January 2005


January 2, 2005 - Categories: japan

The onsen had a wine bath. Wine! With that and the different kinds of
saunas, my head feels finda fuzzy… But yeah, today was lots of fun.

On Technorati: , ,

So far: contrast with strangeness

January 3, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

GK Chesterton seems a little too weirded out by the East. I suppose
‘Orientals’ really were strange and unfamiliar, almost alien, to these
Occidentals. The Chinaman—what an old term—is cited as an example of
the strange and unknowable, because China was not connected to them by
‘a bridge of old tradition’. GK Chesterton could identify more with
David and Isaiah than with Asians in his own time.

I know the influence of Egypt, Babylon, Rome and Greece, but they
don’t account for all that I am. I don’t know enough about the ancient
civilizations of Asia to really identify with them, either, but there
is that feeling of being _home_ here.

I should remember that this ‘civilized history’ he writes of is only
_his_ civilized history. =)


On Technorati:

Mandrake translations

January 3, 2005 - Categories: filipino, opensource

Excellent newbie guide for Planner

January 3, 2005 - Categories: emacs, planner

Clair Ching has posted a wonderful guide to Planner, complete with
screenshots. Check out the following links:


On Technorati: ,

Ethical issues in open source

January 4, 2005 - Categories: opensource


One of my students e-mailed me asking for help finding interesting
ethical issues in open source. Here’s the partial list I sent him:

  • What is the fundamental ethical issue behind open source software?
    There are zealots in both the open source and closed source camps,
    but the world isn’t as black and white as people paint it. What do
    _you_ personally feel about the issue of open source? Think about
    this a great deal. I think it’ll give you an aha moment. =) This is
    something really worth writing about.
  • Think about the difference between open source software and closed
    source software, and the difference between free software and
    commercial software. Note that free != open source, and commercial
    != closed source. Think about what the different combinations mean
    from the point of view of users, developers, and companies.
  • Businesses would like to be able to hire fresh graduates and put
    them to work right away without having to train them in the specific
    software used in the business. Learning how to properly use a
    toolset takes a lot of time, and these companies argue that this
    kind of training should be part of students’ formal education. In
    addition, many HR personnel filter resumes based on keyword.
    Students also sometimes become restless when they’re asked to use
    languages or toolsets not seen in the job ads. As a result, there’s
    strong incentive to teach the quirks of vendor-specific products
    like Microsoft Visual Studio .NET instead of focusing on general
    ideas. This is one of the biggest barriers to open source adoption
    in schools. Should schools cater to their market, or should they
    also explore alternatives?
  • Large companies complain about the unlicensed distribution and use
    of commercial software (popularly known as piracy). However, it
    actually strengthens dominant companies. For example, would we
    really be so dependent on Microsoft Office if people only used
    legitimate copies? If enough people chose not to buy Microsoft
    Office, then alternative office suites could flourish.
    Unfortunately, the unlicensed distribution and use of software means
    that other people can assume people run Microsoft Office, leading to
    a vicious cycle. What do you think about that?
  • Non-trivial software programs have errors. Sometimes these
    errors are severe, exposing your system to attacks. Some major
    software vendors practice ‘security through obscurity’; security
    holes are not publicized, and the companies sometimes aggressively
    go after whistle-blowers who try to point out weaknesses in the
    software. Because the companies are the only ones with access to the
    source, they are the only ones who can fix the broken programs, and
    their resources are limited. On the other hand, open source exposes
    all source code for potential audit. This means that other
    organizations and developers can examine the code for security
    errors, which often results in faster fixes when an exploit is
    actually discovered. On the other hand, it also means that crackers
    who want to exploit systems can find holes more easily. What do you
    think about disclosure versus non-disclosure?
  • Many people in the Philippines are not completely comfortable with
    English. We are too small a market for multinational companies to
    develop Tagalog versions, but some volunteers have been working on
    translating open source software. This has met with mixed reactions.
    Some people say that localizing software for the Philippines is a
    waste of time and students should get used to English versions right
    away; others say that localization is the key to helping more
    Filipinos get into information technology. What do you think?
  • Closed source software tends to optimize for number of features and
    ease of use, because that’s what draws customers. It makes common
    things easier. Open source software often comes with a high learning
    curve but focuses on power and security, making it easier for people
    to use it to fit their individual needs. Think about the different
    markets for open source and closed source software, particularly in
    terms of security. What are the implications of these choices?
  • Open source means there’s a lot of code out there that you can base your
    programming projects on. As a student, where should you draw the line on
    acceptable use of other people’s code?
  • Closed source software often carries a “click-through license”
    severely limiting your rights and giving no warranty anyway
    (although this last part is buried in the fine print). Open source
    software tells you right away that there is no warranty. It’s kinda
    funny the way closed source companies keep criticizing the fact that
    open source software isn’t backed by a company. Look into the
    usefulness of support contracts for large and small clients. (Hah.
    Leading question. Sorry. ;) )
  • What do you think about NDAs?

On Technorati: ,

Planner cited as a reason to defect to Emacs

January 4, 2005 - Categories: emacs, happy, planner


You point is well taken. I find myself living in an application more and more. At work, it’s my editor
and I’d like it to handle the G.T.D. tasks and my schedule. I never set out to do this, I’ve just seen it

Tyler will probably love being able to create hyperlinked tasks from anywhere. =)

praytothemachine » Should I defect to Emacs?

On Technorati: ,

xtla goodness ([[EmacsTips#note19][EmacsTips:19]]”[[emacs]])

January 4, 2005 - Categories: emacs, planner

I used xtla to browse my TLA archives today. xtla’s bookmarks and
missing patch summary made merging missing patches much easier. I used
m to mark interesting patches and . r to replay
the marked patches. Great stuff.

In related news, I’ll really need to migrate the archive. At 98414
characters, our ChangeLog is now 1/5 of the size of the source code
(457478 bytes). Dev’s changelog is much bigger—147672 bytes.

On Technorati: ,

A question of scale

January 4, 2005 - Categories: development, opensource


Open source allows people to work on an individual basis. Developers
can jumpstart their projects by using existing code, creating software
that answers their own needs and perhaps the needs of a small group of
users that often also contribute improvements. Because the source code
is open, people can easily choose the features they want to include or
make minor modifications to get existing code to behave the way they
want. Open source development promotes personal communication with
users, and user requests can go straight to developers without passing
through marketing. How is this different from other kinds of
user-developer relationships, and is this an advantage open source
developers can use?

On Technorati: ,

debian-installer Tagalog translation complete!

January 4, 2005 - Categories: opensource


Eric Pareja and other volunteer translators have finished the
translating level 1 of the debian-installer into Tagalog. Please check
out the completed file at http http://news.upm.edu.ph/~xenos/tl.po .
Comments and improvements would be very much appreciated.
Three more levels to go!

A glossary of terms can also be found at
http://news.upm.edu.ph/~xenos/debian-tl/kartouche .

Eric Pareja also invites interested people to participate on the
Debian Tagalog mailing list at

E-Mail from eric pareja

On Technorati: ,

Looking for Emacs blogs

January 4, 2005 - Categories: emacs

I’d love to read more about the wonderful editor/way-of-life that is
Emacs. Know of any Emacs-related blogs? (Occasional off-topics are
fine.) Please e-mail the URL to me at [email protected] or use the
comment form.

You can check out http://del.icio.us/sachac/emacs+blogs for a list of
blogs so far.

I plan to aggregate blogs into a general blog feed and an
Emacs-specific blog feed.

On Technorati: ,

Emacs channel chat logs

January 4, 2005 - Categories: emacs

Also, if someone can help me set up logging (split into text files by
day, please) for irc://irc.freenode.net/#emacs, I volunteer to
summarize and anonymize interesting tidbits from #emacs every day.
That way, people don’t have to worry about missing interesting tips or
code snippets. ;)

On Technorati:

43Folders: Snapshots of a Dream Productivity App

January 6, 2005 - Categories: emacs, planner, productivity

Hooks and more hooks – As I’ve repeated until I’m hoarse, apps like Quicksilver change the way you use
your Mac. Drastically. Ditto for any app that’s open to interaction via (the vastly underutilized) OS X
Services. There are smart ways to provide some kind of access to most any program without switching from
the foreground app and the task at hand. I want ways to append information, create new items, and do any
“capturing” from wherever I am. At the very least, I want a universal “drop box” to which I can
periodically return to process, file, and enrich any kind of productivity app data (reminders, phone
numbers, notes, etc.).

See, Planner’s onto something here.

We’re not very good at ad hoc collections, though.

43 Folders: I Want a Pony: Snapshots of a Dream Productivity App

On Technorati: ,

The Command Line in 2004

January 6, 2005 - Categories: geek


Garrett Birkel wrote an interesting response to Neal Stephenson’s “In the Beginning was the Command Line”.

On Technorati:

Physics in the City, Eastwood, Jan 15

January 6, 2005 - Categories: philippines

As Rick posted on PLUG:

The organizers of the Physics in the City on Jan. 15
at Eastwood City have lined up a very interesting list
of activities (appended). The talks and demos would be
very interesting to your elementary or high school
kids. Take time out to bring them there – you may have
a scientist in your home just waiting to be

Bonus track: fireworks at 7 pm, for those like me who
are fireworks afficionados.



Morning Activities

– Opening Program, Auditorium, 10-10:20am
– Einstein Lecture, Auditorium, 10:20-11am
– Demos, presentations, exhibits, magic tricks, coffee table talks, Central Plaza, Cybermall, Citywalk 2, 11am-12noon

Afternoon Activities

– Demos, presentations, exhibits, magic tricks, coffee table talks, Central Plaza, Cybermall, Citywalk 2, 12noon-6pm

Evening Activities

– Open forum on the environment and astronomy, Central Plaza, 6-7pm
– Fireworks, Grand Staircase 7-7:30pm
– Demos, presentations, exhibits, magic tricks, coffee table talks, Central Plaza, Cybermall, Citywalk 2, 7:30-10pm

Waaah. Forget about kids. _I_ really want to go. WAAAAH.

E-Mail from rick

On Technorati: ,

One #emacs day – 0. 2005.01.05 and 1. 2005.01.06

January 6, 2005 - Categories: emacs


(Technically, one and a half, because this is the first entry)

Here are interesting tidbits from irc://irc.freenode.net/#emacs


M-x column-number-mode makes Emacs show column numbers.
emms-locate is a useful way to play selected media files.
– Powerful buffer switching: With either iswitchb or ido, C-x b C-s. ido seems to be better than iswitchb for multitty Emacs, and comes with CVS GNU Emacs. iswitchb is in GNU Emacs and the edit-utils package for XEmacs. If you want to stick with iswitchb fulltime, add (iswitchb-default-keybindings) to your init.el.
- ess (emacs spreadsheet):
set-variable set-goal-column nil for neater navigation
- emms: (define-key dired-mode-map [.] 'emms-play-dired) after dired is already loaded
- Editing XML: Many people recommend nxml (GNU Emacs only). xsl-mode is also useful even for other XML files. xsl-mode indentation is better than xml-mode, too. xsl-mode is in the xslide package, and in the cygwin sumo package.
- If you want Python files recognized, install python-mode and (add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist (cons "\\.py\\'" 'python-mode))
- Gnus: You can use B DEL to delete drafts.
- Recursion in lambdas! (funcall #1=(lambda (n) (if (= n 0) 1 (* n (funcall #1# (1- n))))) 5) - result: 120. Not recommended.
- Use M-x goto-line to go to the nth line.
- To copy the font setting and color-theme of the old frame when you create a new frame: (defadvice make-frame (around frob-frame-parameters activate) (let ((default-frame-alist (frame-parameters))) ad-do-it))
- How to get rid of all the ^Ms at the end of lines: M-% C-q C-m RET C-q RET RET . (Better solution: M-x revert-buffer-with-coding-system, dos.)
- desktop can make Emacs jump to the previous position in a file when you reopen the file
- Setting auto-fill in file comments: -*- mode: major; mode: auto-fill -*-, where major is the major mode you want


– ess toolbar variables (customization) need to be set before ess is loaded, but ess is loaded in site-start. How do you set it, then?


– ljupdate darcs repository: http://edward.oconnor.cx/code/ljupdate/
– ERC seems to be the most popular IRC client.
– Have you checked out the Emacs LiveJournal community? http://www.livejournal.com/community/emacs/
– Don’t worry about losing local changes when you modify the source code of CVS Emacs. CVS does patches.
– Emacs under screen: C-\ might be a good Screen escape key.
– People use normal synchronization tools like rsync, unison, and CVS to sync their planner.el pages between computers.
– Hook variables named -hook tend to not take arguments, while hook variables named -functions might be called with arguments.
– Debian: /etc/emacs/site-start.d and /usr/share/emacs/site-lisp/debian-startup.el are responsible for lines like “Loading 00debian-vars (source)…”, while /usr/lib/emacsen-common/emacs-package-install is called when the deb is being set up.

On Technorati:

Japanese word list generator

January 7, 2005 - Categories: emacs, japanese

MWAHAHAHAHA! I just pulled off a really neat Emacs
hack. <grin> It’s Japanese-related. So I’ve been
translating this document for the past two days. It’s really slow
and boring work because there’s no soft copy, so I have to write
the characters (blurry because this is a photocopy of a
photocopy) using the mouse, and hope I don’t make any mistakes
along the way. In the course of copying down kanji (Chinese
characters) for later translation, I created a spreadsheet with
two columns: the kanji word and the number of the slide it
appears on. Then I exported that to CSV, opened that in Emacs,
and wrote an Emacs Lisp function that split the words up into
individual characters. I passed this through
shell-command-on-region to sort and uniquify the characters. I
then went back to the CSV with words and slide numbers, wrote
another Emacs Lisp function that searched edict (Jim Breen’s
electronic Japanese dictionary) for the words, split the word
into individual characters, and filed the word info under each
character, also marking words that were not found in the
dictionary. After that, I wrote yet another function to add table
markup and individual character definitions to each line, then
copied the result into an HTML file.

This should probably be rewritten as a Perl script.

;; Generate the list of characters
;; Use add-all to add all the words to the list
;; call sacha/kanji/format-kanji-with-references

(defvar sacha/kanji/output-file "~/tmp/kanji")

(defun sacha/kanji/process-csv ()

(defun sacha/kanji/split-dictionary ()
  (let ((buffer (current-buffer)))
    (with-current-buffer (find-file-noselect sacha/kanji/output-file)
      (insert-buffer-substring buffer)
      (goto-char (point-min))
      (while (re-search-forward "^\"\\([^\"]+\\)\":" nil t)
        (delete-region (match-end 1) (line-end-position))
        (goto-char (line-beginning-position))
        (delete-char 1)
        (while (not (eolp))
          (forward-char 1)
          (unless (bolp)
            (insert "\n"))))
      (goto-char (line-beginning-position))
      (delete-matching-lines "^\\s-*$")
      (shell-command-on-region (point-min) (point-max) "sort | uniq"  nil t))))

(defun sacha/kanji/add-all ()
  (while (not (eobp))
    (forward-line 1)))

(defun sacha/kanji/format-kanji-with-references ()
  "Add character meaning and table markup."
  (find-file sacha/kanji/output-file)
  (goto-char (point-min))
  (while (not (eobp))
    (goto-char (line-beginning-position))
    (unless (= (char-after (point)) ?<)
      (forward-char 1)
      (let* ((kanji (buffer-substring (line-beginning-position) (point)))
             (definition (sacha/kanji/find-definition kanji)))
        (when definition
            (forward-char -1)
            (insert ""))
          (insert "")
          (insert definition)
          (goto-char (line-end-position))
          (insert ""))))

(defun sacha/kanji/find-definition (kanji)
  "Look up kanji definition."
      (find-file-noselect "/usr/share/edict/kanjidic")
    (goto-char (point-min))
    (when (and (search-forward kanji)
               (re-search-forward "\\({[^}]+}\\( {[^}]+}\\)+\\)"))
      (match-string 0))))  ;; kanji definitions

(defun sacha/kanji/lookup-word (key)
  "Return the definition of the current word. Ensure edict is loaded before running this."
  (with-current-buffer edict-buffer
    (goto-char (point-min))
    (when (re-search-forward (concat "^" key " \\[\\([^]]+\\)\\] /\\(.*\\)") nil t)
      (list (match-string 1) (match-string 2)))))

(defun sacha/add-word ()
  "Look up this word's definition and add the word to individual character entries."
  (when (looking-at "^\"\\([^\"]+\\)\".*?:\\([0-9]+\\)")
    (let ((word (match-string 1))
          (slide (match-string 2))
      (setq definition (sacha/kanji/lookup-word word))
      (setq chars (split-string word "" t))
      (while chars
        (with-current-buffer (find-file-noselect sacha/kanji/output-file)
          (goto-char (point-min))
          (when (re-search-forward (concat "^" (car chars)) nil t)
            (goto-char (line-end-position))
            (insert "
S:" slide " " word "") (if definition (insert " " (elt definition 0) "" " " (elt definition 1) "") (insert "???")))) (delete (car chars) chars) (setq chars (cdr chars))))))

On Technorati: ,

Questionnaire on electronic clothes

January 10, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

Hiya, everyone! Can you help a wearable computing researcher? (Not me,
but a Ph.D. student in Japan.) He’s interested in cultural differences
in attitude regarding electronic clothes. If you copy and paste the
text below, edit it to reflect your answers, and mail it to
[email protected] , you’ll make him happy. It took me ten to

fifteen minutes to fill this out.


This questionnaire was designed for research on new technologies:
clothes possessing particular features, capacities and some kind of
intelligence. Prototypes are currently being designed in France, Japan,
and USA. Your answers will be taken into account for a study that will
be published in 2005 or 2006; we therefore appreciate the time you will
take to answer the following questions.

Answers will be kept in a database without association to your identity.
Thank you for participating in this study.

Please provide the following information.

Age   _____     Gender   _____   Nationality  __________________

Occupation (student, engineer...)

Field (computer science, psychology...)

Using the scale below, please tell us how much you agree or disagree
with the following statements by placing a number in the box provided.

Strongly disagree		1

Disagree			2

Neither agree nor disagree	3

Agree				4

Srongly agree			5

It would be acceptable for me to wear clothes that:

___ display images, photos, texts, or videos.

___ record my environment via photos or videos.

___ produce music, sounds, or speeches.

___ record music, sounds, or speeches around me.

___ produce selected smells.

___ analyze the air (smells, pollution, humidity, temperature).

___ provide a sensation of cold or heat in certain areas.

___ vibrate or provide a feeling of touch in certain areas.

Clothes with one or several capacities such as listed in question 1
would be useful:

___ at big events like conferences or forums.

___ during parties.

___ on trips.

___ in potentially dangerous situations.

___ to communicate with disabled people.

___ when meeting new people.

If I had garments with one or several capacities such as in question 1,
I would like them to:

___ be able to coordinate actions with other clothes.

___ learn from my reactions to their actions.

___ be controlled by some form of build in artificial intelligence.

___ be controlled by guidelines but get back control whenever I want.

___ be under my full control at any moment.

I would agree to use garments that can monitor my physical and mental
state (heart beats, blood pressure, body temperature, movements, etc.)

___ adapt my environment to my needs (temperature, light, music in the room,

___ adapt video games depending on my experiences.

___ evaluate my performances during sports trainings.

___ produce group effects during artistic or sportive events.

___ reveal my emotions to surrounding people.

___ share my feelings with selected persons (like husband/wife), even at a

___ transmit information to emergency services.

During a gathering of people using special garments, I would like
clothes to hint about:

___ the wearer's personality.

___ the wearer's beliefs.

___ the wearer's mood.

___ the wearer's history.

___ the wearer's belonging to communities.

___ the group's harmony.

___ the group's common history.

___ the group's common centers of interest.

___ relationships between members of the group.

___ the topic of the gathering.

I would be ready to wear and use in my everyday life garments
incorporating electronics:

___ for personal uses.

___ for professional uses.

I would leave my profile (such as name, age, nationality, centers of
interest) in free access:

___ on Internet.

___ to people in the same room as me.

___ to people belonging to my community.

___ to people I met previously.

If you have any remarks or suggestion about the questionnaire or
electronic garments, please write them below:

Return this questionnaire to Sebastien Duval by e-mail to
[email protected] or mail to NII, Hitotsubashi 2-1-2, Chiyoda-ku, 101-8430 Tokyo, Japan


E-Mail from Sebastien Duval

On Technorati:

More hacks for mangling Japanese CSV

January 11, 2005 - Categories: emacs, japanese

This is for use with kdrill.

(defun sacha/kanji/get-ordered-kanji-list ()
  (let (kanji-list)
    (while (not (eobp))
      (let ((c (char-after (point))))
         ((= c ?\"))
         ((= c ?\n))
         ((= c ?:) (forward-line 1) (forward-char -1))
         (t (add-to-list 'kanji-list c))))
      (forward-char 1))

(defun sacha/kanji/ordered-usefile-to-kill ()
  ;; Look up kanji in kanjidic
  (let ((list (sacha/kanji/get-ordered-kanji-list)))
     (with-current-buffer (find-file-noselect "/usr/share/edict/kanjidic")
        (lambda (kanji)
          (goto-char (point-min))
          (when (search-forward (char-to-string kanji) nil t)
            (skip-syntax-forward " ")
            (buffer-substring-no-properties (point) (and (skip-syntax-forward "^ ") (point)))))

On Technorati: ,

Japanese flashcards

January 11, 2005 - Categories: emacs, japanese

This extracts all kanji in the buffer and converts them to the format
expected by flashcard.el.

(defun sacha/kanji/get-ordered-kanji-list ()
  "Return a list of characters in the buffer."
  (goto-char (point-min))
  (let (kanji-list)
    (while (not (eobp))
      (let ((c (char-after (point))))
        (when (>= c ?亜) (add-to-list 'kanji-list c)))
      (forward-char 1))

(defun sacha/kanji/to-flashcard-j2e (&optional list)
  "Return a Japanese-English flashcard set.
If LIST is non-nil, use that instead of the current buffer."
  (interactive (list (sacha/kanji/get-ordered-kanji-list)))
  (unless list (setq list (sacha/kanji/get-ordered-kanji-list)))
  (let ((result
         (with-current-buffer (find-file-noselect "/usr/share/edict/kanjidic")
            (lambda (kanji)
              (goto-char (point-min))
              (when (re-search-forward (format "^%c.*?{\\(.*\\)}" kanji) nil t)
                (format "%c : %s\n"
                        (replace-regexp-in-string "}\\s-+{" "," (match-string 1)))))
    (if (interactive-p) (kill-new result) result)))

(defun sacha/flashcard-method-leitner-check-answer (card answer)
  "Check answer for correctness. Allow multiple correct answers and provide feedback."
  (if (member answer (split-string (flashcard-card-answer card) ","))
        (flashcard-insert "Correct! Answer is:\n"
                          (propertize (flashcard-card-answer card)
                                      'face 'flashcard-answer-face
                                      'rear-nonsticky t)
    (flashcard-insert "The correct answer is:\n"
                      (propertize (flashcard-card-answer card)
                                  'face 'flashcard-answer-face
                                  'rear-nonsticky t)
    (y-or-n-p "Was your answer correct? ")))

(setq flashcard-method-check-answer-function 'sacha/flashcard-method-leitner-check-answer)
(add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.deck\\'" . flashcard-mode))
(add-hook 'flashcard-mode-hook 'flashcard-add-scroll-to-bottom)
(add-hook 'flashcard-positive-feedback-functions 'flashcard-feedback-highlight-answer)
(add-hook 'flashcard-positive-feedback-functions 'flashcard-feedback-congratulate)
(add-hook 'flashcard-positive-feedback-functions 'flashcard-method-leitner-positive-feedback)

On Technorati: ,

Cat — 55 words

January 11, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

“Your cat’s vicious.”

“Neko?” I stroked the cat sleeping on my lap. She yawned, stretched,
and curled up around my hand.

“Absolutely antisocial.” He shivered. “Psycho. Pure evil.”

“Nonsense. She’s a darling.” I leaned in and whispered, “Just let her
think she’s boss.”

A hiss and a deep scratch told me I wasn’t quiet enough.

– In response to the “ABSOLUTELY ANTISOCIAL” prompt on the flashxer mailing list

On Technorati: ,


January 11, 2005 - Categories: emacs, planner

I read through crm.el on the train. Now that I have an idea as to how
completing reads work, I think I’ve gotten spaces in multiple page
names to work. I’m still having problems—TAB complains that something
is read-only—but this looks promising.


On Technorati: ,

Proof of concept: Deleting private tasks

January 11, 2005 - Categories: emacs, planner

It’s easy to tweak Planner. For example, the following two lines of
code delete all lines that contain {{private}} before publishing. Your
planner pages will be fine, but the published HTML won’t contain them.

(add-to-list 'planner-publishing-markup (lambda () (delete-matching-lines "{{private}}")))

Fun, isn’t it?

On Technorati: ,

Testing testing testing

January 11, 2005 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Hmm. This shouldn’t pass by a plan page at all.

two-mode-mode: Multiple modes in one Emacs buffer

January 12, 2005 - Categories: emacs

two-mode-mode allows you to switch between two major modes in a single
buffer. You can find it at
http://www.dedasys.com/freesoftware/files/two-mode-mode.el If you need
to deal with more modes, check out Multiple Major Modes at
http://mmm-mode.sourceforge.net .

On Technorati:

Emacs for Authors

January 12, 2005 - Categories: emacs


A book writer has written a guide on how to use Emacs in lieu of
mainstream word processors. Check it out!

Post from R. Wood on comp.emacs

On Technorati:

Back on ratpoison

January 13, 2005 - Categories: opensource

xwrits can take care of my typing breaks, so I’m off
GNOME and back on Ratpoison again.

On Technorati:

More Emacs evangelization: flashcard

January 14, 2005 - Categories: emacs, japanese, opensource

Aris and I are both struggling with far too much kanji. I used a
combination of kdrill to gain familiarity with kanji and
../emacs/flashcard.el to drill the meaning into my brain, as
flashcard.el requires me to get a question right 5 times in a row
before considering it solved. Aris searched the Internet for flashcard
programs on Windows and played around with things like Kanji Gold and
King Kanji, but couldn’t figure out how to import our wordlist into
them. Kanji Gold looked promising as it also used EDICT, but I
couldn’t figure out the magic number at the end of the dictionary
entry. With over 200 words in our word list, there was no way we were
going to enter those things one by one!

I told him to download Emacs and grab Jorgen Schaefer’s flashcard.el
from my ../emacs directory. I then grabbed the dictionary file that
Kanji Gold couldn’t recognized, replaced [ with : to get flashcard to
recognize it without problems, then set up a deck for him. I tweaked
the default faces a bit—they’re horrible on light-colored displays. I
copied the suggested feedback config and explained the pigeonhole
method to him. I tweaked the checking function so that it checked for
substrings and treated empty input as a definitely incorrect answer.
He wanted the answers displayed all the time, so I coded that in as

The initial word list was too big, so I copied 9 words and put them
into a file, then imported them into a deck. Later, when he finishes
this deck, I’ll show him how to create another colon file and import it.
I’ll also ask him if he wants to tweak the number of compartments.

He’s asked me if I can get YM working in the text editor as well. I’m
currently tunneled through Richi’s host, but I think I can open a
local tunnel for him as well, if he feels like using ERC. ‘course,
normal YM just might work, and chances are there’s a YM-specific
client somewhere in Emacs.

I’ve made no efforts to hide Emacs’ complexity. I lean over and drop
into Lisp code in front of him because I want him to have a working
environment up and running as soon as possible. Who knows? Maybe he’ll
use Emacs even after the internship. =)

He looks like he’s having fun, and certainly appreciates the fact that
I can hack the editor to fit how he wants to do things. He wants to
match the readings, too, which means I’ll need to figure out how leim
works under Windows. I’ll do that on Monday.

On Technorati: , ,

Planner poetry

January 15, 2005 - Categories: emacs, planning, productivity

I’m up to here with things to do
  And buried under data
The notes I keep all filed away,
  The tasks—I’ll do them later.


+1 to put things off a day,
  Tomorrow: work ’til all is done,
Today I can relax—but then
  Tomorrow’ll never come.


My webpage looks impressive, sure,
  But check a few days later.
The same tasks appear. I know,
  I’m such a procrastinator.

On Technorati: , , ,

TLUG meeting: Knoppix

January 15, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

Today we have two presenters talking. Before we do that, we usually have new faces give a short introduction.

– Craig. In and out of Japan, 1996 to 1999. In Tokyo since November.
– Laslow. I heard that this is the place you go to get your old Lotus 123 programs fixed. UNIX user since 1996 or so.
– Phil. First time here. Been in Japan for two months. Probably stay here for a couple of months more. Managed VPN services from Japan to China.
– Zev. Somehow TLUG president for this year. Linux user since 1995, but wasn’t very serious. Personal use, on and off, since 2000.

Edmund Edgar is going to talk about making live CDs.

– Ooooh, apt-get works after you chroot Knoppix’s source/.
– Making the compressed filesystem takes around an hour on an average computer of today.
– Need a lot of disk space and memory. HD: 700 MB for iso, space for the uncompressed filesystem (3-4 GB), lots of virtual memory (at least 700 MB of available virtual memory).
– GRUB can boot ISOs directly? That’d be handy.
– Knoppix Japanese distribution

On Technorati: ,

Squeak talk

January 15, 2005 - Categories: linux

– Luca, from Italy. Been in Japan for 1 year. 4 months in Tokyo. Lived in Sendai. Working as a private researcher on computational electromagnetic fields. Solve big system of equations using Linux. Not a system administrator, but he likes it.
– Dave. I also just moved here from Sendai. Looking for work as a sysad in Tokyo. Moved here on Wednesday. Lived in Sendai for a few months. Moved from Vancouver.
– George. Six months in Japan. Came at the December meeting at the pub and had a specific Linux question; thrill to be there, so came back this time and next time will come early so that he won’t get lost. Moved from South Carolina last June.
– Keith. Met some of you at the pub. Have been here for the last 4 months. Come from Australia.
– Kevin. Three months. Moved from New York. Wife Miki. Working at Nokia.
– Jim. Usually wakes up late. Been in Japan for around 14 years. Works for Puma. Use Linux there—one machine, starting to play with it.

Squeak! Squeak!

Datacomm guy, college student—Keio University. Wife teaches English and computer technology.

– Alan Kay Project — teaching children with Squeak

Squeakland, Play with Squeak, squeak.or.kr, small land, croquet (3d
environment for Squeak), Tweak (nextgen of Morphic), but stick with
the versions available today.

I want. =)

On Technorati: ,


January 16, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

Check out http://www.firepages.com.au for a local-only (by default)
Apache/MySQL/PHP install for Windows.

E-Mail from Ian Utting

On Technorati:

Geek-out weekend

January 17, 2005 - Categories: geek, japan

Had a fantastic weekend geeking out. Saturday’s TLUG technical
presentation introduced me to the joys of Squeak, and I stayed as late
as I could for the karaoke and stuff. Sunday was cold, dreary, and
rainy. This turned out to be a very good thing, although it was gloomy
in the beginning. Rain makes street performers scarce, so I decided to
skip Yoyogi. Thought about going to the Edo-Tokyo Museum, but couldn’t
get in touch with Sebastien (a museum buff who mentioned wanting to go
to the falconry exhibition). Decided to put that off instead. Got in
touch with Dave Brown who invited me up to Saitama for DDR. Aaron
Chmielowiec is a wizard at that thing. Asked him about Dance Maniax.
Apparently, there are no more Dance Maniax machines in normal arcades.

Had tons of fun practicing some songs with the two, as they’re both
better than I am. Browsed through Bic Camera afterwards. Lots of
amusing commentary. Had dinner at an izakaya. Learned so many things
about the Japan IT industry from the conversation. <laugh> Their
college stories were also hilarious. They had such characters in their
university! We talked about many other things, but I’m too sleepy to
record them.

Wonderful weekend. =D

On Technorati: , ,

Sheer hilarity

January 17, 2005 - Categories: digitalpinay, issues, philippines, women


Expect a long rant from me later.

On Technorati: , , ,

The largest Philippine IT organization is running a search for

January 17, 2005 - Categories: digitalpinay, issues, philippines, women

The Philippine Computer Society (largest IT organization in the Philippines)
is running a search for “Digital Pinay 2005.” They’re looking for role models for information
and communication technology. Women who exemplify the qualities
expected of future women leaders of the Philippine ICT industry. Their
application form asks for information like name, paragraph or two why
you deserve the award, IT experience, and such essential information
as height, weight, bust, waist, and hip measurements. I’ve posted the
application form at
http://sacha.free.net.ph/notebook/personal/digitalpinay.doc . Read it
all the way to the end. It’s hilarious. So hilarious that I cried from
fury and humiliation that this is what they think future women leaders
of ICT should have, should be. I am embarrassed that the worth of a
person is bound up in how well she can wear a business suit. I am too
furious to analyze how this objectifies woman, too close to the
problem to see how anyone could have imagined this as having any sort
of positive effect on women in IT.

On Technorati: , , ,

Mail sent to Ateneo CS and CompSAt mailing lists

January 18, 2005 - Categories: digitalpinay, issues, philippines, women

Updated copy at http://www.livejournal.com/users/sachachua/6605.html .
Please leave comments there.

Miguel Paraz just forwarded a _very_ interesting contest application
to the CompSAt-EB mailing list, and I’m sending this to you because it
is worth talking about, and that is because it is completely wrong.

The Philippine Computer Society (PCS) is doing a search for “Digital
Pinay 2005”. They’re looking for role models for information and
communication technology, “women who exemplify the qualities expected
of future women leaders of the Philippine ICT industry.”

To help them find worthy candidates, their application form asks for
information like name, paragraph or two about why you deserve the
award, IT experience, and such essential information as height,
weight, bust, waist, and hip measurements.

I put up a copy of the form at
http://sacha.free.net.ph/notebook/personal/digitalpinay.doc . Read it
all the way to the end. You may start out amused, perhaps annoyed. I
hope you end up horrified that such a thing could have been thinkable,
much less thought a good idea. That it was proposed at all could be
chalked up to temporary insanity, but that it reached this point
cannot be attributed to reason.

A beauty pageant does not pretend to be anything but a beauty pageant.
On the other hand, “Digital Pinay 2005” pretends to define an ideal
woman in ICT, and _that_ is why it is so insulting. Or perhaps our
Atenean curriculum is missing charm classes to help women learn how to
wear business suits and casual clothes well?

Our industry _cannot_ be like this. Until now, I have not come face to
face with such discrimination in what I believe to be such an
egalitarian field. Our industry _is_not_ like this. But the existence
of this contest sends a message to students, to professionals, to
people inside and outside our industry. The message is that ICT in
2005 is about appearance more than substance, that how a woman looks
and how she walks is more important than what she learned and what she
can do. If nothing else, it tells us that our industry thinks this
view is acceptable.

It is a farce that I must denounce in the strongest terms. If the PCS
would like to beautify its meetings with models, it should not pretend
at all to be promoting women in ICT when it is actually doing the
exact opposite. If PCS would like to say that women are valuable
contributors to ICT, it should not attach such values to them. For
what will these women be but stereotypes and living proofs of
discrimination in IT? What is their value? What will they be beyond
a pretty face and a nice body?

(I find it interesting that winners are required to attend all PCS
official functions. Essentially, you can buy a professional woman’s
time for P 25,000. The co-ed winner costs only P10,000 and the
runners-up are free. Why will they grace the PCS functions with their
presence? Who will take them seriously knowing the criteria by which
they were judged? What of this promised visibility in the job market?
Is that really the kind of job markets Ateneans are preparing for?)

The contest insults women by objectifying them, and men for proposing
that such objectification is commonplace and normal. The contest
insults our industry and our society. Will we not discuss it? Will we
not consider how such a situation came to be? Will we not point at it
and say that this is wrong?

Exams are going on and there seems to be no time to talk of things
like this, but these are things that must be thought about. This is
Science and Society. This is the Philosophy of Man. This is, even
without all the subjects you’ve taken up, even if only considering
that still and quiet voice within you—this is a matter of right and

So read, reflect, and be angry, for this is the sort of thing that
should never be complacantly ignored. Realize that this _is_ a
problem, that it _does_ exist, and that we contribute to it with our
silence. Affirm what you believe in. Write. Write your fury, your
shock—or casual indifference, if that is all you experience upon
reading this.

As for me, I believe that just because something _is_ doesn’t mean it
has to be.

On Technorati: , , , , , ,

Digital Pinay 2005: Sent mail to Leo Querubin, Special Projects Chair of PCS

January 18, 2005 - Categories: digitalpinay, issues, philippines, women

Received from Leo Querubin:

Hello Sascha,

Your email was forwarded to me by Bombing of MediaG8way regarding your
reaction to the Digital Pinay competition. I share your sentiments when
I saw the application form.

There was a misunderstanding in the contents of the application forms
(for the co-ed and professional) as the original forms did not include
the info on height, weight, bust, waist and hips. Be that as it may, I
take full responsibility over this as Special Projects Chair of PCS and
I apologise for this. It was never our intention to promote the
competition as a beauty contest.

You have brought several good points in your email. I would like to sit
down with you and discuss these comments and see how we can improve the


Leo Querubin

Sent this reply:

Hello, Leo!

Thank you for your prompt reply. I’m glad to hear that the original
forms did not include such demeaning questions. I would still like to
clarify the rules of the competition and the expected public effect.
If PCS also considers the present form of the competition to be
insulting to IT students and professionals, I would like to help you
do damage control and correct the impression people have received.
After all, this is the form that’s out there in the wild, and that’s
the form of contest people will see it as. Whether it is a mixup or
not, PCS has done something wrong.

I would like a full explanation from PCS so that I can present other
sides of the story. How did this make it past the proposal stage? Why
was it approved by the committee? Did no one consider it as even the
least bit discriminating? How is it that the country’s premier IT
organization can do such a thing?

I would also like to understand how one can calculate scores based on
20% popularity (measured through text votes), 40% appearance, and 40%
intelligence and skills, and still not think of this as a beauty
contest. As
points out:

So let me see: that’s 60% for popularity and appearance based
criteria, and 40% for intelligence and technical knowledge. Oh
yeah, that makes total sense for an ICT professional award.

How is it possible that mature professionals can take all the
terms used in beauty contests—you don’t hear the term “formal wear”
or “reign” in software competitions, do you—and pretend that this is
something about the professional capabilities of women? How is it at
all understandable?

What about the public effect of this contest? The public sees only the
application and the coronation. They will not see whatever care you
put into sifting through applicants’ academic credentials. They will
not see the interviews. They will only see the beginning and the end.
They will only see this form that defines women by numbers and a
“coronation” that involves how well a woman can wear clothes and walk.
This _public_ includes students and children who may not have the
experience or confidence to know that you can be successful in
technology and yet not be an object because of your gender. They may
think that even in this field, women have to be pretty, and brains or
achievements don’t really matter.

What about the “prizes” that these women win? Are you just looking for
a promo girl? You cannot spin this as professional exposure for women
without also exposing the exploitation of women. You cannot even say
that this promotes women in computing when it reduces women to
something pretty to look at.

Perhaps you meant well, but this is broken. This is a release-critical
bug. This is something that should have never made it out the door in
its present form. The contest by itself is wrong, but I am incredulous
about the fact that PCS actually _came up_ with this thing. I have no
idea why it took me to point out how broken this is, but this is not
something you can just quietly apologize for, improve or even cancel.
You realize that that form has made its way to schools and to other
people’s lists, forwarded by people who either thought it was a good
idea or a farce. You must realize that the form brought with it an
idea of how PCS thinks of women.

I need you to think very carefully about the reasons why this contest
was implemented. I need that explanation from you, and I need it
shared not only with me but with as many people as it can be shared
with. I need you to think very carefully about how you’re trying to
encourage more women to get into IT. I need you to start doing damage

What happened here?

On Technorati: , , , , ,

Reply from Leo Querubin

January 18, 2005 - Categories: digitalpinay, issues, philippines, women

We are meeting with the committee to discuss these issues and will update you.

E-Mail from Leo Querubin

On Technorati: , , ,

It just gets better and better. This is a “traditional” event.

January 19, 2005 - Categories: digitalpinay, issues, philippines, women

From Ibarra Gutierrez, Editor-in-Chief of Media G8way:

Digital Pinay is a project of the Philippine Computer Society. It
is actually a take-off from their traditional Ms PCS contest.
Media G8way, with its Events Department, was simply contracted to
manage the project. This is not to say, however, that we are
washing our hands with regards the project’s concept now that
it’s getting flak from the IT community. In fact, we’ve called
the PCS organizers to an emergency meeting tomorrow precisely to
discuss reactions like yours. Rest assured that we’ll do what we
can to make the project truer to its purported objective. And
we’ll keep you and the IT community posted. Thanks for your

Editor-in-Chief & Publisher
Media G8way Corporation
3rd Floor, Eurovilla II Building
118 V. A. Rufino St. (formerly Herrera St.), Legaspi Village, Makati City, Philippines
Tel. (632) 840-4227

It just gets better and better. You mean it’s only getting flak
from the IT community now? You mean this is an old concept? I’ve
e-mailed Leo Querubin to find out how long _that_ has been
running and how it has managed to survive so far.

In the meantime, take a look at this excerpt from
http://www.pcs-it.org/pcs/committees.htm#msict :

Special Project: Miss ICT

In-charge of preparing the activities and implementing
guidelines/criteria for the Search of Miss ICT (professional and
student levels):

  • Revive the Computer Girl
  • More than just a beauty contest
  • Reflects ideals of PCS
  • Promote gender equality in the ICT industry
  • Promote ICT as an equal opportunity employer

Director-in-Charge: Ms. Ann Gatmaytan
Chair: Mr. Leo Querubin


On Technorati: , , ,

And now for a bit of lighthearted fun…

January 19, 2005 - Categories: digitalpinay, issues, philippines, women

“Sexiest Geek Alive” is a geek pageant done right. =) Google for it or
be lazy and just check out the following links.


Why does it work? ’cause it’s as geeky as heck.

Positive stuff about women in technology:


On Technorati: , , ,

Digital Pinay 2005 on plug-misc

January 19, 2005 - Categories: digitalpinay, issues, philippines, women

But seriously, the organizers should have thought more about the
matter. Women are not mere trophies to flaunt at events. Gee, if that
were the case, they could have just gotten some actresses who could be
spokespersons for them, I think. I mean, that’s going to be
advertising but with the duties of the “reigning” Digital Pinay –
Hmmm, that seems to be the case. And that is sad, sad, sad.

I hope that the people from PCS would do damage control ASAP. Or else…

– Clair Ching, http://eclair.bizhat.com

When I read the headline of the article “Search for top Filipino
female IT pros slated” I thought it was good as it would duly
recognize Filipina contributors to the growth of Philippine IT. But
now that I know the details I really find it insulting to women.
Asking for vital statistics and requiring the winner to grace PCS
occasions are simply demeaning.

Holden Hao
DabaweGNU, Inc.
Davao City

E-Mail from Holden Hao

On Technorati: , , ,

Testing, testing

January 19, 2005 - Categories: -Uncategorized

1 2 3

And there are people who just don’t get it

January 20, 2005 - Categories: digitalpinay, issues, philippines, women

From: Kyo Suayan <[email protected]>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2005 09:52:12 -0800

Subject: Re: Philweavers Digital Pinay

To be honest, what’s the fuss all about?! Eh totoo naman na
statistically speaking, mas kaunti ang magaganda sa IT field as
compared to other disciplines! This is even supported by observations
back in college wherein usually nasa ibang colleges and departments
ang mga “chikababes”. Seriously!

Finally somebody has come up with a brilliant idea on
how to “put some life” on this very cold and impersonal
industry which is IT. And what does some pseudo-activists do?
Shoot it down. :-)


E-Mail from Martin Gomez

On Technorati: , , ,

Joining Technorati

January 20, 2005 - Categories: -Uncategorized

http://www.technorati.com has been really handy for finding
DigitalPinay-related posts, so I’m adding my blog(s) to the index.

Technorati Profile

From Chette Soriano on ph-cyberview

January 20, 2005 - Categories: digitalpinay, issues, philippines, women

Throwing all femininity aside, I laughed boisterously the first time I
received the attachment. I might be a little too phlegmatic for my age
(and sex), as I just found it humourous. A lot of my colleagues were
really appalled.

I wonder if call centers are now considered part of IT (may computers
naman sila eh, hehe).

May talent portion ba? Pano to, fastest woman who can assemble a PC?
Or the usual scrabble/hangman programming test? Pabilisan mag-crimp ng
RJ-45? Hehe.

To quote a friend: “Buti na lang walang height requirement.”


Chette Soriano • www.chette.com

E-Mail from Chette Soriano

On Technorati: , , ,

mac_bolan00 on Atenista.net

January 20, 2005 - Categories: digitalpinay, issues, philippines, women


mac_bolan00 posted on Jan 20 2005, 12:42 PM

just a guess: beauty pageants offend ugly women, or those half into it. examples of the latter are homely computer scientists sniffing at ‘Miss IT’ pageants. the above guess is as much of an insult as it is fact. as a way to soften it, i’m of the opinion that all sane women are beautiful and desirable but never mind me.

well then, i’ll throw a different question at you. supposing this IT pageant was meant to benefit indigent but talented students who wish to major in IT, will you still complain at the way society commoditizes beauty, particularly in women?

On Technorati: , , ,

PCS press conference on Digital Pinay

January 20, 2005 - Categories: digitalpinay, issues, philippines, women

PCS is holding a presscon on Digital Pinay tomorrow, Jan 21,
starting at 3:30 pm, at AIM’s ACCEED Center. You and others
interested are invited to join. Just email (or text) me the names of
the people attending so PCS can prepare the necessary press kits.
Again, thanks for your concern. – Bombing

Editor-in-Chief & Publisher
Media G8way Corporation
3rd Floor, Eurovilla II Building
118 V. A. Rufino St. (formerly Herrera St.), Legaspi Village, Makati City, Philippines
Tel. (632) 840-4227; Fax (632)894-2487 Mobile +639178955739
E-mail: [email protected]

E-Mail from Dominique Cimafranca

I’m in Japan, so I can’t go. I’ll prepare a list of questions later, though. Who can make it?

On Technorati: , , ,

Sanitized application forms

January 20, 2005 - Categories: digitalpinay, issues, philippines, women

Leo Querubin of PCS sent me another set of application forms, saying

These were the original apps forms.


For comparison, the form I received in a forward is here:


I like how the rules are no longer included so that they have more
time to make up their mind. I like how the form does not mention the
controversial prize of P 25,000 (look! the average monthly salary
of an IT professional!) or the form of the contest.

It is entirely possible that there really was just a simple misunderstanding.

It is entirely impossible for everyone to believe that.

It is also probably impossible for them to reach everyone the first
forwarded form(s) reached. They have opened up a can of worms, and
they cannot neatly stuff all the worms back in.

On Technorati: , , , ,

PCS has found their spin: It’s a search for future C?Os

January 20, 2005 - Categories: digitalpinay, issues, philippines, women

Looks like PCS is pushing through with Digital Pinay 2005. Their spin?
They’re searching for future female chief executive officers, so 60%
personality (in terms of appearance, popularity and poise) makes
perfect sense.

Indeed it does. After all, they’re looking for future managers, and
managers really do need soft skills. So that’s their market. They’re
not trying to define a good IT professional in terms of technical
wizardry. This is MIS.

They’re not saying you have to be pretty to be a good geek. They’re
saying you have to be pretty—este, personable—in order to be a good
manager. Which is all too true and we’re used to that, I guess.

I wonder if they’ll ask the contestants in the “Search for the Most
Outstanding CIO” to model sportswear. I still think that if you’re
looking for future leaders, you should ask them to make speeches
instead of strut around in several different kinds of clothes. You
should ask them to make a difference in their community.

I also don’t think we lose our femininity by focusing on ideas and
accomplishments. In fact, we express it by not highlighting it, not
making it the center of attention. I want more attention paid to the
fact that we get results through taking risks and working hard than to
the accident of our gender.

Anyway. It’s their org. It’s their money and it’s their name. At least
they’ve clarified their position. I have a feeling there’s nothing
more I can do about that. We’re talking about completely different things.

You know what my problem is? I keep thinking that the C in PCS means
they’re even vaguely related to the stuff we do. But right, right,
they’re business-related, and that’s a completely different world. I
just have to remember that. I really should remember that PCS is a
professional organization, and their definition of IT is very
different from our definition of IT.

You know what? I think I’ll stay out of the corporate world. I love
teaching. I love showing people that they can do anything they want to
do in IT. I love hacking on open source. I don’t want to have to dress
up in a suit to work on something cool with other people.

I guess it’s time to resume life. I have things to hack on.

Thanks to everyone who listened.

PCS to push through with Digital Pinay 2005 – INQ7.net

On Technorati: , , , , ,

Press conference today, PCS pushing through with Digital Pinay 2005

January 21, 2005 - Categories: digitalpinay, issues, philippines, women

PCS is expected to confirm its resolve to push through with the
controversial “Digital Pinay 2005” contest at a press conference to be
held today at 3:30 PM at AIM’s ACCEED center.

They say that the contest is a search for future chief executive
officers and chief information officers, and have decided to keep
their original criteria: 20% popularity (text votes, another
revenue-generator), 20% personality (sound bites in the question and
answer portion), and 20% poise (modeling business wear, formal wear
and sports wear). Oh, right, and 40% intelligence and achievements,
but since that’s all evaluated behind the scenes, we’ll only get to
see the 60% part.

They also deny that it’s a beauty pageant and claim they never
intended it to be one. And oh, oops, the
first application form was a
complete mistake—they didn’t mean to send *that* version to the press
mailing list. They *really* meant to send these sanitized application
forms: ../personal/digitalpinay-coed.doc and
../personal/digitalpinay-pro.doc. So they’d like to tell all you
outraged bloggers that
you’re barking up the wrong tree. It really isn’t a beauty pageant.
Even if there’s a “Coronation Night” competition where people are
judged on how they wear clothes instead of, say, their business plans
or their ability to give presentations. Even if there’s a text voting

All I can say is that if it walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and
quacks like a duck…


On Technorati: , , , ,

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

January 21, 2005 - Categories: digitalpinay, issues, philippines, women

My mother would be the last person to say she’s beautiful. She’d say
she’s short, or she has gray hair and wrinkles. She wears make-up, but
she doesn’t spend hours putting a face on every day and she doesn’t
buy fancy clothes. She’s too busy as the general manager of
Adphoto to get much beauty sleep, and
sees nothing wrong with trekking around in comfortable shoes. I think
she’s beautiful.

My former grade school principal, Lala Castillo, had wrinkles around
her eyes that showed how much she smiled. I never saw her dressed in
sharp business suits. I think she was always in flowing skirts or
sensible pants. She knew all of us by name. As a child, I wondered if
I could just skip being an adult and be old and wise like she was.
I think she’s beautiful.

Didith Rodrigo, the chair of the computer science department, is not
one for beauty pageants. I don’t think she wears make-up. But she made
us feel welcome. She knew what she was talking about, and she could
explain herself very clearly. She was also a great listener. I think
she’s beautiful.

If PCS wants to judge on “beauty”—which basically means how much does
a woman resemble advertisements—then they risk closing their eyes to
the real gems, people who can _really_ inspire others.

As for me, I’m going to stay in my own little world where results
matter more than appearances, where ordinary people become beautiful
when you get to know them.

I’m glad that I’m not spectacular. At least that way, I don’t have to
worry about people speculating about my breast size, unlike one of my
friends who occasionally has to put up with that despite being a
brilliant physicist. At least that way, I know people pay attention to
my ideas and not just to my body.

I still feel a little insecure from time to time. Am I where I am just
because I’m a girl, just because I was in the right place at the right
time? Would I have gotten as far if people didn’t make a fuss over the
fact that ooh, look, a girl’s _really_ into tech?

Then I go online and talk to people who don’t know anything about me,
people who even assume I’m a guy until the regulars laugh and correct
them, and I realize that I’m good enough on my own.

That’s an assurance the DigitalPinay winners might not have, because
they’ll wonder: was I hired because my resume was good and I can
really make a difference, or was I hired because I won a beauty

On Technorati: , , , ,

I will be in Kobe this weekend…

January 21, 2005 - Categories: japan

… so don’t panic if you don’t see updates from me. =)

On Technorati:

More Ruby stuff

January 21, 2005 - Categories: ruby

Poignant guide, http://ww.poignantguide.net . Possibly the weirdest introduction to a programming language that I will ever see in my life . – Dave

Also, read Why the Lucky Stiff.

On Technorati:

Umeda bus stop

January 23, 2005 - Categories: japan

Parking lot across the street from the front entrance of HOTEL HANKYU
rectangular plate and is lit up at night. The bus stop is between a
LAWSON convenience store and the PIAS TOWER SQUARE. PIAS TOWER is
easily visible from far away because of its height and greenish glass.
Our staff will be there doing the check in with a table that has a
sign written STAR EXPRESS on it. Please check in with our staff by
telling them your name. They will tell you which bus to take when you
check in. Please find your seat by looking up your name (KATAKANA) on
the seating chart or ask one of our drivers to show you your seat. The
bus is leaving Umeda at 22:50 PM, so please be there no later than
22:30PM. The bus will stop 2-3 times at service areas for break. It
will arrive in Shinjuku Station at around 6:30 AM on January 25, 2005
if there is no heavy traffic.

On Technorati:

The dust settles

January 24, 2005 - Categories: digitalpinay, issues, philippines, women

Clair (Post 1,
Post 2,
Post 3), and
have all blogged the results of the press conference held by the
Philippine Computer Society last 2005.01.21 .

I think we’ve reached an acceptable compromise. The Philippine
Computer Society is dropping the offensive beauty-pageant-like parts
of “Digital Pinay 2005” and they’ve clarified their position.

If the contest is clearly marked as a search for future managers, I
think it will not negatively affect the image people have of the
technical side of things.

I still believe there are more effective ways to get an idea of
someone’s leadership potential than through text voting or clothes
modelling. Presentations and business case analyses could give
contestants a more realistic idea of what skills will be useful in
their professional lives. Women who can speak and write well will be
far more effective leaders than those chosen on the basis of looks or
on the number of friends who are willing to sink money into a text
popularity campaign. Then again, all contests make some kind of
simplification. As the organizer, PCS decides what to search for.

I think it is time to let PCS figure out what to do with their
concept. Perhaps they’ll make it a success; perhaps they’ll have
problems fulfilling their admirable goals. Whatever happens, we have
all learned much from the experience. We have learned the power of
protest, and perhaps PCS has learned to be a little more careful. (At
the very least, it knows it needs better public relations.)

I believe that “Digital Pinay 2005” can be a good idea if handled
well. PCS has invited influential women like Sun head Cynthia Mamon to
judge contestants. If these judges could make time in their busy
schedules to guide the winners, perhaps having lunch every other week
or even just once a month, then the winners of “Digital Pinay 2005”
would win far more than monthly participation in PCS activities. They
would gain guidance and mentorship.

I do not regret speaking up about this. I do not regret going public
with my opposition to the original form
that circulated through e-mail. I do not regret pointing out
the deficiencies in the original contest structure. I do not believe
this was something that could be handled quietly. PCS needed to
clarify its position not only to those of us noisy enough to complain
about it but also to other people who might have received only the
form. I am glad that the furor caused by this has revealed that most
people won’t take this kind of nonsense.

In the course of checking this out and keeping track of the activity
through my shared bookmarks, I have met so many wonderful people
through their blogs. Thank you for reading. Thank you for caring.
Let’s get together on a couple of projects—that summer camp idea
looks like a good start, and I’d gladly volunteer time for that.

On Technorati: , , ,

Marriage proposal X of N ;)

January 24, 2005 - Categories: geek
>>>>> Does anyone know of an implementation of good old adventure in elisp?

>>>> There's M-x dunnet, which is reminiscent of those old text adventure
>>>> games. You can of course run Adventure inside an eshell, but I don't
>>>> think that quite counts. =)

>>> Yup.  I was actually looking for old "Colossal Cave" Adventure.  I may
>>> write one, just to have something to do that has no earthly use instead
>>> of doing productive work.

>>> PLUGH!

>> Marry me?

> Sorry, already have ubercool boyfriend. ^_^

On Technorati: ,

A weekend in Kansai

January 25, 2005 - Categories: japan

I had a relaxing weekend in Kansai, hopping from Kobe to Kyoto and
then to Osaka. Tita Cora is also fond of creature comforts, so instead
of a set tour, I took her to a 100 yen shop to buy 32 (!) miso soup
bowls and then to a hot spring some 15 minutes away from the train
station. There, on the 7th floor of a building nestled among
apartments, hotels, and curio shops, we indulged in a bewildering
array of baths, including another wine bath.

She left early the next day, so I decided to make the most of my
Sunday by going to Kyoto. I went to the Kyomizudera temple, a
beautiful set of cedar structures set over a cliff. I rented a PDA
audio guide (how could I not patronize such excellent use of
technology?) and made my way around the temple complex listening to
interesting audio snippets and looking at pictures of things not on
public display. Although there were many tourists, the place felt
serene, sublime.

On the way to Kyomizudera and back, I ducked into lots of little curio
shops. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, but I found all
the different shapes and colors fascinating. There were shops with
folding fans in a multitude of designs, parasols sold side-by-side
with fancy yukata and slippers, pottery in every shape and style. I
wandered until I felt myself no longer distinguishing new and
interesting things, then I headed back to Kyoto station.

I had friends in Osaka, so I decided to go there instead of heading
all the way back to Kobe. I called the night bus service to move my
departure to Osaka instead, and asked them to e-mail me a map of the
bus stop. I tried to get in touch with my friends, but none of them
replied (that’s the problem when you’re such an impulsive person that
you do everything on short notice), so I just wandered around looking
for an Internet cafe. Yahoo! BB (broadband) had a free Internet cafe
in Yodobashi Camera, and I checked my mail for the map before heading
to the 8th floor of the same building for a wonderful tonkatsu dinner.
Then I wandered through the shops some more. Nearly went for a facial
(only 1000 yen!) but it was already too late by the time I found out
about the offer. Got sucked into a toy shop and couldn’t resist buying
a Rubik’s cube-like thing in the shape of a pyramid.

Then I headed back down to the cybercafe for a quick check. So now
it’s back to Tokyo, and work, and and the rest of life. Just one more

On Technorati:


January 25, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

I have misplaced both my very pretty black bonnet with stars and my
black muffler, and am somewhat put out by my own carelessness. I must
have left the muffler on the bus to Kobe, and the beanie on either the
Chiyoda or Tozai lines this morning.

I seem to also have managed to drop my phone into the bath yesterday.
While it is now strawberry-scented, it no longer works. I have lived
without a cellphone before and was only going to be able to use it for
a month longer anyway, so that’s not so much a loss as the black
bonnet is. I liked the black bonnet very much.

Note to self: be more careful in the future. No more cellphones in
baths, even if I really find it hard to be away from my mail. ;)

On Technorati:

Advocacy plans

January 26, 2005 - Categories: passion, philippines

I will be home in a month!

I am overflowing with ideas I want to share with people, and I’m
planning to go to different places in the Philippines in order to do
open source and computer science advocacy.

  • I want to show people that you can be passionate and enthusiastic
    about computing, and you can share what you know even if you’re just
    talking about simple things.
  • I want to help start geek communities so that people know who’s
    working on what. It’s important for people to know whom they can ask
    for help.
  • I want to find out what issues teachers face in other schools and
    how teachers deal with those issues. I hope to share thoughts on
    teaching introductory computer science and making computer science
    fun and interesting for university students as well as elementary
  • I want teams from the provinces to perform better in national
    programming competitions.
  • I want to help show people that they can do funky computing stuff in
    the provinces so that they’re not always envious of Metro Manila and
    its high concentration of geeks. ;) I want students to be able to
    consider their local colleges seriously. I want to encourage people
    to hold their own technical sessions and regular meetings.
  • I want to show people that computer science isn’t just about money.
    It helps you learn how to think, and that makes it really useful.

I don’t need to speak to large audiences, although I can do that if
I’m part of a larger event. If I spoke in front of a large audience
all day, I’d bore them—better to reserve that for smaller audiences
so that I can adapt to people better. I don’t need a grand event. I
just need to be there, meeting people, asking questions, exchanging

I can start with a small thing. I can talk about computing on XTs if
that’s all they have. I can assume zero background on Linux or even
computing if necessary. It’s just that I’m mobile (aka unemployed) in
a position to do something cool, and I can’t let the opportunity pass.

Summertime would be best. That would mean I’d have to raise PHP 10k
for airfare or so. There’s a Cebu Pacific Air thing running until
March 15, but I won’t get to talk to teachers and students then, so it
might be better to spend that time with my family, use all March to
prepare really good presentations, and head off during April so that I
can talk to lots of people.

On Technorati: , , ,

THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM, 55-word flash fiction

January 27, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

Burnt the toast. Charred black, three days in a row. He didn’t yell,
didn’t leave; just laughed and told me he’d cook next time. Breakfast
in bed, everything.

He passed the test. Definitely a keeper; he loved me without knowing I
graduated top of my class at Cordon Bleu Academy. Tonight, I’ll
prepare a feast.

– thanks to arion for feedback!

On Technorati: , ,

Ranulf head of Manila chapter of International Game Designers Association; Eric head of acads

January 27, 2005 - Categories: barkada, philippines

From http://news.inq7.net/infotech/index.php?index=1&story_id=25520

Ranulf Goss, a support specialist from the Philippine office of
anti-virus firm Trend Micro, was named the new chairman of the Manila
chapter of the International Game Development Association (IGDA).

Among the first to be named are World Cybergames Philippines
coordinator Tjader Regis to head of the IGDA Events Group; Spoon
Interactive’s Willy Tang to head the Interactive Group; Gabby Dizon
and Luna Cruz, both of whom had worked with Anino Entertainment to
head the Arts and Design Group; and Ateneo de Manila University
professor Eric Vidal to head the Academic Group.

I think we’ll see great things from this group. =)

On Technorati: ,


January 28, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

The boy winked before dropping a black beetle on a girl, who screamed
and whirled around to smack him. He dodged and dashed off, glancing
backward, slowing occasionally. She was furious. His grin stretched
ear to ear.

I turned to my wife. “Did I ever…”

“Worse.” She laughed. “Boys are crazy when they’re in love.”

E-Mail to [email protected]

On Technorati: , , ,

ETIQUETTE — 55 words

January 28, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

“Out to in,” she said earlier; my silent mantra as I contemplated the
bewildering array before me. Chose the outermost.

Her parents were quiet for the rest of dinner.

Waiting for a cab, I flipped through the etiquette book she lent me.
Damn. They skipped a course on purpose. Wrong fork.

Tough, dating a WASP.

– In response to “you had a choice in life, buddy. you came to a fork

in your road, which one did you take?”

On Technorati: , , ,

E-Mail to [email protected]

Nifty Japanese stuff: Kakasi

January 28, 2005 - Categories: emacs, japanese, linux, ruby

Kakasi is an external utility for
converting Japanese text between coding systems. It can also add
furigana after kanji or convert a text file to romaji.

Debian users can apt-get install kakasi kakasi-dic.
There’s an Emacs interface,
a Perl module (Text::Kakasi),
and a Ruby library.

On Technorati: , , ,

Creating Passionate Users

January 28, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

Do you know about
http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/ yet? If you’re
a teacher, trainer, manager, developer—in fact, even if you’re not
one of the above—stop reading my blog and click on that link.

Here it is again if you don’t want to move your mouse up:

These people _rock_.

On Technorati:

Business idea! =)

January 28, 2005 - Categories: business

I’ve never seen a cybercafe that made it easy for people to study
without getting distracted by games or other people talking, perhaps
by giving them desk space and small partitions.

I’ve never seen a cybercafe with programming tools or rates low enough
for people to consider programming or studying in them. I’ve never
seen a cybercafe that had little programming contests—perhaps with
prizes?—or computer tips and trivia.

I’ve never seen a cybercafe that made it easy for students to work on
group projects by letting them use whiteboards, scratch paper,
pencils, Post-It notes (sold at the store) in a semi-private room.

I’ve never seen a cybercafe that helped you focus on your work instead
of your movie download or your chat. I’ve never seen a cybercafe
explicitly devoted to studying, with help just a call or hand-raise away.

I’ve never seen a cybercafe that allowed parents to establish accounts
or lines of credit for their children so that they could be assured
that money was spent on computer access instead of games.

I’ve never seen a cybercafe that made it easy to conduct small
seminars by having some kind of projector, even an OHP—although of
course a digital projector would be much cooler. (This is pushing it,
but only just.)

Maybe I just haven’t looked hard enough, or maybe there’s a business
opportunity here somewhere. I want to make it easy for people to study
even if they’re only renting bedspace somewhere. I want to make it
easy for people to find other people to study with, to form study
groups, to ask questions if they need help.

This idea lends itself to franchising, too. Computer geeks who would
like an excuse to work on personal projects while making some money
can take care of a lab. Internet all day. An excuse to keep computing
books around. The occasional question, sure, but after you set it up
it’s pretty much self-running.

Hmm. Far future. I hope someone beats me to the punch, because it
looks like something that might be good for students.

On Technorati: