March 2005

Accomplishment report for 2005.03.01

March 1, 2005 - Categories: adphoto

Confirmed Globe DSL SMTP server

  • Found written on DSL box.
  • Sent and received test e-mail.
  • Confirmed with DSL tech support and Ben.
  • Next action: None

Updated studio list on website

  • Cut, cropped, and recolored photos from AdphotoProfile1.pdf.
  • Placed the pictures on Adphoto: Studio » Facilities.
  • Next action: Get better information on studios (dimensions, facilities)

Submitted site to web directories

  • Open Directory Project,, Tanikalang Ginto, (specializations: Advertising, special effects, digital, stock, product/studio still life)
  • Expect two weeks or more before listings show up.
  • Blurb used: Advertising photography and digital imaging from award-winning pioneers John Chua, G-nie Arambulo, Mac Antonio, Kathy Chua. 30+ years of experience of working with both local and international clients.
  • Next action: None

Worked on Haribon sponsorship letter

  • Rewrote proposal to be more attractive to potential sponsors.
  • Next action: Follow up with Dad

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Supplier’s directory

March 3, 2005 - Categories: adphoto

Supplier's Directory: Studio / Gear Rentals lists Adphoto, Inc. =) Nice write-up.

In brief: A well-established firm that rents out studios—from modest 40 sq. meter units to a columnless 240 sq. meter studio for cars and huge setups. They've got studios with kitchen facilities for food photography, and studios with adjoining dressing / make-up rooms for talent / fashion shoots. They also rent out a full-range of digital equipment (think Hasselblads, Sinars, Fuji, and PhaseOne digital systems) and can build sets and source props.

They also provide photography services through their pool of in-house photography pros—John K. Chua, G-nie Arambulo, Mac Antonio, Kathy Chua, and Ben Chan.

Note: A full-service studio that has near everything you can dream of needing. They've also been operating for years and years. For more info, you should look for Ms. Harvey V. Chua (that's not a typo, SHE should be able to help you out).

Page maintained by Taj Deluria.


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Accomplishment report: Getting in touch with my inner networking geek

March 3, 2005 - Categories: adphoto
Reorganized network in lobby and Internet room
  • Prepared and printed instructions for connecting to the Internet and configuring one's mail client. Posted on wall of Internet room.
  • Discussed network configuration with Jun and networking technician. They were both pleased at the reduction of work in my proposed star configuration because adding a switch downstairs means not having to rip out a cable every time something got broken. While I was out buying equipment, they laid a new line going downstairs and removed lines that were not responding. As a result, the hub is less congested now.
  • Bought 2 8-port switches, 2 extra LAN cards and 20 RJ45 ends. Paid cash and submitted receipts.
  • Helped network technician crimp 6 lengths of 3 meter patch cable. Chatted with him about networking and mentioned that I was planning to put one of the switches downstairs even though they had fixed the broken intranet connection already, as I would need another port anyway. He helpfully installed it, keeping in mind which line was straighter than the other. Nice person.
  • (Here's the fun part.) Overhauled wiring in Internet room by myself. Removed the DSL router. Connected the 8-port switch with the DSL router. Arranged the new cables. Successfully browsed.
  • Panicked when Mac and Kathy couldn't send mail through Globelines. Frantically tried to configure mail before giving them a direct connection to Destiny as a quick workaround.
  • Successfully sent a test message from Microsoft Entourage using after spending a total of almost an hour on the phone with Globelines tech support trying various combinations: with authentication, with SSL, etc.
  • Configured Mom's laptop to send mail through Globelines. She successfully sent mail from her main account, but then got "relaying denied" errors as her old accounts weren't configured yet. Finished configuring her laptop. No complaints so far.
  • Neatly bound most wires with twist ties. Removed unnecessary things from Internet room shelf and piled them outside.
  • Installed new LAN card in server. Wiped off most of the dust inside the case. (We have dust bunnies. Eek.)
  • Successfully turned on server. (It's always a scary thing, turning on a computer with no monitor in sight...) responded to both Web and login.
  • Pleasantly surprised to see scheduling application still alive. Reset scheduling application database and successfully tested job creation and and view/search.
  • Bought cat litter and dog food. Paid cash and submitted receipts.
  • Helped Miguel Paraz with a computer science parsing problem.

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Clueful cybercafe in the Philippines

March 4, 2005 - Categories: opensource, philippines

Clair wrote:

Sessinet in Dilimall =) It's on the second floor of Dilimall. It is across Red Fox (the photo shop). It's the net cafe with extra study tables so students can study/do their homework while waiting their turn in the net cafe.

They currently use Firefox as the default browser but they have had customers who want IE. They plan to use Open Office soon. And after a while use Linux for their OS =) One of the computers in the shop is currently dual boot Windows XP and Debian Sarge.

E-Mail from clair ching

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Official website for OSC-Ph 2005

March 8, 2005 - Categories: conference, opensource, philippines

Official website for open source conference to be held in Cebu on March 14 and 15:

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Congrats to teams who competed in Java Cup and Quizzardry!

March 8, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

Ealden wrote:

Congratulations to the teams who competed in the recently concluded Java Cup and Quizzardry competitions! The Java Cup was held last 3 Mar 2005, while the Quizzardly was held the next day, 4 Mar 2005. The teams competed from those sent by DLSU, iAcademy, UPD, AMA, FEU, Chang Kai Shek, and UA&P.

The said events were part of the 20th Computer Science Week of the University of the Philippines, Diliman, and were both organized by the UP Association of Computer Science Majors (UP CURSOR).


Champion: Ateneo 3

  • Miguel Arguelles (4 CS)
  • Allan Espinosa (3 ECE)
  • Michael Tan (2 CS, alternate)

Second runner up: Ateneo 2

  • Joseph Noel (4 CS)
  • Paul Rivera (4 CS)

4th place: Ateneo 1

  • Erik Uy (4 CS)
  • Charles Yeung (4 MIS)
  • Ramon "Akie" Mejia (3 CS, alternate)


Champion: Ateneo 2

  • Mark Punzalan (3 CS)
  • Vanessa Gonzales (3 CS)
  • Randolph "Zippy" Espinosa (3 CS)

Second runner up: Ateneo 3

  • Erik Uy (4 CS)
  • Marc Lihan (3 CS)
  • Erwin Lee (3 MIS)

Ateneo 1

  • Ealden Escanan (3 MIS)
  • Gil San Pedro (3 CS)
  • Robin Yu (1 CS)

Pictures: ;)

Congrats! :D

Ealden Esto E. Escañan
Outgoing CompSAt President

E-Mail from Ealden Esto E. Escañan

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Under-leg loops

March 8, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

Can now make the diabolo loop around one leg. Back catch still needs improvement, but can be dramatic finish. Must practice with higher ceilings! Diabolo good exercise.

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Business Writing Seminar

March 11, 2005 - Categories: presentation, writing

My mom sent me information on a seminar ( on business writing, knowing how I'd like to improve my communication skills. P 8,500 (early bird discount) buys a lot of business writing books, though, and I don't think I'll be able to make use of these skills just yet. Perhaps after grad school?

Does your job entail a lot of writing? Do you panic when confronted with a writing assignment? Does preparing a business report or a business proposal send shivers up and down your spine? Are you unsure of what words to use? If so, then this workshop on effective business writing is for you. Peppered with exercises and easy-to-grasp, practical tips for better business writing, this workshop is designed for Executives like you who regularly compose their own correspondence. You'll benefit from on-the-spot mentoring and participating in discussions that identify and address your own particular writing challenges.Plus, you'll take a look at what works and what won't in writing:
  • Cover Letters
  • Sales Letters
  • E-Mail Messages
  • Memos
  • Business Reports
  • Business Proposals
  • Responses to Complaints

Maybe later, when I think I'll be doing a lot more writing. Right now, I'd love more classes on presentation and public speaking. Actually, scratch that—I know the _theory_, but I want to see it in _practice._ I want to listen to good speakers, people who aren't dependent on random Microsoft Powerpoint transitions or pretty clip-art, people who don't read off the slides, people who can hold an entire hall captive with just voice and a few visual aids. I want to meet masters.

That's what I picked up from Ranulf's talk at La Salle. He and Niel Dagondon talked about game development in the Philippines, but what _really_ struck me was their presentation styles. Ranulf was a typical geek; sincere, informative, but with halting delivery and not much audience connection. Niel—Niel knew how to work the crowd. He got them to laugh. He made them feel special. My (paper) notebook was full of notes on his speaking style. Niel's not perfect, but he's better than Ranulf, and he's more at ease with the crowd than I am. I have much to learn.

I'm a strange kind of geek. I devour books on public speaking, negotiation, sales, even marketing—all of these things that most geeks don't think necessary. I _like_ presentations. I enjoy getting up there and sharing what I've learned. Yes, my knees get weak and I get annoyed with myself when I can't figure out a good way to explain something, but it's _fun._ Scary, but fun.

I like explaining things. I like exciting people, making them curious, helping them get started. I twitch whenever I see a nifty idea obscured by poor presentation skills. I hate it when people think computer science is boring or difficult, because it can be so much more fun than that. I want to learn how to sell ideas, how to set people on fire.

E-Mail to Harvey Chua

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University of Asia and the Pacific: Business talks

March 11, 2005 - Categories: business, presentation

Raven said

Hi Sacha! UA&P usually hosts a lot of such talks, ranging from business writing to power dressing. I'm sure they'd have seminars on public speaking / giving presentations. I'll inform you when I receive such a memo. ^_^

I'd like to share this as well: when I was in undergrad I was a member of a laboratory where each of us had to deliver a seminar or two about certain papers related to our research. I thought that that was such a great training, since we not only get to practice public speaking on a regular basis, we also got to watch others do it so we knew how a good (or a bad) presentation looked like.

Amen. I still wince when I watch other people read off the slides. Students hate it when their teachers do that, but they don't get exposed to enough good presentations to learn how to deliver them. Presentations in other departments are pretty good—I always looked forward to the Comm presentation during Faculty Day—but people in the sciences often miss out on presentation skills...

E-Mail from Richi's server

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Presentations up

March 12, 2005 - Categories: presentation

Daring cat rescue!

March 13, 2005 - Categories: cat

I was in the living room getting some stuff for my trip to Cebu when I heard plaintive meowing from the garden. Uh oh, cat in trouble! I meowed back, encouraging the cat to continue while I edged closer to the garden. I couldn't figure out where the sound was coming from. Was the cat trapped in the space behind the airconditioner in the studio kitchen? Was the cat trapped on the roof? Which cat was it, anyway? The meow was high-pitched, so that wasn't Neko (who was right beside me watching her weird human meow)... HEY, WHERE WAS OLLIE?

I panicked and called the cavalry. "Dad! Dad! Ollie's stuck on the roof! Help!"

He told me to get Kathy, so I tore through downstairs looking for my sister. "Our cat! Ollie! Roof! I heard him from the garden!"

She grabbed a flashlight and headed to the garden, and we meowed to determine where Ollie was. Kathy headed up to the roofdeck while I meowed to reassure the stuck cat that help was on the way. Then I grabbed another flashlight and followed her.

Kathy carefully climbed onto the roof and made her way to the edge. She swung the flashlight and gasped when she saw Ollie trapped on the lower side. "Ollie! Sacha, call Papa!"

I ran downstairs and told my dad that Kathy found Ollie on the roof and we needed his help. He put on his pants and went upstairs. I grabbed a bowl of food from the planterbox and passed it to him so that he could give it to Kathy.

Kathy spent a few minutes coaxing Ollie out from the space under the water tower. After wheedling and holding her hand out to pet the poor hungry cat produced no results, she got the bowl of food from my dad ("This is dog food!" "I got it from the cats' planterbox!"), crouched beside the water tower... and rattled the bowl.

Two cat ears perked up.

She held the bowl out and quickly took her fingers out of the way as the starving cat attacked the food. After a number of bites, she grabbed Ollie and walked back to the ladder. She couldn't climb up with the cat in her arms and she was worried he'd bolt if she put him down, so I stepped onto my roof (very carefully as I was wearing slippers) and walked to the edge, taking the cat from her and making reassuring noises as we all went back inside.

Ollie headed straight for the planterbox and the bowl of food there. We didn't see much of him; we just heard this steady crunching.

Another daring cat rescue!

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Norah Jones

March 13, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

Incidentally, went to the Norah Jones concert last night. I liked how each member of the band had their own time in the spotlight. =)

Oh, and she sang Nearness of You—one of my favorite songs. <grin> Don't Know Why was also very nice, and of course Come Away With Me...

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Ack, Microsoft Office is 20,488?

March 13, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

If you want something with Microsoft PowerPoint, you need to spend P20,488 (Villman). Whoa. How much does Adobe Photoshop cost?

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In Cebu

March 13, 2005 - Categories: philippines

I'm in love.

I'm in love with the play of light upon the mountains and the glitter on the sea. I'm in love with the long-lost constellations in the night sky mirrored but not drowned out by the city. I'm in love with the golden sunlight filtering through the flowers and trees that line the road.

Cancel my return flight, Mom. I'll just stay here!

I know there's more to Cebu than what I've seen. I've spent just half a day here, and I know first impressions aren't infallible. I want to stay here until I'm sick of Cebu, until I miss Manila terribly. Manila has my family and my friends, but here there are nearby parks that aren't choked by malls and restaurants, here there are skies that are not yet flooded by light...

If I don't get accepted into UToronto and Cebu Institute of Technology is as interesting as Cherry Sta. Romana and Jigger Escario are, I'll look into studying there. Will I be too out of touch if I do that? PLUG activity is Manila-centric; most groups are. Will I be able to spark activity around me? I should find out how the local tech scene is. Chances are, they're doing really cool things without telling the rest of the Philippines.

Perhaps tomorrow I'll see the bigger picture and decide Manila is much nicer, but tonight I will go to sleep in love with a city. It might just be a passing thing. It might not be.

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Major new contacts from the open source conference

March 14, 2005 - Categories: opensource, philippines

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The conference was so much fun!

March 14, 2005 - Categories: conference, opensource, presentation

My laptop wouldn't talk to the projector, so I did my Knoppix talk without slides. I forgot to give people my e-mail address. Whoops. Still, I have a few contacts, and I guess that's a good start. Most people had already tried Linux, so I went for the evangelization-of-others angle instead, although I threw in a few benefits for newbies.

I misplaced Vahid's index card, but I know he's a Ma. IT student at USC. I should write to him about repartitioning.

Chatted with Lawrence and Justin over dinner. Turns out they're both into Stephenson and other SF stuff. (Thanks to Baryon for introducing me to those books!) I think I convinced Justin to try out Emacs.

It was tons of fun geeking out and swapping stories. Lawrence is a treasure-trove of business experience and geek stories. =)

Tired from a long but absolutely fun day. Good night!

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Image processing

March 15, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

You know, we really can teach image processing as part of an introductory CS course. It opens avenues for creativity and makes mathematics less intimidating. The BlueJ book talked about it; it really does make sense. Histograms, gamma correction, posterization, etc... fun!

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Had tons of fun!

March 15, 2005 - Categories: conference

I learned so much from the conference—proof that the best way to receive knowledge is to give it away! I met a lot of people that I should definitely keep in touch with because they're doing really cool things, like Dr. Maja, Justin, Pauline, Lawrence...

Here are some more conference notes:

Justin was a great speaker. He structured his talk to have some interactivity, breaking the students up into groups so that they could try out project planning. Slightly marred by students' inertia, but a good idea anyway. He then put forward a humorous scenario that neatly highlighted the challenges of project management and explained the basics of PM through jokes and stories. Excellent speaker, probably the best presenter in the conference.

They asked me to repeat my Knoppix talk for the benefit of the students, so I did my whizbang look-how-much-you-can-get-on-one-CD presentation. That was fun, too.

Met Dominique's landlady. She was really nice.

Had to buy a swimsuit. I came to Cebu without packing a swimsuit—what was I thinking? Grabbed a pair of slippers, too.

Had dinner with the camera club. Dominique came as well. That was fun.

He's teaching me Bisaya. If I can learn enough Japanese to make myself understood, I should be able to learn enough Bisaya to charm people. Here's what I took up today:

Maayong hapon. Good afternoon
Lingaw ka-ayo. It's lots of fun.
Nindot ka-ayo. It's very nice.
Maski studyante, kaya ka-ayo. Even a student can do it.
Daghan ko natun-an gikan sa ... I learned so much from ... (hmm, I think I got the Bisaya part wrong. Maayon?)
Daghang salamat. Thank you.

(Thanks to James Lloyd Atwil for the corrections!)

I didn't get to use the phrases during my talk, though. Got nervous. =)

More thoughts on software patents. In short, I think they really suck, and that our government should focus on fixing copyright.

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FreeBSD ports for planner

March 17, 2005 - Categories: emacs, planner

From Dryice:

I've got emacs-wiki, planner, and remember in the FreeBSD ports tree. Now FreeBSD users can install these all by
cd /usr/ports/deskutils/remember.el
make install clean

And turn on the "planner support" in the menu.

Thank you all for making this great software!

E-Mail from Dryice Dong Liu

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Kodak Philippines: send pictures through the Net

March 18, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

In response to Michael Cheney's search for a service that'll let him upload photos and have them printed out by someone in the Philippines, Doc Mana mentioned Kodak Express and said:

They have a FAQ, which guides you through the membership process. I have not personally tried this service, but Kodak Philippines has a very good reputation for quality printing, so you will not be disappointed.

E-Mail from Pablo Manalastas

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Tanaga: Siopao

March 18, 2005 - Categories: cat, filipino

My first tanaga. Please help me fix my Tagalog; I might've gotten some of the nuances wrong. The poem below is fairly sick. I hope this never happens to any cat!


pusang aking inangkin
hinagkan nang malambing,
siniopao at kinain?!
iba sana hinain!

Buhayin ang Tanaga!

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Pusa sa Kalye

March 19, 2005 - Categories: cat, filipino
hindi ko malimutan
pusang nasagasaan
tatlong kuting sa daan
wala nang mapuntahan

- More tanaga. Waah, poor cats. 2005.03.19

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March 19, 2005 - Categories: filipino
bituin daw kanyang mata.
rosas daw kanyang labi.
mukha raw s'yang diwata.
ay! baliw yung nagsabi!

ABAB rhyming this time.

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Living with ratpoison

March 19, 2005 - Categories: opensource

I use the wonderfully minimalist ratpoison window manager. Unlike most window managers, ratpoison leaves my shortcut keys alone. I can do everything without lifting my hands from the keyboard.

The important parts of my ~/.Xsession are simply:

emacs &
exec ratpoison

This is my ~/.ratpoisonrc

escape F11

Whenever I start up X, I get Emacs in full-screen mode. I can use F11 c to create a terminal window. If I need to refer to another application, I use F11 :split and :hsplit to arrange my screen. F11 :only returns to my one-window layout.

ratpoison doesn't deal well with window-y applications like the GIMP, but that's what the :tmpwm command is for. I usually switch to FVWM with :tmpwm fvwm when I need to use GIMP, then exit FVWM to return to my ratpoison environment when done.

Great stuff. Glad Clair's checking it out.

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Business book: You Can Negotiate Anything

March 20, 2005 - Categories: book, business

Today I finished reading Herb Cohen's You Can Negotiate Anything: How to Get What You Want. Its main points were:

  • Almost everything is negotiable.
  • Recognize negotiating tactics and deal with them.
  • Be personal.

I liked how the book listed common negotiation ploys. If I recognize the trick someone's trying to pull on me, I can laugh it off and turn the situation to my advantage. I can also try to avoid the bad negotiation habits I might've picked up as a kid. The book had a lot of good advice.

I think negotiation is a very useful skill that is well worth learning even for techies. I was never keen on negotiating because I didn't like the idea of haggling, but now I see how the process of negotiation can bring out other win-win scenarios that might not have been considered in a straight deal. Negotiation isn't just for project costs or schedule commitments; it's for relationships and day-to-day work as well. Fun stuff.

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Turning my mind to money

March 20, 2005 - Categories: business

"What? Sacha's going mercenary?"

No, I'm still very much into free software and I'm still definitely not going for easy-money stuff like working in a call center. =)

However, I _have_ decided that it's silly for me to look down on business. It's something to learn, and it's just as worthy as technology is. I've been reading business books since childhood, and I want to put those things into practice. I want to take risks and learn from experience. I want to do this _now_, while making mistakes won't mean starving. This gives me the freedom to take calculated risks and the power to walk away from bad deals. I want to be able to hack this.

I want to meet other people who are brave enough to be creative, people who aren't satisfied with the routine of being an employee and consumer. When Marcelle told me about unexpectedly having to find other ways to fund his MA Philosophy, I excitedly invited him over for a brainstorming session. From a guy desperate for options, he became someone with a long list of people he can get in touch with and things he can try out. I think he'll do well!

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Business book: Rich Dad’s Cashflow Quadrant

March 21, 2005 - Categories: book, business

I read Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad's Cashflow Quadrant, another book in his Rich Dad, Poor Dad series. While I'm generally not a big fan of the other books in the series, the book drove home the difference between income sources that force you to keep working (employee / self-employed) and income sources that make money for you even while you're asleep (business, investment). It also emphasized the difference between taking risks _and_ paying for it versus taking risks and being paid for it. I think its glowing recommendation of small- to medium-size house/apartment renting needs to be taken with a grain of salt, and I don't have the cash or confidence to play the real-estate games the authors are so fond of, but the book has many insights anyone can use.

My dad is self-employed, but it's the kind of self-employed that means he has to keep working. My mom is working on the business system so that it'll function smoothly even if she's not on-site. The other people in the business are employees, and they'll likely stay employees unless they're taking care of their own well-being. My mom's been trying to help them get the idea of stocks, though, and they hold shares in the company. My mom's also quite savvy, and I have much to learn from her.

I want to go further. I want to learn how to build a good business system. I want to learn how to do that from the beginning instead of trying to fit a good business system in afterwards. I want to create opportunities. I know what I want to be, and I know that just working normal jobs isn't going to cut it. I need to take risks.

Let's take teaching for example. I love teaching, and I would like to help more people enjoy computing. I can teach in one university and hope to inspire other people by my example either horizontally (other teachers picking up good ideas) or vertically (students becoming teachers). Horizontal propagation takes time. Vertical propagation takes even more time. I could focus on teacher training, but even then, control is difficult and turnaround is slow. If I set up a company for teaching and differentiate the company through philosophy, techniques and strengths, then we can move much faster. There's more risk and I'd have to work outside the school system, but I just might reach more people that way: tutors who go through the training, people who learn, teachers who get inspired... There's nothing stopping the company from offering free training, either. This idea is an example of how something like teaching can be more than just an employee kind of thing. Of course, there's a lot of risk (saturated market? what about quality control?). It'll be more challenging than a safe and steady professorship dependent only on publications (and that only until tenure), but challenges are fun.

I want to go out there and learn how businesses work. I want to learn why and how they fail and how to recover from those things. I want to learn how to sell ideas, business plans, work... I need to start small: baby steps forward. I need to be able to make mistakes, although of course I'll try to avoid repeating mistakes.

I think I can hack this. =)


March 23, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized
Hi Sacha,

I just talked to the grad office. They were waiting for me to give my approval, oops. :) An offer letter should be going out to you shortly.


Mark Chignell wants me there by mid-May!

We will have a watermelon party later. Yay yay yay yay yay!

E-Mail from Mark Chignell

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How to hire great people

March 23, 2005 - Categories: business, geek

joelonsoftware has interesting insights on hiring the best people. He pokes holes in hiring fallacies like super-selection: "We're so good we hire only 1 out of 200 applicants!" Big news: the best people _aren't_ scrambling for your vacancies! Joel said:

By the way, it's because of this phenomenon—the fact that many of the great people are never on the job market—that we are so aggressive about hiring summer interns. This may be the last time these kids ever show up on the open market. In fact we hunt down the smart CS students and individually beg them to apply for an internship with us, because if you wait around to see who sends you a resume, you're already missing out.

The best experienced software developers WILL NOT BE LOOKING FOR WORK. They will be under lock-and-key at software companies that know how to take care of them. Unless you can get at them through personal or intellectual reasons, they're not going to apply to your job ad. Screw experience. Cherry-pick students, offer them great internships, CHALLENGE THEM WITH INTERESTING WORK (not just your usual OJT gofer duties), and mold them into the developers you want them to be.

Something to keep in mind if I start my own tech company.

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March 23, 2005 - Categories: business

Read technobiography: OT: Jun-jun the Parking Man and think about the poor.

I think microfinancing is a good idea, BUT it must also come with financial education. Most people are financially illiterate. Heck, _I_ still don't think I can start up just any company and make it successful. People with little money have less education. They need guidance and they need followup. They need to learn not to use windfalls for consumption, but rather think of ways to make money with it.

I wonder what would have happened if the group lent the money instead. Edwin thinks it would have encouraged Jun-jun to use the money responsibly, and I think so as well. It would be very tempting for Jun-jun to go and buy things first and then just try to pay back the loan, failing eventually because his income hadn't increased proportionately. He would need to be taught not to use the money to buy things right away but rather put money into something that could yield more money later—a bananacue business, if that isn't saturated yet.

But yes—you need to teach a man to fish.

What _would_ I do if I had extra cash? I should always keep business ideas in mind so that I can take advantage of windfalls. I can save extra money in the bank so that I can make decisions when I have more money (an investment fund for myself). You need to have a certain amount of money to take advantage of some opportunities. There are also ways of making money on top of borrowed money, but I'm not confident enough to risk that yet.

Tala's recent "Argh" entry inspired me, and one of the businesses I'd like to put up is an anger release place. ;)

Hmmm. You know, it _is_ actually a viable business idea. Buy cheap plates, have people pay a small amount (cost of plate + small margin) to draw faces on plates and SMASH THEM! SMASH SMASH SMASH SMASH!

You can also have stuffed toys for cuddling–or ripping the stuffing out of! Mwahaha... Voodoo dolls and the like, too.

I wonder where we can put up a small shop like that. We can call it "Rage" or something...

I remember reading about the business idea somewhere. It sounds like something one can set up easily. Get satisfyingly fragile plates, black markers, a punching bag, paper and tape (put faces on the punching bag), cheap stuffed toys, maybe even a photoprinter after the shop is successful (and scissors and lighters, too)... Set it all up, have space so that you can throw things a satisfying distance, and market it as a cheap way to protect your valuables from your tantrums! If my sister's anyone to go by, there's a market for a place like that! ;)

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March 23, 2005 - Categories: filipino
Nagje-jaywalk na suso
Nakita ko sa Quiapo
Kay bilis nyang tumakbo
Naunahan pa ako

Thanks to Clair for getting tanaga into my head (I have Last Challenge Syndrome, like LSS) and my mom for suggesting Quiapo instead of Recto. =)

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MSU-IIT student wins IBM Linux Scholar Challenge

March 24, 2005 - Categories: linux, opensource, philippines

Filipino software developer wins IBM Linux Scholar tilt

Posted 00:33am (Mla time) Mar 24, 2005 By Erwin Lemuel Oliva

FILIPINO software development talent shines once again.

Jan Stevens Ancajas, a student of the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, was among the grand prizewinners of the 2004 IBM Linux Scholars Challenge, learned Wednesday.

Ancajas was among 20 winners from all over the world in the yearly challenge hosted by the computer giant IBM.

The Filipino developer's program entry described as "Dynamic DNS solution for a campus network" was cited as one of the best software programs developed by a student.

This IBM-hosted contest solicits entries from students all over the world. Each winner will receive an IBM ThinkPad T-Series with Linux and will also have the opportunity to qualify for one of the three Summer 2005 internships at the IBM Linux Technology Center.

Wow! =D Congrats!

(Oooooh, envious...)

E-Mail from Miguel A. Paraz

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Difficult choices

March 24, 2005 - Categories: business, family

UToronto is offering me admission. An interesting startup is recruiting me. Choices are always difficult.

I would like to defer my U of T admission a few months—a sem at most—and try out the startup. Having my cake and eating it too. I'm excited about the opportunities. I want to learn about the business side of things. I want to see a startup try to get all the way to shipping a product. I'm looking forward to picking their brains. Lawrence and Luis have worked on other startups before, and they've been quite successful. I want to learn why. I also want to put together a little investment kitty I can use for myself in the future. I think the business experience will enrich my research work and make me even more valuable to the department.

I was going to post a long entry thinking through some other factors, but posting it as I had originally written it would be doing a grave disservice to my mother. Initially I was frustrated by her lack of enthusiasm and her skepticism (although not straight disapproval). Silly me, of course! Not only is my mom a very savvy business person who's just reminding me to do due diligence (and indeed I will e-mail the former companies of the guys heading the startup), but she's also my mom, and although she's not entirely keen on the idea of my being away, she knows it's a selfish feeling and won't let that stop me from going.

Conclusion: I have an ubercool mom who is handling all of these things far, far better than other moms can be expected to.

I really, really love her.

So I'll check this thing out. If the guys pass whatever tests I can think of _and_ the UToronto people say OK, then I'll sign up with them for a stint. If not, I'll head over to Canada so that I can get started right away and come home soon.

I lurv my mom.

1匹の猫を別とすれば家は空っぽだった。 The house was empty except for a cat.

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Edwin’s comment on financial literacy

March 24, 2005 - Categories: business, finance

edwin of technobiography said:

Hi Sacha,

Many of us, like me, have a lot to learn about financial literacy. I'm reading up on financial literacy through Francisco Colayco's book (Pera mo Palaguin mo) and Larry Gamboa's book (Think Rich, Pinoy!). Good read, very applicable to us Filipinos.

Gabby and I had a little discussion in January. Take a look: Cashflow! - Edutainment in a box

Yeah, I heard about Cashflow! I'd like to play it. Anyone have one of those and a free afternoon? We could also have a Monopoly party. I was never very good at Monopoly (and in fact usually found games a drag), but that doesn't mean I can't learn to be good at it. =D

E-Mail from Richi's server

猫は夕食に魚にありつくとわくわくする。 My cat is thrilled with joy when she gets fish for dinner.

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Still sick

March 26, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

I still have a hard time swallowing, and I'm somewhat warmer than normal. Oh well. Also feel very—no, not quite sleepy, but I do want to vegetate.

In other news, I had a lot of fun playing taiko at the arcades. I've gotten much better at it since my retun,. I can easily clear simple songs and have even cleared the medium version of the 5th symphony. (Don't ask me what the 5th symphony is doing there, but it's lots of fun.)

Watched Miss Congeniality 2 today.

Oh, wore the funky pants Kathy gave me. Also wore the pretty zori I brought home from Japan.

Much fun.

Still sick, though.

どのねこも、どのねこもひとくちずつ草を食べました。すると野原中の草はすっ かりなくなってしまいました。 Each cat ate a mouthful of grass and not a blade was left!

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Stayed in bed most of the day

March 27, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

ネコは身動きひとつしなかった。 The cat didn't move a muscle.

This cat nearly didn't, either. I stayed in bed almost all day, still nursing a sore throat. Still sick. My dad and I had arroz caldo. What a wonderful comfort food... (No, my dad isn't sick. Just me.)

Tomorrow the ACM people want me to train with them. I've been looking forward to it too, although I've been a little nervous due to certain personal reasons. My mom said something along the lines of quitting while I was ahead, but it isn't that, really. Oh well. I'll pick up some of my toys, at least. Besides, I don't have a reliable way of getting in touch with them, and I'd hate to make them wait at Faura.

I should also work on the Adphoto systems. Eventually. Maybe the equipment thing. I don't know... The Bluepoint thing isn't much, but at least it's well-defined; I know when I'm successful. And I'll get paid for it too, which might be nice for starting a small business or whatnot.

Gah. I need to think.

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March 27, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

I hadn't been particularly looking forward to tomorrow. I don't know why; a general malaise, perhaps. It's hard to be cheery with a sore throat and the knowledge that one has to get up early tomorrow morning anyway. Then, reading through a small collection of letters from Dominique, I came across this quote from one of his favorite authors (whom I've also come to be quite fond of)—

" might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life. The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, 'Do it again'; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead."

I should remember that. Each day is not a dreary routine; it is an expression of joy. I don't do computer work because I _have_ to; I do it because I can, and because it's tons of fun. Take, for example, that Internet cabling thing. I need to keep in mind not my mom's face as she's asking me to do it, but the clients' faces as convenient Net access saves a shoot (or at least eases some of the tensions). I just have to keep my users in mind; to think that what I do will matter.

Tomorrow is another day. Isn't that such a cool thing?

E-Mail from Dominique Cimafranca

彼らは熱烈にいがみ合っている。 They fight like cat and dog.

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National Strategic Planning for ICTs in Basic Education Initiative: A Round Table Discussions

March 28, 2005 - Categories: education, philippines
  • Broadening Access to Education (April 18, from 9:00AM to 4:00PM)
  • Improving Planning and Management (April 19, from 9:00AM to 4:00PM)
  • Enhancing Quality of Learning (April 20, from 9:00AM to 4:00PM)
  • Enhancing Quality of Teaching (April 21, from 9:00AM to 4:00PM)
  • Sustainability (April 29, from 9:00AM to 4:00PM)
The said round table discussions will be held at the Seminar Room, National Computer Center, C.P. Garcia Avenue, UP Diliman, Quezon City.

(from Marvin Pascual): By the way, this event is not exclusively for people who are into academe only as what I was expecting before. Everyone is encourage to join us to fight and promote Linux and Open Source for the ICTs in DepEd. Please send your name, e-mail and contact numbers to me privately if you are willing to support and help DepEd in their ICTs and quality education to students.

Darn! Wish I could go. Anyway, it's for basic education; I can wait to get into that.

犬が1匹、猫が1匹、カナリヤが3羽います。 We have a dog, a cat and three canaries.

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March 29, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

I went to Ateneo early this morning, fully intending to just say hi and then go back home to revamp the network. Doc Mana somehow managed to talk me into joining the students for the morning contest, and I'm very glad I did so.

Yes, Eric and I lost. We solved only three problems compared to the four problems Allan, Mark and Miguel solved. Knowing how rusty I am, knowing how uncertain the dynamics were, it was a no-win kind of thing—but I went and joined it anyway, just for kicks.

I think it turned out really well.

I think we all won.

Winning isn't just a matter of points. It's not a matter of beating someone or keeping your reputation intact or whatever. It's nothing like that at all.

So, yes, the next generation beat me. Yes, they had one additional person, but that doesn't make their achievement any less cool. Heck, if you're going to go for absolute ranking, Eric solved more problems than I did. I solved one on my own and made a passable attempt at another; he solved two problems completely.

Someone just looking at the numbers will not understand why I enjoyed that contest so much. I loved it, every single moment of it: from scribbling tentative solutions and working through them with a pen, frowning at stubborn bugs... Yes, even until the last few minutes when I was, like, gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

It was fun.


March 29, 2005 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I find it difficult to trust dermatologists.

I mean, really. Now there's a good business opportunity: captive self-selected audience, little real differentiation between goods but artifically different prices, branding _all_ _over_ but no ingredients list or anything that can help you go for generics instead...

And you get to tap into one of the seven deadly sins, too.

I don't know. Maybe it's just a mild but healthy distrust of situations where you end up buying from the same person giving you advice.

Unfortunately, I don't know if we count any dermatologists among our family friends. I'd feel more comfortable with someone who saw me as more than a walk-in customer.

イヌとは対照的に、ネコはごく最近になって飼いならされたものである。 In contrast to the dog, the cat has become domesticated only in recent times.

Pitching Your Idea (to the supplier of your funds). A free workshop.

March 29, 2005 - Categories: business
Pitching Your Idea (to the supplier of your funds). A free workshop.
April 2, Ateneo, 8am-12noon

This is #5 of a series of free workshops.


  1. Writing an abbreviated business plan
  2. Market validation
  3. Proposed solution(product/service)
  4. Team Bios
  5. Financial Projections
  6. Communication skills
  7. Mastering the elevator pitch
  8. Quick dry run with volunteers

Ateneo De Manila University.
Visit this site: for the actual venue in Ateneo.

Resource Speaker: Joey Gurango, Webworks OS


Visit this site: for the actual venue in Ateneo.

E-Mail from Harvey Chua

その猫は私のそばで寝るのが好きだ。 The cat likes to sleep beside me.

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Playing with fire

March 30, 2005 - Categories: Uncategorized

Told you we play with fire.

Staff in a front circle Staff going around my back

猫の目は非常に光を感じやすい。 Cats' eyes are very sensitive to light.

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March 30, 2005 - Categories: adphoto

The network tester I bought yesterday was very useful. Celine and Yaya suddenly lost network connection, and the tester quickly showed me that both cables going to the first floor had been significantly damaged. I showed Jun how the network tester tests individual wires. We think rats might have chewed on the wires. Jun will rewire the connection going downstairs. I gave him the wall mounts, networking jacks, cable reel, and network tester: he's all set to do some major networking stuff.

Celine didn't receive some mail Mom sent her, so I confirmed that the server had plenty of free space and I sent another test message. However, my mom's default settings with Globelines didn't work.

To prevent its mail servers from being used for spam, Globelines requires users to check their Globelines account before allowing them to send mail through its servers (POP before SMTP). I didn't want to save my mom's Globelines password on all the computers that needed to send mail. On 2005.03.03, I installed another network card in our IntranetServer and configured it to check my mom's Globelines account regularly. This worked without a hitch because I had assigned addresses to keep the two networks separate.

When they plugged the wireless router in, though, the factory defaults conflicted with my addressing scheme. I suppose she had luckily managed to avoid those problems for a while. Still, fixing it was just a matter of sitting down and configuring the router properly. I set the router password and the wireless security settings as well.

We're still not done arranging for Mom's flight to Canada. Argh. The printer's annoying, the website's somewhat frustrating... Mrph.

彼らは熱烈にいがみ合っている。 They fight like cat and dog.

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Creating Passionate Users: The importance of seduction and curiosity

March 31, 2005 - Categories: emacs, passion

"The importance of seduction and curiosity" is another great entry from one of my favorite blogs, Creating Passionate Users. Kathy Sierra writes:

Part of creating passionate users starts with building curiosity. Inspire them to want to learn, know, and do more.

I love making people curious about things, whether it's Emacs, Planner, computer science, or even far-out stuff like street performance.

Kathy Sierra gives these tips:

  1. Be passionately curious yourself.
  2. Be seductive.
  3. Make them curious by doing something unusual, without an obvious explanation.
  4. Offer a puzzle or interesting question... without giving them the solution.
Be passionately curious yourself. Heck yeah. I love learning about things. When people give me feedback on my talk, the first thing that usually comes to their mind is my enthusiasm for the topic. Even when I can't go into a lot of detail about something like Squeak, they pick up on the fact that I think it's really interesting and something worth being curious about. Be seductive. I often do my Planner help that way when the person I'm talking to expresses interest in learning Lisp. I'll take them partway to a solution and leave enough for them to figure things out. Even with the hacks we put together for Planner, there's always that tantalizing glimpse of what _else_ could be possible. Make them curious by doing something unusual, without an obvious explanation. This is why I've taken to starting my Knoppix presentations with a Windows display. ;) Offer a puzzle or interesting question... without giving them the solution. Oooh, still have to figure out how to do this one properly.


私は1匹の黒猫がその家へ走り込むのを見た。 I saw a black cat run into the house.

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Paul Lussier on possible Planner Linux Journal article

March 31, 2005 - Categories: emacs, planner, writing
I just started getting you blog via rss yesterday, and just read the discussion you had over writing an article on planner. I just wanted to say that I think that is an AWESOME idea.

As Travis mentioned in the discussion, I too, have become totally adicted to using planner (which, ironically, helps me procrasinate from doing the stuff I need to, but "planning" it :)

There were a couple of points you mentioned that I'd like to touch on, and share my experiences with emacs-wiki, planner, the community, etc. Perhaps it's something you can use in your articles, perhaps not, but I'd like to share it with you nonetheless :)

   We're sitting on something cool here. We're sitting on a
           software project crazy enough to interest people who
           ordinarily wouldn't consider Emacs.

I think this is a fantastic observation. My own experience isn't too far off. I started using emacs over 10 years ago. But it was "just a powerful editor". I used it for the obvious things writing perl/shell code because I just liked the font-lock colors. And I used it for somewhat less obvious things like the column/rectangle manipulation which comes in *real* handy for dealing with things like large /etc/hosts or DNS zone tables which are all column oriented data. I had hacked a few functions of things I found useful, but maintained a rather small .emacs file.

About a year ago, my manager was gone for 6 weeks (boy was that nice :) She and I didnt' get along overly well, but the guy who stood in for her I got along with quite well. He happened to be a project manager, who has had MS Project surgically implanted :) I needed something I could keep track of things with. I found etask, but then saw emacs-wiki and planner. This seemed a more natural way of planning.

As I started in using planner and emacs-wiki, I very quickly became addicted. This was almost literally, an overnight conversion of my life. I no sooner started using emacs-wiki/planner, than I found myself using erc. Reading johnw's README for planner led me to his site, where I discovered ledger (John's unbelievably powerful financial app.) and eshell. Then came (in no specific order) w3m, muse, remember, bbdb, and last, but not least, gnus. The last three are significant. I had been mostly happy with my prior e-mail environment of an mh-backend based e-mail solution for the better part of a decade. But there was no way I could hook that in to planner, and after a several months of resistance, I attempted the switch to mh-e which, as you may remember, didn't go so well :) So, now I'm on gnus, and almost every facet of my life is now hooked into emacs. I've learned more about emacs and lisp in the past year than I have in the past 10 years.

A more profound observation is this:

   Heck, we're even getting non-programmers into Lisp.

I wouldn't consider myself a non-programmer, but I'm not a programmer either. I've got a degree in CS, and know my way around C a little bit, but my strengths, as a sysadmin, are really in perl. I love perl, think in perl, and can solve almost all my problems in perl. All except the hacks I want added into planner :) As a result of planner though, I've felt very much at a loss. The ability to contribute is so obviously there and within my reach, but the capability not so much. I can plainly see that if I could think in lisp, I could contribute to planner, but the stumbling block is my thought process, which is wired to think in perl. As a result, planner has inspired me to begin learning lisp, merely to be able to help myself, and others through what contributions to planner I may someday come up with. I learned perl out of necessity because it was better for the job I needed to do at the time. I'm learning lisp out of love of an application written in it, and a desire to help make it better :)

Then there's this:

   - We don't hide the Lisp code. It's there. Newbies get
           exposed to it. The way we deal with it, though, is by asking
           people to describe--in English--what they want to do--their
           dream PIM--and more experienced people would give them
           snippets of code and tips for making it happen.

This has been instrumental for me. To be able say "when I do X, I want Y to happen", and have that feature within minutes (or seconds!) available to me is astounding. The hack you presented for getting remember to know when it was on a task and create a related note, while I don't understand it yet, works superbly! That I could ask for that feature, and you could provide it is both a testament to how easy it is to extend planner and to how welcoming the community is of requests and features that may not be immediately useful to anyne else but the requestor (err, have I mentioned how much hippie-expand ROCKS lately ;)

   Yes.  But was this growth conscious?

This is a great question. And I think the answer is twofold. Did johnw intend to create such a vibrant community around planner? No, I don't think so. He was scratching a personal itch. Did you intend/expect this to explode the way it has, or did you plan it? I don't think so. In retrospect though, I think we could say that it was inevitable given your personality, love of people, and desire to help/teach others. Those who actively reach out, soon find themselves surrounded by others of like quality. Once you realized there was a community growing though, I think it became very much a conscious thought as to how to grow the community, and how to get planner to fit as many people's habits as possible. The open acceptance of hacking the code to custom fit anyone who happened to be interested is the obvious way to do that. Planner's design which allows people to choose from a menu of features, and to start out extremely simple and build up slowly is also very much a factor in why the community has evolved the way it has.

Planner seems to have created friendships and acquaintances across a diverse set of individuals. Some of us are #emacs, some are on the mailing list, and some are on both. A few of us see each other in other IRC channels as well (of course, the common link is johnw, which is why I think we should really create #johnw :) Regardless, planner has definitely had quite an impact on a lot of people, and I don't see that ending any time soon!

I guess that's it. I'm beginning to ramble now :) I just wanted to share that with you, and wish you luck on the forthcoming articles for LJ. I'll certainly be eagerly awaiting those issues!

Oh, and if there's any help I can provide for the articles, I'd be happy to assist.

E-Mail from Paul Lussier

隣人は4人姉妹と猫1匹です。 My neighbors are four sisters and a cat.

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