Considerations When Looking at Video Conferencing Services

10 months ago

Disney CARS by Takara Tomy (TOMICA) now available in Manila

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Underwater Photography: Rhinopias, Mariona, and Pygmy Seahorse

4 months ago

3 Reasons to Try Out Handwriting Again

2 months ago

Recent posts

FRiiSPIRIT Rock Band / Guitar Hero / Wii Party this Friday!

So the email thread, turned phone conversation went like this:

Me: Of course I remember you! (High School)
AJ: Guess what? We’re having a Wii party at my place! Can you invite your friends?
Me: Sure, where’s your house?
AJ: No, no, no, it’s the Wii party place called FriiSpirit
Me: Huwhatt???? All this time AJ, and you never told me you owned that place???
AJ: Well… yeah! So we’re having a party this Friday. Can you invite some of your blogger friends?
Me: OK. I can post it… how many can you accomodate? 30? 50?
AJ: Up to 100!
Me: Wew.

Rock Band! Guitar Hero Aerosmith! (and yes, it doesn’t come with Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing!) and Wii games from 9PM onwards!

So can you make it? Aside from several Wiis, they have 6 Guitar Hero accessories and … 2 ROCK BAND SETS!!! Everyone’s invited! Although there’s really no need RSVP, it would be nice to (WALK THIS WAY and …) get a head count. You can sign up via this Google Docs sheet.

G/F One Burgundy Plaza, Katipunan Ave.,
Loyola Heights, QC
Tel: 434-5434
Mobile: 0929-698-6738

Early Christmas Shopping at the TriNoMa Sale Month

What if BLUE and GREEN met?

Wow, so many sales at the TriNoMa. I’m listing two of them here. If you’re not like me (I cram all the shopping come November / December at the Cuenca Bazaar in Alabang), you might want to check out the freebies, promos and discounts that TriNoMa is offering. Think of it as an early Christmas shopping spreeeee!

Blue Green Sale from September 6 to October 6 2008

If you are from Ateneo or La Salle, all you need to do is (1) present your school ID or alumni ID or (2) simply print this coupon and bring it to the mall. The sale will be at the cinema lobby. Simply right click + save the image and print it out.

There are tons of promos and discounts across the entire mall. Here is a partial listing (about 25%) of the total sale coverage. Want the full listing? Proceed here. The discounts for SLRs and Crumpler bags are cool, but the best discount listed here is the 20% off on Bleach Catastrophe!!! They have the best and most affordable shirts and jackets. Here’s a photo of my Bleach Catastrophe jacket I bought while browsing with a few friends a couple of months ago.

Alterations Plus- 10% off on services
Bleach Catastrophe – 20% off on purchases
Brookstone – 10% off on purchases
Canon D Zone – 10% off on cash purchases and 5% off on card purchases. Offer valid only for digital cameras, SLRs, digital video cameras, and non-Canon products and accessories
Crumpler – 10% off on accessories and bags
Firma – 5% off on card purchases and 10% off on regular items
Mango – Get free Mango candles.
Olympic World – Get a free tote bag or sling bag.
Schu – 20% off on purchases
Tough Jeansmith – 10% of on all regular items
S.E.E. Optics – 10% to 30% off on selected items
TRU – 5% off on purchases

TriNoMa Store Specialists Sale September 11-14 2008

This one is for BPI card holders. Darn, no Zara! But that’s OK. Here are the brands that will be on sale from the 11th to the 14th:

Anne Klein
Anne Klein Watches
Beauty Bar
Calvin Klein Jeans
Calvin Klein Underwear
Citre Shine
Designer Fragrances
DKNY Jeans
Fruits and Passion
Hawaiian Tropic
Jack Nicklaus
Kenneth Cole
Liz Claiborne
Marks & Spencer
Max Factor
Nine West
Oka B
Polo Ralph Lauren
Zero Frizz

I hear there’s a third sale coming up. Will post more details about it later. I love the shopping holiday bliss!

More details on the SSI sale here.

Warhammer Online Open Beta Impressions

So I clocked in about 5 hours of beta testing Warhammer today. Now I can finally quantify all the excitement that I’ve channeled since World of Warcraft. All in all, Mythic had an interesting take on how video games sort of encourage you to grind the same thing over and over again. After a while, it gets tedious. I realized that I’m not the same gamer I was from 5 years ago. I’m less patient and I have less time to dedicate to gaming (yeah right, I’ve clocked in 5 hours!).

The first five hours of play brings so much engagement to players. Compared to other MMO’s (especially to World of Warcraft), Warhammer: Age of Reckoning has a crap-load of things that can be done in almost all parts of the map. The quests are fun, if not downright stupid – I had to load myself onto a catapult to be flung into the enemy’s castle, and I had to load up unconscious dwarves into barrels and toss them from the castle walls.

Warhammer Online succeeds in bringing something for every gamer, whether you only have 30 minutes, 3 hours, or 10 hours of free time. It’s exactly what I hoped it to be – a breath of fresh air from my previous experiences with online role playing games. It has a Team Fortress 2 co-op flavor to it, which is, I think, why I found it appealing.

To put my beta impressions in a nutshell, unlike other MMO’s that reward players based on how long or how hard they play, Warhammer Online rewards players by simply playing the game at their own pace.

So far the only other Filipino I know who’s playing the open beta is Kiven. We’re both parked on Oceanic servers. We’re playing Chaos. Anyone else into this stuff?

Hi girls, ummm when was the last time you visited your OB? :D

To my 5 female readers,

Just curious. If you watched a movie in the last 4 months you may have come across this really depressing ad:

So have you? It gets the point across though and yeah, I was all set to watch a really funny comedy when all of a sudden, bummer! I’d turn my head to ask my movie buddy, “hey have you been to the OB lately?” but I was watching with my dad. Anyway…

It turns out that the ad forms part of a cervic cancer awareness advocacy and HPV prevention being spearheaded by Dr. Manalastas and the PGH. I found this out after being contacted by the good doctor – he’s the head of OB in PGH and a faculty member at the UP College of Medicine.

On the Internets

So BlogBank is helping out PGH and Dr. Manalastas in the cervic cancer awareness campaign. It is, apparently, the second most lethal death by cancer cause in the Philippines for women (the first is breast cancer). What makes it sad is that the awareness isn’t so huge because of a social stigma of visiting your OB for reasons other than pregnancy causes people to stare. Is this true?? Sorry, I’ve never been to an OB.

I learned that HPV can be easily prevented by regular check ups and a vaccine – even sadder the fact that not a lot of women know this. As for what the vaccine is – well consult your OB! We launched a series of ads for this month on the awareness campaign, and also held a small dinner (Peter Juan wrote about this).

Truth is, I feel really uncomfortable talking about such a topic because needles make me weak (I literally lose my grip) and well, I can’t relate. The campaign’s message to women is to please visit your OB and have yourself checked up. I hear a papsmear is like, what, P50.00 in a government hospital?

So there. To my 5 female readers, please ask your doctors about cervical cancer prevention. By the way, to my 7 male readers, guys can also be carriers of HPV. Eek!

Just got home from Wordcamp 2008; Meeting Matt Mullenweg

Just got home from Wordcamp Philippines ’08 at CSB. I gave away something new to those who attended my talk today. I talked about dreams and goals ala Randy Pausche – and equated these to 3 important aspects of publishing: editorial, sales, and marketing. In detail, discussed one way to determine engagement, two sources in dealing with patrons, and four ways to determine media value for blogs in the Philippine setting that are actually being practiced. To those who attended, thanks so much!

“Serious” Photo Matt

“Let your hair down” Photo Matt

I also got to spend some time with Matt Mullenweg. This episode of Wordcamp is significant to the Philippines because it is the very first State of the Word address in South East Asia. It was also the first time globally that Matt did a live demo of the “CrazyHorse” WP 2.7 release (movable objects, security, better auto-plugin install, post stickies, etc). He also mentioned that the Philippines had the most kick ass WordCamp tees + logo ever designed. On an impressive note, Matt singled out Markku “Mr. Plugin” Segguera of Rebelpixel, being one of the first WP users in the Philippines.

Blogging is a huge global industry. And in South East Asia, the Philippines is leading.

Thanks to the Mindanao bloggers for setting up this event and see you next year for WordCamp 2009 in Manila! More photos from the event can be found here.

Matt Mullenweg is the founder of WordPress, one of the most popular blogging platforms used globally by consumers, corporations and government agencies.

BONUS: My inaudible recording of Matt talking during the impromptu press conference:

Matt Mullenweg in the Philippines from jayvee Fernandez on Vimeo.

Welcome to the blogosphere, RJ Ledesma!

Guess who’s now in the blogosphere? RJ’s been intertwined in my life in several ways – it’s really no surprise considering this industry is really small. Welcome to the blogosphere, RJ Ledesma!

P.S. That’s RJ’s yaya on the banner, from his latest book release, Lies My Yaya Should Have Told Me.

Over the past three years, there were columns I’ve written that I’m pretty damned proud of and there are some columns I’ve written that were pretty damned to begin with. But, what the hell, I say let it all hang out. After all, what’s past is prologue. And, in this blog, we’re going to see a lot of prologue going on.

I hope to come out with a second book in early 2009 that collects the last half of my columns from The Manila Times, along with a couple of articles that I’ve written for MANUAL. In the meantime, I’ve had requests from family, friends and readers to reprint some of my older columns and other previously published work. So, by way of this blog, I plan to do the following:

1. Post the older columns that haven’t seen print since they were first published;

2. Post my current columns a week after they come out in the Star;

3. Post some articles that I’ve written for MANUAL;

4. Post columns that, for one reason or another, did not get published.

I also plan to post some totally random stuff as well – recommendations, ramblings, general lunacy. You know the drill.

Lastly, I also hope to use this blog as a sounding board to develop ideas for future columns and articles. So if you’ve got any ideas that you think would make for an interetsting column, please feel free to drop me a line. I would love to hear from you guys. [RJ Ledesma]

Do you still read books? Or are you only reading the Internet?

“Read more books than blogs.” This is an ad from Analog Soul, a tee company.

I think the message isn’t to stop reading blogs OR to read more books. Neither is it about hating blogs or new media – heck, Analog Soul uses Multiply as their marketing tool. The disciplines of reading books and reading blogs (and stuff online) is very very different! I think the communication point is more of a commentary on how we need to balance our life. :)

They are a statement tee and apparel err … outfit (LOL!) and Analog Soul knows how to be pretty good at it. They need to be brazened and make these statements. Oh and they got great stuff by the way. Should drop by one time.

On another note, do you still read books despite your BUSY BUSY SCHEDULE? I still do – but much less nowadays. To cope with always being on the go, I listen to them on my iPod via Audible. That’s one book credit a month – 12 books in a year! I’m currently reading listening to the unabridged version of The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki.

In this endlessly fascinating book, New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki explores a deceptively simple idea that has profound implications: large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant—better at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future. [Random House]

Wrote about the book here, but only getting to actually listen this month. It’s fantastic!

Thanks to Richelle for the info I was looking for. Image credit is from Analog Soul.

It only costs $4.00 to put Chuck Norris inside your phone

Strange, but true. And yet it really kicks ass. Last year I sat in a mobile gaming conference with the guys from Gameloft – one of the best mobile gaming developers today as they’ve got a solid philosophy when designing games for the mobile phone: they should be engaging, intuitive and fun. And while we’re on the subject of FUN …

I don’t see anything that can top this: Chuck Norris bashes guerrillas with their own jeep.


// The official game of martial arts champ, action star, TV hero, and media phenomenon Chuck Norris!
// A hilarious dive into the life of the legend: martial arts, denim-clad justice, and commando fights!
// Enjoyable and simple gameplay inspired by old-school arcade beat-’em-ups.
// Loads of enemies, including memorable bosses such as Fidel Castro and Kim Jong-il.
// Fight with heavy weaponry or unleash furious combos, then hop on a motorcycle, car or helicopter.
// Take pictures of your friends and turn them into the game’s enemies.

Chuck Norris: Bring on the Pain is Gameloft’s craziest title thus far. It only costs $4.00 to have your mobile phone indulge in a hatful of Chuck Norris jokes followed by an absurd premise of Chuck fighting communism and everything evil.

More coverage at Cellphone9.

Eraserheads Reunion Opens with Alapaap

Eraserheads Reunion Concert Opening from jayvee Fernandez on Vimeo.

Before the second set began, Ely Buendia was rushed to the hospital. I had left the venue with Phoebe minutes before this happened because we were both suffering from a relapse of a cough and colds epidemic that’s been going on for days. Hence, the early post. Today, Saturday, was particularly humid. Hope he’s OK.

This was what was supposed to happen during the second set, according to Jen’s blog:

When Magasin was to be played, the screen behind them would have montages of various news and magazine clippings of them. It would flash alternately with shots of the band and audience until the song reached the coda where Ely sings “…ay centerfold ka naaaa…woo hoo-hoo, haaa-haaa” part of the song. Then there would be fire works and a fountain of sparks, going on til the last note of the song. Then the hydraulic stage would be lowered and the band would make a “fake ending”. [read more here]

We were standing at the Patrons area and waited for the 10 minute countdown to begin. The video I have is of the last few seconds of the countdown and the first song, Alapaap (with fireworks!).

Despite the bad volume leveling with the instruments and vocals, the feedback, the out of tune singing (you could really tell that during their latter 2 songs, Huwag Mo Nang Itanong and Fruitcake – Ely was having a hard time as he was somewhat already out of tune and out of sync at guitar), the crowd had no qualms. These are the Eraserheads. They were never known for stellar showmanship or awesome guitar riffs. But they will always be known as probably the best Pinoy band in this generation because they brought together a mixed social strata of Filipinos who were able to survive high school because of their music. That same generation is here tonight, ten years older, a bit wiser, a bit less frivolous, but wanting to celebrate a piece of pubescent nostalgia.

The Eraserheads reunion was at its best, nostalgic. It wasn’t trying to be something more than this, and this is what made them remarkable.

P.S. The guy screaming in the video is Markku :)

Nikon D90 DSLR does Video Recording with D-Movie

The new Nikon D90 is a REMARKABLE product

Why? Because even without the new HD video recording capability, it is still a fantastic camera. The new Nikon D90 hails from the D300’s family of revolutionary low light shooting modes. This means that even at ISO 3200 (HI 6400) you still get low noise photo exhibit quality printable images!

Nikon is throwing in a bonus. The new D90 can now do video. Nikon calls this the D-Movie feature that takes the live view on a DSLR a step further: allowing you to take HD quality videos. Don’t believe me? Here are some samples!

A new idea for D-SLRs, the D90 offers a movie function, allowing you to shoot movies in three different motion JPEG formats: 320 x 216 pixels, 640 x 424 pixels and 1,280 x 720 pixels. Now you can capture life’s moving moments with added drama by using many of Nikon’s NIKKOR lenses, including the AF DX Fisheye 10.5mm f/2.8G ED and the Micro-NIKKOR lenses. The shallow depth of field can give your movies a more creative and emotional impact. An additional benefit is the D90 image sensor, which is much larger than a typical camcorder for higher image quality and exceptional high ISO performance during low-light shooting.

So all in all you’re getting (1) the most affordable high end camera of Nikon, (2) Live View with D-Movie recording (note: HD720), (3) an HDMI terminal for viewing movies on HD television, and many more. The 12MP Nikon D90 costs $999.00 from Amazon without the kit lens (AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G). See, very cheap!

The quality of D-Movie technology is stunning and brilliant. I’m not sure how movie makers will react to this – I’m sure it’s still a far shot from the pros – but what a scary thought! The sample movies presented allow for a lot of creative expression by simply playing with the manual focus and high aperture settings. It also adds a new brand of depth to buying lenses because even the worn out ones from moss or grime can still contribute some artistic interpretation of your subjects. Chase Jarvis had this to say:

Trust me, I played with this feature at length…all of us on location did, for that matter. It’s going to be a powerful tool. You can control your own depth of field so beautifully using the manual focus ring, the audio capture is solid, the high ISO capabilities in video?! Way cool… Long lenses, fisheyes, zoom lenses…versatility. I’m a BIG fan of the D-Movie.

I haven’t read through the fine print, but I’m assuming that D-Movie, although it doesn’t do autofocus, will accept legacy lenses. And hey, thanks to Rico for the tip!

New San Miguel Premium Beer: It’s good!

Monday night had me and Phoebe at Manong’s for her 25th birthday countdown. Perhaps the highlight of the evening was our discovery of San Miguel’s new Premium beer for domestic shipment only. Well, I myself am not a connoisseur of beer so all I have to say is that, it’s good! Goes down easy and leaves a slightly nutty taste afterward. At Manong’s this cost P50.00 so it shouldn’t be too expensive as well in regular bars. We tried ordering the same yesterday at Murphy’s in VA Rufino, Makati but it was sadly sold out. The bottle is green, with white “Premium label” wrapping on the neck and the body.

Have you tried SMB’s new beer offering? Do you like the new bottle? Do you like the taste?

Warhammer Online Collectors Edition in the Philippines

This is probably the most valuable piece of paper in my room right now. It’s been an incessant habit – me checking DataBlitz for anything new even if I very well know that Warhammer Online isn’t coming out till mid September. So I was, after at least visiting the store twice a week for the past month and a half, flabbergasted to see DataBlitz accepting advanced copy reservations of the Collector’s Edition for Warhammer Online.

I was telling Rico how different this would be from Age of Conan, and not trying to justify as to why I bought that game in the first place. Truth is, even if AOC introduced an innovative combat system and a fantastic early game narrative, the game broke where the first island, Tortage, ended. It became clear that AOC was just another MMO with a unique combat system.

Warhammer Online isn’t about interacting with environments, or solo-ing, or role playing. It’s war and conflict all throughout and I guess what makes this appealing to me is that, once I step into the world, everything just falls into place. Here are a few quotes from the Ask the Beta Tester Series:

The Open Group system, along with the much-vaunted Public Quests, seeks to have players collaborating from the earliest levels. Simply by setting foot on the battleground of a Public Quest, a player learns the importance of participating in gameplay with others.

Players who jump in-game from WoW or Age of Conan are going to find a title filled to the brim with fun gameplay and constant WAR. PvP players are going to be ‘coming home’. This is the game you’ve always wanted. Lore nerds and story fans will find plenty to love, and those of us who actually enjoy grouping will see our style of play lauded from fairly early on.

So yeah, Warhammer Online seems to be that Player vs Player oriented MMO that doesn’t promise to be something it’s not.

Warhammer Online Collector’s Edition

The Collector’s Ed for WAR (Warhammer: Age of Reckoning) is pretty kick ass. This is the package I ordered, arriving mid September. One of the biggest advantages of the collector’s ed is that I get to participate in open beta without having to apply, XP multiplier tomes, bonus quests, plus a wider library of exclusive titles for my avatar and in game ite– ok I’m rambling.

Spending on Gaming?

The truth about these purchases (and people like Kiven very well know this) is that these games actually become cash cows for gamers like us because even though we spend for these, we easily liquidate them by writing reviews and FAQs for local computer game magazines like Game! from Hinge Inquirer and Playground by October 80.

Thus, the advice I have for people who have expensive hobbies — LEARN HOW TO LIQUIDATE YOUR HOBBY!

The Hype

I’ve owned two Macintosh portables. The first I bought back in 2004. It was second hand. But it didn’t matter. It was, in most ways better than the other laptop offerings at that time. It didn’t have viruses, I never needed to turn it off, and it opened native Windows office files pretty well.

The second Mac I bought in 2007. I stuck to the brand because this time, I could record audio and video podcasts on the fly. It didn’t just run native Windows files, it ran Windows. And it retained all the neat things I loved about the previous Mac, but lighter, and in sexy black.

When I bought these two computers I never recalled a clause that said I had to be tied with a specific wireless Internet provider for WiFi. I also never recalled having to go to a Macintosh reseller just to perform a System Update or activate my operating system. And yeah, I remember also paying a fair price for it.

I want to recall those memories when Apple was all about being remarkable and different from the status quo.

I want to recall those memories when an Apple product meant so much more than the hype.

Thus ends an age, I guess.


Tenure. Or what’s close to it.

I abandoned myself to certain realities when I was a lot younger. That first, in order to keep to a certain lifestyle, a job in education would definitely be noble, but not practical. I was young and restless. Second, I believed in the philosophy that you can’t teach what you don’t know and being a fresh grad with barely any experience in worldly things would pale me in comparison to Richard Dreyfuss (who bares a startling resemblance to Rico’s dad) in Mr. Holland’s Opus or Robin “O Captain! My Captain!” Williams in Dead Poet’s Society.

So after college, I had in my arsenal a whole bunch of theories on andragogy (adult learning), child psychology, “best practices” and teaching philosphy. I was envious of friends who worked for the big agencies like Ogilvy, the McCann group, BBDO, etc. It was then I began to doubt having taken the wrong course. Deep inside though, I thought I was doing the right thing. Maybe not entirely. But I guess being hard headed (dalawa ang puyo ko) I wanted to convince myself that I was right.

Steve Jobs, in his “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” 2005 commencement speech addressed how past decisions will only, but always, make perfect sense much later on, …you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future..

So I trusted. I gave up Integrated Marketing Communications for a Development Education course. I gave up working in PR or advertising so I could do some work in Batangas with farmers and in Negros Occidental Oriental for a family farm school, not to teach, but to develop curricula. (Hyuk) I guess the joke’s on me as I’ve wounded back working with agencies for PR and advertising.

And my units in Education? Well, this letter only proves one thing.

My acceptance into the Institute

That Steve Jobs was right. :)

Race the World Challenge: We are Team Philippines!

In my previous post I talked about how Manila isn’t an official physical race city. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t part of the competition. Apart from the 10k race, the Race the World Challenge serves as a warm up for the big event on the 31st.

An interesting social experiment!

As of today, the Philippines ranks 14th (we were 13th as of 8.17.08) in the global race for most kilometers uploaded using a Nike+ Sports Band.

The running chart results is actually very interesting on several levels (aside from the trash talking on the side as you can see in the 3rd screen cap). First off, we’re the highest ranking Asian developing country in the race. In terms of Asian countries, we are second to Japan but we are also way ahead of South Korea and Taiwan. In terms of distance uploaded we are head to head with Denmark, Sweden and Argentina. Not bad. Not bad at all. What this means is that we have a remarkable participation of running enthusiasts who can afford to shell out a luxurious $100.00 (rough price) just to run. Do you have other conclusions you want to share?

Note: This could also mean that we have Filipinos who are clocking in from different countries but setting Philippines as the host country team.

If you own a Nike+ Kit and haven’t logged your miles to this competition, please do so! You can do this by clicking here and choosing Philippines as your team on the lower right. The countries are not listed alphabetically, but by rank. As the saying goes, sayang ang miles!.

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