Kiddie Advice

Just something I got off linkswarm… again.* Something too nice to throw in the heap really.

At least for me that is, I find interest in seeing children write stuff. The effort spent in trying to understand how the world works or at least part of it has appealed to me ever since I became a parent myself.

So when someone pretends to pass himself off as a ten year old, writes to several known people including politicians and serial killers about anything under the sun, and actually gets responses, the replies from the subjects form a curious bunch of grown-up reactions to innocent questions from an equally curious youngster. Apart from getting a peek at the personality of the recipients, what’s in there’s actually interesting to say the least.

So without further ado, here’s the Radar article on the Bill Geerhart letters.

*The second time around I know. But the stuff spewn by that site warrants a separate entry here and I’m getting to it pretty soon.

Online Ups and Downs

Just some tech things stacked at the back of my head no longer.

Bye, Bye Goowy

Having been a curious bystander of the internet for more than a decade now, I’ve seen internet technologies come and go. Early this year I blogged about Yahoo 360‘s sunset. This time I’m writing about Goowy.

It’s pretty much an understatement that I’ve been one satisfied customer of the goowy-style desktop-on-the-web concept. I’ve pretty much blogged about it at Yahoo 360 (incidentally,) ever since I started using it. Email, games, widgets, (which they call minis there,) IM using popular services such as GTalk and YM and an online virtual storage for files with an audio player as an added bonus. The latter came well after gaining a bit of popularity. Back then it looked pretty much like this:

Yup it was pretty much promising then considering that I haven’t even tried the contacts and calendar functionalities even yet. I’ve seen it become more and more power-packed with every addition of functionality from the goowy group. Until now, my webtop appeared like this:

The strange turn for goowy came when it was acquired by AOL early this year. More than a month after this , goowy made its intention to migrate the service to the AOL webtop.

So now, I’m left with a lot of online accounts goowy-bound to worry about.

Not Just Another Search Engine

These days when the netizen finds the search engine among his/her indispensable online tools, it seems hard to believe that there’s something much more to improve on the experience. Then came Searchme:

Just something I came across at linkswarm*. Though still in beta, the different experience reminds one of the Windows Vista experience. Not really surprising as I’ve seen design stuff (e.g. icons) inspired by that OS. A sample search shows something like:

Not bad for a beta. Now I’d like to shuffle more relevant search results in the future though.

* Something massive enough to warrant another thread really.

Thinking Abstract

Corporations these days pay image consultants to enhance professional appearance because to a certain degree, the corporate image says a great deal about it as a business. The logo as an important visual representation of the company would understandably go through a considerable amount of time in the planning board too.

I don’t know anything about image consulting but a logo gone wrong like this is not how you would want your consultant to err. If you don’t mind ending up as the next laughing stock that is.

Kind of reminds me of those items you see in abstract reasoning exams. Just a link to begin a relaxing weekend I guess. 🙂

Flipside of More PC’s: Vista Factor

Here’s something I have written for more than a month now. Obviously it spent a lot of time in the heap of blogging todo stuff. Thankfully I can post a something substantial on the subject already.

A Technology Perspective

When there were noises about Microsoft Vista as early as 2 to 3 years ago, I knew it was not for me. Back then I was already pretty adept at the normal use of Linux just as I was contented with XP. Linux was not that resource hungry and demanding in terms of hardware requirements so the computer geek that I am, (oh the redundancy,) found the OS just right for me. XP on the other hand served other purposes for me such as:

  1. As a full-time developer, I am involved with a lot of proprietary technologies officially supported under windows that ditching the operating system would almost be synonimous with suicide.
  2. I have a notebook that other human beings who understandably find windows more intuitive, also use.
  3. The same users from (2) use the notebook for gaming—a realm that’s still seriously dominated windows.

Given my bias against a platform becoming more and more power hungry, what came out in inquirer.net early last February from Joey Alarilla didn’t surprise me at all. Thanks to an exposure in Linux and a concept paper on Electronic waste for an elective on Environmental Management the past semester, that is. In the inquirer article, Alarilla cites Greenpeace’s opposition to Vista saying that Microsoft “could effectively hasten the obsolescence of half the world’s PCs, especially in the absence of fully-functioning global take back systems for PCs.” The stand isn’t really surprising given that longer life of electronics and computers is typical of Greenpeace’s drive for responsibility among electronics and computer manufacturers.

According to Alarilla:

In the first place, many Filipinos don’t even have access to a basic PC, let alone one powerful enough to run Windows Vista… what’s worse is that this “forced upgrade” that could have a negative impact on the environment is not even the result of software innovation. We can already do many of the things Vista is touted to do with Windows XP and the service packs and patches that are already taking up a lot of space on my PC. I don’t think that our problem with bloatware can be solved by upgrading to new bloatware.

Many of us have dutifully upgraded with every new OS, even when we had doubts that it was worth the hassle. Isn’t it about time we learned to say no?

An Environmental Perspective

So what’s the negative impact of speedy obsolescence of computers with the advent of Vista on the environment? With the higher specifications it requires from hardware intended to run it, environmentalists see more users giving up a lot of computers to acquire those which can accomodate the power-hungry Vista. From an environmental perspective, the introduction of Vista will mean more of the same equipment adding to the problem of e-waste management–something I should add is practically non-existent in this country except for a few ISO-compliant companies which have the budget to spend on it.

Apart from the said corporations and industries however, Philippine society for the most part has no idea on how to go about with the proper disposal of computers which have reached their end-of-lives (EOL.) What would happen when the digital divide becomes less of a social issue and more of the same people who are currently deprived of access to Information Communication and Technology (ICT) equipment?

Perhaps a certain Chinese province called Guiyu provides a glimpse of a very possible scenario. In 2002, Basel Action Network (BAN) brought to international attention the environmental and health hazards caused by exporting disposed ICT equipment. The findings of the study document the “environmental injustice” in Exporting Harm: The High-Tech Trashing of Asia. In effect the worldwide attention resulting from Exporting Harm had the Chinese government implementing stricter measures to prohibit the export of discarded electronics as noted by this National Geographic feature on the topic. The latter read on the other hand, primarily focuses on Ghana, a country in western Africa.

As I have written in my concept paper:

A look at present sociocultural indicators among the lowest income members of Philippine society point to a seriously impending e-waste issue… A lot of the factors at Guiyu and Ghana are already present… the still prevalent primitive processing of solid waste and the lack of health precautions and measures among waste workers, and the presence of child labor in the waste trade are all too glaring parallels to ignore… the fact that there are good reasons to believe that given the tighter measures taken by China, the Philippines has already been the destination of illegal e-waste export.

And add to that a large coastline in an archipelago which the authorities have difficulty in securing and one will not find it difficult to understand where the environmentalists are coming from.

Basketball and a Busy Day

By now any NBA fan should have known the outcome of the classic game between the Spurs and the Suns. Sure the Spurs won but only after a 2 OT’s featuring a game-tying 3 by Finley to force the first extension and another 3 in the first OT by Duncan. (Yup, no typo’s there alright.) The second OT had Nash and Ginobili taking over for both teams and when the smoke cleared, the Spurs came out with the W.

Now I won’t go out here to try and analyze anything about the game. When the match was forged on the last day of the regular season, basketball fans knew the match-up would be something to watch out for. Judging from how the first game was hard-fought, you get that feeling that the next games were only going to get better. And hard-fought there could easily qualify as an understatement when you see how much emotions and pride were on the line with the way neither choosing to roll over and wait for the next game for a win.

Far more importantly, at least from a fan of the sport who have had to spend more time at work these days, the playoffs comes as a very important source of relief from the stress and craziness my line of work throws at me. Anything for a quality game and a lot of things for a classic game.

It also takes away the attention from the boring MVP debates. Frankly, I don’t even care who wins it because as far as I’m concerned the only thing that matters is which team wins the championship. (I believe that’s more so for the players.) Excellent individual pieces might be there but without the ring, individual awards would seem like consolation prices. Blame it on media hype and the explosion of the internet to bring the cacophony of the sport around the world in real time.

If even the most trivial things get to be published in websites in record time compared to how it reached fans before, then expect sports writers pitch in views regarding the MVP award. It would seem a good topic for a good season that featured several candidates who excel in the sport given their respective situations. It gets boring however when it seemed like it was the only topic worth talking about for what felt like months.

Imagine my surprise then, when Neal Pollack decided to put everything I exactly feel about how sick I was with all the hype that was the MVP race. If you’re anything like me in this respect though, the 2-page read is a lot more than your while.

To cap off this entry anyway, here’s an interestingly sensible and worthwhile entry from basketball great, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, as he talks about the subtle messages cartoons these days convey to children. As a father of a little girl myself, I have a pretty good understanding of where he’s coming at.

The Density of Geekery

i am a geek Just because I need the brief pause from what I’m doing, I took the geek test linked by Shai. While it’s not really new, there’s nothing like a lengthy quiz to spend your time when things are starting to get crazy.

Anyway I scored around 17% in terms of being a geek. Seems elusive of me if asked. 😀

Footnote to the Sisyphean Life

Or a cheap shot at the monotonous routine I’ve been shackled with for nearly half a year now. Goes without saying therefore that I’m putting off a sensible entry for the nth time again. 😀

Just when I thought a much-needed break from my post-graduate foray would have helped, I find myself in a situation where I have to exert something more. With the way costs in the family shot up these days, (not to mention unforeseen expenses squeezing my take-home pay these days,) I had little choice but to slave away supposedly free time that was for summer vacation for my neurons for more work and stress and less sleep and time for the family and myself.

Guess the only positive thing I must admit from having to go through this whole ordeal is in its influence on, if not the utter transformation of a lot of my perspectives–financial, career, family and life in general among others. I never thought I would’ve changed so much in so short a span of time.

And as I gaze at my sleeping daughter, I can only hope a lot if not all of them were for the best.