2007: In Memoriam

What a year. God has been so good this year even though i havent been good enough.

graduated from college.
last march, ive been able to finish school. looking back, maybe this was the greatest event that has happened so far this year. being able to march in a graduation ceremony and getting your mock diploma used to elude me. i was also thankful for all the people that ive met, got drunk with, jammed with, cheated exams with, cut classes with, that ive met them along the way. also there were people who doubted me if im able to graduate. i guess ive proved you otherwise. (opening chords from Eraserheads' 'Sa Wakas' begins to play in the background)

redesigned room.
from doing the carpentry to electrical wirings to painting the room.last september, my cousin and i switched rooms. actually this is my original room, but years ago, after i went to a weekend trek to mt. patag, my tito and my 2 cousins had occupied my room even without my permission ( i was just a college sophomore then), since the spare room is too small for them... now, im back here. anyway, i redid the ceiling, redesigned the closet, put in more electric outlets, installed A/C, put dimmer lights, added more sound insulation, repainted the room. now if i can find a way to recoup all the costs involved in this redesign.. hmmm.. its worth it i guess..hehe

religiously saved a fixed amount from monthly salary.
eversince i had my first job, most of the money earned was spent on booze, nightouts, trips, useless material things -- and almost every month, id end up borrowing from my mom (which wala man gakabayran hehe). this year, though, ive been able to save up a good amount of money from my salary and other sources of income from sidelines, rackets, etc.

promoted to full time position at work.
im working as a web developer for an aussie company on a home-office basis. after more than a year of having a 4-hour workday from my work there, because of me being at school, ive been promoted to 8-hours. means my salary would be twice that i receive every month when i was doing the school-work-school stunt. which i started getting 8 hours the next morning after graduation day.

lost phone for the first time.
must. not. drink. too. much. beer. 'nuff said.

planned and implemented sister's dream wedding.
last august, my sister and panoy, her boyfriend of 10 years, arrived from abroad. we had no idea that they'll get married because panoy has to ask mom's permission personally. when mom gave the green light, we scrambled making wedding preparations because theyre only staying for only a month. but in the end, she got the dream wedding normally we filipinos could only see at movies. everything was non-traditional: modern but formal-looking invitations. Pachelbel's Canon in D was the bridal march, wedding cake is made with choco-muffins, bridal car is a Volkswagen Beetle, complete with 'Just Married' sign with shoes and tin cans at the rear, motif is all-white, music for the reception is classical music, etc.


On Keeping What You've Got

I don't want to pick on my close friends. Ive harassed them long enough when since we were too young to drink booze and smoke cigarettes -- now that we've grown, I've tried my best to stop teasing them mercilessly about anything. hehe

It's hard.

This Christmas season, a friend bought a brand new cell phone, although his old cell phone works perfectly. His old phone? Not the coolest on the market, not bluetooth compatible, not an MP3 player, but 100% functional.

I wanted to give him a hard time, but I said nothing. I even had to agree with him on the quality of the new phone's camera. It's top notch.

But, it did get me thinking about how often we (as in most people) buy things to replace other things that are in fine working order.

I, for instance, want a new notebook. Mine is slow and old. I won't buy one ... not until this one has died of old age, but that doesn't mean that, in the past, I haven't done just what my friend did last weekend.

We buy things we don't need. We buy duplicates of things we don't need and then toss the first thing we didn't need into the trash.

So, I'm promising myself (especially during the holiday season -- as all my friends and family ask me "What do you want for Christmas?") -- that I'm going to think long and hard about what I truly need. And try even harder to be happy with what I've got.


a new way to alter images

We quickly moving to era where what you see is far from reality. Microsoft Research based in Bejing demonstrated similar techniques about 2 years ago.

Be afraid, very afraid. Interestingly enough forensics don't have methods yet to determine if image has been manipulated since it's such a new area. You can only hope that someone doesn't decide you are the 'less significant' area.... :D

New method to shrink images — Two Israeli professors, Shai Avidan and Ariel Shamir, have demonstrated a new method to shrink images. The method figures out which parts of an image are less significant, and then makes it possible to change the aspect ratio of an image without make it look skewed. More info after the jump.

[link to website] [seam-carving white paper]



I always had a query that relative URLs do not work consistently from browser to browser. After searching I came across this solution on the Adobe Flash technote site.

Solution : If I am going to use the relative URL’s then I need to use the BASE attribute in the HTML.

The BASE attribute is helpful for calling up relative URLs. The BASE attribute specifies the base directory or URL used in resolving all relative path statements in the Flash Player movie. This attribute is particularly helpful when your Flash Player movies are kept in a different directory from your other files. — from Adobe



8:00 - 5:00 as a developer

It became clear to me this week why IT jobs are outsourced from first world countries to cheap labor markets such as India and the Philippines. Writing source codes is tedious and strenuous mental work. You face the computer for 9 straight hours, and get an overdose of radiation. Your back and butt hurt from perpetually sitting and slouching. By the end of the day, all of your brain cells get depleted. You look like you've just waken up in the morning, cranky and bleary-eyed from all the free caffeinated coffee you drank. You finally get rest after that. You face radiation again, this time in front of the TV, unusually mentally awake, like you've just taken drugs. You want to sleep early but you eventually slumber at around 12-1am. Then you wake up again by 5:30am to do this all over again.

I don't want to give up yet. Beneath all of the negatives, I'm trying to discover elements that can make this job a vocation rather than just plain work. Quoting Mr. Kent Nerburn, "Find out what it is that burns in your heart and do it. Choose a vocation, not a job, and you will be at peace."

For instance, when I create a program that actually works, there is a sense of achievement and satisfaction. This week, 2 very difficult case studies in my MS .NET training placed me at breaking point. The first case involved incorporating 3-control-break routines (say what?) in sorting, merging, updating and printing out business documents. When I failed to meet the deadline for this case, I got so depressed. But still, I insisted to myself to finish this case even if I already passed the deadline. I said to myself, the worse case scenario is accumulating so much unfinished cases, that in the end, I don't finish a case at all.

Being an IT graduate, I should be the first to know of this kind of stress due to the mental calisthenics and the emotional roller coaster. Hence, I said to myself that I will never give up. Pwede ni, kaya ko ni. A day later after the deadline, I eventually finished the program to my utmost relief.

Going back, IT jobs are outsourced, in my opinion, because as a nation progresses, citizens have more disposable income to enjoy life. They have the money to hire laborers to do jobs that they do not want to do. As an example, doing household chores, a very boring and exhausting task, are delegated to domestic helpers. Customer phone servicing, a job that you might hate, are outsourced to call centers here in Bacolod. This job can make you feel guilty at first because intruding random strangers and going through humiliation and verbal abuses are new territories. But as you go on, you become numb to insults and eventually get used to being rudely hanged up at the other end of the line.

At the end of the day, I find it difficult to pinpoint where you contribute to the greater part of society with these kinds of jobs. Maybe being a breadwinner in the family, your salary, contributes to society, not your job per se.

Unfortunately, being in a third world country limits my choices. These are the only jobs available in the market. I can only persevere and work hard to go up the corporate ladder so that I can acquire that longed-for sinecure spot. For now, my motto is work hard, party later.


is working at home good or bad?

Web Worker Daily brought up an interesting question near and dear to my work from home heart in a recent article: is the isolation experienced working from home helpful or harmful? It's a bit of a paradox.

Working from home can be isolating but highly productive, that's for sure. Sometimes this isolation is a good thing, i.e., when you're working under a deadline or you have a project that requires intense concentration for long periods of time. However, that isolation is a two-edged sword, which is why you see coffee shops full of laptop-wielding workers.

I suspect the coffee-drinking-laptop-toting crowd , especially here in bacolod, e.g. cafe bobs, bo's coffee club, kuppa, etc etc are more interested in their self-images as Hip and Cool, and less interested in doing any work - they just sip their horribly expensive spanish-titled beverages and are seen by others, with similar conceit.



finally got promoted! yooohooo! after like for 3 months waiting for my performance review at work, the head honcho, which happens to be the owner of the company which im working for, finally gave in.

and no, i dont work-from-home for a call center.


top 3 creativity killers.. i guess..

you know something is wrong when the creative process that usually gives you life and energy becomes painfully slow and draining. over the past couple of months, mr. blank canvas has roughed me more than once… and in the process I’ve discovered three very subtle things that tend to sneak up and choke off my creative flow. Watch your back… they might be coming after you as well.

killer #1 – multitasking & distractions
nothing seems to sap my creativity levels more than trying to do too many things at once. If you’re a member of the Getting Things Done fanclub, you’re probably already well aware of this. According to David Allen (the author of GTD), our minds are like computer RAM. The more active “stuff” we have going on at any one time, the less efficient our brains seem to work.

mr. allen's analogy totally makes sense to me, as ive often found that in order to really focus my creative energy on something, i need to get rid of the other distractions lobbying for my attention. ive found that turning off my email, ym, friendster and celfone is the easiest and most effective way to get rid of the majority of these distractions. if youre really overloaded with work and you’re having a hard time getting your brain to slow down enough to focus on one thing at a time, implementing a full-on GTD system really is a great way to go.

killer #2 – work environment
this morning i have to meet someone who's coming here sa room, so i had to clean up all the clutter that was sitting on (and around) my desk. now that all the loose papers, bills, cigarette butts, and other junks are put away, i honestly feel super refreshed. its amazing how much of a difference your physical surroundings can make on your emotional state. the weird thing is that i never really seemed to notice how much the clutter and mess was weighing me down until it was removed.

your work environment goes beyond just how tidy you are though, it also includes the colour of your walls, how comfortable your chair is, as well as the music playing in the background. anything that is distracting your senses will play a part in how focused you can get. if you lucky enough to have the power to change some of these variables ( i realize that not all of us work from home) you’ll probably be surprised on what you can pull off with a limited time.

killer #3 – fear of failure
every so often ill get contacted by a client that i feel is “out of my league” asking if im available to work on a project. if it’s not something that i feel is over my head (technically), ill usually go for it. its during these types of projects that i often find myself wasting hours of time second-guessing everything i do and putting way too much pressure on myself early on in the creative process. it wasn’t until after i listened to a podcast by franklin mcmahon (ep #38) that i clued into the reason that i was putting this pressure on myself. i had a fear of failure.

i have a feeling that most of us deal with this from time to time, so i thought id share how i get around it. first, i start thinking about the goals of my client rather than my personal goals. my clients goals might be to increase visitor traffic and make their site more search engine friendly, whereas my personal goals might be to impress the client enough to land some repeat work from them. im finding that when i focus on my clients goals, there’s a good chance my personal ones will work out as well.

another thing ill do is think to myself, “what would ___ (insert favorite designer’s name here) do in this situation? how would they handle the design of this nav? would they use 2 or 3 columns for this layout? when i start asking those questions, ideas immediately start coming to mind and ideas start flowing. almost seems like a brain hack, but it works.

im sure ive only touched the surface of the potential creativity killers out there, what kills your creativity?



well, ive got to spend my birthday over lunch then the whole afternoon at boringsons then ate at our home at night with my family then i went drinking alone at a local bar (tyangge) hahaha here at silay.

anyway, share ko lang.. two weeks ago, as my birthday is approaching, im finding myself more and more in a state of depression. its not because im a year older or any of that nonsense. its just that, in the past theres been a torrential range of emotions associated with experiences surrounding my birthday and last year is certainly no exception... some of the most incredible feelings of self-worth, friendship, and love have been felt during this time of year as well as some of the darkest moments of utter confusion and hopelessness. of course, as is the human condition, the darker times come to mind much easier than the happy ones...

so what do i want for my birthday this year? more than anything, i want some good times to replace these bad memories... that means being surrounded by light-heartedness, happiness, friendship, flirting, respect and good old fashioned debauchery hahaha. and hopefully, along
with that, a few very close friends to share it with and help me to shake these bad feelings so i can enjoy the good times.

tigulang na ko!