Monday, October 29, 2007

Red Sox Routs Rockies for 2007 World Series Win

The Boston Red Sox took 4 games straight in their best-of-seven match-up against the Colorado Rockies to win the Major League Baseball's 2007 World Series Championship.

Let me rephrase that - to CONVINCINGLY win the 2007 World Series.

Appearing for the first time in professional baseball's most anticipated event, the Rockies gave a valiant effort against the Red Sox which previously won the World Series in 2004 - 4 seasons prior to the October 28, 2007 finishing game at Denver.

Down 4-1 at the 8th inning, Rockies' third baseman Garrett Atkins sent a slamming homerun to the delighted fans at Coors Fields for a 2-run score bridging the gap to within one.

Replacing Hideki Okajima, Boston's closing pitcher Jonathan Papelbon stepped up to the mound, intent to wipe out the Rockies' bid for a Game 5. An almost homer from the Rockies' second baseman Jamey Carroll was thwarted by Red Sox' rookie outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury leaping up at the fence for the decisive defensive play. With 2 men out, Colorado's Seth Smith suffered three strikes from Papelbon's 90+mph fastballs, thus giving the Red Sox its 7th World Series title.

It was the Rockies' best season thus far with 21 wins out of 22 games highlighted by a 4-0 sweep besting the Arizona Diamondbacks at the National League Championship Series. In contrast the Red Sox came into the playoffs with a 3-1 deficit against the Cleveland Indians at the American League Championship Series before winning the ALCS at 4-3.

Red Sox' third baseman Mike Lowell was awarded the MVP title for the 2007 World Series.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Airbus A380's First Commercial Flight On Singapore Airlines

"It's a great, GRAND way to fly!"
Image by Slivester Chua
Flight SQ380 of Singapore Airlines left for Sydney a little after 8am October 25 to be the first commercial voyage of the biggest airliner in aviation history - the Airbus A380. The historic 7-hour-plus flight of the "Superjumbo" carried 455 passengers from Singapore's Changi Airport to Sydney Airport, which was reportedly modified to handle the new giant of the skies.

Tickets to the maiden flight of the A380 were auctioned off under special arrangements with eBay, which raised around $1.3 million for charity. Passengers paid from $550 to as much as over $100,000 to be part of the inaugural flight.

Boeing's decades of dominance in the large long-haul jetliner category with its flagship 747 line of jumbo jets is now officially challenged with the entry of the Airbus A380. The A380-800, with a maximum capacity of 853 people, is also expected to fill the growing demand for air travel which have already started to outgrow current facilities and is projected to double in the next 30 years.

While undoubtedly an aviation marvel, industry analysts however are wary of the A380's projected performance business-wise. At $320 million dollars, the A380 may be a tad too hefty for commercial airliners. With a current order of 165, it would take more than 2 and a half times more orders for Airbus to break-even. In contrast, Boeing's upcoming Dreamliner 787, although mid-sized and can carry only around 250 passengers, already have orders reportedly upwards of 700. Both the Airbus A380 and the Boeing Dreamliner 787-8 are specified for travel up to 8,200 nautical miles - that's enough for flying non-stop from Hong Kong to New York.

Known for their world-class service, Singapore Airlines (SIA) now touts the tagline "First To Fly A380". SIA Flight SQ380 is the first to offer the airlines' latest features found only on the A380 - cabin suites said to be "beyond first class". Each of the twelve lavishly endowed suites feature their own sliding doors, a 23-inch flat screen TV, and a fold-away full-sized bed.

Talk about flying at the height of luxury!

Singapore Airlines is set to receive 18 more A380 deliveries. Interestingly, SIA is also expecting 20 Boeing Dreamliners starting on 2011. Emirates Airline, have 55 orders for the A380 in the pipeline making it the largest customer of Airbus to date. The Dubai flag-carrier, Emirates is set to receive their first delivery of the titan aircraft on August 2008.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pointers For Advertising On A Tight Budget

A few days ago, I made adjustments to a print ad layout for a friend. The ad was to come out on an expat magazine, which exactly caters to the establishment's target audience. The advertiser is a year-old fine dining restaurant that specializes in Indonesian cuisine. I share here what I imparted to my restaurateur friend.

First, a little disclaimer. I am not what you might call an advertising expert. However, I do believe that common sense goes a long way to maximizing the impact of your ad initiatives.

With that, here are some pointers on getting the most out of your advertising efforts especially when you are on a shoestring budget.

  1. Size matters. The bigger the ad the more expensive it is but you can get better mileage out of your ads if you know that you are reaching your desired audience. In the case of a fine-dining shop advertising on a magazine with a wide readership of foreign expatriates, splurging on a large format ad once in a while makes total sense.

    Like I told my friend, you want to come off stating clearly, "You are welcome here". On the other hand, a rather small ad space merely whispers "psst, hey you, were over here." You don't want to send that kind of message. Go as large as your budget will allow.

  2. Think "Action". With a business-card sized layout, message comes before design. Ask yourself, "what do I want the audience to do?" The answer will lead you to decide on what relevant information to put in to maximize your ad space. You do not want the readers to send you a fax, so don't put in your fax number. This gives you more space to promote your phone number so people will "know how to act" prompting them to call and inquire how to get to your shop, or to make reservations.

    Use short action words like "call", "visit us" or "enjoy here" - you get the idea. Get to the point - it is ok to tell people what you want them to do.

  3. Keep it simple. You have limited advertising space. You want people to visit your place. Not to mention that the publication is printed in black and white. So why the heck will you employ an 8-color ad design with layers of images? Often times you will find that you can do away with the brilliant backgrounds as they do not lend to readability in small spaces.

    Also, script fonts totally do not work in point sizes smaller than 12 or 14. Use simple text fonts instead. You would want to use a "contrasty" design - perhaps a light on dark motif or a thick border line. This will help attract people to your tiny corner of the page. Alternately, you can opt to use a short direct text copy along with the shop's logo and make it "float" on white space for that minimalist look. It's true what they say - sometimes less is more.
As a parting shot, remember that while your advertising budget for print may be rather restrictive, the Web can offer better and more affordable (even free) alternatives for providing exposure for your business. From appending a simple e-mail signature, to getting your own domain and website, to getting listed on online business directories - combining a print campaign with a web-based solution can multiply your business' advertising results a thousand-fold.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Makati Mall Blast Updates

Vehicles slammed into each other by the blast.
Images from "Disney Cute Land"
Evidence from the site of the explosion that rocked Makati City in the Philippines early afternoon of Friday have been identified by experts to be components of military-type explosives. Traces of RDX, the main component of C4 were reportedly found at the blast area. However, authorities maintain that investigations are still ongoing and as such, no categorical statements have been made 24-hours into the blast incident. As of latest reports, the "Glorietta Bombing" claimed the lives of 9 persons and injured more than a hundred.

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered police chief Director General Avelino Razon to get to the bottom of things. The embattled president extended condolences to the victims and pledged financial support through the Department of Social Works. The President also addressed the public earlier today to remain vigilant and endure heightened security measures in the metropolis. She appealed further for unity.

Search and rescue ended late last night. Another body was pulled out of the rubble bringing the death toll to 9. The destruction was extensive with some 100 stores affected. Several vehicles were damaged as portions of an elevated walkway fell to the street under the blast site. A crater as wide as a small house marks the center of the bomb blast which is located near the delivery access way of the mall. Sections of the roof also gave way from the explosion. The site remains cordoned off as investigators continue to sift through the debris for more evidence.

Below is one of the earlier videos of the incident that floated on the Web. Notice that security and police forces have not yet responded.
(Video from "tonyo")

Reports from observers in the vicinity during the blast confirmed that there were no detectable scent of gas in the area, which would have supported earlier speculations of an LPG tank explosion. Furthermore, observers noted from video and photos of the site circulating in the Internet and media that the damage was too extensive and that there were no signs of burning consistent with gas explosions. Heavy dust clouds as can be seen from the above video, corroborate closely to a bomb detonation.

While the media and authorities continue to reference terrorist attacks, none of the known extremist groups in the Philippines have come forward to take responsibility for the bombing. This, coupled with the non-conclusive statements forwarded by police investigators fuel speculation among the various political factions in the country as well as the citizenry.

Opposition groups raise possibilities for the bombing as a diversionary tactic by the administration as recent talks of impeaching the President and accusations of bribery have been hurled against Mrs. Arroyo. Some citizens faithful to the administration however counters the view with opposition-instigated conspiracy theories that supposedly aims to destabilize the government.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Explosion Kills 8 in Philippines' Makati Central Business District

"Authorities scramble to secure
the vicinity of the explosion."
Image from GMANews.TV
As of latest reports, 8 people have died and some 70 more were injured after a strong explosion occurred at around 1:30pm earlier today October 19 at the Glorietta 2 Mall in Makati, Philippines. The upscale shopping center located at the heart of the country's foremost business capital was evacuated, as the site of the incident is currently being investigated.

The cause of the blast is still being determined. Some early speculators pointed at the possibility of a gas tank leak as the incident occurred inside a restaurant near the vicinity of the mall's delivery area. The Philippine National Police Director General Avelino Razon on the other hand was quoted as categorically stating that it was not an accident involving LPG (liquid petroleum gas) and may possibly be a "bomb".

Police security in the metro was stepped up. The military was placed on heightened red alert. Government officials are asking the public however not to speculate on the incident.

In December of 2000, Makati City was one of the sites of bombings from extremist groups that took some 22 lives. So far, no one has claimed responsibility for today's incident and there are yet no indications that it was an attack.

Meanwhile, representatives from the Ayala Corp., owners of the Glorietta Mall pledged assistance to the blast victims.

More on this story as it unfolds.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The 2007 Nobel Laureates: Another Year of Advancements and Controversy

"How about a Literature award
for bloggers? Hmm...."
With the earlier announcement of the Nobel Prize awardees for Economics, all presentations of the Nobel Prize recipients for 2007 is now complete. The line up of Nobel Prize winners, laudable as they all are, do not come without their share of controversy as advancements in stem cell research and the highly politicized climate change agenda had been accorded a spotlight by the award-giving body.

The Nobel Foundation began prize announcements last October 8 starting with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. On October 9, the winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics was announced. This was followed by the announcements for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry on October 10, Nobel Prize in Literature on October 11, and the Nobel Peace Prize on October 12. The Prize for Economic Sciences was awarded October 15.

The yearly Nobel Prize identifies distinct achievements in the aforementioned categories. Run by the Sweden-based Nobel Foundation the awards are the fulfillment of Alfred Nobel's last will and testament. The famed inventor of the dynamite, Alfred Nobel was a highly regarded industrialist, scientist, and poet. Upon his death in 1896, a sizeable portion of his estate was bequeathed to a fund which "shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind" (see "Excerpt from the Will of Alfred Nobel",

Five categories were identified by Nobel himself - Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and the Peace Prize. The Nobel Prize in Economics, officially titled "The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel", is not originally part of the awards but rather was instituted in conjunction with the Sweden Central Bank in 1969.

The Nobel Prize consists of the Nobel Diplomas, the Nobel Prize Medals and an amount which for this year totals to 10 Million Swedish Kronor (over 1 Million US Dollars).

This year's Nobel Laureates are as follows:

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2007
Mario Cappechi (USA), Sir Martin Evans (UK), and Oliver Smithies (USA),
"for their discoveries of principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells";

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2007
Albert Fert (France), and Peter Grunberg (Germany), "for the discovery of Giant Magnetoresistance";

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2007
Gerhard Erti (Germany), "for his studies of chemical processes on solid surfaces";

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2007
Doris Lessing (UK), "that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny";

The Nobel Peace Prize 2007
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Geneva, Switzerland), and Albert Arnold Gore, Jr. (USA);

The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2007
Leonid Hurwicz (USA), Eric Maskin (USA), and Roger Myerson (USA), "for having laid the foundations of mechanism design theory".

There were those who raised wary eyebrows with the inclusion of Al Gore for the Nobel Peace award as some view his advocacy of the climate change agenda to be "too propagandist". In a similar fashion, advancements in stem cell research still strikes sensitive chords among conservative sectors.

Nonetheless, Alfred Nobel's legacy continues - a legacy of unperturbed trailblazing in the face of criticism and difficulties, and eventually contributing toward the betterment of mankind.

Find out more from TheNobelPrize channel on YouTube and at the website.

Technorati Tags:

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day: Building The Case For An Urban Recycling Co-operative

Earlier this year my son's preschool began a fund-raising program meant to help the school create a buffer fund for the construction of a new school building. Unlike other fund-raisers where parents were asked to sell cake raffle tickets or some other mundane offer, this time - the school began to think green for a change.

And it is certainly a change for the better.

What was different about this initiative is the advocacy towards recycling. Families were asked to donate recyclable materials to the school which would in turn earn them points equivalent to votes in support of their candidate for the school's "Mr. and Ms." event - sort of like a homecoming king and queen for preschool. The idea at the forefront is undeniably cheesy. These are preschool kids for crying out loud!

Nonetheless, the idea of recycling to raise funds was certainly welcomed by most parents. There are those who cower at the idea - perhaps because of pride, perhaps due to fear of the new. Be that as it may, amounts running to tens of thousands were raised from the program - a clear sign that recycling fund-raisers can create a positive impact in Philippine urban communities. Not only is there economic potential in such projects but the desirable environmental effect is there as well.

In the Philippines there is a saying, "May pera sa basura" (roughly it means, "There is money in trash"). The expression speaks at several levels but it is certainly apt for the business potential of waste management especially in urbanized areas which is the primary source of waste matter in landfills. Unfortunately, many people look down on anything involving trash because its something mostly left in the realm of vagrants and the "dirt-poor" of the population.

But there have been exemplary cases of local co-operatives engaging in recycling as part of its awareness and fund-raising programs. One such group is the Batangas Bay Region Environment Multi-Purpose Co-operative (BBREC) which was formed primarily to advocate for sound recycling practices in their community.

Imagine however if many in the metropolis are participants in recycling co-operatives. Imagine the reduction of throw-away waste. Imagine the savings the community will generate. Imagine its sustainability in the long term. Imagine the cleaner, greener, eco-friendly urban landscape.

In commemoration of today's "Blog Action Day", let us take things one step further. Take part in your community's recycling program in the coming days. If your community doesn't have one, then start one.

By this time next year, we will be blogging again about the effects of this one day - when fifteen thousand blogs all talked about the environment, and acted towards a better future.

Happy Blog Action Day to one and all.

Technorati tags:

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Freshen Up Your Blog: Making Sure Your Readers See Your Latest Post

"Is it number 1, 2 or F5?"
When I started this blog back in August putting up posts was a breeze. Grab a topic, do some research, write up the piece then just click on "publish post". That was it. My blog article is up and running for the whole world to see.

However, a few weeks ago I started noticing delays. Upon publishing, it takes quite a while (something like six crazy hours!) for my latest posts to show up. The same issue crops up when I perform some changes on the layout of the blog.

Pardon to those eating their meals in front of the computer, but it seemed that my blog is rather constipated.

Seeking Relief

Now I thought this was just a problem with Blogger and it was reinforced by a recent slew of support request at the Blogger Help Groups. Take this particular case in point - "Latest Post Not Showing Up At First Pages".

The symptoms would be that your latest posts won't appear at your blog's front page, however the entry exists at the archives or at the "Dashboard>Posting>Edit Posts" lists. Or, in the case of updating layouts or when adding a new widget or page element, the layout changes appear on the "Template" tab but only your old blog layout shows up when you go to your blog's URL (aka web address).

Furthermore, if you try a simple refresh, deleting your browser cache (read: Temporary Internet Files) or a complete reboot of your pc, the problem would still persist. Then after waiting it out for at least 30 minutes, all of a sudden your changes appear to your relief. Often times however, the updates will not come up for hours.

Languishing in Long Lines

The culprit is not Blogger (although it has its other faults... other many faults) nor is it your browser (though they may have other faults as well). Most likely the problem lies with your ISP.

With the growing demand for broadband, an ISPs primary problem is network congestion. Competition is fierce, broadband costs are going down, bloggers and virtual world populations are going up. These are the signs that bandwidth is taking a beating - the pipes are about to burst and your Internet Service Provider is probably already turning blue from holding it in.

Before this problem of "stale" webpages came up, I often had intermittent disconnections from my ISP. I go online on a wireless broadband network. A few months ago, I often get unplugged from the Web for 2 to 3 days. No use complaining to my ISP as all I get is a recorded message saying that there's "network restoration ongoing".

Then it just passed unnoticed. My connection is a-ok, no disruptions anymore. Business as usual. Only to later succumb to non-updating blogs.

As many join the broadband wave especially households, ISPs scamper to relieve the pressure off their networks. One method apparently being leveraged extensively by ISPs is the use of proxy caches. These are servers that temporarily store the contents of your site so that those seeking your webpages (it works on a per URL basis) along your network can get to your content faster, which in turn frees up bandwidth to be made available for other uses. Unfortunately, the cache may not refresh its stores for an unfavorable amount of time.

Thus the mystery of the unchanging blog sites is solved. However, things remain unresolved. It is sadly a solution that leads to another problem. The question now therefore is, how do we bypass the network cache?

Push, man, push!

There are several ways to clear the cache according to Ron "the Rat" Southern of Most Frequent Blogger Questions (MFBQ). First off, how do you determine if you're behind an ISP proxy cache? Add a question mark to your web address. If you're latest post gets returned, it means you're behind a proxy.

Remember that cache retrieval works on a per URL basis. So if you append a "?" followed by a unique random string (e.g. www.domain.tld/?asdf), the cache will see it as a new URL request on your domain and if there's no match to the string the latest instance of your webpage will show up instead. However, that would be a new webpage stored in the cache for your domain. If you make another update, you would have to supply a new random string. Now that's a very clumsy way of doing things. Effective, yes, but very inconvenient.

Don't despair, there's another way.

Dumping The Load

Now, you might have already performed a browser refresh before but just to again "refresh" us, for Internet Explorer the shortcut is the "F5" button. For Firefox, its "Ctrl-R" (apparently F5 works too... at times anyway). Some say doing refreshes several times in a row works. But to be sure, try a "forced refresh" or "forced reload" instead.

This is done by pressing "Shift" on your keyboard along with the refresh combination. So for IE it's "Shift-F5" or "Shift-Ctrl-F5" (sometimes Ctrl-F5 works by itself). For Firefox, the key combination is "Shift-Ctrl-R". Forced reload effectively sends a command (no-cache or cache-control) along the network to bypass the cached copy and retrieves the webpage directly from the host server.

This knowledge helped me tremendously in seeing how my updated blog shows up on the Web (I hope it works for you too). Unfortunately, not all blog readers know how to do a forced reload. If they're sitting behind a proxy cache (many of them don't even know it) which doesn't refresh properly and sees you're archived blog post instead of your fresh entry, your readership is bound to dip.

Don't Forget To Flush

Only two options are left for "blogists" at this point to make your blog "cache-free". One is to post a conspicous notice for your readers to regularly do a forced reload to get fresh updates to your blog. That's extra work for them but at least they know.

Another one I've come across recently is to use a meta-tag in the headers section of your template. Copy and paste this between the "HEAD" tags on your Blogger template.
<meta equiv="CACHE-CONTROL" content="NO-CACHE">
This in effect would direct cache servers to always have requests directed back to the original web server. Note that these http-equivalent header tags may not always work as not all proxies recognize HTML headers. But since we don't control the Blogger servers (lucky you if you run your own) we can't program the web server to provide http headers to this effect. Any way, I advise you do your own search on the said meta-tag and decide for yourself whether you will implement them on your own blogs.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Airbus A380 Superjumbo Jet Arrives in Manila

"Get off my bus...err, plane!"
Photo by Paolo V. Guinto, PFSG

For the first time ever, the world's largest airliner - the Airbus A380 - touched down at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines at about 2:45 PM October 11 (Manila time). The visit is part of it's route proving flight in Asia to show that the mammoth aircraft can be accommodated at existing airports without the need for special modifications.

The "Superjumbo" aircraft dwarfed other commercial airliners parked nearby runway 24 where it made a smooth landing according to visiting planespotters from the Philippine Flight Simmers Group (PFSG) at the Philippine Skies Forums. Mon, a PFSG member said that it was "a pretty quiet plane for its size."

The MSN009 A380 test flight is now at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (Clark International) and will depart for Dubai on October 13.

Here is a video of the A380 landing in the Philippines.

There were discussions on whether the international airport in Manila can hold the enormous weight of the A380. During initial flight tests, the A380's take-off weight was recorded at over 420 tonnes. The aircraft is measured for a maximum take-off weight of 650 metric tonnes. In this instance, the 3,737 meter long runway 24 at Manila withstood the burden of the massive eight-storeys high flying machine.

Airbus (aka Airbus, S.A.S), is a subsidiary of European Aeronautic Defence and Space company (EADS, N.V.) based in Toulousse, France. Development of the A380 began as early as the 1990's. It was destined to rival the dominance of Boeing's 747 in the large commercial jet airliner category. Moreover, the A380 is Airbus' anticipated response to the projected doubling of demand for air travel in the coming years.

Said to be "cleaner, greener, quieter and smarter", the A380-800 model comes in 2 double-deck configurations. The standard three-class design can carry 525 people while the full-economy configuration can hold up to 853 passengers. In contrast, the Boeing 747-8 carries up to 467 people just a little more than half that of A380's capacity at full-economy mode. The A380 is designed to fly non-stop from Hong Kong to New York with a maximum capacity of 310,000 liters of jet fuel.

Airbus encountered numerous delays in the production of the A380. Currently 17 airlines have a total 165 orders for the aircraft. Airbus projects to break-even at 420 units. The first official delivery of the A380 is scheduled on October 15 for Singapore Airlines.

You can watch the live stream of the delivery at

Technorati tags:,

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Knight News Challenge: $5M Funding for Big Ideas

"Up for the Challenge?"
The Knight Foundation is setting aside 5 Million Dollars for innovative ideas on digital news media. Referred to as "Digital Experiments in Community News", anybody anywhere are encouraged to submit cutting-edge concepts for technology backed community news projects with the potential of making an impact on real communities.

Last years Knight News Challenge awarded grants to 25 change advocates with prizes ranging from $15,000 to half-a-million dollars. The projects varied from innovative blog series to academic scholarships, from simple web applications to establishing entire media centers. Even MTV got a piece of the action with a $700,000 grant for the Knight Mobile Youth Journalism project which aims to place youth reporters in every state producing video news reports on their mobile phones in relation to the 2008 US elections.

Alberto Ibarguen, President and CEO of Knight Foundation said, "The Knight News Challenge hopes to discover innovative ways of using cyberspace to bring communities together." The foundation will invest some $25 million over a span of five years to fund exceptional community news experiments worldwide. The program is in line with the Knight Foundation's mission to "seed and inspire great journalism everywhere".

Note the following criteria for submission to the Knight News Challenge:
  • Use of digital technology - computers, cell phones, the Internet, etc.
  • Innovative - It must be different from what others have previously done.
  • Access to News and Information - It must provide people what they want to know in a timely manner.
  • Community-centered - The project must affect real geographical localities and create a sense of community in people.
There are three categories for the Knight News Challenge contest namely, General (open-source, open standards), Commercial, and the Young Creators Award which is for the 25 years and younger age group.

One can submit as many different ideas as they can come up with. Be sure however not to submit the same proposal on different categories.

Make your mark. You invent it, Knight Foundation will fund it. Deadline for submissions of proposals is on October 15, 2007. Winners will be announced in the Spring of 2008.

Register now at and take the challenge.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What Kind of Blogger Are You?

According to the quiz, I'm a "Purist Expert Socialite" blogger. Now I don't know what that means but I've got the badge to prove it!

What Kind of Blogger Are You?

Click on the badge to know what "kind of blogger" you are and sign-up for Blog Action Day on October 15! No matter what kind of blogger you are, you can help make a difference.

Get involved!

Listen Up! MusicLiberation Samples Latest Tunes

"Black is back"
SiD, our young Brit blogger with a passion for sound, created a no-nonsense music blog with an eclectic earful of tunes from upcoming bands and records. With a taste ranging from hip-hop to metal, punk to ska, rock to alternative, and everything else in between, expect the unexpected from MusicLiberation.

What's exceptional about this blog is that you come to realize that there is a universe of music out there that's not restricted to the Grammy winners or the celebrity in rehab or such other "musical talent" molded by the gatekeepers of so-called pop culture. Exploring different kinds of music is one of the things that does liberate the mind and soul. MusicLiberation helps us all in that respect.

It's a veritable gallery of artful album covers and music samplers, although it is stated that availability of links to samples beyond 14 days will be restricted (probably for copyright purposes). Therefore, frequent visits to SiD's blog would be a good thing (wink, wink).

Imagine getting hold of an FM radio station's broadcast transcription. You would be reading some background info on the artists and the album, with occasional music related news or trivia tidbit here and there, you click on the links to the riffs and just enjoy the tunes. If you like the artists' works, head on over to the nearest CD shop and purchase the record. Or click on the related links for more info.

The design of the blog is straightforward. No ads cluttering up the space. Content in the middle, navigation to the right. As simple as controls on a radio. It would be nicer though if good ol' SiD can setup space for quick links to music categories (i.e. hip-hop, metal, rock, polka... you get the idea) so that guests won't have to look over the categories along with other tags. Of course, the Blogger search at the top Navbar can do the trick for you (well, sort of).

MusicLiberation folks! 'Nuf said.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Get Involved! Sign Up for Blog Action Day on October 15

With over 8,000 blogs and a reach of over 5.6 million audiences worldwide (as of writing), Blog Action Day is set to have the world know that the environment is the most important issue in the planet. Come October 15, millions of readers around the globe will read up on their subscribed blogs and, hopefully, come to terms about taking action on the environment towards "a better future".
was launched formally last August 16 and it had since grown in sign-ups to more than 7,000 blogs in a span of less than 2 months. With such popular blogs in the line-up such as DailyBlogTips, GigaOm, Copyblogger, and Lifehacker, the RSS readership of blogs registered with Blog Action Day grew from less than a million to 5,671,653 (and counting).

With only 5 days to go until October 15, can the reach of Blog Action Day blogs hit the 6 million mark or more? It's not impossible and it would certainly be a good thing. And you can be a part of it!

Go to and register your blog. Commit today! On October 15, 2007 post a blog concerning the environment. Here are some websites to help you get some ideas - Alternatively, you can donate a day's worth of earnings to official Blog Action Day charities which includes Greenpeace and The Nature Conservancy. Or if you want you can give to an environmental charity of your choosing.

Blog Action Day is also holding a contest just for fun (and a small incentive). Whoever can guess closest the number of registered participating blogs come October 15 wins a special prize package from My bet - 6,000,101 blogs.

Meanwhile, here's a video on Blog Action Day.

For more information and inspiration read up on Leo Babauta's "Why Bloggers Will Change The World And How You Can Help."

Technorati Tags: ,

Monday, October 8, 2007

Monet Masterpiece Marred

"Sacrebleu! Zem nazties
turned my chef d'ouvre inzo a decoupage!"
Claude Monet's 'Le Pont d'Argenteuil' at
A GROUP OF YOUNG PEOPLE BROKE into the Orsay Museum in Paris over the weekend and vandalized a priceless painting by Claude Monet. The incident was caught on video which showed the break-in happening around midnight of Sunday, October 7 during the annual Nuit Blanche cultural festival.

The youth, suspected to be four male and one female all seemingly intoxicated, trespassed into the museum as the all-nighter festival went on. Even as the alarm was set off, the vandals managed to punch a 4-inch cut into the middle of the canvass that was Monet's "Le Pont d'Argenteuil".

French cultural minister Christine Albanel commented that the vandalism was an attack against French heritage and was "a purely criminal act". The minister pledged that restoration will be undertaken for the artwork.

Claude Monet was a 19th century French artist regarded as one of the prime movers of the art style "Impressionism". The term came from one of his earlier work "Impression, Soleil Levant" (Impression, Sunrise) coined by art critic Louis Leroy and appropriated by Impressionists thereafter.

The vandalised work, "Le Pont d'Argenteuil", was one of seven artworks done by Monet in 1874 featuring the Argenteuil Bridge which traverses the Seine river, according to the Musee d'Orsay website. Monet reportedly attempted suicide in 1864 by throwing himself into the Seine, which became the recurring theme of his masterpieces 10 years later. Monet's work is characterized by bright colors and fluid textures as experienced "en plein air" (outdoors) many of which involve contrasting characteristics of actual objects and their reflections in water, as exemplified by "Le Pont d'Argenteuil".

Security will be beefed up for the various museums in and around Paris. Various breech of French institutions have been cited earlier this year. No arrests were made regarding the Orsay Museum incident.

On a personal note, it seems that today's youth have little regard for lasting cultural heritage. Subjected daily with a barrage of fast moving media, many young people today fail to appreciate the legacy of previous generations. Their understanding exists mostly only at the level of fleeting interaction - things that are transient and can be easily manipulated, i.e. video games, music remixes, spraypainted murals and "photoshopped" web images.

Technorati Tags:, ,

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Will To Win - Pacquiao Overcomes Barrera

"Who wants to play next?"
They first met in 2003, a virtually unknown Filipino challenger against a great Mexican warrior. Marco Antonio Barrera was the heavy favorite over Manny Pacquiao, a then fledgling southpaw in the featherweight division - A "David" against a "Goliath".

During the first round Pacquiao suffered a well expected knockdown. He picked himself up and went on with the match. In the third round, both fighters have suffered tremendous blows, but one surprise hit stunned the entire arena - Barrera went down to the canvass with a stinging hit from Pacquiao.

As the fight continued the Filipino slugger sent punch after punch of pure power against the famed fighter. By the 11th round, the smoke had cleared - Barrera suffered another knockdown. Manny Pacquiao had won.

For the past four years both fighters fought their separate battles. The younger fighter, Manny Pacquiao consistently ascended up the boxing ranks. In 2004 he managed a draw against Juan Miguel Marquez. He then suffered an unpopular unanimous decision loss versus Erik Morales in 2005 that began the celebrated rivalry between Pacquiao and Morales.

Later that year, the "Pacman" won by technical knockout over Hector Velasquez to capture the vacant WBC International Super Featherweight title. He then went on to defend the title 4 consecutive times, once against Oscar Larios and twice against Erik Morales which were all memorable rematch bouts. Pacquiao's latest title defense was against Jorge Solis in April of this year, which he decisively won by knockout in the 8th round.

As for Marco Antonio Barrera, also known as the "Baby Faced Assasin", he came back from his loss to Pacquiao in 2003 to win 6 successive fights against Paulie Ayala, Erik Morales, Mzonke Fana, Robbie Peden, and twice against Rocky Juarez. Earlier this year, he lost the WBC Super Featherweight Title to Juan Miguel Marquez.

October 6, 2007 (October 7 in Manila) - At 28 years old, Manny Pacquiao overcomes Marco Antonio Barrera with a unanimous decision win (109-118, 109-118, 112-115) to remain as the WBC International Super Featherweight Champion. Pacquiao recovered from an alleged illegal shot by Barrera to Pacquiao's head in the 11th round.

The 33-year veteran Barrera, a boxing Hall of Fame nominee, have indicated that this may be his "farewell fight". Pacquiao is obliged by WBC rules to face title-holder Juan Miguel Marquez next, but neither camps have confirmed plans for future fights.

It was a valiant last stand for a legendary fighter. Nevertheless, Manny Pacquiao is effortlessly at his top form and remains the best and most exciting fighter in boxing today.

Technorati Tags: ,

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Mad Reporter On The Loose!

This made me smile today from Nick's little blog site at
How God Created Man

On the first day God created the cow. God said, "You must go to the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer. I will give you a life span of sixty years."

The cow said, "That's a kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. Let me have twenty years and I'll give back the other forty." And God agreed.

On the second day, God created the dog. God said, "Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. I will give you a life span of twenty years." The dog said, "That's too long to be barking. Give me ten years and I'll give back the other ten." So God agreed.

On the third day God created the monkey. God said, "Entertain people, do monkey tricks, make them laugh. I'll give you a twenty year life span."
Monkey said, "How boring, monkey tricks for twenty years? I don't think so. Dog gave you back ten, so that's what I'll do too, okay?" And God agreed again.

On the fourth day God created man. God said, "Eat, sleep, play, have sex, enjoy. Do nothing, just enjoy. I'll give you twenty years." Man said, "What? Only twenty years? No way man. Tell you what...
To get to the punchline, visit Mad Reporter.

Nick's blog is pretty much his notebook for jotting down jokes he's found all over the Web. Expect that its full of humor and wit. It's a very simple blog, regularly updated and uncomplicated. Apparently he's got a penchant for Chuck Norris jokes.

So if you need to humor your blues away, hop on over to Mad Reporter. Tell Nick I sent you... then run as fast as you can!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Iron Man Cometh

"Damn! I thought this was
gonna be 'Phantom of the Opera'"

Acclaimed Oscar nominee Robert Downey, Jr. suits up as Marvel's invincible superhero "Iron Man". He plays the role of Tony Stark, billionaire industrialist by day and high-tech vigilante Iron Man as the need-to-take-out-the-bad-guys arises.

Downey is poised to again showcase his versatility as an actor in what is set to be another blockbuster movie franchise from Marvel and Paramount. Question is - can the 40-something performer and known recovering substance-abuser capture the cult following of the Iron Man aficionados and sci-fi curious moviegoers in what is expected to be a grueling summer for movies come 2008?

From Marvel's official website, President of Production at Marvel Studios Kevin Feige said of Robert Downey Jr. that he is "an ideal fit to play such a complex character as Iron Man. We could not think of another actor better suited to bring one of Marvel's crown jewels to the big screen and be the centerpiece of our first independently produced feature."

Robert Downey, Jr. was nominated at the Academy Awards for his role in the 1992 film "Chaplin" where he acted out the life-story of the iconic silent-movies star. Controversy plagued the talented thespian during the late 90's as he was incarcerated several times for drug-related offenses. Notably, he came out in a guest role in the hit television series Ally McBeal where he was nominated for an Emmy and eventually winning an award in the 2000 Golden Globes.

Downey is also a recording artist having performed alongside Sting and Elton John. You can visit for a sampling of his 2004 album "The Futurist".

Iron Man will be pitted against some very formidable opponents on screen as well as on ticket sales. The Summer 2008 line up will also feature "The Incredible Hulk", "Kung Fu Panda", the Will Smith starrer "Tonight He Comes", "The Dark Knight" with Heath Ledger playing the Joker, and last but certainly not the least, the return of the swashbuckling archeologist in "Indiana Jones - Kingdom of the Crystal Skull".

Iron Man opens May 2, 2008 in cinemas worldwide. See the official trailer at

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Oktoberfest Celebrated Worldwide

"Are we drunk yet?"
Photo by Andreas Steinhoff
What's cold, frothy and disappears during October?

That's right! The answer is beer during Oktoberfest. The 2-week long German beer festival already began and is contributing to a lot of people around the world becoming rosy cheeked and bladder-control impaired.

Munich mayor Christian Ude declared "O'zapft is!" (Bavarian for "It's been tapped") last September 22 thus opening the 2007 Oktoberfest at the Theresienwiese grounds in Munich, Bavaria, Germany.

"Theresienwiese" means "Field of Therese". Now you might ask, who the heck is Therese and what has she to do with a mob in drunken stupor? Before you start imagining sweaty bodies entwined under the stars moaning the name of Therese, here's the real story behind Oktoberfest.

In 1810, the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) tied the knot with the Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The wedding party started October 12 and ended five days later on October 17 with a grand horse race right at Theresienwise or "d' Wiesn", the site of the modern-day Oktoberfest.

Imagine thousands of beer intoxicated well-wishers trying to pronounce the Princess' name. No wonder the party lasted that long!

Oktoberfest therefore is actually the wedding anniversary celebration of Bavarian royalties - and it's been celebrated for the past 197 years (this despite the many mistresses of King Ludwig). Not only that, the party has expanded all over the world with Oktoberfest and similar beer festivals commemorated in the USA, Canada, Brazil, Hong Kong, Australia, Argentina, Norway, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

The Oktoberfest mania have also invaded cyberspace with the World of Warcraft (WoW) Brewfest. The Orc Horde and the Human Alliance will set down their battle axes and war hammers and raise a toast to the mighty brew starting October 3. Watch the Brewfest Trailer at the World of Warcraft site.

An estimated 6 million people come to Munich for the annual Oktoberfest. The festivities will last until October 7, 2007 so you still have time to chug down your Maß.

For more info on Oktoberfest visit The Wiesn Website.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Need for Speed - Where to Test Your Internet Connection's Speed

My wife sent me a text message earlier today asking me which "speedtest" I use. Apparently this new compound word, while non-existent in any English dictionary, is fast becoming the direct term of choice to reference testing one's Internet connection speed.

A rough content analysis of search returns for the exact term "speedtest" nearly always refer to a program or measure of how fast a network connection is vis-a-vis the Internet. I predict "speedtest" will have a formal dictionary definition sooner than anyone might expect.

In the meantime, I replied to my wife the first thing that comes up for a search on speedtest. Ookla Net Metrics boasts of a free "Global Broadband Speed Test" service in

Unlike other Internet speedtests it doesn't ask for your Internet connection type. Perhaps its assuming that users read the title bar for the site which states quite clearly that its a broadband test. Theoretically however, it should work for any kind of Internet connection.

It automatically locates a user upon access, as the flash-enabled interface will zoom in on the world map to the country where the user is presumably accessing the site, most likely via IP address geo-location.

You are then asked to select the nearest servers, designated as blue and golden (suggested) pyramids, on the map. You may click on the suggested location or alternatively you may test how fast your connection responds with a server from the other side of the world.

As an online diagnostic application, it is sleek and fast. The interface is laid-out like a sports car dashboard. It also reminds me of that 80's juvenile movie "War Games" - with a world map etched against a black backdrop and projectile arcs shooting from pyramids onto populated cities.

It measures your "ping" echo, as well as download and upload speeds. You will be provided links to your speedtest results which you can post to your forum, website or blog similar to the image below.

You can do comparative tests for different country servers via "My Results" which will show you a results history for your IP address. The "My Summary" section will give you an overview of your IP address' performance including a Global Rank and your Country Rank.

Over at the "Global Stats" tab you can see the average speedtests for continents, countries and ISPs. You can even drill down the selection for the best ISP for a particular city, in case you plan to shop around for a better Internet service provider.

Got access to your web servers? You can host a " Mini" as a free service for your website audience. You may even fully customize and re-brand your own speedtest by licensing Ookla's technology (see "Why License A Speed Test").

By the way, Japan leads in both broadband upload and download speeds. Which partly explains why Japan leads in blogging according to the Technorati April 2007 State of the Live Web report.

So there. Next time you need a speedtest, you know where to go.

Monday, October 1, 2007

"Bloggers Get Healthy!" - Check Your Body Fat and Other Ways to Measure Health

"So, the greater the pizza size..."
Some time ago, I did an article (see "Healthy Alternative...") urging my fellow bloggers to take some time out at least thrice a week to get some light exercise into their routine. The tip is intended for non-bloggers also, in case you're wondering. So did you fellows take the advice?

Well, did you?

For those of you who failed to heed the call of the stairmaster or your local aerobics instructor, here's a quick check to see whether you're qualified for the next sumo wrestling world cup.

There are of course devices in the market that can measure your body fat quite accurately. However, these digital monitors won't your reduce body fat but rather it will strip away your hard earned blog advertising revenue. Keep that cash and stay wealthy and healthy at the same time.

What you do is you get your grandma's trusty old tape measure and head on over to's Health Calculators at their CholesterolNetwork site. Here you'll find a few online tests to gauge your health's status.

Body Fat Percentage and Body Mass Index (BMI) are two important measures relevant to finding out whether your likely prone to weight-related health risks. You need to know your height, weight, waist and hips measurements, plus you will also need to measure your wrist's and forearm's girth. Plug those numbers in on their calculators and you'll get a close enough picture of how healthy you are.

There's also the Waist-to-Hip Ratio (WHR) measurement which relates to whether you're body is shaped like an "apple" or a "pear". Apple shaped body types have extra weight concentrated around the waist which is correlated to greater health risks. You may visit and use their cool graphical WHR tool.

My scores aren't pretty but I'll share it to the rest of the web universe as a baseline. I'm currently keeping to a workout program and I'm confident these numbers will improve a few dozen blogs from now.
Body Mass Index (BMI) - 31.8 (High Risk, Overweight)
Waist-Hip Ratio (WHR) - 1.08 (Apple, Overweight, Health Risk)
Body Fat Percentage - 22.1% (18% is healthy for Asians like me)
Remember that keeping a healthy weight is a key factor in avoiding heart ailments as we grow old.

What about you? How do your health scores add up?

Popular Posts

Other Stories from Daily Dotventures

Blog Archive

Blog Watch

Latest Jobs |