Considerations When Looking at Video Conferencing Services

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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.

Features

// 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.

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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!.

Nike+ 10K Human Race Updates: Running with Coach Rio!

Hey folks! So we have two weeks to go till the Nike Human Race. A few folks were asking if Manila, Philippines is part of the 25 cities that will be holding an official race. Manila is not an official city for a physical race, but the Philippines is still part of the Race the World Challenge and very much part of the 10k virtual race. I’m running with PhilMUG.

The friendly folks from Nike have partnered with Coach Rio, who will be, in turn, organizing a physical run on 8.31.08 at the Fort, Bonifacio High Street.

8.31.08 Race Details with Coach Rio

DATE: AUGUST 31, 2008
TIME: ASSEMBLY 5:30 A.M. START 6:00 A.M.
VENUE: McKINLEY HILL, BONIFACIO GLOBAL CITY
DISTANCE: 10KM

MAXIMUM PARTICIPANTS: 1,000 RUNNERS
RACE KIT CLAIMING AREA: NIKE PARK BONIFACIO HIGH STREET

SPECIAL PRIZES: Finishers will receive Nike Drifit socks and a 4×6 photo

Prizes include P15,000 worth of Nike GC’s for the first place (male and female).

More details at Coach Rio’s blog.

Important details

Participants of the race must have a Nike+ Sports Kit (iPod) or Nike+ Sports Band to join. I am still giving away ten 20% discount coupons for the kits. I have already given away 5 Nike+ Sports Bands to a few bloggers who wish to clock in on this date. If you want to avail of the 20% discount coupon, leave a comment here. Details on how to participate is posted here.

If you already registered, you can drop by the Nike outlet store at the Bonifacio High Street to pick up your 10k race kit starting tomorrow, August 18 2008.

See you on the 31st!

A Bugged Life 2008 Live Test

So the philosophy behind the new design was that I wanted ABL 2008 to be more personality driven than content driven. That sort of required me to think about what I wanted to communicate to my readers. Eventually I had decided to stick to the vectors rather than have my face plastered all over my blog.

I really enjoyed the previous Copyblogger theme and asked Gisele to take on a similar primary palette of blacks, white and shades of reds (A Bugged Life really used whites and reds since 2006 with the old layout). I purchased the vectors of the bugs from iStockPhoto because I also plan to use them within some of my posts as lasting “characters” in this website for purposes of illustration, fun and highlight.

We added a page list on a secondary headline for more information about the author (me!). That too, is unfinished as I’m drafting a few more references and a short tutorial on “how to use this blog.”

Four Sidebars

A Bugged Life 2008 has four sets of sidebar widgets to play with. I was a believer in the two column layout but then decided to go three not because I had a lot to place in my sidebars, but because I wanted to push most of my site information up and be seen in the first 2 or 3 scrolls of the mouse. The 300×250 AdSense widget is really a placeholder. I’m planning to add a few more things for branding purposes.

The other two sidebars are, you guessed it, the two wide sidebars on top and below the columns.

Gisele Jaquenod

Gisele is a fantastic designer. For those unfamiliar, she’s famous for her Birdie themes and merchandise. She was the one responsible for Phoebe’s Pass the Sauce, and that’s how I discovered her. Gisele is friendly, young and talented, and she’s much fun to chat with while she applies your site’s finishing touches.

The new theme has been up for about less than 10 hours. We’ve been testing this offline for the past 24 and there seems to be very little errors showing up, especially on Internet Explorer. The true beauty of the color scheme actually hits you when you’re viewing this blog on Safari.

Comments? Leave one here or in Plurk. For those who’ve left comments already, thank you very much! Thank you also to Gisele for this fabulous WordPress theme!

Uncategorized

Art In Site Magazine to print 3,000 different covers made by YOU.

Truly hot. Art In Site is an upcoming magazine for Filipino artists, made by artists. And they’re doing something really bold. For their first issue, they’re calling for 3,000 artists to submit artwork to be used as the cover of their 1st issues (they’re printing 3,000 individualized covers!).

Need I say more? Here are the guidelines of the project. There are currently 2,054 slots left and 34 days (as of 12.08.08 2:56 PM) till the submission of your work. The magazine will come out in January 2009 – a bold, bold project! Reserve your slot now!

Winston Damarillo does it again with Tech Bars

Last year, I partied at two of Winston Damarillo’s events. The first was a geek cocktail night at M Cafe and the second was the grand launch of Mor.PH, his umpteenth project. I honestly stopped counting – in the same way that I stopped counting the shots served during his latest 08.08.08 (at 8:08 PM) launch.

Winston needs no introduction to the local developer community. His works with SaaS and outsourcing are pretty much in the search engines. Search for his name on Google or check out Mor.PH and Exist and the papers.

Winston says that engineering is a creative process. I wholeheartedly agree. I enjoy listening to Winston demystify the stereotype engineer as Jonathan Coulton’s Code Monkey.

Simply put, after you work here:

You can hang out here:

The geek bar or tech bar concept is a social project – a functioning bar with Nintendo Wii’s (I also peeked at a few devs playing Rock Band), projectors, dedicated 10MB connection, drinks and seats. It ultimately serves the purpose for engineering downtime to reinvigorate the creative process as well as a full functioning venue for geeky events – they can stream live to Cebu, and can ultimately be the new cool place for satellite product launches. They are opening it up for events.

This is the second tech bar in operation. The first is located in Cebu.

The Tech Bar venue is located at:
5th Floor Orient Square Building,
Emerald Avenue
Ortigas

Congratulations to Newlyweds Paul and Sara 08.08.08!

Gratz to Paul and Sara Alvarez, who tied the knot yesterday! More photos of the wedding here.

Rockeoke, Disneyoke and now … ABBAOKE for August 2008

Gabe posted this on Facebook but it’s pretty priceless so I’m re-posting it here to help spread the word – as if Rockeoke nights still needs spreading. The point has tipped and mag:net’s ‘oke’ nights are now the talk of the town:

August 12 2008

August 12 features improv comedy act SPIT at 830pm and yet another edition of Disneyoke at 10pm. Disneyoke will have the theme “Songs by Animals and Other Inanimate But Otherwise Anthropomorphic Objects”.

As always costumes will be appreciated.

August 19 2008

August 19 features the much awaited ABBAOKE. Come dressed all in white. In groups of four. With dance steps. No prize, but we’re sure it will be priceless. Take a chance on us, starting at 10pm.

August 26 2008

And finally August 26 will again feature the marvelous comics of SPIT at 830pm to be followed by Mag:net’s very first TRIVIA NIGHT at 10pm.

And did we mention that all Tuesdays this month will be free of charge?

Toshiba FF1 Ultralight LED Projector

You know, I have a thing for underdog products. Have you ever seen this device in the market? The Toshiba FF1 projector has been doing its rounds for almost 2 years now and hasn’t really been promoted much in the Philippines. So it really caught my eye when I dropped by Tricom Dynamics along Gil Puyat about 3 months ago and asked their marketing manager if I could take a look at this product.

The Toshiba FF1 ultralight projector does not use a regular replaceable bulb. Instead, it uses LED light projection technology. Several implications to this – the bulb can’t be replaced and it doesn’t fully light up a room for presentations. But these two things it sacrifices for ultra portability as you can see from the image (it is lighter than my laptop) and it also comes with a 2 hour battery pack. Yeah, you can use these things without a plug. I was able to attach this to the Nintendo Wii, to my laptop (to watch Gossip Girl, hee!) and project to the portable screen that it comes with. The screen (photo above) is a neat addition in cases where you really can’t find a wall to project to.

Because it doesn’t release a lot of heat, the FF1 is relatively silent as well and turns on almost instantly. Not bad for 2006 technology.

Interested in ordering one? Well you won’t find them in stores anymore so you will have to go through the warehouse. The address of the warehouse and pricing is as follows:
(more…)

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