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On Blogging and Character

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Recent posts

Buy a car, hug a tree!

The b5media Technology Channel launched Eco Friendly Driver just moments ago. As b5media is a global new media network, we’re keen on launching a series of “green” blogs to spread the awareness and give some lovin’ back to mama Earth. Eco Friendly Driver is written by Hilary Evans.

In our effort to promote the clean and green lovin’ worldwide, the Technology Channel is proud to launch Eco Friendly Driver, our first “green blog” written by Hilary Evans. Hilary’s interests cover a wide spectrum but she is particularly keen on an advocacy of informing people about the benefits of electric cars, plug-ins and hybrids, and other autos that don’t eat up gasoline.

Buy a car, hug a tree today! Check out Eco Friendly Driver!

Also, we’ve had some reorganization in the Technology Channel. I am lucky to have Clair Ching aboard New Linux User and Jerome Locson over at Office Tweaks.

Why is Alex Vergara being crucified? And why aren’t lifestyle journalists taken seriously?

It appears that Inquirer lifestyle reporter Alex Vergara is under a lot of heat from several architects in the Philippines. After he released an article titled Architectonic debate on the 5th of August, he is now being sued by a joint collaboration of architects for this expose.

Although most people, including a number of lifestyle journalists familiar with their works, assume that Calma and Mendoza are licensed and registered architects in the Philippines, it turns out they are not.

As such, says Alli, they have no right to be called architects. Nor can they pass themselves off as architects under such a benign job description as “designer.”

“It’s called solicitation-once you project yourself as an architect or offer yourself as capable of performing the work of an architect,” Alli explains. “Such a practice is prohibited under the law.” [source]

If you read the article, I honestly don’t see any hint of libel. I see it more as journalism at work and Vergara, as a journalist, was the messenger – he got shot down as is the case in these dramatic times. Lest this blog starts to delve into the niche of law and politics, I just have one question: If all that is in question is a license exam, why haven’t these architects in question taken the test? It should be easy for them to pass a license exam given their vast experience already.

On another note, lifestyle writer Bianca has an added view to the matter – why aren’t lifestyle writers taken seriously?

The problem is, despite exposing issues such as that, lifestyle journalists still aren’t taken seriously. When I was in Hong Kong over a month ago, someone told our dinner group, “You guys have it easy in lifestyle. All you have to do is write about yourselves!”

Not all lifestyle journalists should be likened to the Malu Fernandez type. In fact, a lot of them have the caliber of a PCIJ reporter.

Disclaimer: Everything written above are my own opinion and do not reflect that of INQUIRER.net in any way.

Talk WITH the hand!

For the longest time I’ve held on to the premise that video podcasts should only be done when you have something value-added to show off that can’t be conveyed through a regular audio podcast. On a more practical note, audio podcasts are also much easier to download and can be utilized for a more flexible listening experience while in transit. If your video show is composed of talking head(s), why not just extract the audio and you’ll most likely get the same result?

Lately though, I feel like taking that statement back. I’ve started to become more interested in these “talking heads” shows where you see one, two or more people propped on chairs deep in an avid discussion. Notice the facial expressions of people on video who are very passionate and enthusiastic. Look at the hand gestures and movements they make to and from their seats. Notice the rapport that develops as they face one another.

These small changes in body language contribute to an inflection you do not notice on audio. Which is why I feel it would always be good to do video podcasts with people who are very expressive and restless. Body language can convey other feelings such as sincerity, concern and sadness. Have you been watching Darren Rowse’s weekly Problogger videos? He’s always pleasant – which is on tangent to his online writing personality.

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The Mystery of the Giant Lego Man

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Zoiks! This is a perfect mystery candidate for Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby Doo. All roads seem to point to a Reuters article that says that a giant lego man was found floating in the Netherlands and now stands at the Zandvoort beach.

Could this have come from Lego? Because it could seem very likely too. Brings back the whole sense of wonder and mystery with marketing. I wonder if it would have worked with McDonald’s … a washed up guy in a McDonald’s clown suit is rather disturbing.

Moo has new products by the way

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Have you checked out the new offering from Moo lately? I posted about Moo’s awesome printing service several months ago. They now let you print stickers which you can slap onto journals and other things you want to personalize. A set of 90 stickers costs about $10.00.

Moo Minicards

I tried ordering a new set of Moo Cards yesterday and I got a transaction error after ordering two boxes of cards. Apart from this anomaly, I’ve found Moo cards to make good alternatives to printing biz cards yourself. You avoid all the hassles of buying materials and finding a printer. But best of all, Moo cards gives you an edge to start a conversation with the person you’re giving it too. Here’s a tip: choose a background photo that makes for a good conversation piece.

The only downside to these Moo cards is that your chances of getting picked in a goldfish bowl raffle is reduced to half :)

An Open Apology to Janette Toral and Moving On

I learned from a seminar I attended a long time ago that if parents fight in front of their kids, they should also make up in front of them. In this light, since I opened a can of worms in public, I’ll throw the can away in public too. I would like to apologize for the first post I made about Janette (I did not mention her name at the time). For the record, Janette and I had a short exchange of SMS messages. I apologized for the harshness of the accusation, but I told her that I wanted to talk because of several unanswered questions that I had. While all this was happening, my post didn’t just steer a public outburst – both pro and against the entry – it also spurred emails and GTalk chats from members of tech communities as well. What these emails contain – I would rather discuss with Janette alone.

Janette is out on vacation now, which is why we have not met. As far as we are both concerned, the issue is over and it is time to move on. Awkward, but honest.

I also apologize to the people who felt that I was being jealous of Janette’s efforts. I can see why they feel this way, because I have also spoken in public about new media because that is the industry I belong in – 4 years and counting with print, and 2 1/2 years with new media. I don’t feel jealous. I feel more like I’ve hurt a friend which is true, as Janette and I have spent time together because of blogging events. She has even given me advice on my love life :P

I’m sorry, Janette. Thank you for accepting my apology and see you soon.

Between the Writer and the Editor …

Kate Alvarez was with me last week and we talked about how she was hanging upon the lips of Doreen Fernandez (may she rest in peace) back when she used to teach creative writing at the Ateneo. According to Kate, the most famous and well loved food writer in the Philippines helped her find her voice as a writer.

It is the duty of the editor to make sure that the five C’s in the publication are met: to make the article clear, correct, concise, comprehensible, and consistent. It is also the job of the editor to ensure that the in-house style sheet elements are present in the final copy. Apart from these, the editor should be able to maintain the 5 C’s without removing the voice of the writer.

Now I hope you agree with my statement that the editor is ALSO the personification of the publication he or she works for. This means that is is part of the job description to make sure that the articles published are in keeping with the vision, niche and segment

Here’s my question: What happens then when an editor encounters an article that was submitted by a writer that clearly goes against the mission statement of the magazine? The recent hubbub of Malu Fernandez in a People Asia Magazine travel article is an example of this. I’m sure there are other Malu Fernandez wannabees out there but their frivolous comments have been prudently silenced edited out by their editors.

Malu Fernandez does have her .. unique quirks. But I feel more obliged to ask the staff of People Asia (or the Manila Standard) why they let an article like this pass through a magazine that has a clear vision of celebrating the beauty of Asia.

In this case, it is not about editing out a writer’s voice. This is about going off tangent with your magazine’s vision. The editorial staff is sure giving their sales team a hard time with this one.

P.S.Why did the editor allow a travel article on Greece when the magazine is clearly titled People ASIA? I don’t see the added value, really.

The family names of Malu Fernandez, Doreen Fernandez and …. err … Jayvee Fernandez all appear by coincidence. We are not related.

Speedlinking August 17 2007

It’s a mighty rainy day this Friday. I hope none of you push it and try to go out tonight. The floods and traffic are horrible according to unfortunate friends who’ve been texting for the past hour, warning everyone else. Get home quickly and watch DVDs instead :)

  • Darren Rowse goes in depth with the Feedburner guys. They explain why Feedburner stats fluctuate on the chiclet. A very eye-opening read.
  • A lot of things happening next week: Market Manila Fashion Bazaar on Monday, Mrs. Fields’ Second Coming Store Concept Launch on Tuesday, WikiPilipinas site launch on Wednesday and the SM Taste Asia Awards on Thursday.
  • Let’s talk a bit more about WikiPilipinas and help spread the Pinoy love:

    WikiPilipinas.org is the free and hip web-based encyclopedia of the Philippines. It hopes to bring in as many volunteers to take part in its “knowledge revolution,” a nationwide campaign that will foster nationalism and help the country make an international mark abroad and gain cultural recognition of the Philippines.

    Within the year, WikiPilipinas aims to reach its stated benchmark of 100,000 entries to propel it among the top 10 Wiki encyclopedias of the world.

  • De La Salle has launched a new website. I went to De La Salle Zobel from Junior Prep to Grade 2. Does that count me as an alumnus?
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Four Easy Ways to Help Keep NDAs Secret

Here are some tips that actually work in trying to soothe your appetite from accidentally revealing an NDA, or non-disclosure agreement.. I haven’t signed an NDA in months but I feel that these tips can help you, if ever you get hold of something juicy, relax and bring you back to your normalcy. Here are some suggestions:

  • lock yourself alone in the car and scream it out loud
  • take a cold shower
  • write it down on a piece of paper and set it on fire afterwards
  • eloquently tell it to your pet dog, cat or fish and make him / her promise not to tell anyone

For reference, Wikipedia outlines the definition of an NDA:

A non-disclosure agreement (NDA), also called a confidential disclosure agreement (CDA), confidentiality agreement or secrecy agreement, is a legal contract between at least two parties that outlines confidential materials or knowledge the parties wish to share with one another for certain purposes, but wish to restrict from generalized use. In other words, it is a contract through which the parties agree not to disclose information covered by the agreement. In rare cases, the contract may state that the existence of the NDA itself cannot be disclosed. [citation needed] An NDA creates a confidential relationship between the parties to protect any type of trade secret. As such, an NDA can protect non-public business information.

One month to go …

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Scary. Exciting. Girl.

First Impressions: iMovie ’08

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I have been trying out the new iMovie ’08 that comes with the iLife ’08 package. This is a completely reworked version of iMovie and Apple makes this distinction by changing the dock icon from a clapper to a star.

You can check out my very first project in my previous post as I recorded something with Kate Alvarez on this oven fresh software version.

The philosophy behind the rewritten application states that anybody should be able to make a movie in less than 10 minutes. All you need is the feed from your digicam and no editing skills at all.

So what did I think? iMovie ’08 allows you to create video projects faster than the previous iMovie HD because all you need to do is cut and paste clips from a real time track and add transition effects. However, when it comes to more advanced editing tools such as extracting audio from video clips, pasting multimedia over tracks (let’s say I want to put a picture over a video without disrupting the sound), I would have to do this using the old version of iMovie. The new version also lacks transition features and themes! Despite my Mac fanboy admittance, I do find this move very disappointing.

Apple admits this huge flaw in the new version of iMovie to such an extent that they are making iMovie HD (2006) available for download for free — that is if you already have a copy of the new iLife ’08. It’s a bummer though to have to rely on two copies for separate purposes.

Don’t get me wrong – the new version of iMovie is good for beginner videographers like me or for those who need to whip out a presentation in ten minutes! But as you move up the design chain, you will quickly outgrow this piece of software and settle for iMovie HD or Final Cut Pro. I would like to believe that iMovie ’08 is what GarageBand was when Apple first introduced easy-as-pie podcasting. This new version makes it so much easier to churn out video podcasts.

Some resources to read:

10 Missing Features from iMovie ’08
Buy iLife ’08, Get iMovie HD for free!

Uncategorized

Thoughts for the Day

Super popular online community site that needs no introduction — Friendster — is becoming the online version of the Philippine postal system. You send someone a message or friend request, and you get it three days later. Are there still people who send urgent business related messages via Friendster? Believe me, this still happens. It’s crazy.

Provoking netiquette question: If your boss has a Friendster account, should you add him or her up first, or should the initiation come from them?

Oh, Fabio!

I was playing around with the new iMovie ’08 and created this short clip with Kate Alvarez as my guest. Kate is best known for her previous work with Summit’s Marie Claire and OK! Magazines. We share the same godchild. iMovie ’08 though nifty lacks some features in iMovie 06 HD. The most important feature they left out was the lack of an audio extract capability where you can paste images over the playhead without disrupting sound. Keep both versions of iMovie if I were you.

Anyway, Kate and I talk about male models on romance novel covers … and Fabio.

On another note, should a company’s tagline even mention a competitor? Megavideo: Beats YouTube just sounds … wrong.

New iMacs, iWork ’08, iLife ’08, new .mac features … and a geek orgasm

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Today, Apple officially launches the new set of iMacs, iWork ’08, iLife ’08 and the new .Mac features. The Philippines is the first stop for Apple Asia tour, as sales in the PH market for Apple products has been very satisfying for Apple. The sales are so good, that the reps from Apple Singapore went to launch the new applications and hardware in the Philippines FIRST even before their own local Singapore launch.

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Here are some pointers from the presentation for the new iMacs:

  • new iMacs come in one solid aluminum body with only one screw used to replace RAM
  • the microphone is placed on top of the iMac; you will notice, if you squint, laser cut holes that are almost invisible to the naked eye — that’s the microphone
  • the black border’s purpose is to make the iMac’s screen look like it’s floating, to hide the iSight, and to give a frame to the unit
  • the new 24 inch iMac is cheaper than its predecessor by P20,000.00
  • the old 17 inch model has been replaced with the 20 inch model at the same price of P67,xxx.00
  • the keyboard is wicked
  • the wireless keyboard option is much smaller – it removes the numeric keypad
  • all new iMacs come with iLife ’08; if you bought your Mac after August 7 2007 (USA time) and it didn’t come with iLife ’08, you can request one by downloading a form from Apple
  • Here are some shots of the new iMac and some slides from the presentation.

    Bye bye 17 inch iMac!

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    The ultra thin keyboard. Thanks to Terrie Gutierrez for holding the pen and the keyboard for demo purposes. :)

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    The iSight is almost invisible with the new black border. You can see it here highlighted because of the camera flash:

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    The elegant glass finish of the new iMacs:

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    If you’ve been waiting for a decent iMac, I would suggest getting this generation now as the price vis-a-vis screen size offerings have finally matured. You can opt to wait for October for the Leopard launch but if you need a new Mac now, then go ahead!

    Here’s a final note … can you find the laser cut holes that house the microphone in the picture below?

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    My Comments and Suggestions for Janette Toral’s IMMAP Presentation Slides

    MAJOR EDIT: To those who still wonder, Janette and I have put this in the past. We are both on speaking terms and talk when we see each other in events. After all, this we are OK. The Internet is not meant to destroy relationships but to build and enhance them. I’ve apologized to Janette online — in public, and I have told her personally too. To the people who are affected by this, I’d like to firmly say that we should let the past be what it is — the past.

    We should move on now to geekier things :)

    —————————————

    Several weeks ago, Google Country Consultant Aileen Apolo led me to the details of the now recently concluded IMMAP held last week. I had put it in the “to do list” to try to find a sponsor to attend this event as I did see that Janette Toral and Aileen Apolo were going to be part of the conference’s list of speakers / panelists. I wasn’t able to make it, as it really slipped my mind – and later found out from Erwin Oliva of INQUIRER.net that the event was just concluded. Bummer. I met up with Erwin at the Morph company launch at M Cafe. Aileen was not around as she was out of town so in the end, I missed the opportunity to see and hear Janette’s presentation which I really wanted to witness.

    Luckily, I was able to grab a copy of the presentation from the press CD which I am making available for download here, for those who would have wanted to attend the talk. Janette’s talk was about Blog Marketing and touched on worldwide trends in blogging, the definition of blog marketing, the viral phenomenon, and also talked about the Philippine blogosphere.

    Deconstructing the presentation Janette talked about:
    (more…)

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