November 2004

ARRRGGGH! Mail blackhole!

November 1, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I have just discovered that cyrus has been silently dropping my mail
since October 29. I don’t understand why it would accept some of my
mail and then start dropping them. This is terrible, as I don’t cc
myself a copy of my list mail, so they’re now, like, gone.

Hey. That’s odd. Why do I keep sending myself mail? Oh. I know. Those
are the bounce messages!

I think I’ll use richi’s server for my mail while we get this sorted
out. I really don’t understand what’s happening…


November 3, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized


Tomoko picking a persimmon


Fuji-san, Tomoko-san and me

English translation follows. Don’t worry. =)

(snip: corrupted Japanese translation)

The trip to Yamanashi was so much fun!

Tomoko kindly invited me. Last night, I slept at her house. Dinner
was a delicious curry. I also had three sweet mandarins. It was my
first time to drink dried plum tea. That was delicious. Everything was
wonderful! Her mother and father were very very nice. I think they
made their conversation easier to understand because I’m still bad at
Japanese. We talked about various things. For example, fruits
(Tomoko really likes mangoes; I should remember that),
education… It was fun. After dinner, I had a bath. That felt good.
Because I needed to wake up early for today’s trip, I slept early (and

We had cake for breakfast, which made me quite full. We went to Odakyu
Tama Center on a bus. Tomoko was surprised that I knew how to ride
the bus. She said it was cool. After we changed to the tour bus, I
fell asleep. (I think I had not yet really woken up.)

First, we went to a winery. Although I don’t really drink wine, I
tried different kinds of wine. I didn’t like the strong one. The sweet
one was better. I liked the cheeses, though. Smoked cheese was the
most delicious, so I bought a present. (No matter how much Tomoko
tried to dissuade me, I felt very grateful, so I really wanted to buy
a gift.)

From there, we went to a kimchi store. We tried kimchi (prepared by
Koreans), flavored garlic, and other things. We’d been eating since
the beginning! It was good that we then went to a mountain and did
some hiking. Stairs were carved into the rock, which was wonderful. It
was a bit scary. It looked like it was easy for us to fall. We got a
bit tired and parched… but the view was so beautiful, so we kept on
going. It was good that we climbed!

After this exercise, we each picked one persimmon from a tree, then
went shopping. We ate persimmons, grapes, and other things. (Waa. I
think I gained weight.) After we were full, we went to a crystal
museum. The crystal garden was beautiful. We were also taught how to
distinguish crystals. (I don’t remember anything.)

Lastly, we went to a lake. Mt. Fuji could be seen. It was so
beautiful! It was like a postcard. We also went to a famous
confectionary, and I bought a gift.

Today was so much fun. I am much obliged to Tomoko and her family, and
am glad I went.

I think if you’re talking about Japan tours, it’s eating,
sight-seeing, eating, shopping, eating, exercising… ;)

(Waa. If I don’t translate this to English, my family and friends
won’t understand…)

Update on “Crazed”

November 3, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

UPDATE: Apparently, the only source for the Faye story is a paid
advertisement, so the info is iffy. That’s a pity, because there are
so many other stories out there that are less outrageous and yet more
inspiring. We don’t have to have against-all-odds stories to take
pride in being Filipino. There is also courage in the little things we

I find the original speech also a little over the top. I should get
around to writing down my opinion on the thing. I guess that’s why I’m
not a debater, eh?

I also find it rather strange that a number of people who arrived at
this site looking for information on “Faye” and the Intercontinental
Science Quiz Net were strongly convinced that it was a hoax, and
rather vocal about saying so. I think those people are focusing on the
wrong thing. It’s not about the existence or nonexistence of one
person, nor is it even about this preoccupation we might have with
media. I think the most important thing to remember here is that there
is a world outside our cozy little niche with stories we do not know
and perhaps never hear of, the truth or falsehood of which we do not
personally know and cannot because we have not yet stepped outside our
comfort zone.

You may think it’s easy for me to say that, surrounded by autumn
leaves in a First World country, but there is more to this than I can
find the words to explain.

I miss the Philippines. I miss the way the streetchildren’s stares
shock me into realizing that all I have done so far is lacking, that
there is still more to be done. I miss the way the squalor of squatter
communities reminds me that I need to find something I can do to ease
the urban pressure. I miss the questions in my students’ eyes,
questions that I try to answer but fail to explain to my satisfaction.
The Philippines is not perfect. Far from it, even. It is that very
imperfection that brings me out of myself and makes me reach for
greater things.

What is one more candle in a land lit by a thousand suns? It is in
dark places that light is needed most.



November 3, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

ISWC is _the_ wearable computing event.

Next year, it will be held in Osaka, Japan.

You have no idea how annoyed that makes me.



November 3, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

eclair wrote in her blog:

My sister [info]zhynchan seems to have been bitten by the Go bug
again after I showed her Hikarunix, a Linux distro on live cd and
it is dedicated to Go. Yes, Go, as in the Japanese board game with
black and white stones.

Default file coding for emacs-wiki

November 4, 2004 - Categories: emacs

I really should get around to making UTF-8 the default…

Watched a kitsune kabuki play on TV

November 4, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Still don’t understand the dialogue, but understood the expressions
and gestures enough to figure out the story. =) A child was left
behind a rock by parents who were having a hard time. Fox-spirits came
along and raised the child. The parents eventually found the
fox-spirits again, and the fox-spirits had to give the child back. The
play ended with a wonderful song.

Ranulf’s interview: games

November 4, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Whoa! topcoder?

November 4, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Celsus Kintanar’s blog mentions the TopCoder finals. Go Philippines!

Watching an English study program on TV…

November 4, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

“Look at the ball!” <grin>

Update on Faye

November 5, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Followup stories. Posting because people who read this blog might be

Faye being used in political attack on gov’t? (2004.11.04)
Is Faye’s story true, or just another fairy tale? (2004.11.02)

The Faye Story, a blog

entry with many comments. Turns into a racist discussion near the
end, but oh well.

There’s apparently a followup by Patricia Chanco Evangelista in the
11/05/2004 Philippine STAR, but I can’t find an online copy. I saw
it on a mailing list, though, which means people will probably forward
it again. <wry grin>


Will move to a hotel

November 5, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

New trainees are coming to Tokyo Kenshu Center next week, so Aris and
I have to move to a hotel temporarily. We’ll get our stuff from TKC on
Tuesday evening and move to a hotel near the Ayase train/subway
station, one stop away (grr; that makes the commute a little longer).
I probably won’t have Internet access then, and will connect mainly from
the office.

Aris will check out of the hotel on Saturday and move back to TKC. I’m
meeting Tomoko on Friday night for another trip, though, so I need to
move my luggage earlier. I don’t think it’ll fit within coin lockers.
Logistics are somewhat complicated…

– 1. I need an overnight bag for Friday-Saturday containing pajamas
and two changes of clothes for the next day. (Onsen trip.)

– 2. I need business clothes for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

– 3. I can leave luggage at TKC.

– 4. If I don’t mind walking for 20 minutes, I can pass by TKC on the

way to Ayase.

– 5. I will be late if I have to go back to TKC or Ayase on Friday night.

– 6. My onsen trip is on Saturday.

– 7. Coin lockers are generally only for one day, so leaving a

Thursday-Friday overnight bag at Shinjuku is out of the question.

– 8. I may be able to leave my overnight bag and/or work bag in the


MONDAY NIGHT: Lug big luggage down to lobby. Put aside clothes in a
bag, and label them clearly. I need business clothes for Wednesday,
Thursday, Friday. I can include Fri/Sat overnight clothes in this
bundle. Wear pleated skirt, which will be packed.

TUESDAY: Put pajamas into a small bag and add them to my left-behind
luggage. Go to work carrying normal work bag. Check into the hotel in
the evening. AOTS will make sure my set-aside clothes will be there by

WEDNESDAY: Wear black striped skirt and black blouse.

THURSDAY: Bring Fri/Sat overnight clothes to work.. Leave work bag in

FRIDAY: Check out of the hotel in the morning. Bring hotel clothes to
work. Pick up overnight trip clothes. Leave blazer in office.

SATURDAY: Trip! =)

SUNDAY: Unpack dress, hang to deal with wrinkles.

MONDAY AFTER: Bring work bag and hotel bag back to TKC.

Oh no! The Tokyo Linux Users Group meeting might be during that
weekend! That changes things. I promised to give a talk on personal
information management, and it’s something I’ve also really been
looking forward to…

Let me e-mail Tomoko to see if we can move the onsen trip. Going for
the Tokyo Linux Users Group thing makes my packing a little bit
easier, because I don’t have to worry about the overnight.

Collected links for Faye story

November 5, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Some people e-mailed me for information, so I figured I’d see what I
could come up with using my searching-fu. Google and Altavista,
intercontinental science, faye jasmine trias.

If you’re looking for more information on “Faye”, check out the
following links. I’ve compiled them from the updates on
2004.10.29%231 to make your browsing life

Static pages:

Faye being used in political attack on gov’t? (2004.11.04) The

Postscript article points out that this is not just about the
existence or nonexistence of Faye or even the veracity of the story,
but also the political criticism in the story.

Is Faye’s story true, or just another fairy tale? (2004.11.02) The

previous column raised questions that need to be answered.

Misplaced priorities can mislead the nation (base article) The article

from Bread of Life Ministries.

Dynamic pages, discussion:

J. Angelo Racoma’s blog – (Hey, long time no see. I know him from

way back.) Has archived copy of Evangelista follow-up and link to
Philstar article, which will be broken really soon because Philstar
doesn’t archive articles. Odd, that. Anyway, the blog is probably
the best resource you’ll find. Check the Nov 5, Nov%204 and Nov%203 entries.

The Faye Story (ongoing), a blog entry with a lot of discussion. A

number of people in the discussion are convinced it’s a hoax. Others
claim it is true. The discussion becomes racist near the end, but is
otherwise interesting. Another discussion from the same blog has
degenerated into puns and kneejerk proofs of how it’s impossible to
verify identity on the Internet, but may eventually contain
something interesting. <shrug>

GovPH thread (2004.10.29 – present) Another discussion forum with a

handful of posts. Patricia Evangelista’s first article is reposted
here. cetacea commented that the constant references to Jasmine Trias
seems to be a display of crab mentality.

PinoyPC – Noteworthy because of the scan of the original ad,

if you’re into that sort of thing.


Nifty! The quick start’s sorta readable!

November 5, 2004 - Categories: emacs

Clair has
started playing around with Emacs and Planner. She found the
quick start
useful. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

Clair: A basic Planner should automatically pick up filenames from the
current buffer unless you’re on a date page. Try using
planner-create-task-from-buffer from another plan page or from a file
on your hard disk. If that doesn’t do something interesting, please
e-mail me. =) Have fun!

Pfft. Geek bias.

November 5, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Hmm. 51.67653% – Super Geek. Oh well. Slightly disappointing. ;) Then
again, I’m not part of the usual(?!) geek culture. I don’t really dig
media or collect stuff. I’m a free software, text UI kind of girl.

Sketch website design

November 6, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

“Informal tool for early stage web site and UI design”

Might be _really_ fun on a Tablet PC…

Things I need to do

November 6, 2004 - Categories: emacs

I will not have access to a web-based training terminal next week, so
I have only today, tomorrow, and next Sunday to finish the next seven
lessons in the Chuukyuu course.

I also need to prepare a presentation for the 2004.11.13 technical
meeting of Tokyo Linux Users Group. I plan to
talk about advantages, disadvantages, and implementation tips for
personal information management under Linux. TODO, plain text files,
wikis, request trackers, vim outliners, and of course planner.el

There’s that long-standing assignment to write about courage for Mrs.

I also need to pack all my clothes and put away all my things by
Monday night.

I also need to send the tea video.

I will finish the rest of my laundry, then work on my Japanese
studies. I will also transfer the files then. After I finish three or
four chapters, I will outline my talk and the story for Mrs. Castillo.
I should make arrangements to meet Arlyne Santos. How embarrassing;
it’s been a few months already…


November 6, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I can play videos! <grin> apt-get install vlc worked like a

I can’t believe this is the first time I’ve actually played video on
my own system…

My ref-filter script

November 7, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

my $s;
while ($s = <>)
    if ($s =~ /.+?\"GET ([^ ]+) .+?".+?"([^"]+)/)
        my $REF = $2;
        my $PAGE = $1;
        if ($REF ne "-"
            && $REF !~ /
            && $REF !~ /
           && $REF !~ '\+') {
          print "$REF\n";


cat log | perl | sort | uniq > reff

For greater fun and profit, diff against previous records.


Yaaay! Skype works!

November 7, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

A very big thank you to arete of irc:// for his
patience in helping me test the system.

My Skype ID is sachachua. =)

Open source

November 7, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I think one of the most amazing things about open source is the way it
allows people to make a difference no matter how old they are.
The Mozilla Firefox lead architect is a 19-year-old. Even younger people contribute to the community.

It’s funny how, when people take you seriously, you become even more
serious. =)

Perhaps we should look into promoting Linux at the high school level…

Necessity is the mother of invention

November 8, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I love the Internet. I really, really do.

I spent the last hour talking to my family through
Skype, a free-as-in-beer-but-not-speech
Internet telephony service with excellent quality and cross-platform
clients. Wheeee. (Now all it needs is webcam support, mumblemumble.)

Get this—my _mom_ recommended it to me. I have a cool mom. =)

And they were chatting through a recently-installed LAN port in the

On a iBook whose built-in speaker and microphone are way, way
sensitive. Sensitive enough to pick up my dad from a bit of a
distance. Wow.

It’s really different, you know, when people don’t have to worry
about typing. When the computer disappears.

I love technology and the way it lets me connect. =)

Happy birthday, Diane!

November 8, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Happy birthday to a very special girl friend. =)


Really adorable cat!

November 8, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized


We saw this really, really adorable cat on the street. She was so
friendly and well-behaved… <melt> Made me miss Neko and Oliver
so much!

I very nearly took her home. I very nearly didn’t leave, actually. But
the stray cat had a collar, and probably a very worried human, too. I
hope she finds her home soon…

How to use remember-planner

November 8, 2004 - Categories: emacs

How do you file your notes under specific topics? Like all your
short stories are under short stories, right? How does that work?

You can use remember-planner to quickly add notes to planner files.
After setting up remember-planner according to the notes in
remember-planner.el, use M-x remember to open a buffer for notes. It
starts out with a link to the current buffer. After you type in your
note, hit C-c C-c (remember-region). This prompts you for a planner
page to associate the note with. By default, notes are added only to
today’s day page. However, if you specify something else
(ShortStories, for example), then the note is copied to that page. =)

TLUG meeting information

November 8, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized
Date November 13th, 2004 (Saturday)
Time 14:00-16:30 (doors open 13:30)
At Ubiquitous Business Technology meeting room, 3-42-5 Hongo, Boa Building 2F,Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-0033



My effect on people ;)

November 8, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized
 sachac: seems like you and clair have been getting along...
 sachac: i knew it the moment she started talking about emacs.

Started on the Debian new maintainer application process…

November 8, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

My timestamping/thumbnailing script

November 9, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized
while [ -n "$1" ]; do
  if [ -f $1 ]; then
    DATE=$(date +"%Y%m%d-%H%M%S" --reference="$1")
    EXT=$(echo "$1" | sed 's/.*\././')
    echo $1
    cp $1 "$DEST"
    cp "$DEST" "thumb-$DEST"
    touch --reference="$1" "$DEST"
    if [ "$EXT" == ".jpg" ]; then
       convert -size 640x480 -resize 640x480 "$DEST" "thumb-$DEST"
       touch --reference="$1" "thumb-$DEST"

Must write


Gmane has a blog interface

November 10, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

It boggles the mind.

Don’t you just love how information formats are blurring together?
Gmane gates mailing lists to Usenet newsgroups and blogs, and people can
participate without really noticing the difference…

Insightful Slashdot comment on Linux migration

November 11, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

For a large shop:

– count on a migration period of about five years.

Train the admins, make them your friends.

– Transition back-office stuff first, so that admins cut their teeth

away from users prying eyes.

– For the desktops, try an easy one first, like firefox.

Let simmer for a year or two.

– wean people slowly off of desktop apps, with more and more web

applications, making sure they work with firefox.

– Then try a bigger one: open office. This is the really big one. take

it slow, careful, and thoroughly researched (like how to transition
Joe’s macro’s etc…)

– After that, users will barely notice when windows is swapped out and

replaced. They’ll already be used to firefox & openoffice. the linux
thing won’t be a big deal, especially if it’s on KDE.

Read rest of comment in Slashdot%20|%20Open%20Source%20Expertise%20in%20Short%20Supply

Celsus Kintanar on inq7

November 12, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Thanks to Joey Alarilla for picking up his story.

Is that how Celsus looks like now? <grin> Interesting…

Free wifi in Shangri-La

November 12, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Enjoy FREE Wi-Fi internet access from your favorite spot anywhere inside
the mall between November 12 to 14, 2004.


November 12, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Want to help out with open source? Not quite sure if your coding
skills are up to it? There are other ways to help out! For example,
Eric Pareja’s interested in translating the Debian installer into
Tagalog. HOWTOs and guides in other dialects can also be very helpful.
What can you do to help your favorite software project or Linux

Waaaah! Happy happy joy joy! ICPC achievement!

November 12, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Dominique called me as soon as the ICPC results were released. We’re
second only to the University of Tokyo! What an amazing achievement!
I’m so proud of the students, so proud of the teachers and the school.
And we’ll do even better in the future! I am amazed by the work
everyone has put into preparing for this contest and what everyone has

My heart feels so full, it could burst. How I wish I could have been
there! This is what makes me believe in the wonderfulness of computer
science, in the potential of our students!

Truly, this is amazing. Celebrate it! Please get in touch with Ateneo
de Manila University (+6324266071) for more details.

Slides for “Taming the TODO”

November 13, 2004 - Categories: emacs

The talk was tons of fun!

November 13, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I forgot to record video, though.


TLUG administrivia

November 13, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Person from TLUG: Server being moved. The move will be from Nov 27
to 28. We’re planning to shut down the server on Friday night.
Hopefully we’ll be back up on Sunday night, but I doubt it. We
don’t know when the server will come back up. I asked them for some
more details, but they haven’t responded yet. The server downtime
is probably going to be around Nov 26 PM to Mon 29th. No list
during that time. .. has graciously offered to put up a temporary
web server. Discussion of web and mail contingency plan. Planned
server upgrade: 2, 160 GB, 8 MB cache, 20,500 yen. Also, 3000 yen
for new server rails because of move. OSDN will organize this;
we’ll just pay them later.

LAN card auctioned for 100 yen.

Xen virtual machine. Really funky. Now in version 2.

SQLite. Now has page-level locking (not table-level anymore). Person
says it’s easy to use, lots of bindings. Has views, triggers, etc. Not
separate RDBMS, but bound to process. Seems like a great idea.

IMMS for XMMS, tweaks your playlist according to your playing
preferences. Uses SQLite.

frees/wan, openswan, openvpn, ipsec howto for linux kame

instiki – there is no step 2. wiki

erlang, functional programming language, might be easy to get started
with. Developed from the beginning to be process-aware; distributed
programming. You can update running systems. Can capture errors or
send stuff. heartbeat, too.



ssh can do socks

November 13, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized


ACM results! YAAAAY!!

November 14, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized
2nd place Miguel Arguelles, Mark Punzalan, Allan Espinosa
8th place Mike Gonzalez, Jino Noel, Topher Rigor
12th place Cliff Lim, Reinabelle Reyes, Charles Yeung
12th place Eric Uy, Josh Agarrado, Russell Santos
Honorable Mention Michael Tan, Kendrick Saavedra, Akie Mejia

Most of them were my students! I’m so proud of everyone. <grin>
I think Great Things are possible.

More news from Mike Gonzalez:

Miguel’s team was only slightly slightly behind the winners. And the
sample output was simply wrong on one of the problems that they
solved, so it caused a few wrong submissions and enough penalty points
to kick them into 2nd place. I think they’re contesting that to see if
they can do anything about it… in any case, the organizers told them
they have a good chance at being a wildcard team to be sent to the
world finals in Shanghain in April. :)

Hey, at one point Miguel’s team was the only team with four problems
solved, my team was the only team with three problems solved, and all
the other teams had two problems or less. Doc Mana must have been
thrilled. ;p

That’s out of the 80+ teams at the Manila site! Me and Miguel’s team
are the 1st and 2nd best Filipino teams, respectively.

Thanks for everything you taught us in CS139.3 last sem, you were a
great help. And thanks for the congratulations, we couldn’t be more
proud. :)

Hope you’re doing well in Japan! Take care, Sacha. :)

Let me just say that we owe Doc Mana _so_ much. Heh. Father of
competitive computing in Ateneo. ;)


Faye update: hoax

November 14, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Mom said:

Faye’s story is on the front page again, this time with the newspaper saying
the Bread of Life Ministry will apologize for this hoax of a story. (I’m
sure your friends will send you the full article – it was on Inquirer or
Star, I think).

Poor Faye. She must feel really confused being used this way.

I was actually hoping that this story was true, as it might get media,
government and the private sector to give proper attention to achievements
in this (computers/technology/academe) area.

I just hope there will be positive developments arising from this
roller-coaster ride.

More details to follow.


Faye story a hoax by emotionally disturbed mom

November 14, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Pity, that. Anyway, full story below.


Which doesn’t mean that Cool Things don’t happen in the Philippines.
I’m thrilled by the recent (_really_ recent!) achievements of our ACM
kids (some of them are older than I am, but I taught them, so I can
get away with it). See the note below for more details. Also, am very
proud of Celsus Kintanar for TopCoder achievement, noted
previously on my bog.

When Faye’s story came up, my mom and I talked about the controversy
over the truth of the story. My mom said that even if the story was
false, she _knew_ things like this happened. She knew that people who
participate in contests sometimes don’t get support from the
government or from organizations, that they’re sometimes just used for
publicity. She knew because we went through some of those things
during the international competitions I joined in high school.

But my story isn’t sad. My story is a story of the boundless support I
received from people around me—my parents, my friends, my teachers. I
owe so much to people like Ma’am Sonia Javier and Dr. Pablo Manalastas
(Hi, Doc Mana!) not only for helping us prepare for the contests but
for helping us grow as people. Now, with the new generation of what we
jokingly refer to as computer science varsity, I feel confident that
we’ll get even better.

To all those who participated in the contest, may the experience be
as wonderful for you as it was for me.

Real heroes

November 14, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Roy Patrick Tan blogged
about recent (verifiable) contest achievements. He mentioned Ateneo’s
wonderful ICPC thing.

Eh, need the scores clarified. Was under impression around same number
of problems solved. Fix, fix. <grin>

Also interesting to note: Look at the difference between 2 and 3! That
means that Ateneo had either solved things much faster or had fewer
incorrect submissions. Way cool, Ateneo.

Did you know Ateneo has always been the top Philippine school in this
competition? <grin> And that we’d improved our position each
year (hah, strict monotonic sequence)? We’d have to get first place
next year to keep that record. Ateneo’s hosting, though, so our
resources will be split and, err, delicadeza…

Emacs lisp snippet for browsing referrer logs

November 14, 2004 - Categories: emacs
(defun sacha/ffap-quick ()

This makes browsing the output of (previously blogged; it just
extracts the referrer) much easier. I local-set-key it to RET. Hitting
RET twice opens the URL as a w3m tab in the background.

Text editor as PIM

November 14, 2004 - Categories: emacs

Mentions PlannerMode as an ‘even more obsessive rendering of this
idea’. Mwahahahaha!

Hmm, I think I should obsess even more about it… <grin>


emacs-wiki and planner, but in other languages

November 14, 2004 - Categories: emacs

Interesting notes about tech evangelism

November 14, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

– [[$2517][

Should help people make that connection also when demonstrating
something. Currently reaching people mainly on the enthusiasm level,
and am not sure if this translates into actual use.

Explore both blogs for more posts on social software and education.

WAAAH! Another thing I want to go to!

November 14, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

As I can’t go, can someone else go and take notes?

From: Sunil Abraham 
Subject: Asia Source: Tech camp for the voluntary sector [Details and Form]
Date: Sun, 07 Nov 2004 00:36:34 +0900

Dear Friends,

Please apply if you are interested in Free/Open Source Software and


Please forward to your colleagues from the voluntary sector in South
Asia / South East Asia.


Asia Source: Tech camp for the voluntary sector [Details and Form]
Bangalore, India. January 28th to February 4th 2005.

Asia Source hopes to bring together over 100 people from 20 countries to
increase the use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) amongst the
voluntary sector in South and South East Asia.

This week long event will bring together NGOs and NGO technology support
professionals working at the grassroots level across the region to learn
new skills, exchange tips, and share experiences. Together with
regionally and globally renowned experts and specialists they will look
at the use of FOSS within the non-profit sector from both an access and
a content perspective. Offering participants the opportunity to explore
the practical technical side of FOSS whilst providing a conceptual

Asia Source will be the first event of its kind in the region, bringing
together regional non-profit professionals with a rights based focus, it
will invite those from both the technical and content end of the
spectrum to focus on the practical elements of FOSS deployment.

Participants with a range of expertise will be provided with a space for
intensive peer learning. They will be given the opportunity to develop
their understanding of FOSS, learn how to select and apply alternative
technologies, and be provided with the skills and tools to utilise this
within the context of their daily work. They will also be encouraged to
explore the challenges and the future potential of FOSS adoption within
the social context.

During this 'camp' style event,  participants will take part in a range
of sessions. From planning and helping an NGO to migrate to FOSS, to
sharing tips and techniques on using FOSS tools for content development,
advocacy and campaigning. In parallel to this they will look beneath
user-level scenarios, and break-down tricky issues such as localisation
techniques and how to develop total cost of ownership models.

Four themes will flow throughout the event

     1. 'FLOSSophy' for NGOs
     2. Migration and Access
     3. Tools for content and communication
     4. Localisation

Asia Source will be held in a small artists community on the outskirts
of Bangalore. Its aim is to become a community building event, with the
potential to seed connections and future partnerships across borders and
between skillsets.

The event is co-organised by (Bangalore) and the Tactical
Technology Collective (Amsterdam). The event is guided by an advisory
board of established non-profit and FOSS professionals from across the
South and South East Asian region.  Asia Source belongs to a larger
family of Source Events that seek to increase the viability of FOSS use
by the non-profit sector. Other source events have taken place in South
East Europe, Southern Africa and are planned in 2005 in Western Africa.

For more information please visit

Participants will be selected by the advisory board based on their
interest and experiences. There will be a small registration fee for the
event. A limited number of travel and registration fee scholarships will
be available and may be applied for on application. If you have any
please write to [email protected]

Asia Source: Application Form
Please send the application to [email protected] The deadline
for sending applications is 19th of November 2004.

We will confirm receipt of the application immediately and will
ask you to check and reserve (if you do not have to pay for this)
your flight to Bangalore, India. We will also ask people who need
visas to check how they can apply for it.

As we have limited space and funds, we cannot accept all
participant applications and cannot reimburse the expenses for all of
them. Between the 19th of November and 3rd of December 2004 we will
personally inform each applicant by email if we are able to invite
him/her and in some cases reimburse expenses.

Asia Source is a week-long meeting, to be held January 28th -
February 4th 2005 in Bangalore, India. If you would like to
participate, you will need to attend the entire event, which means
arriving in Bangalore on or before January 27th and leaving on or
after February 5th.

Fees and subsidies:-
Participants will arrange for their own travel to Bangalore, India.
Once there, transport to the venue from the airport in Bangalore
will be provided. All meals and accommodation during the meeting
will be provided, for the modest participation fee of US$ 75.

There are a limited number of participation fee subsidies available
to cover this US$ 75 for those who are not able to raise the
funds. Travel subsidies are also available for participants who
would not otherwise be able to attend the meeting. Please apply as
soon as possible for subsidies as there availability is limited.
Who should attend?

This is an event for experienced professionals actively working with the
non-profit sector in South and South East Asian countries. To be
eligible to attend, you will need to answer the questions below,
providing detailed information about projects you have worked on. The
application deadline is November 19th, 2004. We are interested in all
kinds of non-profit and technical experience, but areas of particular
focus will include the following:

     1. Localisation and multi-language projects
     2. The use of technology within monitoring or campaigning projects
     3. The use of technology for organising and collaborating
     4. Audio/video, streaming media and/or radio
     5. Innovative use of technology within non-profit projects
     6. Experience deploying FOSS operating systems or applications

Demonstrating that you have worked on projects in one or more of the
above areas will make your application stronger.

All participants at Asia Source are required to be proficient desktop
users of computers, have been involved in at least one NGO/technology
project before and to have an existing awareness of the concept of Free
and Open Source Software.

Applications from women are highly encouraged by the event organisers.

Application Questions:-
Please answer the following questions. You do not need to write long
responses, but please provide us with enough information to understand
your skills and interests, and to have a sense of why you want to attend
Asia Source and what you can contribute to the event.

Please provide answers to all the following questions.

1) Basic personal information:
        a. Name:
        b. Gender:
        c. Nationality:
        d. Country where you live and work now:
        e. E-mail address:
        f. Telephone and emergency contact number(s):
        g. Anything else we should know about you (allergies, diet,
           medical condition, special needs):
        h. Do you need a visa to come to India?

2) What is your experience of working with non-profit organisations/the
   voluntary sector. What kinds of projects and initiatives have you
   worked on?

3) Have you been involved with any technology projects for non-profit or
   civil society organizations? If so please briefly explain them.

4) Where are you from, where do you live now, and what is your current
   professional affiliation (organization you work for, mission of the
   organization, position you have in the organization, is your
   organization a non-profit, etc.)?

5) Please describe your current technical expertise and ability.

6) Why are you interested in attending Asia Source; what do you hope to

7) Asia Source participants are encouraged to teach as well as to learn.
   What tutorials, development sessions or discussions would you like to
   lead (or help lead)?

8) Will you need to receive a participation fee subsidy in order to
   attend Asia Source? If so, please explain why.

9) Will you need to receive a travel subsidy in order to attend Asia
   Source? If so, please explain why and estimate how much your
   round-trip travel to Bangalore will cost.

Sunil Abraham  [email protected]
Manager - International Open Source Network
UNDP Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme
Wisma UN, Block C Kompleks Pejabat Damansara.
Jalan Dungun, Damansara Heights. 50490 Kuala Lumpur.
P. O. Box 12544, 50782, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: (60) 3-2091-5167, Fax: (60) 3-2095-2087
Mob: (60) 1-6311-1330


Thanks to Tala for quick update re: ACM!

November 15, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Thanks to Tala for quick update re: ACM!

Hah. See that? That is, like, way, way cool. Only 31 minutes behind
the champion!

1 University of Tokyo Gokuri-Squeeze Manila Site Champion 7 1013
2 Ateneo de Manila University Res cogitans Philippine Champion 7 1044
3 ZhongShan(Sun Yat-sen) University ZSU-Draco Third Place 5 700
4 Hong Kong University of Science and Technology HKUST1 Fourth Place 5 790
5 University of Indonesia Fasilkom UI Fifth Place 5 846
6 Bina Nusantara University Binus Lenix 3.1 Sixth Place 5 958
7 Donghua University EverGhost Seventh Place 5 964
8 Ateneo de Manila University Ateneo3 Eighth Place
8 De La Salle University Balloons R Us Eighth Place
10 University of the Philippines, Los Banos UPLB Peak-One Tenth Place
11 National Tsing Hua University Super (wo)man! Eleventh Place
12 Ateneo de Manila University Ateneo2 Twelfth Place
12 Ateneo de Manila University Ateneo4 Twelfth Place
12 Fudan University Powdery Snow II Twelfth Place
15 Hong Kong University of Science and Technology HKUST2 Fifteenth Place
15 National Tsing Hua University The White Fifteenth Place
15 University of the Philippines Diliman Kwek-kwek Fifteenth Place
18 University of Asia and the Pacific White Castle Eighteenth Place
19 Ateneo de Davao University Mocha Java Nineteenth Place
20 MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology D3AdL0cK Twentieth Place
20 The Chinese University of Hong Kong Twilight of the Gods Twentieth Place
20 University of Asia and the Pacific Ali Java Twentieth Place
23 Ateneo de Davao University Espresso Twenty-third Place
23 MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology boyz II funky Twenty-third Place
23 The Chinese University of Hong Kong Newbies Twenty-third Place
26 Ateneo de Davao University Cappucino Twenty-sixth Place
26 De La Salle University x3m Team Twenty-sixth Place
26 Hong Kong University of Science and Technology HKUST3 Twenty-sixth Place
26 Mapua Institute of Technology Mapua Team1 Twenty-sixth Place
26 Saint Louis University SLU CICS T1 Twenty-sixth Place
26 University of Saint Louis Tuguegarao exepxons Twenty-sixth Place
26 University of the Philippines, Diliman Fishballs Twenty-sixth Place
26 University of the Philippines, Diliman Taho Twenty-sixth Place
26 University of the Philippines, Los Banos UPLB Fertility Tree Twenty-sixth Place
Ateneo de Manila University Ateneo5 Honorable Mention

… lots of other universities. Check out the list at

Thanks to Tala for quick update re: ACM!


Eclipse plugin: Emacs Environment to Eclipse

November 15, 2004 - Categories: emacs

– Use tab to indent the current line.

A TLUGger mentioned this as a barrier to use recently, so may be
interested in this plugin.

Not sure how Emacsy things become, though.

“Milking Knowledge Anywhere at Any Time”

November 15, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

The IST program’s Multimedia Interaction for Learning and Knowing
(MILK) project is designed to break knowledge workers out of the
office-based desktop PC environment with a suite of tools providing
anytime/anywhere knowledge management (KM). Such a scheme takes
into account the fact that …

E-Mail%20from%[email protected]

“Teammates Train for Code-Crunching Match”

November 15, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

A three-person team of computer science majors at Siena College
solved word search problems last Friday while the rest of the
campus enjoyed the weekend. The students were practicing for this
Saturday’s preliminary competition of the Association for
Computing Machinery (ACM) International …

E-Mail%20from%[email protected]

Waaah, embarrassed

November 15, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I was trying to call my mom using my cellphone’s redial feature. I
heard the phone ring. Yay! But a male voice answered; definitely not
my mom. Oh no! I must’ve hit another key somewhere… I couldn’t
figure out who it was by voice alone, and my phone wouldn’t show me
the number. Panicking, I stuttered my name and something about just
calling to say hi. Unfortunately, I had to go and admit that I didn’t
know who was on the line, and he didn’t want to tell me, so he just
hung up. After the call, I checked the phone. Uh oh… I’d just called
Eric. I called him right after that to, err, congratulate him on the
ICPC and, ah, show that I did actually remember who he was. Still, it
was very embarrassing.

Then I went back to the redial feature to try to figure out once again
how to call my mom. I hit the green button again…

… and got another male voice. WAAAAH! I got really flustered. I
blurted out the story about the previous call and asked who was on the
line. He laughed, amused, and identified himself. How embarrassing. I
really should talk to him more. I should have many opportunities to do
that someday…

I deserve at least one unflustered conversation today, but my mom’s
probably still in Banaue… <sniffle>

remember-planner change in behavior

November 16, 2004 - Categories: emacs

Finally got around to moving the page check later. This makes a lot
more sense. Thanks to emacs-wiki-discuss for pointing this out!


More about gmane’s blogging interface

November 16, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Just heard from the person who suggested it.
LuistxoBlog%20-%20Production%20stage%20for%20the%20blog%20interface%20at%20Gmane .

I love the way the Internet works. Constant improvement! Of course,
there’s a little bit of bitrot, but on the whole, a lot
of cool ideas get generated and put into practice very quickly.

Okay, ACM event covered

November 16, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Ateneo ranks 2nd in programming tilt

Now that someone’s written the objective report, I can talk a little
bit about the people behind the names… =)

2nd place

Carlos-Miguel D. Arguelles Driven to succeed, and with the skills to back up his ambitions. I had so much fun watching the friendly competition between Miguel Arguelles and Jino Noel in class.
Allan M. Espinosa Quiet but occasionally zany, Allan showed up on our radar when we heard about a non-CS geek who was into Linux and C.
Mark C. Punzalan Punzki’s another old hand at contests, having joined international programming competitions since high school. Not to be confused with his older brother Punzie (Jerome Punzalan).

8th place

Mike Gonzalez Dorm network volunteer with a knack for deadpan humor. Mike also won 3rd place in this year’s UGotGame programming competition and has also been into contests since his Ateneo high school years.
Jino Noel Mac geek perpetually competing with Miguel Arguelles. Way into the Mac. Did I mention he likes Macs?
Christopher Rigor Quiet, but creative. Seemed to be fairly laid-back and easy to get along with. Sorry, don’t know funky details about Topher. Nothing blackmailable. ;)

12th place

Cliff Lim This is the guy who submitted neatly color-coded documentation for his _first year_ project. Upon closer inspection, it turned out that he colored the source code syntax manually. His obsessively complete tendencies have been to his classmates’ benefit (ask people who use his notes as reviewers) as well as detriment (ask his groupmates ;) ). He kept my mom up until 3 in the morning with all his questions about the software engineering project they were doing. Very thorough.
Reinabelle Reyes Has joined programming and science competitions since high school, winning an award in the Intel Science and Engineering Fair for her work with neural networks and statistics.
Charles Yeung (Hmm, everyone in this team seems to be of the mostly-quiet-and-serious sort…)

12th place (waaah, I’m getting sleepy…)

Erik Uy Josh Agarrado Russell Santos This group probably had the most out-of-contest fun. They can get pretty rowdy (and rather vocal about bugs! ;) ), but they’re always great fun.

Honorable mention

Michael Tan Kendrick Saavedra Akie Mejia Mike and Kenny were in my intro CS class, and they picked up concepts faster than I could teach them. They show a lot of promise. =) I’ve never taught Akie Mejia, so I don’t have much to say…


Bah, my blogroll isn’t complete. Know where to find these people?
Links and more information would be much appreciated.

Handling login authentication in Struts

November 17, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Best practice: Extend RequestProcessor and perform authentication
in methods such as processActionPerform() or processRoles().


November 17, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Finally integrated my ever-so-funky JUnit-tested business logic layer
with JSPs and actions through Struts. This calls for a celebration!
Open the bag of adobo-flavored Nagaraya cracker nuts!

Lifehacks: Doing my mail on the train

November 17, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

If I leave work right after the clock chimes at 5:30, I almost always
manage to get a seat on the train going home. This means I can do my
mail and a little bit of blogging besides. I aim to answer all of my
personal mail and acknowledge all other mail needing my action on the
day I receive them.

The train I transfer to is crowded, though, and I don’t have my
one-handed keyboard set up yet. (Need to recompile my kernel.) During
then, I loop over my Japanese review materials. Headset + laptop is an
excellent combination!

Ateneo CS department is so cool

November 17, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I can’t get over the fact that not only does our department chair have a blog (Headless Chicken (Didith Rodrigo)), but she also regularly checks out students’ blogs and comments on them.

Ateneo is so cool. I strongly recommend
it to anyone considering computer science in the Philippines.

Must get my master’s degree soon so that I can go back to teaching… =)

theSpoke: Headless Chicken (Dr. Rodrigo)

Charles Yeung’s blog

November 17, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

My blog is at

<laugh> Where’s everyone else?

(See 2004.11.16#4 for the ‘mini-testimonials’ about the ACM contestants. =) )


Project Roselle

November 17, 2004 - Categories: geek

Hello, everyone! I was going to write a formal news-y write-up, but
I’ll leave that for the serious bloggers.

Here’s the long and short of it:

Roselle Ambubuyog is way, way cool. After being the Ateneo
valedictorian (BS Math) and winning truckloads of awards recognizing
the inspiration she has provided for so many students, both blind and
seeing (including me! =) ), she went for actuarial mathematics at UP.
I sat in some of her classes and they boggled my mind.

Now, she’s working from the Philippines as a consultant for the
US-based Freedom Scientific.
She’s also working with the Rotary Club on Project Roselle,
which donates scanners and readers to schools so that other
blind children can study.

Over the past three years, they’ve raised enough money to donate
equipment to three schools: Ramon Magsaysay High School in Manila,
Quirino HS in Quezon City, and Bagong Silang HS in Caloocan. Next
year, they’d like to reach out to schools outside Metro Manila.
They’re also exploring ways to help blind people work at call centers
and integrate better into the workplace. They’d like to donate to two
schools a year, but don’t really have a lot of money for the hardware.

I think what they’re doing is really cool. Unfortunately, there’s not
a lot of information on the Net about their project, and chances are
you haven’t heard about it yet. Which is why I’m posting it here. =)

If you want to get in touch with Roselle, drop me a note and I’ll
forward your message to her. (I haven’t asked for permission to post
her e-mail address yet.) UPDATE: I don’t think I have Roselle’s current e-mail address any more, so I can’t help you if you want to get in touch with her. =) Good luck!

Inspiring Manila Bulletin article about Roselle Ambubuyog and Dianne Rose Rivera
Manila Bulletin article about Rotary Club

Workaround for tla signed archive problems

November 17, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

create a file called
~/.arch-paramas/signing/[email protected]—main.check and put, as the
only line, ‘echo -n’ in it.

echo -n produces no output and returns 0 so tla thinks the signature
check succeded.


DLSU Braille SMS project

November 17, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Someone tell me why I have to go all the way to an Indian newspaper to
find out about a cool SMS to Braille project developed by DLSU

Thanks to Dominique for the link.


Stuff to stop mispronouncing

November 18, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

CATegorize, for one. I keep pronouncing it as caTEgorize. There are
probably lots of Filipino English things I have to fix so that I
comply with the standard… <muses>

Don’t suppose there are BBC audio anywhere?

plug-misc and Gnus scoring

November 18, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I’ve started automatically scoring down threads and authors in
plug-misc, as I’m not really into corny forwarded jokes or me-toos.
They’re not off-topic for the anything-goes plug-misc, so I can’t
nudge people into not doing that. Oh well. <grin> S’okay.

Rained in

November 18, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Don’t have an umbrella with me, so I’ll stay at the office for another
half-hour or so doing my mail.

More about English: BBC mp3s

November 18, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Chris Lowis sent this tip:

Maybe radio 4 would interest you :

They have on-line broadcasts, and of all the BBC radio stations they
have the most “oxford english” use !

The world service is also good, you should be able to get it on
shortwave in Japan, or via the internet:

Interesting. Wish their other programs had MP3 downloads, too!


From Rommel Feria: LPI Certification Exam

November 18, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

We will be having the first paper-based LPI Level 1 Certification
Exams this December. There will be 30 slots available. The total cost
of the exams (Exam 101 and 102) will be less than or equal to half the
online Prometric version (US$200). If you are interested, please do
inform me (send email directly) so that I’d know if we are to push
through with it this December or move it to January instead.

Am announcing it here to give priority to those from PLUG before it
gets advertised anywhere else.

The exams will be held in UP Diliman — on a Saturday (tentatively on
Dec. 18) — 9-11AM and 1.30-3.30PM.

rpf0013 AT

Argh, another exam I would really, really like to take…


Google Scholar

November 18, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized – Google for academic papers

I love Google.


November 19, 2004 - Categories: emacs
;; Improvements:
;; - Link back to the task?
;; - Make it possible to have your note on another page?
(defun sacha/planner-create-note-from-task ()
  "Create a note based on the current task."
  (let* ((task-info (planner-current-task-info))
    (when task-info
      (setq note-num (planner-create-note (planner-page-name)))
          (when (planner-find-task task-info)
             (concat (planner-task-description task-info) " "
                      (concat (planner-page-name) "#"
                              (number-to-string note-num))
      (insert (planner-task-description task-info) "\n\n"))))

;; I use F9 p to go to today's page, anyway.
(define-key planner-mode-map (kbd "C-c C-n") 'sacha/planner-create-note-from-task)


Whoops, am a little clueless about scholarship programs

November 20, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I missed the deadline for the Fulbright, and have probably missed many
of the deadlines for the other scholarships too. Must start
desperate search for funding.

Patrica Chanco Evangelista’s followup to the Faye story

November 20, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized


Now *that* is a beautifully written piece. I admire Patricia for her
humble apologies and for courageously living through the situation and
keeping her dignity intact. Not many people have the opportunity
to grow up so quickly over so short a time. May this episode whet her
appetite for writing even more.

Celsus Kintanar: 3rd place, development challenge, TopCoder

November 20, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Congratulations to Celsus Kintanar for winning 3rd place and USD 2500
in the Component Development part of the TopCoder challenge.
(Heh, don’t let him fool you; that’s a Really Cool Achievement!)

TopCoder is one of the biggest programming contests on the Net. =)

Contest article by Joey Alarilla, Inq7

(Kudos to Joey for prompt posting and great coverage, and of course to
Celsus for doing well!)


November 20, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Work with programmers around the world on OpenACS projects. OpenACS is an
open source databased-backed website development tool kit. Projects are
primarily for US based nonprofits and educational institutions. Work from
home with a team based in Philippines, US and else where in the world.

Relevant experience includes:

Linux, emacs, PostgreSQL, SQL, Oracle. Tcl, web development, graphic design
including use of Photo Shop and other tools and project management
including the use of Microsoft Project. Computer Science degree preferred.

Must have a high speed internet connection and your own computer. Pay
commensurate with experience. Excellent Bonus potential.

Willing to accept and train fresh graduates. Interested applicants
may directly email me their resumes.

dedsoralive AT


emacs-wiki snippet for getting a list of images from a dired buffer

November 20, 2004 - Categories: emacs
(defun sacha/emacs-wiki-marked-images-as-kill ()
  "Return a list of images ready to be inserted into a wiki page."
  (kill-new (mapconcat

bash script for timestamping and thumbnailing pictures

while [ -n "$1" ]; do
  if [ -f $1 ]; then
    DATE=$(date +"%Y%m%d-%H%M%S" --reference="$1")
    EXT=$(echo "$1" | sed 's/.*\././')
    echo $1
    cp $1 "$DATE$EXT"
    cp "$DATE$EXT" "thumb-$DATE$EXT"
    touch --reference="$1" "$DATE$EXT"
    if [ "$EXT" == ".jpg" ]; then
       convert -size $SIZE -resize $SIZE "$DATE$EXT" "thumb-$DATE$EXT"
       touch --reference="$1" "thumb-$DATE$EXT"

New pictures up!

November 20, 2004 - Categories: emacs

2004.11.16 – 2004.11.14 – 2004.11.08 – 2004.11.03 – 2004.11.02 – 2004.10.30 – 2004.10.24 – 2004.10.23

Emacs makes all things hackable. I wrote a function to quickly pull
thumbnails into an emacs-wiki buffer. Yay.

Draft: Surviving College

November 22, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I received a note from Fr. Alden, the principal of Colegio de Sto.
Tomas-Recoletos (San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, Philippines). He
gives my SurvivingComputerScience talk notes to students who are about
to take up computer science. (Awwwww… =) ) He’s planning to give
practical college survival tips to senior high school students. Here’s
what I came up with on the train home.

– Know where you’re going. Even before you attend your first day of

classes, think about what you’d like to do and whom you’d like to be
when you graduate. Attend career talks for seniors even if you’re
just a freshman. Find out what kind of job you want and what you
need to learn in order to do it. You can change your plan, but it’s
important that you have one.

– Love what you’re doing. If you know where you’re going and you love

what you’re doing, studying will be much easier. Find something
you’re passionate about. The sooner you find this, the more you’ll
enjoy your studies and the more you’ll be able to do.

– Ask questions. Don’t be afraid of looking stupid. Your classmates

might know more than you do now, but they started with nothing. They
learned by asking questions. If you don’t want to ask questions in
class, write your questions down. This is important because
questions are very easy to forget. Write them down so that you can
talk to your teacher after class. Your teachers are there to help
you. Ask questions.

– Review. While listening to the lecture, it’s easy to believe you

understand everything. Don’t be fooled. Go over your notes again.
Try to solve problems without looking at the answers. Try to explain
whatever you’re studying to your friends or to your family. If you
can’t explain it in your own words, you need to think about it more.

– Make mistakes. Don’t be afraid of failing. Your teachers need to

know when you’re having problems with the lessons. It’s better to do
badly than to pass without understanding anything. This also means
don’t cheat. Cheating makes you think you can do things when you
can’t. Worse, it makes you think you _can’t_ do something without
cheating, when you actually can (with a little more work).

– Take risks. College is the best time to make mistakes and learn from

them. Whenever you run into a problem, think about that problem. Why
did it happen? What can you do to solve it? What can you do to make
sure it doesn’t happen again?

– Go for more. College gives you whatever you want to get out of it.

If you just wait for people to spoonfeed you, you won’t get much.
Don’t turn off your brain when you leave the classroom. Don’t limit
yourself to the syllabus. Learn. Your teachers know more than they
can teach in class. Your classmates know a lot, sometimes more than
the teachers do. You can also learn many things on your own. You
have to take that first step.

College is whatever you want college to be.

Do you have tips to share? I’d love to hear from you. Please use the
feedback form at the bottom of this page,
or write me e-mail at [email protected] . Thanks!

Page rank and thoughts on online popularity

November 22, 2004 - Categories: emacs

Warning: this entry not expected to be coherent. Following one of my
software mantras, I will get this entry out the door first, _then_
worry about making my ideas neat. I normally try to be more coherent,
but today I also need to pack, so I don’t have the time to make this

(It’s true. Short, clear entries take longer to write.)

I just got mail from, a Philippine e-commerce site. They
offered a link exchange, citing their PageRank of 6 and Alexa
traffic rank of 196,446.

I’m linking to them as a matter of course in this blog entry, but I
don’t think I’ll take them up on the link exchange offer. I don’t want
to inflict advertising on my planner pages. Except for Google text
ads, maybe. =)

Anyway, that made me curious, so I checked my Google PageRank
through the handy non-toolbar-dependent calculator at . It turns out that has a pagerank of 5/10 .

I don’t know if PageRank is all that useful for me. People
generally stumble upon my site looking for very specific things, like
planner.el or my history notes. (Odd, that.) Or they’re my
friends/family and read my blog in order to find out what’s going on
in my life. (Whoops.) Or they’re looking for their own name, and I
have a higher pagerank than they do.

Most of my URL posts are now over at . is cool. You should try it out. I post links here when
I feel the need for commentary, but is good for
fire-and-forget as well as social bookmarking.

Actually, what I need is something that’ll put a mention in both and the URL… Hmm. That’d make a nice remember module.

Anyway, my ego can take the idea that I’m probably just an entry in
people’s RSS aggregators. ;) You know, the kind of thing you subscribe
to one day, and then are too lazy to remove. Hehehe. I’ll try not to
overload your inbox, then, and I’ll try to use meaningful subjects.

Hmm. What is this blog for?

– Not online popularity in itself. That’s silly.

– Personal memory. Seriously. It’s not your fault that M-x remember is

bound to a convenient shortcut (F9 r SPC on this machine), but
that’s the reason you suffer through all the strangest emacs-lisp
snippets and commentary on mail that’s not actually viewable on the
Net anyway.

– Projects I feel deserve more attention. Please check them out. Also,

please tell me about similar stuff I can learn about and link to.

– The occasional rambling pseudo-essay, like this one. I hope to achieve -like coherence at some point in time.
I hope said point is before my death.

– Emacs Lisp code. Shell scripts. Random hacks. Geeky stuff.

– Occasionally, my personal life. Sorry if that freaks you out. =)

If you tell me what you like, I’ll write more about it.

So going back to the very first thing… What sites would I like to link to?

– Thought-provoking questions. Preferably stuff that’ll provide me

with procrastination fodder, causing me to go off on a wild tangent
as I figure out what I think about the issue (and thus avoid having
to think about the packing I have to do later)…

– Nifty hacks.

– Insightful blogs. Interesting ideas. Blogs that show an awareness of

a universe outside the author’s close circle of friends. That sort
of thing.

– Stuff that looks like it should be in my blog, but isn’t.

– Yours. I’m curious about the intersection of interests.


Drop me a note?


Switching back to chronological notes

November 23, 2004 - Categories: emacs

I guess most of my readers (Hi Mom!) check this site once a day, or
something like that. They read from top to bottom.

So why am I using reverse-chronological order?

Good thing it’s easy to (setq planner-reverse-chronological-notes nil).

(setq planner-reverse-chronological-notes t) is recommended for sites
that have lots of updates and people checking back every five minutes.
My site isn’t like that, so we might as well make the site structure
follow the structure in our minds.

Okay. Everyone, time flows forward again.

Don’t lose remember buffers when closing Emacs

November 24, 2004 - Categories: emacs
(defun ajk/my-cleanup-then-save-buffers-kill-emacs (&optional arg)
  "Clean up before saving buffers and killing Emacs."
  (interactive "P")
  ;; stop here if there's a *Remember* buffer
  (if (get-buffer remember-buffer)
    ;; clean up Gnus
     (fboundp 'gnus-alive-p)
     (let ((gnus-interactive-exit nil))
    (save-buffers-kill-emacs arg)))
(defalias 'sacha/save-buffers-kill-emacs



November 24, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

If there are any matters, ask Kondo.
11th onwards, Kojima will come back to YKC.

We’re borrowing computers again! This will be fun.

Two tasks. Japanese report, today. WBT, end of this week.

Level 3 proficiency exam papers to be given later. The test will be
given at the Todai campus near Shibuya station.


Japanese input methods and Emacspeak

November 24, 2004 - Categories: emacs

prime-el and skk don’t work with Emacspeak. quail’s the only thing
that seems to work, but the completion is dodgy. I should expand the
dictionary, I guess.

Ah, forgot to do limiting

November 25, 2004 - Categories: emacs

For some reason, my planner-rss-feed-limits had lost its
customization. Apologies for the really large feed.

Poi/staff club

November 25, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

sakuragicho 6:00 onwards
honmatsu shougakkou
taikikan. hidarigawa no chiisa na mon.


November 26, 2004 - Categories: emacs

Starting patch from krid

(defsubst planner-task-open ()
  "Mark the current task as open."
  (planner-mark-task "_"))
  (let ((map planner-mode-map))
   (define-key map "\C-c\C-t\C-_" 'planner-task-open))

Paste contents: Raw Source | XML
@item planner-task-open @samp{_}
@defun planner-task-open
Mark the current task as open.
@end defun
@kbd{C-c C-t C-_}: @code{planner-task-open}.

Responding to notetaking entry on Sim Gamboa III’s blog

November 26, 2004 - Categories: emacs

The best system is the one you grow yourself. How do you take notes?

I mindmap a lot. Although mindmapping on paper is a lot of fun,
Freemind‘s keyword shortcuts lets
me mindmap nearly as quickly.

I haven’t opened Freemind in a while, though. Can’t be bothered to
switch out of Emacs. My talks usually start out as text outlines. I
don’t write it all in one swoop. I type random keywords, backtrack,
fill in, rewrite… Sometimes I pull out a sheet of paper and redo my
mindmap there, reorganizing it in the process. When I’m happy with the
sequence, it gets turned into slides.

For random snippets, I use Planner because it’s so easy to blog text
from my current window. People who use web browsers a lot might want
to check out Bloglines,,
QuickNote, and other Web annotation tools.

I think that making it easier to get stuff out of your head is the
first thing you have to do. You can worry about the quality of said
stuff later. ;)

As for the note about extreme programming: you might want to check out
David Allen’s Getting Things Done method. It emphasizes focusing small
accomplishments and reflecting. =)

– Freemind:
– Bloglines:
– QuickNote:

Things You Can Do to Help the Debian Tagalog Translation Team

November 26, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

eric pareja (xenos AT said:

Here are some things you can do to help.

First, get a recent copy of the debian installer tl.po. It can be obtained using Subversion or by downloading from

Next, you can do one of the following:

– a) read through the TRANSLATED messages and comment about good and bad translations to the debian-tl mailing list. if you think the translated message is good and doesn’t merit comment, that’s fine. if you think the translated message is BAD, then please comment about it on the mailing list. if you think that the translated message is a very good translation that can be an example for other translations, the please make a note to the mailing list also.

– b) read through the FUZZY messages and make suggestions about the translation. messages marked FUZZY are not the best translations yet.

– c) read through the UNTRANSLATED messages and post to the debian-tl mailing list with your suggested translation. I will fold the translation into the tl.po with a note in the comments about your work and then commit it to the subversion repository upstream.

Thank you and have fun translating!

Eric Pareja
Debian Tagalog Translation Team Coordinator

E-Mail from Eric Pareja

Linux in Japanese schools

November 26, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized : Way cool!

– [[][¥¹¥é¥Ã¥·¥å¥É¥Ã¥È ¥¸¥ã¥Ñ¥ó KNOPPIX¤òÍѤ¤¤¿PC¥¯¥é¥¹¥¿¥·¥¹¥Æ¥à]]


November 26, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Hirai-sensei was about to assign us chapter 11 for web-based training
when I asked if she meant that we were to do it again. She was
surprised to find out that not only had we finished chapter 11, but we
had finished the entire module during our practical training. (We had
promised to do so!)

We’re angling for more vocab and reading/writing practice and less
funky grammar that we won’t really use at work, anyway. Other people
also felt that although the current way of teaching us was neither bad
nor too easy, it could be made more relevant. It was a lot of fun
discussing the curriculum with the teacher.

She still has to ask the Tokyo staff if our proposal is feasible, but
I certainly hope it will be implemented.


November 26, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I stutter when I’m excited, and use too many filler words. I can fix
that. Hmmm…


November 27, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

One of Dominique’s friends. Good writing, nice insights.

Do it now!

November 28, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

PM, channel 12 20:18

November 29, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Japan has a magician game show. Imagine that. Does wonders for my
concentration, really… <laugh>

Lifehacks: talking versus writing

November 29, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I spend two hours every day talking to my mom and Dominique over . I’ve come to look forward to these daily
conversations. When I stayed at Ayase Kokusai Hotel, I went to a
cybercafe just to keep in touch. Voice chats provide an immediacy far
beyond instant messaging or e-mail. My blog entries have become fewer
and fewer because I’ve already told my stories to the people who ask
me for personal updates the most. If I write before I talk to them,
the half-conversation is unnerving. These conversations end late at
night, and I have no time to write afterwards.

However, talking has its disadvantages. I don’t have to think about
what happened. I just have to relate it. I can stutter. I can ramble.
I can say things of no real lasting value. I can be lazy.

Writing requires more effort. I have to structure my thoughts. I have
to figure out what useful tidbit I can extract from events so that my
blog isn’t just some self-centered personal journal that makes
everyone feel a bit like a voyeur. Writing is slow, and the extra time
forces me to think about what I’m writing, perhaps gaining more

Conversation seems to be personality-centered. I can get away with
unpolished thoughts and trivial stories because the point of
conversation is conversing. On the other hand, writing—at least in my
point of view—is more idea-centered. When I write, I have to make
sense not only to people who are already interested in my life, but
also people who read this entry as part of something else, like the
RSS aggregator at . When I write, I
have to make sense most of the time.

As much as I enjoy talking to Mom and Dominique, then, I think it’s
better if I refocus on the written word.

What will happen if I do so? My mother will probably write me letters,
but I think my father is more comfortable with the immediacy of voice
chat. I like hearing my dad’s stories. They’re the kind that should be
told as soon as possible. E-mail creates distance, and probably won’t
do the stories justice.

People might also interpret this as me trying to distance myself from
them. It really isn’t. I think of this as creating knowledge,
something that will reach more people, something I can reflect on

I write to find out how the words on my screen differ from the words
in my head. I write to discover questions and answers. Journal entries
give my day structure and keep me moving forward.


November 29, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Screw duplication. <laugh> If I have to repeat my stories for my
family, it’ll still be worth it.

Lifehacks: Writing

November 29, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I should interleave insight-finding with my studies so that my poor
brain can take a rest every so often. ;) I have a fairly boring life
at this point, anyway, so I don’t really have personal stories to
tell. I can still indulge in, say, 30 minutes of chatting. Now, if I
can get my mom and Dominique to work out a schedule so that that I can
sleep by 11 PM…

I liked tonight’s chat with my family. Just a few quick stories from
my dad, then back to studying. My mom will just have to get used to
the fact that my life is currently boring. <laugh>

LifeHacks: Instant messaging

November 29, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Along those lines, I will not respond to “Hi”, “Good evening”, or
similar messages over instant messaging. If you have a story to tell,
just tell it without any preamble or small talk. That way, I don’t
have to pretend I’m paying attention, and you won’t get offended if I
disappear in the middle of a conversation.


November 29, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Just finished the last of my homework for the day. We’re going at
twice the speed of our previous classes, and my evening is juuust
enough for all the homework. I should figure out a better way to do my
chuukyuu homework.

Goodness. I’ve practiced the kanji, but haven’t actually filled in the
book exercises. I should do that soon. I copied interesting compounds
to the word cards and cycled through them. My short-term memory seems
to be pretty good. I pick readings up after one or two passes. Took a
while for me to get the hang of writing some characters, though.

I’ll try to do the kanji book before I go to sleep. At least one of
the chapters, I guess…

Thinko: Incentives for open-source adoption

November 30, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Let’s say that I want to introduce to an
organization that already has site licenses for Microsoft Office. I’d
talk about it in terms of money: that is, how much people would save
if they switched. I’d give them some time to try
out in order to see if they can survive a year without Microsoft
Office. It’ll be up to them to figure out what to do with, but they can form support groups if they want.

Because site licenses depend on the number of seats, I’d keep a
running count of the people who signed up for the program so that we
can see the prospective savings. I’d pass those savings directly to
the employees’ monthly salaries so that they can see the effect. It’ll
cost more initially—think of this as the cost of training.

This makes the benefits of open source tangible and rewards people who
are open to change.

I’d keep at least one Windows machine with Microsoft Office around so
that people have somewhere to go when a client sends them something
braindead. However, I would post a sign warning people about viruses,
and do an anti-virus sweep frequently (every night?). The results of
this would be posted.

Reflections on study methods

November 30, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I think I’m overdrilling the kanji. I need to finish the chuukyuu
homework in less time, though. According to my timeclock (absolutely
wonderful, that thing is!), this is how I spent my day yesterday:

0:38:30 Kanji lesson 25: Review
0:39:38 Take my laundry down and iron it
0:02:43 Kanji lesson 25: Second review
0:38:12 Kanji lesson 26: 1st pass
0:22:07 Dinner
0:31:04 Chuukyuu homework 13
0:06:35 Kanji lesson 26: 2nd pass
0:18:56 Chuukyuu homework 14
0:31:12 Kanji lesson 27: 1st pass
1:08:55 Chuukyuu homework 15

for a total of around 5 hours and much tiredness.

Perhaps I can use electronic flashcards instead, although I won’t be
able to sort it that easily. Instead of sorting, I can perhaps skip
over stuff I already know. Using flashcard.el’s Leitner method will
result in overdrilling again. I should practice writing based on the
reading, as that will also take care of making sure I learn onyomi.

Maybe I should make two passes per group of five kanji, then one pass
through the whole thing. After that, I’ll do the homework. Review is
done as one pass of writing through the whole thing.

I’m almost out of word cards. I’ll need to either stock up on them or
think of an electronic way to do this. I need quick access to the
correct answer and a way to keep track of my progress. I have to
resist the temptation to hack up something quickly. I shouldn’t be
thinking about writing a program to do the job. (Once a programmer,
always a programmer)…

Mmkay. As for optimizing my chuukyuu homework: I should probably fill
the vocabulary part all in one go. If I keep the computer open, I can
use it to look up pronunciation. I should also review all of the
grammar using the web-based training notes, as they provide just the
bare essentials. When in doubt, I can turn to the paper version.


– Get my Chuukyuu chapter time down to 20 minutes.

– Break down my kanji study time into the time it takes me to copy the

kanji down, the time it takes me to make a first pass and the
retention rate of such, the time it takes me to make a second pass,
and how much time until I feel reasonably happy with my progress.

– Use another method for my second set of kanji: groups of five in

between Chuukyuu questions. Track total time.

Japanese food event in the Philippines

November 30, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Invitation to Tabemono Fest
Juujiro J-Culture Organization, Inc.
cordially invites you to

Tabemono Fest: A Festivitiy of Japanese Cuisine
Saturday, 11 December 2004
at Crisanta Towers, Pasig City

program starts at 12:00 pm

there will be cooking demos, on-the-spot cooking contest, extreme
ramen eating contest, free food taste and recipes.

entrance fee is P70.

for pre-registration and inquiries, email us at [email protected]

Juujiro Officers

E-Mail from Anuerin Diaz

Kanji reflection

November 30, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized
0:08:46 Kanji 28: Copy compounds onto paper
0:05:16 Kanji 28: Practice writing, first pass
0:02:05 Kanji 28: Practice writing, second pass
0:03:14 Kanji 29: Combined pass
0:09:18 Kanji 26, 27: Review

Considering that it takes only 9 minutes to copy things down on paper,
I think I’ll continue using the wordcards. They’re handy for
reviewing, too. That means I need to go to Jusco and buy more. Three
chapters of kanji fill up one word card ring, conservatively speaking.
I need six word card rings for the rest of the book, and perhaps two
for my review. I will buy 4 sets of 2 word card rings tonight.

Notable people who use Emacs

November 30, 2004 - Categories: emacs

Shamelessly stolen off comp.emacs. You can see it at

– Richard Stallman (founder of Free Software Foundation) is an Emacs
user. Hint: He is the original author of Emacs, after all. :-)

– Yukihiro Matsumoto (creator of the Ruby programming language) is an
Emacs user. Hint: He said so in a post to ruby-talk mailing list.
Quote from
“I wrote ruby-mode.el; I live in Emacs; I program in Emacs; I debug in
Emacs; I read mails in Emacs; I wrote MUA for Emacs.”

– Jeremy Zawodny (author of “High Performance MySQL”) is an Emacs
user. Hint: He wrote Emacs Beginners’ Howto

– Andrew S. Tanenbaum used elle. It is some clone of emacs. Then

he moved to emacs. He said so in his homepage. “Which editor do you use
for producing books? I used to use elle, a stripped down emacs
clone, but I finally decided to take the plunge and move up to
full emacs.”

– James Gosling, father of Java, currently CTO at Sun’s Developer
Products Group, uses Emacs. Hint: He wrote a C-based Emacs
implementation in 1981 (the code portions of which became GNU
Emacs). … Uh, no. He was one of the reasons that the GPL and
copyright assignments were invented. His code had to be removed
from Emacs and substantial portions rewritten by Stallman,
because he refused to let his stuff get distributed by the FSF.

– Jamie Zawinski, one of the main coders for Netscape Navigator
and one the founders of the Mozilla Foundation, uses Emacs. Hint:
He wrote Lucid Emacs. There’s an Emacs timeline document on his
website, … So you can bet your sweet ***
that he is not using Emacs, but rather XEmacs (which is the
successor of Lucid Emacs).

– Guy Steele. Co-inventor of Scheme, author of “Common Lisp the

Language”, co-author of the Java language specification, first
person to port TeX, served on the standards commitees for C,
Fortran, Common Lisp and Scheme. And finally designer of the
original Emacs command set.

– John McCarthy. Inventor of Lisp, one of the founders of AI

research. (proof:

– SF writer Neil Stephenson uses Emacs for some of his books “I use emacs, which
might be thought of as a thermonuclear word processor.”

– Donald Erwin Knuth (creator of TeX) is an Emacs user. Hint: See that
Fvwm2-config and its screenshot.

– Eric “ESR” Steven Raymond is an Emacs user. Hints: Author of “Learning

GNU Emacs”. See also this:

Notable people who don’t use Emacs

– Larry Wall (creator of Perl) is NOT an Emacs user. Hint: His geek
code for Emacs ( decodes as: “I
refuse to categorize myself on Emacs. Emacs? I don’t even know what
that is…”

– Tim O’Reilly is NOT emacs user. He uses vi:

– W. Richard Stevens (RIP) was NOT Emacs user. He used vi. Hints:

– Paul Graham, author of several Lisp books, designer of Arc, founder
of Viaweb (which became Yahoo! Store), ironically uses vi and NOT
Emacs according to . More proofs needed.

Study reflections

November 30, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

It doesn’t take that much time to make kanji wordcards or look up
grammar points in my textbook, so I won’t see significant improvements
if I moved to the computer for reviewing.

Similarly, kanji study passes don’t take that much time and I absorb
things well after a few passes, so I don’t have to formally break
things up into smaller sets. Here’s how I currently do things:

– 1. Write cards for the chapter.

– 2. Do one pass of writing immediately after.

– 3. Do another pass just through the mistakes until I’m happy with them.

– 4. Do another pass through the chapter kanji.

– 5. If I made any mistakes, go back to step 3. If not, put the deck

away for a while.

I have problems remembering the readings now, though, so I should
probably go back to doing reading first.

Wow. I’m done with my homework, and it’s only 9:08! I have some time
to focus on my JLPT-specific review.

Time division

November 30, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Hah. Instead of ploughing ahead with my Japanese proficiency test
review now, I plan go to sleep at 11 and wake up at 6:30. Then I will
review my kanji, then go through the kanji I need for the Japanese
proficiency test. That gives me time to relax in the evenings. Very
important if I don’t want to lose my head.

Linux certification

November 30, 2004 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Rommel Feria said about the LPI certification exam:

Sacha, we can have another one for March – no problem! Just get 14
other people to take the exam with you. :D

Yay! Can people wait for me? =)