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Paalam na, house (Tribute to AJ Matela 1982-2011)

AJ and WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg at the back seat of my car. This was straight from Wordcamp 2010 in Manila.

Ang Buhay ni Boy by jayveef

I was listening to an old podcast I helped record back in 2007. It stars several friends from the Internet, with AJ taking center stage playing the role of “Boy” for this short radio play. I remember we all came together to Juned’s place to record this right after I told them I got a new podcast microphone. To fully appreciate this listen, you have to realize that everything spoken here was impromptu and I kept on rewinding AJ’s final lines as he closed the episode.

Pero marami din ako natutunan sa bahay na ito, pero kailangan ko nang umalis. Natutunan ko na kahit anong kailangan natin, kung paano tayo magmahal .. basta taos puso ang pagmamahal natin … yun ang importante. Tsaka natuto ko rin na hindi lahat ng … hindi mo naman kailangan maging beauty queen, hindi mo kailangan maging designer … hindi naman ganun ang lahat. Kung bakla ka, o bading ka hindi naman kailangan na tawagan kang i-stereotype. Hindi naman ganun lahat.


Natutunan ko lang basta taos sa puso ang pagmamahal mo mabubuhay ka ng maligaya. Aalis na ako. paalam na, house. — AJ Matela (September 10 1982- September 9 2011)


AJ’s family and friends need our help to raise funds for his hospital bills. Please head on over here for details.

Best “Unboxing” I’ve ever seen

Neil deGrasse Tyson unboxes a replica of the Saturn V Rocket (1967-1973), the same rocket that propelled astronauts into outer space to reach the moon. That whole thing is a fuel depot and the astronauts were sitting on the teeny bit on top. This replica was given to him by the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville as a token for his efforts for pushing that the Saturn V Rocket be included in the list of 7 Wonders of America.

Every generation has its roster of dreamers. After Carl Sagan (bless his trans-dimensional soul) and Michio Kaku (biggest lobbyist for the existence of the multiverse we read about in DC Comics) we have this guy who attempts to explain the most amazing concepts of the universe and simplifies it for everyone to understand.

To help you understand what I’m saying, here’s a video of him talking about his encounter with James Cameron and his reaction to the movie Titanic — because Mr. Cameron “got the sky wrong.”

A Life Underwater

A rogue with an eye for salvage – and the ladies – Ray: A Life Underwater is an affectionate portrait of one man’s deep sea diving career, told through his extraordinary collection of marine artefacts.

Like a modern-day pirate, 75-year-old Ray Ives has been scouring the seabed for treasure his whole life.

The former commercial diver has plundered the deep for over fifty years, bringing to the surface anything that glittered — even gold.

In a shipping container near the water, Ray tends his museum of cannon, bottles, bells, swords, portholes and diving gear.

He even still takes to the water in a 1900s diving suit.

Produced and Directed by Amanda Bluglass www.amandabluglass.co.uk
Editor and Director of Photography: Danny Cooke www.dannycooke.co.uk
Dive photography: Neil Hope www.divingimages.co.uk
Soundtrack: Tony Higgins www.tonyhiggins.org

The journey underwater reflects the awe of parallel worlds. When man looks to the stars, he sees a longing for his knowledge to fill the vacuum of space. If a man closes his eyes underwater, it is in all likelihood that this is the same feeling. Of weightlessness. Of conquering new frontiers. Of being where the human body was not built to be.

Indie Games from the Karlo Licudine aka The Accidental Rebel

Karlo Licudine used to do a lot of professional blogging before. Most of you may know him as Karlo “Pinoyblogero” while others may know him more as that young talented guy who creates great CSS templates for several companies. I’ve always been in touch with Karlo for various projects these past 2 years and on the side I’d visit his site to see what’s been up.

For those who don’t know, Karlo has shelved his “Pinoyblogero” persona and is now busy as the Accidental Rebel, developing local video games for the PC, Mac and Linux.

Check out RESCUE SUPPORT, a game he made for LudumDare #21. He made this game in 16 hours following this year’s theme of “ESCAPE.”

This game is my entry to Ludum Dare #21, a widely known rapid game making contest on the internet where participants need to create a game solo in 48 hours. The theme for this contest is “Escape”.

Play it here. I found it fascinatingly addicting and was amazed at what Karlo was able to do in less than a day. He’s planning on improving it of course but he’s got the core mechanics down — it got me hooked for more than 10 minutes.

Or check out this demo for a Jose Rizal themed mystery / adventure game done Phoenix Wright style. It’s called Detective Rizal and the Jaded Ruby.

This is a game I’m working on for the “Jose Rizal is in a Video Game” competition. It’s a tribute to the 150th year of Jose Rizal.

Detective Rizal and the Jaded Ruby is an adventure game with a mystery/detective concept inspired by the Phoenix Wright series and Detective Conan Anime.

In game music for trailer and game by Jerel Limayo.

There’s a demo which you can download as well.

In any case, I’d suggest browsing his site. He’s got other stuff including The Pacifist (platformer) and Trapped in Time (top down shooter). It’s good to know that we’ve got passionate local talent here trying to start something on their own. Supporting him is easy. Share his site. Play his games. Give great feedback and cheer him on!

Keep up the good work, Karlo!

Counterstrike: Global Offensive Video Preview

Devastating effects of the molotov!
Firebomb on the way!

The new Counterstrike is nearing its beta release this October. Scouring the Internet you will find more speculation that fact with regards to the changes to one of the world’s most popular LAN games. Counterstrike: Global Offensive or CS:GO isn’t a Counterstrike 2. In fact if you watch the video, it’s pretty similar to the game we’ve come to love in LAN parties with a number of changes that introduce new play styles.

For instance, the new Molotov Cocktail does damage over time (DOT) to anyone stepping on the flames. This is very strategic for blocking off choke points and key targets for a short period of time. The other addition would be small revamps to popular maps such as in de_dust where the underpass has been widened with a stairwell that leads up opposite the tunnel.

I’m excited! Especially since today, I don’t need to spend countless hours playing from an Internet cafe (while cutting class). The game will be available for download via Steam and will also be on the XBOX 360 and the Playstation 3.

SMART Netphone Pricing for Postpaid and Prepaid

Well here it is! The moment you’ve been waiting for — NETPHONE PRICING SCHEMES! The first Netphone will be available on both prepaid and postpaid plans. You can hop on to www.netphone.ph for all the details but to sum up everything:

This is the list of plans on postpaid. And here is the list of daily and monthly “bite sized” plans for data.

If you look closely, there is an obvious “sweet spot” in the pricing scheme under the “all-in” unlimited monthly data for PHP 999 a month as apart from unlimited IM and social stream usage (that’s SmartNet, Facebook and Twitter), you also get 3,500 SMS messages and 200 minutes of voice calls. Insane. I’d change my 8 year old plan if I could.

If you’ve all been curious as to what exactly the Netphone can do, there’s a guided tour on the Netphone site.

Netphone keeps a running balance of your load

“I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it.”
– Pointer Sisters

This photo pretty much sums up two key features about SmartNet. If you’re subscribed to Netphone services, (1) you’re always connected to SMART’s data network. The way they charge for this is very different from all their other data plans (volume based and time based). In this case, (2) you can see the current running balance if you’re on postpaid and your current remaining load balance if you’re on prepaid. By default, this solves a lot of customer support issues because you will always be aware of your usage. No more surprises.

HERE: For the past several hours I’ve been online with only PHP 1.00 of load. On Facebook. On Twitter. On SmartNet’s own global directory. On chat. And this is really one of the best ways to explain the synergy between the phone and the cost of services tied to it.

There’s no other service in this country that lets you keep a PHP 1.00 balance while letting you do all these great things on the Internet. The Netphone line from SMART will come with its own super-low pricing schemes for data. Abangan. September 1.

Netphone Begins: Unboxing the Netphone 701

UPDATE: Actual Netphone pricing for both prepaid and postpaid plans over here.

Dropped by SMART this afternoon to meet up with Louie. On the latest list of things to study would be the highly anticipated 701, the first of the Netphone smartphones. Exciting! Back in February, I was able to play with a pre-alpha release. This is the real thing and it comes in a nice box reminiscent of how I loved unboxing G.I. Joe toys as a kid. As I still need to charge the phone and get some much needed sleep here’s a little unboxing for you after the jump.

PC Gaming is Not Dead

This is an ad I found on the Internet. It was allegedly placed in the Wall Street Journal by Razer, the company that makes the best gaming mice in the industry. This is definitely one of the most debated topics in the world of gaming — the “death” of PC gaming. I really think it’s far from it, IMHO. But now, someone from the industry has decided to really speak up.

More than an “advocacy,” it also looks like a campaign for the Switchblade but it seems that the PC Gaming is Alive campaign may be something more than this.

Check it out: http://pcgamingisnotdead.com/

Whatever it is, the entire campaign is intriguing.

Customize Android Notifications with Pops — Themes for your alerts

I think this video explains everything better than my 150 words.

First off, thanks to Billycoy for sharing this on Plurk.

I’m really happy how Android handles the drop down Notifications. In fact, it’s that (alongside how I can’t use just one button for a phone) that I am not using an iPhone. Anyway, since Google allows app developers more leeway to customizing the user experience with each handset,

Pops allows you to customize your Notification alert when the screen is idle. As of late, you can customize incoming SMS, GMail, Twitter and Facebook (from messages to friend requests to notifications). You can choose from dozens of themes and even create your own using your Android device’s camera. Best of all, it’s free!

And yes, Pops does have that psychological effect in adding some cheer to work-related emails or SMS from someone you really hate. =)

If you’re on the Android Marketplace, do a search for the complete title “Pops Themes For Your Alerts” or click on this to jump to the app page.

Samsung launches local unlimited Blu-ray and 3D movie rental service for customers

TL;DR: For the price of one Blu-ray disc a year, Samsung lets you rent unlimited Blu-ray titles delivered to your home.

UPDATE: Added screenshots of the web-based Blu-ray browser and a walkthrough of how to get your discs.

Wow. Apparently, Samsung sees the HDTV industry the same way most consumers do. Everyone is buying really nice televisions but nobody is watching Blu-ray movies because they’re just too damn expensive. So what Samsung did was create a Blu-ray rental service to cater to all their customers who bought one of their Blu-ray players or flat panel TV’s (with a Blu-ray package). If you bought one before August 15, sorry but you can’t avail of this service (FFFUUUUUUU!!!!).

The service is called Blupass and it isn’t for sale. It’s a value added Blu-ray and 3D disc rental service which you get after you purchase a player or TV-with-player bundle after August 15 2011. The service basically creates a community around Samsung’s cinephiles (which by the way is extremely brilliant) allowing them to rent from all 500++ titles available in the Philippines.

Pricing after the jump.

Bye webOS. We **barely** knew you. Also, too bad for Manny Pacquiao

EDIT: Since the annoucement, the HP TouchPad is now being sold at a happy USD $100.00. If you have a friend from the USA coming home to the PH, I suggest grabbing one!

If I were you, try to find someone with a mint webOS device. Then find a way to get Manny Pacquiao to sign it. Re-seal it and keep it in mothballs for the time when your toddler reaches manhood so he can sell it for lots of money.

Sad to see webOS go. But really, with the huge dominance of Android and iOS, there really seems to be no more space for a new app ecosystem to thrive. Looks like HP pulled the plug sooner than later.

There seems to be a huge curse put on this particular OS. For avid fans, this isn’t the first time the platform has been canned. In the beginning, Palm’s success led to the spawning of a quasi sister company / competitor called Handspring that was more focused on hardware attachment modules to Palm OS-licensed devices. Handspring was later on re-acquired. Then Palm had a bit of identity crisis, changing their name to palmOne and then back to Palm and then selling to HP to reincarnate as webOS. And then now HP doesn’t seem to know what to do with them. Oh well. Palm is the equivalent of the cursed Defense of the Dark Arts teaching position of the tech world.

Super cheap Samsung camera deals with free underwater housings starting at PHP 12,990.00


This promo isn’t out anywhere else. So this is the first time you’ll be hearing of this before it goes uber public. Many weeks ago I helped test out a potential underwater adventure bundle with Samsung and Microwarehouse leading the experiment. You can read about the entire experience here. Well, fast forward to yesterday, the product testing was a success and I’m really proud to have been part of the team that made this package what it is now.

What it is: the cheapest adventure bundle you will ever find in the market.

Question: Where else will you find a decent camera with waterproof housing up to 130 feet for only PHP 12,900.00?

Answer: NONE! Nowhere else! Only here!

There are a total of three models available:

Samsung PL210 – ultra zooming camera
Samsung SH100 – WiFi enabled camera
Samsung PL120 – 2 viewing screens (front and back)

These are all decent P&S cameras on land. Adding the Seashell case for underwater photos protects the camera up to 130 feet. It’s perfect for beach trips and SCUBA divers.

You can avail of this package from Splash UW Imaging in Greenhills or in Mobile1 at the Powerplant Mall in Rockwell.

Whatever you choose, these Samsung cameras have decent auto WB focusing underwater. If you don’t snorkel or visit the beach often, this package is still epic as the underwater case can be used as a ruggedized casing on land! Winner! The Seashell case is a trusted housing for most point and shoot cameras. Since it’s made to fit almost all models, some functions on specific cameras may be limited. At minimum you will be able to press the shutter button underwater (can’t change settings) which is all you really need IMHO. Spread the word! These cameras are perfect for barkada outings!

Important Note: I do not work for Samsung / Microwarehouse nor was I compensated to help with the testing. They paid for the SCUBA tanks and lunch though.

Dive Fair 2011 in R.O.X. — Now is the Perfect Time to get SCUBA into your Bucket List!

Always been curious about SCUBA diving? Already diving but can’t seem to find a good deal on gear? Well, you’re in luck kind sir (or ma’am) — ROX in partnership with Mares will be showcasing the world of SCUBA diving to the public for the next two weeks starting this weekend.

If you’ve always been curious about one of the world’s most fascinating hobbies (which by the way is EPIC in the Philippines), do drop by the Dive Fair 2011 from August 20 to September 4 2011 at R.O.X Bonifacio High Street.

On a more personal note, I’ll be doing a short talk on basic underwater videography on one of the fair dates thanks to Gigi Santos. Our underwater photo club will also be showcasing a gallery of underwater photos throughout R.O.X.

So there you have it! If you’ve been putting off SCUBA for the longest time, this moment is opportune. This is the most convenient place to ask all the questions you ever wanted about SCUBA Diving.

When you dive in Basura, you find the oddest things

Smile! I’m a hairy frogfish

Whenever SCUBA is marketed to the public, the point of entry is always how pretty everything is underwater. Go to any SCUBA marketing collateral and you’re guaranteed a photo of healthy coral reefs with schools of red anthias and other fish swimming in nonchalance. Don’t forget the diver in the pink wetsuit and huge yellow mask. I spent more than a year diving reefs, going to average depths of about 60 ft and deeper to catch glimpses of the “busy” underwater life.

After a while though, you start wanting other things. Even if they’re less beautiful and more bizarre.

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