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“Cringe Benefits”

I was standing at the back of the room, left arm folded over my right. I’d twitch, and switch position (left hand over my mouth perpendicular to my right arm) every time one of the promo people on stage would forget the script.

And then I’m joined by RJ Ledesma who positions himself beside me, and gives me the look.

“So what are you doing all the way back here?” I asked.

“It’s the guys on stage. I’m getting all tensed up when they forget their lines.”

“Oh you too? That’s good. I thought it was just me! It’s really stressful. It really makes me cringe.”

And so winging it yielded the most interesting results

My former professor taught one of the most important acts in teaching craft and that was the art of “winging it.” It really meant not having a plan for the next hour and a half in class but since there was a lot of familiarity with the subject, “winging it” often yielded the best results in getting the message through. I guess the best plan, at most times, was to not have one.

This note comes in a dialogue of many levels but one has to stand out and that message, I feel, should be one of thanks. It’s been a blast working with Jeremy and the rest of b5media as CE for the technology channel (special mention goes to CJ – yes you Christina Jones, for being hands down one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met in my 27 years of existence). I stepped down a few days before the Philippine Blog Awards (the channel is in good hands with Kori) and have now abandoned myself to the reckless tapping of the keyboard to stick to writing for the network, which in 2005 retrospect is something I miss doing.

It was one of the most interesting one and a half years of my career in the blogging industry and now that the training wheels are off, I’m here to venture forth to concentrate on things with a stronger local impact – there’s of course this little surprise here, an advocacy there, and the academe, plus a few more surprises up my sleeve in the coming months.

I still remember Anton talking to me about my “career plans” in the first quarter of the year as we were sneaking out from an event, and I remember giving vague answers to our discussion; but what stood out were answers that had more to do with local results and doing things that had my whole heart on the line. But yeah, the answers were still vague.

I mean, what can I do? I’m just winging it baby.

Nokia to launch “Comes with Music” soon?

Phones come cheap because the price of the unit is subsidized by the telco (they make up with the monthly plans). In the same light, digital music will now come free (hopefully!) because the cost will be subsidized by the price of the phone.

Reuters has an interestingly new article on the Nokia’s new Comes with Music offering (apart from their new touch screen phone):

I heard about Nokia’s Comes with Music plans during a dinner meet up with some of the online tech media a few months ago. Not a lot of details were released but the plan to go for a subscription-based model isn’t new. It just hasn’t been implemented on a wide scale yet (the only guys I know doing this is the Microsoft Zune online community for a price of a CD a month – unlimited song downloads!).

Nokia’s package will differ from others on the market as users can keep all the music they have downloaded during the 12 month subscription period. There are no charges for tracks downloaded, since the cost is bundled to the phone price.

“‘Comes with Music’ could potentially bring free music to millions of consumers, radically changing the music industry, and offering a significant threat to Apple’s dominance,” Strategy Analytics’ David MacQueen said in a research report.

“In a market where price and selection are so much more important than brand to consumers, Apple cannot count on retaining users when competing with an offering which seems free to the end user,” MacQueen said.

I think it’s come to that point where everyone in the market already has a phone, and changing mobiles every 3 months is turning to be a logistical nightmare. So even if Nokia has still been steady with the phones, entering these new avenues (games, music, maps, photo sharing) via Ovi will definitely peak interest.

What I really want to say is filled with irony: The key to keeping your customers is to not make anything exclusive. This isn’t the 1970’s anymore. Great job to Nokia for going pro-consumer!

How does it feel to be Robi Domingo?

I wonder how he feels — from smart cars to Katipunan to Cagayan de Oro, Robi Domingo’s face is plastered across the local flora and fauna. Robi Domingo, from Pinoy Big Brother fame, is Nokia’s latest brand endorser for the youth segment (that’s the Nokia 7210 Supernova and Nokia 2680).

If that were you all over Manila, how would you feel? :)

(No I’m not trying to make fun of him. It’s more like …. wow! What a leap from housemate to nationwide poster boy!)

More photos after the jump.

Backstage Photos with Chicane in Manila

Had the very rare chance to spend some time backstage with Chicane. I think this is their third time in Manila, but this was the very first time for me to see them live at the World Trade Center. People often mistake Chicane for a DJ when in fact they are a band of four (at least for this tour) – drums, vocals, guitar and keyboards / programming.

Despite the many sound f*** ups (I’ve never seen a concert go on dead air twice on the same night!), this was one of the best live shows I’ve ever experienced. It wasn’t Chicane’s fault for the sound system. The guys from Big Fish said that their equipment was being harassed by dust particles *shrug*. Sucks that the technical glitch happened while they were playing Offshore. Seriously, this could have been one of the best concerts I attended if not for the sound system! It’s a huge blow to the sponsors.

A huge thanks to Nikka from Nokia for scoring us tickets. I was with fellow “Chicanenees” Rico, Jane and Christian, Phoebe (who manged to score an interview with vocalist Natasha Brocklebanks!), Helga and Rockstar Fritz.

If you wish to grab these photos, feel free to do so. I’d just appreciate a photo credit. That’s not a lot to ask for since these photos aren’t even watermarked. More photos after the jump.


Unboxing Warhammer Online Collector’s Edition

A bit late, but here are some photos of the Warhammer Collector’s Edition box set. If you’re a fan of the Warhammer lore, the graphic novel (blue) Prelude to War will not disappoint as it tackles the back story of Grumlok and Gazbag as pawns of the Dark Elves and the rallying of the Dwarven engineers. Alongside this, The Art of Warhammer Online (red) is fabulously done, bringing a fantasy themed coffee table book to round out the other magazines you have on display.

More photos after the break…

T-Mobile G1 Launched: Android is here!

To quote what I wrote on Cellphone9,

The new G1 will cost USD $179.00 and will come with a 2 year plan with T-Mobile. I’ve never been this excited for a device since the iPhone. As you can clearly see, T-Mobile has released a product that does not reek of Brand X. This one’s a sure winner. And it’s only the first of many Android based devices. I’m now more excited to find out which applications are native to Android, and which ones are clearly T-Mobile’s, because I’d love to see how the ala cart menu of Android will turn out for other smartphones to come.

With native support for the Amazon Music Store, several IM clients, WiFi, music and the Webkit “Chrome” browser, I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what Android has up its sleeve in the next few months!

Here’s a comparison between the T-Mobile G1 and AT&T’s iPhone.

Closing Remarks

Thank you all for coming! This is a copy of the closing remarks which Juned allowed me to give as we closed the second Philippine Blog Awards. I enjoy channeling people I admire (paragraph 16 if I’m not mistaken).

Thank you again for being part of this evening’s festivities and a huge thanks as well to the volunteers and our generous sponsors!

The 3 Head Fakes of Blogging

This speech needs an introduction. There is a popular series of talks that has become recently popular on the Internet titled “The Last Lecture.” The series, which was a titular privilege given by professors and industry luminaries had the simple premise “If you were to give one last lecture to end your career, this would be it.”

On September 18 2007, Randy Pausch gave his Last Lecture titled, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” at Carnegie Mellon University, the place where he taught. It was, to some extent, macabre as he introduced himself by showing the tumors in the X rays which was diagnosed as pancreatic cancer. I like talking about the people I idolize, communicating a similar message that they do, and Pausch was one of them. Pausch was a key player in the IT and Education field, having collaborated with EA’s Steve Seabolt (The Sims), Walt Disney’s Imagineering on 3D environments (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End theme park ride) and consulted with Google for user interface design.

But Pausch’s biggest achievement is his work with Alice. The Alice Project is a free and open source IDE (integrated development environment) that was developed over Java. It’s purpose was to create “head fakes” and teach children how to program in Java in order to create virtual environments, without them knowing it. In addition to this, another “head fake” was to teach young programmers how to be creative because it required them to build a story in a virtual environment as they program. As an aside, Alice 3.0 is being released in 2009 in collaboration with EA and will be using The Sims as its virtual environment.

It was in his Last Lecture, titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” that Professor Randy Pausch talked about the real importance of achieving our dreams: that all the things we go through in life, whether it be setting goals for career or family all have a series of “head fakes” or convictions or habits that we learn to develop without us knowing they’re there. Head fakes are things that we learn without our knowing it. It’s like learning teamwork in a basketball game or hand eye coordination while playing first person shooters.

Pausch’s Last Lecture came to mind, as I wanted to talk to you tonight about the 3 head fakes of blogging. With the maturation of today’s blogging community in just short of four years (I base this on the total number of iBlog seminars ever done, by the way), it is hard to find an entry title that’s worded as such: “Things I Learned from Blogging.” And if ever we do find them, it is always almost about learning how to be consistent, to write better, and to deal with our critics.

Tonight, I’d like to share three head fakes that I have personally learned from blogging in celebration of our notion of freedoms which this country enjoys to an awesome extent.

The first head fake:

Blogging teaches us to distinguish our temperament from character. There are many metaphysical truths to the human being, and the concept of temperament and character are perhaps the most interesting. Temperament is the number of sides physically displayed on the dice. Character is the number of chances we get to roll for a snake eyes. Temperament, simply defined, is who we are while character is defined as who we want to become. Temperament is losing it, and flaming others in comments. Character is sincerely apologizing afterwards. In public.

The second head fake. Blogging teaches us to deal. Yes, to deal. Not really to deal with critics. Not really to deal with PR contacts. Not really to deal with making money online; but to deal.

Let me explain. If there is one thing I admire with seasoned bloggers, it is their ability to deal with the impediments that come their way. You will agree with me when I say that the local blogosphere is very colorful, as we are involved in real conversations with fellow bloggers, PR contacts and ad agencies, restaurants, government, NGO’s, multinationals — the list goes on. I admire bloggers who have the ability to deal with the politics of human design and more importantly, how they resolve it. That they can survive criticism, the pointing of hands, the flame bait, the mob, and come back to post the next day, with a more firm resolve.

This brings me to my last point, because “dealing with something” is never complete without conviction.

The third and last head fake: Blogging helps us reaffirm our personal convictions. It is with reaffirming our personal convictions that we form insight on our concept of truth.

“But what is truth?”, asked Pontius Pilate.

What is the truth behind pay per post, behind controversies of SEO and the “nofollow” variable, about link selling or blog advertising, or attending blog events?

The truth? The Truth is Conviction. If there was a right answer, we wouldn’t be blogging. Rather, what is important is that when we are asked what our personal convictions are about these things, we tell the unbiased truth, and unlike Pilate, we should not wash our hands. As bloggers, we value our convictions and integrity the most.

Character, Dealing, and Conviction. I forgot to mention – if you translate “dealing” into a habit, it is called Prudence. These are three things that sum the totality of my message: It is not about how well we blog – it is about how well we live our life.

On to a lighter note. :)

I’d like to thank all our sponsors for being industry pioneers to support the Philippine Blog Awards. Truly, you are part of something big. Channeling Pausch, if “being part of a social revolution” forms part of your list of childhood dreams you want to achieve, then tonight is probably the night you will have your epiphany.

I would also like to thank the volunteers for lending their valuable time in pursuit of this wonderful event, and to the bloggers – everyone – who helped the committee make this night possible. The wisdom of the crowd is always better than the few, says James Surowiecki and this awards night is our night. it belongs to all of us.

There is actually one last head fake to this speech – and to end on a dramatic note, this speech is not for you. It is for everyone else who will read or listen to this who do not understand blogging.

The blogosphere is beautiful. Thank you and goodnight.

Defacto Jeans Limited Edition Pouches

About a week ago I was taking the escalator from a meeting at The Podium when a lady tapped me behind the shoulder,

“Excuse me, but did you just come from Viktor jeans?”

Quick to realize that she was looking at my super sexy black jeans (it’s these but color black; love the iPod / cellphone slot on the sides), I replied (excitedly – because this was the first time someone ever started a conversation with me because of fashion sense),

“Ah, no. Sorry but these are my custom made Defactos.”

After stepping off the escalator she explained how she thought I came from Viktor and got that pair, as they were closed for lunch. I told her that this was the 4th pair of jeans from Tats Paman and Tanya Blay, and not only are they really good custom jeans, they’re also more affordable. Ever since my first pair of Defactory Jeans back in 2007, I’ve never bought denims off the shelf from a department store. Really.

I dropped by Defacto yesterday to pick up my latest pair. I wanted something that was a tad bit of shiny when the light hit it at an angle and this is what they gave me:

Hot! It took me 30 minutes to “build” this pair with the guys at the store and I’m really happy with the turnout. They also let me take home (for free!) three limited edition stitched Defacto pouches for your cellphone, iPod or any gadget that fits. There are two compartments in the pouch – a padded area for your device and another for accessories. The limited edition pouches are given to loyal customers because Defacto is celebrating their 2nd year anniversary!.

As of today, I have had 6 pairs of Defacto Jeans made! Anyone who’s been around me for a while knows how passionate I talk about this brand of custom jeans. Today, a pair starts at P1,800.00 and can go as high as P3,000++. I’ve stuck to jeans with basic cuts to save costs – they’re still very nice. They usually take 5 to 7 days to make. To order, you need to do a downpayment of 50% and choose the style, seams and material. That’s the fun part!

I’ll deliver one of these pouches to your doorstep!

So yay! I decided to raffle off one of these pouches to my readers! This contest is eligible to anyone from the Philippines with the pouch mailed to your doorstep via 2Go (I have a crapload of these 2Go plastic bags at my home, so rather than mailing flowers to myself let’s use it for something productive and fun!).

1. To enter the raffle, all you need to do is leave a comment answering the question “What makes jeans so hot?!”

2. You can enter as many comments as you want as long as the answers are different. Please leave a valid email address in the comment field so I can contact you if you win.

3. The contest is open till 11:59 PM of September 24, 2008. I will be drawing a winner using Luck of the Draw, an application I always use for contests I run on my cellphone blog.

Also, if by chance you do not win but still want these pouches (note: as much as possible they don’t want to sell these) and other custom made attire (they also do polo shirts, vests and jackets), you can always drop by their store:

Unit 112 Mile Long Building
Amorsolo cor. Herrera St. Legaspi Village
Makati City
Email: defacto.industry at gmail dot com
Contact Numbers: 0920-4291393 // 8184708

Nike+ SportBand and Nike+ iPod kit comparison

Many months ago, I bought myself a Nike+ iPod kit to track my runs. Recently, I was given the newer Nike+ Sport Band which does exactly the same thing, albeit a bit differently. This is a comparative observation of the pros and cons for those who want to run with Nike+ yet can’t decide which one to get.

The obvious difference between the two items is that the Nike+ iPod Sport Kit requires an iPod nano for it to function. The Nike+ SportBand is independent of any 3rd party device and can be worn as a watch when not in use to track runs.

So as not to kill off their watch line, the Nike+ Sport Band does not include many customizable functions for telling time. No backlight is included and the way time is adjusted is through a sync with your computer’s USB port. Eek! The USB connector of the Nike+ band is curved in design, which makes it rather annoying to plug it into laptops because you’d have to tilt the device off a platform.

Perhaps the biggest gripe with the Nike+ Sport Band is its calibration. A lot of people including myself, Bong, and Phoebe have clocked in less miles than we ran. And the margin for error is quite huge. I clocked in about 6.8k in distance but the band only reported 5.4k. The margin seems to be similar throughout the Internet – we lose about 1k in every 5 kilometers. This would have been excusable, except that the earlier version – the Nike+ kit for the iPod is pretty darn accurate. Firmware update, Nike?

Accuracy aside, both devices work pretty well, factoring in the “style” by which you run. My most ideal set up would be to use the Nike+ SportBand as my distance tracker and listen to music on my nano. Why so? Why not just use the iPod kit? Well …

Without taking into account the heavier bulk of the iPod, the Nike+ kit should be more favorable except that when running, the Nike+ application on the iPod limits my navigation for songs. I can only browse through set playlists and not my entire library ala carte. This means I can’t switch to audiobooks, podcasts and well …. video (ever tried watching video while running? Crazy s#!t!). There is a fix to this – which would be to drag your pre-selected media onto a “Running Playlist” which you can always load.

Another huge advantage of the iPod set up is that you get audio notifications when you’ve set records – there’s nothing like Lance Armstrong’s voice congratulating you for your longest run to date.

In terms of pricing, the Nike+ Sport Band is cheaper by slightly more than P1,000.00, retailing at P2,300. The Nike+ iPod Sports kit goes for roughly P3,500.00. Both can be bought from Nike outlets and sports hobby shops.

If you don’t have an iPod, the Nike+ SportBand is the obvious choice. You get a USB chargeable watch (one charge lasted me 3 weeks!) and a neat Nike rubber statement band. The Nike+ iPod kit is less out of the box as you have to have both your iPod and the small white receiver for it to work. Choose: more convenient device with slightly inaccurate data vs. running with music, but slightly bulky.

Do any of my readers own one (or both!) of these? What’s your feedback, especially with the calibration of the Nike+ SportBand? It’s a pain!

How to toubleshoot and increase PLDT myDSL speeds

Here are some tips I’ve put to practice throughout the 30 months I’ve availed of PLDT myDSL service. The signal used to be excellent when the cluster in Paranaque was still more or less free. As service widens, a few quirks can happen. Interesting enough – sometimes it may not even be the fault of the ISP, but has something to do with a few factors in your home.

Too late the hero for this post? Search the web and everyone’s written about Internet problems. Anyway, I decided to write this after one of my business contacts interviewed me over the phone about DSL / WiFi services in the Philippines and asked, “why haven’t I shared these before?”

OK, time to share.

Have your physical line checked. If your DSL line falters especially with the coming rains, it could be that the box outside your house had water seep through. When was the last time you checked the physical line as well? Every so often we have an electrician come over to check the resilience of the wiring.

When was the last time you changed your modem? Some PLDT myDSL modems are OBSOLETE. If your physical line is OK and you’re experiencing problems, the error could actually be the modem itself. I had my modem changed twice because the first one was, OBSOLETE, as advised by the certified electrician from PLDT. Signal kept on dying. He even told me that they’re passively tracking subscribers who have old modems (they only come if you complain). If your modem heats up quickly, it is also a bad sign (my second change). I’m sharing this to my readers because I had 2 modem changes within 2 1/2 months early this year. Ever since, things were fine and dandy. Again – CALL.

Are you on a legacy server cluster? Hah, this is probably the best trick I learned. For old subscribers, your account may actually be on a legacy server. What I did, about 4 months ago was to call PLDT myDSL and have them transfer my account to a new cluster (I forgot the exact name). Guess what? My connection throttled after 20 minutes.

Don’t forget your DNS settings!

I HEART Mark Jacobs

No, this isn’t a spelling error. She likes Marc Jacobs. I like Mark Jacobs.

This is the short note that appears once you load the new WAR Client:


A little over three years since work began on Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, the day of reckoning is now upon us. When we acquired the rights to do a Warhammer Fantasy based MMORPG from Games Workshop back in 2005, I promised them we would create a great and glorious game; a game that they could be proud of and one that would bring Warhammer Fantasy to the entire world. And here we are, about to enter a brand new MMORPG world. Everyone at Mythic hopes that you enjoy your adventures in WAR as much as we have enjoyed creating WAR. We hope that this will be an epic journey for you and for our game as this is but the first step for both of us. What you will see today is just the beginning of WAR’s evolution as we plan on putting even greater effort into enhancing and expanding WAR just as we did with Dark Age of Camelot. Enjoy your Head Start but remember, you have a long road ahead of you so take time to enjoy the scenery along the way.

My thanks go out to every one of you who reads this letter for choosing to be a guest in our world and for pre-ordering our game. My thanks also go out to every member of Mythic Entertainment and Electronic Arts who helped make this game and this moment possible. It was a truly team effort and it shows.

WAR is now upon us and it is glorious!

Mark Jacobs
VP, GM EA/Mythic Entertainment

Congratulations Mark for putting out a remarkably epic title!


Warhammer Online: Rally for Philippine Players!

Ah, the Joys of War!

Thus a few good things must come to an end. And we’re talking of preview weekends and open beta. Today, the Warhammer Herald announced:


What an awesome week it’s been!

Not only has the feedback been terrific but with your help we’ve been able to get the game in great shape for launch.

Beta started over a year ago and it’s truly amazing to see how far things have come, the community has grown and game just continued to improve more and more.

This has been an awesome experience and we are proud to have shared it all with you. Celebrate this moment because for many WAR is Here!

We now welcome you to take a few hours, catch up on sleep, and to all of our CE Pre-Order customers come on back at 1PM EDT for the opening of Head Start and be the first to blaze your destiny in the forges of WAR!

We cannot wait to begin the journeys to come with all of you and whether you join us in the Standard Edition Head Start or come back for launch on the 18th we look forward to welcoming you and sharing your adventures and victories in our world.

In just a few short minutes the Open Beta servers will be closed at 4AM EDT. Enjoy these last moments and prepare for those to come in the years ahead.

The road has been a long and awesome experience, but you aint seen nothing yet!

It is with our deepest gratitude and thunderous excitement that we officially end Beta. Congratulations, WAR has come and together we will unveil it to the world, a new day rises and with it comes the Age of Reckoning…

We’ll see you on the battlefield…To WAR!!!

Texted Kiven today asking what server he’d be playing in. It would be cool if the Pinoys bunched up in one server (actually, 2 servers – one for Order and another for Destruction). The logical choice would be the Oceanic servers but from what I heard, some people have a better pipe connection to the US than Australia depending on your ISP.

The Collectors Edition (me! me!) head start happens on the afternoon of the 14th (US time). Thus far, the game has delivered almost everything I looked for in an MMO including this:

WTF! I’m only LEVEL 2 and already fighting Dragonzz!


For organization purposes, I think the best place to go to rally into the “living guild” would be over here. Of course, I’m not imposing on anybody. It’s just nice to see a familiar face i nthe battlefield – even if he is your enemy! I’ll probably be found playing at the Darklands or Ironclaw Oceanic servers. On second thought it’s actually more strategic to choose a server that wasn’t in the open beta (like Marius) as a lot of guilds have already chosen these. It’s psychology, no really (!!!), and choosing the “default servers” might cram the queue. Y tu?

P.S. Warhammer Oceanic has a listing of guilds here.

Canon Sale and Philips Bodega Sale!

Boy oh boy, Christmas sales are rushing in time for the early Christmas shoppers! Here are two technology sales happening in the metro. Philips will be doing a bodega sale this weekend with up to 70% off and Canon will be doing a sale from the 15th to the 26th of the month.


CANON SALE SEPT 15 – 26 2008

Please note well that from the 15th to the 16th, the venue for the sale will be in the PBCom Building Food Court in Ayala Avenue, perfect for those who work really near there! From the 16th onwards, the sale will be in the new Anson’s beside Landmark across Greenbelt 4.

Also, today was the first day of the Trinoma Style Therapy sale! It’s cool that Trinoma has a regularly updated blog that keeps consumers updated on what items they had for the sale. Ah, technology, I loves it!

What a GENIUS this iTunes 8!

So along with the hot iPods, iTunes released the new Genius feature for iTunes 8.0 that does two things. First, the new version allows you to make on-the-fly playlists based on one song that you choose. The choice is heavily dependent on the genre, artist and I even think it has something to do with the cadence of the song. iTunes chooses similar beat counts for that playlist.

The second part of Genius is the iTunes recommendations sidebar, which is their monetization model. When you’re playing songs, iTunes can recommend songs from their library which you can click to purchase. It isn’t available in the Philippines, sadly (see first image).

The Genius concept is not new. Online services such as Last.FM and Pandora have implemented this related playlist scheme for quite some time. Of course, sometimes you get really off recommendations.

I tried a few playlist creations based on KENNY LOGGINS, JAMIROQUAI and RICK ASTLEY and got pretty good results (hmm there are one or two out of place songs, but hey, sometimes Geniuses make mistakes too!). The first song in the 25 song countdown is where all the songs are based from.

Share your Genius Playlist Mix? :)

P.S. And yes, I listen to BARRY MANILOW, OK? Mandy, FTW.

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