Can you blame the weather man?

Yesterday’s [tag]weather[/tag] was short of a [tag]tropical storm[/tag] blowin in our country. Dark heavy clouds and strong gusts of wind bathed the scene yesterday and it continued well into the night. For the third straight night, I slept with the electric fan off and the blanket wrapped neatly around my body. However, things are different this morning, as I speak..err..write this post my underarms and palms are sweating a bit due to the warm and sunny wheather we’re having on this corner of the country. “Ang panahon nga naman, parang babae, pabago-bago ng isip.”

One day it’s all hot and sunny, the next it’s dark and stormy. It’s really hard sometimes to adjust to this kind of weather especially if your mind is burdens a ton of school works to finish, a pile of unfinished but addicting books to read, a computer that has got you hooked on [tag]blogging[/tag], a dirty room to clean up and that pile of the week’s laundry reminding you that if there are things modern [tag]technology[/tag] has yet to revolutionize, among them is dirty clothes that need washing.

This stress, at the point where it becomes too much to cope with becomes a bedseed for more troubles and headaches…literally. Then here comes the weather suddenly changing its mood and usually in contrast to your own-mood, clothing style of the day, activities and yes your hairdo. You could’ve sworn it was bright and sunny when you left home or the dorm but when you arrived at the university gates its all chaos and pandemonium as the skies bombard the other hapless mortals like you with cold harsh water that’s bound to make a mess of you…again literally. You scamper from the jeepney and run like hell to the nearest shelter while hopelessly dodging the barrage of liquid drops some kids say that the tears of God or Angels and even their piss, much like Capt Miller and the other Rangers who landed on Omaha beach on D-Day.

When you do get to safety, usually a shed crowded with the others like you who are tired, haggard and dripping wet. Soon the adrenaline goes down and your bodies release the excessive heat to keep you warm but now that you’re in crowded space with little air circulation despite the strong howling winds out in the street, it could be unpleasant to your nose. Pawis at init ng katawan, iba’t-ibang deodorant, pabango at colonge pagsama-samahin mo at talagang tatakpan mo ilong mo.

Then you’ll remember a little fact you heard in ecology class that will definitely make things worse than it already is: when it is cold, the air tends to sink down to the ground and along with it the different scents and odors now emanating from the wet, steamy and irate crowd you’re in. So with your nose closed by your wet hanky or fingers, and breathing through your mouth, curses, damnations and foul words swirl through your mind creating a storm of its own. “Lecheng ulan! Bad trip talaga oh!

Soon, you realise that you’re no longer cursing in your thoughts. The curses and foul words of frustration and irritation now ring through the crowd you’re in. Nagsimula nang ngumawa ang mga basang sisiw. All of this cries of seeming injustice on mother nature’s part will be ended with one swift phrase of the following variations; “Bakit kasi hindi ka nagdala ng payong?” “May payong ka ba?” “Sh*t! Naiwan ko payong ko sa dorm!” “Sabi ko sa iyo magdala ka ng payong eh!” I’m sure you get the picture, and I’m also sure you’ve been in one before, all of us have.

Since we are now in the sense of remembering things, I’d like to remind you that for every night of the week, for a short two to three minutes something so common and so taken for granted gets shown on television everywhere around the world: the [tag]weather report[/tag].

You could also thank the evolution of early morning television shows nowadays that not only include your early dose of daily national gossip but also your quintessential yet undervalued weather report. These short minutes-only broadcasts with a man standing in front of a global map waiving his hands around trying to tell you that you should bring an umbrella when you go out today. Had you only paid more attention and actually followed the man’s advice, you wouldn’t be wet, sweaty, smelly, and stuck in a crowd today or during that past fateful day when you cursed the skies and blamed weather men the world over for the sudden change in the your fortunes.
As for my last reminder, a quote by Prince Hector from the movie Troy; “The gods bless you in the morning, and they curse you in the afternoon.”

Remember that we are in the tropics

It’s weekend already. A rainy weekend in fact and it seems that the cool wheather has kept most of us indoors and glued to our books, beds, computers and blogs. The sudden rise of new posts from my blogroll tells me that there’s a lot to keep me happily bloghopping for the rest of the weekend, unless some natural disaster or not-so-natural disaster like power outtage, connection loss, pc crash etc strikes me down hapless. I hope not.
Speaking of a rainy weekend, I’m beginning to wonder who makes the umbrellas most of us use nowadays. Has the makers of today’s umbrellas forgotten that we live in the tropics and much more our country is in the so-called ‘[tag]typhoon[/tag] belt’? It means that if it’s not hot and sunny, it’s cool and often times stormy here in the [tag]Philippines[/tag] from the months of June up until February. That’s nine months of wet rainy season with an average of 3-5 [tag]tropical storms[/tag] assaulting our country.

It seems however that most of the [tag]umbrellas[/tag] today were designed and built for the three months of dry and hot summer season. Small, compact, light, fragile and sometimes downright expensive; these words I use to describe the umbrellas we have today. Sure it’s a three-folds, even a four-folds with a designer’s name on it with the hefty price tag to boot. It even matches the color of your pants and fits snuggly in your clutch or pouch bag, but trust me, it would never stand up to the kind of storms that regularly visit our country during the other nine months of the year.

Just this morning when I went to school, it was raining quite heavily and winds blowing strongly, the usual wet and rainy wheather we get during this times of the year. Wala pang bagyo nyan ha. The small, light, compact, fragile and expensive designer umbrellas that come in all the various shades of the colors of the rainbow dot the streets like flowers putting on their summer blooms. Until reality bites hard with a strong gust of wind twisting, turning and flipping those umbrellas inside out. Bye-bye cool weekend attire, say hello to wet, groggy and muddy look. Sayang ang damit, sayang ang make-up, sira ang ayos ng buhok. Bad trip!

Mutters, curses and screams you’d hear from those hapless folks especially students and schoolmates of mine whom had been failed by those poorly designed umbrellas. So much for compactness, so much for the designer signature, so much for the hefty pricetag, and so much for the carefully chosen weekend get-up. Alam naman kasing malakas ang hangin at ulan, bakit yung mga ganoong klaseng payong pa ang dinala?

Really, someone in the umbrella making business should rethink their craft and go take one of their impractical umbrellas for a walk in the midst of the harsh tropical wheather of the Philippines. I’m sure new ideas would rain down upon them, literally. New ideas like how to make their umbrellas more suited for our type of climate and wheather. New ideas on how to make umbrellas real umbrellas, the kind that will get you through most of the harsh [tag]wheather[/tag] conditions in our tropical country.

eBay slams Google Checkout

via Cnet.com: eBay bans Google Checkout

Does this mean that the tagline circulating among the blogoshpere and e-mail groups saying that ‘Google Checkout is no PayPal killer’ wrong?

The Elinor Mills writes in Cnet.com news blog:

“Safety and convenience are at the core of eBay’s policies toward payments,” the policy statement says. “This policy is designed to promote safe online shopping, and to encourage online payment methods that are safe, easy to use, reliable, and offer high levels of protection for users.”

eBay spokesman Hani Durzy said Google Checkout was added to the prohibited payment services list on Thursday primarily because it is so new and untested.

There you have it, ‘so new and untested’ this, in all good intentions, means that Google must stop at rolling out products and services in the ‘beta’ stage. It may sound cool or cutting-edge stuff just because it has the ‘beta’ tag attached to it but eBay does have a point.

Can you trust your online transactions to be safe and totally secure when using a service that is still in beta or testing stage? Aside from a strategic move by [tag]eBay[/tag] to protect its own [tag]PayPal[/tag] service from the giant that is [tag]Google[/tag], it just makes perfect sense.

Still, I’m not totally with eBay on this move. It only makes sense as long as Google Checkout is in the ‘beta’ stage, once it does comes out as a fully functional stand-alone service it should be removed by eBay from its banned list of [tag]payment services[/tag], it would just be unfair and unethical business-wise.

As for Google, I can only wish that they speed up the development of [tag]Google Checkout[/tag] so as to avoid similar incidents like this in the future, and please make it available in the Philippines in the very near future.

Globelines upgrades broadband speeds

Just after posting the entry about ‘why I didn’t buy an iPod‘ this morning, my Globelines broadband (or dsl, honestly what’s the difference?) connection was lost for the remainder of the day and until the writing of this post. I tried to call their customer service but the lines were busy, on the second call all I got was a machine-recorded message saying that the network is being restored after some upgrades blah blah blah.

I was a bit furious because I still had to send a few e-mails to my professor and fellow Lasallian volunteers when the connection was lost, and this is the very first time it has happened ever since I subscribed to Globelines [tag]broadband[/tag]. I did so over the choices of [tag]PLDT MyDSL[/tag] or BayanTel because of the following reasons: the complaints from my schoolmate who’s been suffering from the lack-luster quality of connection and customer support of PLDT MyDSL for almost a year now, the knowledge that Sir Allan has had enough of his PLDT MyDSL’s sluggish performance as well and finally Ms Connie Veneracion’s own words; ‘PLDT’s MyDSL really suck

So despite the competition and the mildly stiffer costs, I signed up for the Express Unlimited package of Globelines broadband, it’s their entry package priced at Php 995.00 per month at 384kbps. I was happy and content with the service since my tests had shown that I was getting around 70-80% of the speeds I signed up to pay for. Until this morning when the connection was lost.

After making two calls to their customer service and hearing the pre-recorded message about the network upgrade, I remembered the radio ad that I heard yesterday about the new promos by [tag]Globelines broadband[/tag] and rumors that they will be upgrading the connection speeds of their packages. So when I got to school, I went online to check out Globelines’ website for details about their supposed new promo.

What I saw had me smiling the whole day.

Globelines Broadband upgrade

Yes, from now on, I’ll be surfing the net along with the other Globelines subscribers at 512kbps speeds that we would normally pay extra for, but now it’s all for free. 🙂

To verify, prove and confirm this good news, I did some speed tests again just to make sure I wasn’t being fooled. Using speakeasy.net’s speed test, I compared my previous speeds at 384kbps to the newly upgraded speed at 512kbps.

My old speeds:

Old Speeds @ the specified 384kbps
To my new speeds:

New speeds @ the specified 512kbps
It’s so much better and still within the 70% mark. I just hope that there would be no hidden and costly surprises attached to this upgrade and that the satisfactory service would remain the same. Yebah!

Why I didn’t buy an iPod

Last December, I was finally given the cold hard cash that will enable me to go get the cool, craze of the world, and must-have gadget called [tag]iPod[/tag]. I was excited, thrilled and I almost did not get enough sleep the night before. Sa wakas, magkakaroon na rin ako ng iPod!

The next morning, I was up early so early that my parents were surprised to see me that early in the morning. Doesn’t the mall opens at 10 am? It was almost 6 am that day so they’ve said it all with that one question. I did not tell them that I just couldn’t wait to get my own iPod, I was always uncomfortable with expressing my feelings to my parents, especially to my dad, we always had a casual almost formal relationship, but that is another entry. So I just took a seat at the table and had my morning meal.

After that I went upstairs to my room to check on my e-mails and my blog, which was just a few weeks old by then, because it was still too early to go to the mall. After bloghopping my spare time, I quickly prepared for the trip. Took a world record-setting bath, put on the clothes I picked just for the occassion, fixed my unruly hair and said my goodbyes to everyone left at home.

It was a two hour trip via bus and passenger van from my home in Silang, Cavite to the SM South Mall in Las Pinas City where I would buy my own iPod. The trip felt like five hours because of my excitement, I was really psyched up to get an [tag]iPod Nano[/tag].

Finally, the van stopped and there I was just a few floors away from my latest gadget craze. I wasted no time and made my way up to the second floor where the computer and electronics shops are located. I stopped at CompLink, where I scouted the best iPod deal in the mall a few months before last December.

I was about to say “I’m here to get an iPod” then a recent memory flashed in my mind.

It was October of 2005, my cousing from Tokyo just arrived at home for a two-week vacation. With him is his sleek and cool iPod nano. He lent it to me during his stay and it was the cause of craving for my own iPod. Until the third day of his stay, the unthinkable happened.

I broke his iPod Nano with my butt. I forogt that the pencil-thin sexy gagdet was in my back pocket when I decided to shoot some hoops with its owner, my cousin Benjie for an afternoon fun. The routine game turned into a nightmare when I lost balance during a rebound and fell to the ground butt ergo, iPod nano first.

I froze when I heard this crack and felt something on my back pocket. Holy Sh*t!! Naupuan ko ang iPod ni insan!!! I screamed in my mind that is now refusing to believe so. It felt like landing on two packs of Skyflakes crackers that..well…cracked. I got back up on my feet with the help of my cousin and while he was concerned about my well-being, I was dead worried about his iPod and my dear life. I braved up, and reached for the device in my backpocket, held it in my two hands and nearly fainted after seeing an unerving crack running across the iPod’s screen that is now lifeless and blank.
“Chotto matte…Nani?!” My cousin Benjie suddenly lost his knowledge of the English and Filipino language and started to be histerical in Japanese. All I understood was, “What the hell happened?!! How?! Why?! Oh you’re so dead!!!”

I couldn’t speak to him for until the third day that I finally approaced him and apologized for the incident which I rightfully blame on my self. My cousin of course was devastated, but thanks to our close bonds that goes way back to our younger years, he was able to come around and manage to forgive me…initially. But the damage was done and it seems that he would be going back to Tokyo, without his treasured iPod. I just screwed his vacation big time, but I was determined to salvage what was left of it and do justice to my beloved cousin.

I couldn’t approach my parents for help because they were equally upset because of what happened and so made it clear that they would not cough up a single cent to repay my cousin. I didn’t expect that they would really, I knew they were saving up for my younger sister’s tuition fee for the coming semester. So I phoned up my grandfather in Laguna, the old patriarch of our family and told him the whole story. After his brief lecture on my stupidity stemming from my absent-mindedness, he asked me who much would I need? I turned around and asked my cousin how much was his iPod, he told me that it cost him $260.00, I did the math and told it my grandpa. All he said was “Ok na. Check mo na lang ATM mo mamaya o bukas.” I felt like the weight of the whole world was taken off my shoulders and was returend to Atlas. It was that time that I smiled and whispered to my self, “Iba talaga kapag paboritong apo ka. hehehehe”

So I replaced my cousin Benjie’s iPod, made peace with him and the lucky bastard even thanked me for the wrecking his iPod, he had been meaning to get a new one because the one I broke was already scratched up and ‘old’ for him, but couldn’t because his parents would not give him any money.

I learned many great lessons from that experience. I was convinced that the iPod wasn’t for me. It was too fragile and too expensive to be lost or broken by someone like me who has this incessant habit of putting things in my pocket only to forget that I put them there in the first place because I hate carrying things in my hand and lug around a bag or something. Besides, I have sweaty hands and the shiny iPod -before I broke it, has slipped off my hands before and I will not accept visions of me riding a jeepney with an iPod slipping off my sweaty hands only to fall on the road and God knows what could happen to it, turning into a grim reality.

I may have a grandfather with a fat wallet, but he’s not going to be around forever and I’m a person who values things that are durable, robust, would last longer and be able to withstand my highly active daily routine. Loosing a five-thousand peso cellphone is more bearable than losing or breaking a twelve thousand peso device that is pencil-thin.
So back at CompLink again. I stepped back and decided to have a look at what they have on offe as an alternative to the iPod. I saw a wide selection of [tag]Creative[/tag] products that are more cheaper, equally appealing to my taste and after I checked each of them out, were more suited to my needs and lifestyle.

So I picked up two [tag]mp3[/tag] [tag]gadgets[/tag] thanks to the cash I had for a single iPod: the Creative Zen Nano Plus with 1GB capacity and a Creative MuVo Mix with 512MB. Both had MP3, WAV and WMA playback capabilities, [tag]USB[/tag] 2.0, a built-in Radio tuner and hand voice recorder. Everything I needed, and its all there, packaged in a small, featherwieght and durable design. Perfect for my pockets, therefore making me less attractive to thugs and goons, and snatchers that prowl our streets. The USB interface, which requires no cable to be purchased seperatly, was so simple and perfect, it has become my hardisk on the go.
I still long for an iPod, but maybe when I’m as old as my grandpa or not too physically active as now. For the time being, I’m enjoying and loving my Creative gadgets to the fullest.

Intel has a new house, I cleaned up mine

Intel has just opened a new 65-nanometer plant in Ireland a few days back as part of their move, to which tech pundits says, ‘Intel’s move to regain its footing in the microchip industry‘.

Intel65-nanometer chips have smaller components lending to faster and more powerful chips for our desktops, laptops and servers. The chips are getting smaller with news that 45-nanometer chips would be produced by Intel by the end of next year.

It’s good news for all of us tech consumers, however I do hope that these new chips would be more affordable and power-efficient as to help with our electric bills and the truth that Intel chips costs more than AMD chips sold here in the Philippines. New technology doesn’t necessarily mean cheaper price tags. *sighs*

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Last night, I had a quick exchange of e-mails with Sir Angelo Racoma about some nifty seo tips and strategies that will help me build up traffic and readership in this new blog of mine. The help of course is part of the promotional free .com.ph domain + hosting package they have offered to interested bloggers. I don’t know if I’m stepping a bit out line here as I will be able to share those said seo or search engine optimization tips (just some for now)in this little recollection of what I had to go through in the wee hours of yesterday.

As you have probably seen, there are now only 4 posts in this blog and this entry is the 5th. I removed the older ones which all came from my original blog The Four-eyed Journal. The move or migration as the experts would like to term it from that original domain and webhost to this new one was part of my plan to reboot my blog and blogging life, career if may call it. I thought it was just logical, a new .com.ph domain plus hosting would be better complimented with a first re-start of my blog.

That’s why I dropped the blog title of ‘The Four-eyed Journal’ and opted to the ‘Pinoy Explorer’, the reasons of which I blogged about earlier here. I didn’t only dropped the name of my former blog, I decided to drop the old one altogether and even redirected traffic from the old domain to this new .com.ph domain. The migration was going on quite smoothly except for one major detail; my Text-Link-Ads sponsors.

It turns out that I cannot transfer the text link ads from my old site to this new one as easy as I could transfer the ads from AdSense, AdBrite and Linkshare. This prevented the total shutdown of my old blog. Even if I redirected the old http://jhay.lsjp.org domain to this new http://jrocas.com.ph domain, the TLA team wouldn’t just allow it.

It was then I later realised, with the wisdom of Sir Agelo, that TLA team made perfect sense. My old site has already built up a considerable amount of traffic and link popularity, that’s why I was able to sell those ad spaces via Text-Link-Ads, and it would be unfair to the said advertisers because I would put their ads on a site that has yet to build up its own decent amount of traffic and readership, and more importantly, they did not pay to advertise on this new site, they did that on my old site.
I made some quick adjustments in my ‘blog reboot plan’, removed the domain redirection and returned the old http://jhay.lsjp.org back online and renamed it ‘TechnoloJhay‘ not just to keep the TLA ads, but as to have it as my archives site and secondary blog. That explains, in part, the housecleaning I did to remove the duplicate contents (since they were already posted first in the old blog) in this site which is now my primary or main blog.

GoogleWhy remove the duplicate contents? It turns out, as I was told that ‘Papa Google‘ (the term coined by Major who shouted Isulong seoph) hates duplicate contents and strikes down sites with duplicate contents in in search rankings, which is a big no-no in terms of search engine optimization for your site or blog. You see, Google and the other search engines are like my mother, she’s the most generous, kind, loving and helpful person when you’re doing something different, good and unique, but when you go the other direction she could be as cold and unforgiving as the Ice Queen in Narnia.

So there, migrating blogs to a new domain is like moving into a new house. You either start with a clean slate and buy new furnitures and fixtures or simply carry over the old stuf you already have because just like in the real world, you can’t have the same content in two places at once, Papa Google wouldn’t just allow it. 😉