I’m only a C?

Posted: October 17, 2009 in zeroes and ones

Boo, I only have a grade of C in my own country.  How much more for the entire world?  Waaaaa!!!

But then again it’s not really a surprise.  What with the geographic and political conditions of the Philippines.

By geographic I mean just look at that map below.  That’s a total of 7,000 and 100 islands there.  The major ones are still, well islands…  albeit big ones.  The interesting ones are the hardest.  They’re smaller islands where you will find the whitest, softest sand, the clearest sea waters, amazing fish and coral reefs, the perfect beaches!  Airports?   Yeah they’re in all major cities and most points of interest, but not all.

And there are several political issues in the country, particularly isolated in the lower-most group of islands in the south-western part, where travel would be a bit unwise.

My Lakbayan grade is C!

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out at Lakbayan!

Created by Eugene Villar.

To My Friends

Posted: October 9, 2009 in zeroes and ones

My Friends,

While you never really asked me the reasons why I left, I feel that I owe you an explanation nonetheless.  It has been over a year already.  It is long past due that you should hear my side of the story.  So I am writing this now to tell you why I have to go on my own in this big city.

Back from where we originally come from, our beloved little city, fate brought us together.  Those were fun times. Great times.  The crazy moments that we shared together were ones that were filled with laughter, adventure and of course, “spirits.” There was so many a day, or more like night, where we would be holed up in a place downing some shots, watching videos or just playing around with computer games.  And when we were not doing either of those things, we made sure we were off to another place doing something else.

But like all things in life, everything must come to an end.  Yet with every ending, another door opens.. .  A new chapter in life begins.  We started the new chapter full of excitement, hope and optimism.   Deep down though, we knew that sooner or later we might not be seeing each other too often.  It is one of the inevitable things in life.  I guess we never accepted that fact.  So as much as possible we tried to slow it down.  That was the plan.

It wasn’t that long.  Eventually, we found ourselves in the same big city.  Not everyone could come.  But most of us are here.  Was it not wonderful that we started another chapter of our lives together in a strange new place?  Again, the very same things that we left behind in our little city, we were doing it here in the big city.  This time though, it is far from the comfort and security of our own homes and families.   This time, it is with the addition of many new things.

As with every new beginning it is always something different.  Along the way we met several faces.  With each step made, we learned new things.  It is not alone that a man does great things.  There is always that group of people behind him.  However, you do know that you are not there just to depend on them.  You don’t let the group carry your weight.  You do realize that the group is you.

I never left you my friends.  I merely tried to see the world in a different light.  You should try it sometime.  For when we tread together we seem to overcome the impossible, how do we know that we are strong enough to be on our own?  How will you know that when you are not with me or him, you will overcome the challenges in life that sometimes you must face alone?

I am still here.  The times we had is something I am very glad I have shared with all of you.  There will be more of those times.  I am quite sure of that.  After all.. .

Friendship is not made with the exchange of names.  It is made through moments and experiences. Friendship is not earned by seeing each other too often.  It is earned through sincerity and trust.  Friendship is not kept only in the fun times.  It is also through the sad moments.

Sincerely,

Your Friend

Very Light Virtual CD ROM App For Windows

Posted: September 21, 2009 in windows

Mounting ISO9660 images, or CD/DVD images, stored on your hard disk has never been a problem with me on Linux systems. A simple mount command from the console and I’m good to go to see the contents of the image. Modern versions of popular Linux distros even have this already worked out, so the average Linux user, or maybe me being lazy, can just mount it through the GUI without having to become root.

This has always been a problem for me when it comes to Windows.  A tool for mounting images as virtual drives (or a loopback filesystem perhaps) is not supported by default on Windows for how many major versions. I can’t say it’s the same for Vista and Windows 7. I have yet to tinker around with Vista more, and I haven’t seen, or pretty much, used a Windows 7 yet. So you have to download a 3rd party app to be able to mount images.

Having been forced to use Windows XP on my home computer (my Kubuntu disk crashed, grumbe &*@#$!) for some time finally made me search the web for a Windows app to mount images. I always forget the names of the popular ones. Besides, I have to install it, sits on my system tray, and I don’t want that. I just want to mount an image, plain and simple. No fancy stuff.

Here’s what I’ve found and recommend in case you might be looking for one too – VCdControlTool.exe.

It is a very light-weight tool for mounting CD/DVD images.  You don’t have to install it.  It runs right out of the box.  Is fast.  The size of the app doesn’t even go over 50kb including the driver.sys and readme.txt files.  Very simple to operate, unless you’re totally clueless like grandma.

Unfortunately, I can’t remember the download link of the file.  But all is not in vain.  I’m sure a quick Google Search and you’ll have this app in no time.  By the way, I can’t say this will run on Vista or future Windows releases.

Prettifying a URL is an old technique.  It is generally called URL Rewriting.  Why should you do this?  For one, it’s better to look at it.  A URL that has “?s=1&sid=4752891&gn=0&.rand=99olqituu202iqzx37a6” after the domain name, can be quite confusing and unpleasant to look at for those who don’t understand it.  Secondly, re-written URLs are more SEO-friendly and user-friendly as well.  There are many more advantages to URL rewriting, and I won’t cover that here.

Being a WordPress noob, I knew I would be rewriting my URLs to look pretty. Luckily, WordPress has a built-in tool for this so us noobs won’t have to manually edit the .htaccess file by hand. This feature can be found in Dashboard –> Settings –> Permalinks.

Here are a few exmaples of the options already provided by WordPress.

Default – http://www.domain.com/?p=123

Day and Name – http://http://www.domain.com/2009/09/21/sample-post/

Month and Name – http://www.domain.com/2009/09/sample-post/

Numeric – http://www.domain.com/archives/123

The last one is the custom structure, where you have to put in what you want the URL to look like.  Clicking on those radio buttons, you will see that the custom structure text field is filled out with something like,

/%year%/%monthnum%/%day%/%postname%/

which is the structure for the Day and Name option.  Click on other options to see what comes out.  These are already clues on how to customize your own URL.  I made mine put the post name or page name after the domain.  The structure is easy, it’s just like this,

/%postname%

This results in a URL that looks like these,

http://www.domain.com/how-to-cook-beef-stew

http://www.domain.com/about

Be careful with putting a trailing slash on the URL structure.  The Day and Name example above has a slash at the end.  This could confuse some browsers, such as Internet Explorer, thereby causing the dreaded 404 error.

This error may not be exclusive to WordPress permalink structures alone.  It would seem that if you’re not very careful with the rules in your custom .htaccess file and you happen to have a trailing slash in it, chances are you will be getting 404 errors when browsing with IE.

For new WordPress users trying to set up a website and using the former as a CMS, this is usually among the first questions asked.  This is really easy.  In fact the WordPress Codex has it all written down step by step here.

Then usually, the next question after having done the steps is, “I have 2 Home pages now.  How do I fix this to show just one?

Under “Troubleshooting Themes” of the tutorial explains a bit on why this happens.  If you’re not patient enough to learn the internals of WordPress or manually edit a template file, the quick solution to this problem is a plugin.

Search for WordPress plugins that deal with Page Management.  I use pageMash to do this.  It’s not very updated but it still works up to 2.8.4 quite well.  If there are more updated (compatible and tested with 2.8.4 version) plugins that deal with page management I would suggest you install that instead.

the barrio system effect

Posted: August 18, 2009 in next to nothing

A barrio is a Spanish word which means district or neighborhood.

In the Philippines it is the smallest administrative division or form of local government unit, and is officially referred to today as Barangay.

In popular Bisaya references, when someone says “barrio barrio,” it would generally mean that in a gathering, people are  grouping up according to their political or regional affiliations.

Say for example in a party, were majority of the people invited know each other, an individual is most likely going to  group up with others who he or she is familiar with in terms of the school another may come from, or from a certain neighborhood in the city where he or she lives in.

If you came with a group, it is more likely that you will stick around with your group, rather than mingle around with the rest of the guests in the party.  Such is the nature with most traditional gatherings, as I have observed, in the Bisaya-speaking regions of this country.

“Barrio-barrio,” may also be perceived negatively, in that in an organization where everyone presumably has a common goal or purpose, it is but natural for people to try and work, or be affiliated, only to a select few others, with the purpose of achieving that common goal by themselves.  To each his own, and in this case it’s my group first.

Now in an organization, whether it be big or small, people are usually broken down into smaller units.  It usually depends on a common criteria, such as a role one plays in that organization.  While this may be a good way to get things going fast, sometimes with the crab-mentality that is common for people in this region, it may come down more as a hindrance to the organization.

It is only normal, after all, to be competitive.  But when it comes down to grouping just for the sake of one’s own selfish desires, instead of the organization’s common goal, then that may be the start of the downfall of an organization.

The barrio-barrio effect also negatively impacts an organization working for a common goal in that people who have been grouped together for a long time, tend not to be so open to newer members.  If one is asked to help out or transfer to another group, it might be seen as a disturbance to what he/she has with his/her current group, forgetting in the process that it is, after all, for the common goal of the organization that he/she became a member of in the first place.

In the end, there is no easy way to cure this effect.  While a good leader will always remind the members of their common goals, uncooperative members will always be a pain in the head.  Leaders will become subject to the barrio-barrio effect too.  It is always hard for the leader to be purely unbiased.  After all, the leader would have come from a certain “barrio” too.

tuesday clean day

Posted: July 14, 2009 in next to nothing

mmouse_n_broomstuesdays are “clean my room” days.  at least that’s how i planned it to be.  but in between doing something else, or pretending to do something else just so i can excuse myself from cleaning my room, and actually cleaning my room,  the first one wins most of the time.

surpise, surprise!  i do manage to clean my room several times a month.  if it’s not really cleaning, then it’s partially doing what is close to cleaning or arranging stuff  that is lying about everywhere in my ugly mess of a room.  but hey, i’m a guy, that’s normal.. .  😛

for this day however, i mustered enough will to get off of my lazy ass, drag my feet to the nearest grocery store and purchase some cleaning materials.  yep, it was quite a feat for me. i didn’t want to do it today.  i woke up very late and the weather outside was a bit gloomy.  no sun, cloudy and looks like it was gonna rain. but then somebody has to and there is certainly nobody else to clean my room except myself.

two hours later, my room is organized and my bathroom spic and span!  i gathered my clothes for the laundry and off they went to the cleaners.  phew!  that wasn’t hard.  i have got to do this more often.  hahaha.. .

after taking a bath and a smoke break, i liked what i was seeing before me.  a clean room!  and to top it all, my toilet bowl was so clean and shiny, i actually didn’t wanna shit on it.  🙂