray your true feelings."

"Love only lasts as long as memory. Or will."

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[Plug] Young Christians, Write!

Young Christians, Write!

So you’ve been blogging, scribbling thoughts on tissue paper, submitting articles for the church newsletter...

Ready to be part of a book?

Young Christians, Write! The Launch of OMF Lit’s Non-Fiction Writing Contest for Young People

2 September 2006 | 10 AM
27th Manila International Book Fair
Function Room B, World Trade Center Metro Manila
Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue cor. D. Macapagal Blvd.
Pasay City

Your generation needs to read about God’s love! Yours could be the words to help turn their lives around...

- Find out what Christian publishers are looking for
- Learn the mechanics of OMF Lit’s Non-Fiction Writing Contest for Young People
- Get writing tips from advertising veteran, award-winning author Grace D. Chong

Open to budding Christian writers, ages 15-22 FREE ADMISSION but limited seats! RSVP Licette at 531.OMFL (6635) local 412 or email publications@

OMF Literature Inc is a leading Christian publishing company whose vision is “to glorify God by helping others become more like Christ through excellent literature.”

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

[Plug] Sandman King of Dreams at Bookfair for P485.00

Sandman King of Dreams at Bookfair for P485.00

Sandman King of Dreams by Alisa Kwitney. It had something like a P1000+ cover price. Must have stocked too much on it or something. Of course if I were you, I'd save up more for the actual graphic novels than the book...

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[Plug] E2K Needs U!

E2K Needs U!


Compose a brief, catchy slogan or tagline to popularize "Edukasyon Tungo sa Kaunlaran"!

The key out of poverty, the main tool in being able to live the good life begins with a sound education. However, the sad reality in our country is that many Filipino children do not receive a good education due to the many problems that currently beset our public school system. Thus, Edukasyon Tungo sa Kaunlaran (E2K) aims to address this growing problem in our country by building a constituency that would work for policy reforms in our public basic education system.

For more information about E2K, visit our website at

Entries are now accepted to the Slogan/ Tagline competition. These must capture and convey the theme of "Edukasyon Tungo sa Kaunlaran". Example (English): "A good education is the key to a good future!" (Capampamgan): "Aliwa ya ing megaral!"

A. Who may join: All Filipino citizens aged 18 years old and above.

B. The slogan can be in English, Filipino, Tagalog, Cebuano, or any of the other major dialects in the Philippines .

C. How to join:

1. Text in E2K followed by your slogan and complete name/age/Contact Number to 0921-4079420.

2. Entries, in the same format as above, may also be sent via email with the subject "E2K SLOGAN" to .

3. Please make sure that the slogan/ tagline itself is not more than 135 characters long (including spaces and punctuation marks)

4. Example: E2K Edukasyon para sa bawat Pilipino! Maria Clara/54/09176910169

D. There is no limit to the number of entries that a person can submit. However, a participant can win only once.

E. All entries should be received on or before September 15, 2006 at 11:59pm . If there is a duplication in the entries received (i.e., two exact entries were sent in by different persons), it shall be credited to the participant who sent the earlier received entry.

F. The board of judges will be composed of the core group of E2K.

G. Criteria for judging: relevance to the theme, clarity/ impact as a slogan, catchiness, originality.

H. Three slogans will be selected as winners in the E2K Slogan making contest but will be ranked according to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners.
I. The winners will win prizes worth of cellphone load of their cellular network (GLOBE/SMART/SUN) :

First prize: P 1,000.00
Second prize: P 500.00
Third prize: P300.00

J. Winners will be announced on or before September 30, 2006 .

K. Participants waive the right to the slogans/taglines that will be selected as finalists and winners. Edukasyon Tungo sa Kaunlaran (E2K) will own the rights to these slogans.

L. Employees of E2K and their relatives up to the third degree of affinity and consanguinity are disqualified from joining the contest.

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[Blog Entry] Tech Links for the Week

Tech Links for the Week

Sorry, I've discovered my inner techie. Actually, this is just for the first half of the week...

What first comes to your mind when we speak of technology? For me, it's robots! That's why the world's first robot museum should be something to drool over. Just be sure you're able to differentiate the humans from the robots.

Then there's transportation. Well, a trailer capable of carrying a car is nice and all aesthetically, but speaking in practical terms, why would I need a mini-garage when my home is already mobile? Unless you're Optimus Prime reincarnated into a trailer.

Strangely enough, for a guy who claims not to listen to music (and working in a music magazine), mp3 players are close to my heart. Literally turn your iPod into a jukebox with this, uh, jukebox. Or maybe you want something fancier, and the mp3 earrings I posted three weeks ago doesn't suit you. Maybe you're more of the yoyo type. And nothing more timely as well considering Universal is offering its music free to combat piracy.

I'm also in love with flash drives, but I have yet to own one. Maybe when Toshiba's 16 GB flash drive hits the market. But perhaps what's more innovative is it's U3 technology but don't let me bore you with that. 16 portable GB...

You also won't need to go to IMAX theaters to view videos in 3D. Check out this 2D/3D TV. Or maybe you want a wider view of your computer screen.

I used to play video games back in the day, so I'm really surprised when Sonic is a game available for Nintendo's Wii (yeah, I know Sega is now a third party developer...)

It's sad when your Samsung Blu Ray DVD player doesn't play those 50 GB discs. Well, not as sad as Japan ordering a probe on Apple's batteries. They should look closer to home though...

Oh, and Sea Lab may not be far off. Well, at least the resort version of it.

Lastly, for all you artists out there, save the trees! At least with this sketchpad, you can upload all your drawings to the computer.

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[Blog Entry] Bookfair 2006

Bookfair 2006

The bookfair is upon us once again and while I'm still getting accustomed to the fact that it's all the way in the World Trade Center, bookworms can rejoice in the fact that all four major bookstore chains are present, instead of just Goodwill Bookstore.

Here are some tips/impressions of the place:

1) Entrance fee is P10.00, P6.00 if you're a student/teacher (with ID). By now, you should realize how much the organizers are earning, since the bookstores are paying to get stalls inside the place, and you're paying to get in.

2) The place seems smaller, even if it's not. The explanation is because the stalls are bigger, or rather Goodwill and National Bookstore/Powerbooks and Fully Booked combined occupy around one third of the entire place.

2a) If you're looking for good fiction books, don't even bother with Goodwill Bookstore.

2b) Powerbooks has no genre sections (i.e. fantasy, horror, mystery, etc.) although it has the usual division of books like children's, arts and crafts, etc. Instead, everything is lumped up by author alphabetically in the fiction section. On one hand, it's easier, but don't bother wasting time looking for a sign that says "science fiction".

2c) National Bookstore, on the other hand, does have sections, but they're small. As in one shelf small. I know people who are bigger than a shelf.

2d) Fully Booked's okay, except if you're a SF&F fan. What's misleading is that there are two SF&F sections, one on each column. What it doesn't tell you is that one is the children's section SF&F, and the other is the general one. If you're stuck in one and looking for the other, don't fret. It exists.

3) Before you pay a visit to the big bookstores, you might want to visit A Different Bookstore first. While the big bookstores are giving discounts up to 20% off, A Different Bookstore is giving 25%. But that only applies to their new releases. Everything else is dirt cheap. They have this shelves and bins full of books going for P45, P95, and such. I got a mint condition Lions of Al-Rassan and Neuromancer for P99 each (yes, these are books I'll never read because I've read them already and I already own a copy... this is for shopping for Christmas in advance).

4) If you're into manga or comics, go to the CCHQ booth. Yes, it's hard to find, but it'll be worth it. Elbert's occassionally helping man the store (to get to know chicks, I'm sure), but Japanese manga are going for P100 each. Everything else is at a ridiculously discounted price.

5) The usual suspects, you might want to check out the university presses for books, Anvil for local publications, and Emerald for magazines.

6) The food is located outside, but there's a coffee place inside on the opposite end.

7) Bring lots of cash. Discounts are cheaper when you pay in cash.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

[Blog Entry] Tempting


Occasionally, I'm tempted to post this one-liner:

"I'm lonely." (sigh)

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Monday, August 28, 2006

[Essay] A "Modern" Paradigm Shift

A "Modern" Paradigm Shift

My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nine Papayas. That specific phrase was taught to me by my science teacher in grade school to memorize the nine planets of the Solar System. I hear that in other schools, the last word isn’t always papayas: Pasta? Peanuts? Pomegranates? Of course it’s now a moot point since as of August 24, 2006, there are only eight planets in our Solar System. Anyone up for a new slogan to help remember all eight planets?

Pluto’s demotion (and the promotion of certain heavenly bodies) is perhaps one of the biggest paradigm shifts I’ve encountered so far. Well, to my peers if not to me. I mean if you studied the history of the discovery of the various planets (and not just their name), humanity’s awareness of Pluto has only been recent, and its classification has always been ambiguous. It doesn’t really matter to me but I’m sure the change gave people pause and perhaps shock, not because it has a big impact on their personal lives (in the way 9/11 changed the paradigm of Americans, or the first EDSA Revolution for Filipinos), but because it’s something they remember being taught to them at school, etched as a fact in their text books not so long ago.

Unfortunately (for us), knowledge is seldom static. As new discoveries are made, old beliefs need to be disregarded and what used to be a fact is now simply considered historical. If that weren’t so, humans would still think that they live on a flat planet, or that the Earth is the center of the universe. Still, Pluto is far from the only outdated model we have of the world, much less the universe (or should I say multiverse?). I was taught that atoms and sub-atomic particles (protons, neutrons, electrons) were the smallest forms of matter but guess what, there’s quarks and I’m sure in the future, there’ll be something smaller than that. A friend also pointed out that Newtonian Physics isn’t exactly the most accurate, but is the simplest way (because we honestly don’t need to know the complicated stuff to move on with our lives) to describe the laws of Physics.

Of course the latest ruckus over Pluto (at least its name is still the same) also shows us that politics will always be present in every human endeavor, even in something as empirical as science. What was supposed to re-affirm Pluto’s status into a planet did the opposite when public opinion went against it. I’m sure there was lots of debate, cajoling, and coercion on both sides. And human nature being fickle as it is, the decision might be reversed in the future, or it might not. But the fact of the matter is that people decided whether Pluto was to be a planet or not, and people took sides. It’s based on scientific information, but there’s really nothing scientific about persuading others to agree with you, or to rally against those whose beliefs you distrust.

In the end, the issue really isn’t about Pluto. It’s about our concept of the world, and how we react when new ideas are put forth. Some will act as the vanguard of old ideas (and sometimes rightly so, because just because something is new doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always right), while others are willing to try out new ideas. We’re the same species, after all, that condemned Galileo, tried to appease Hitler, and voted for our politicians.

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