December 2006

Checked in

December 3, 2006 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Have checked into decidedly much less dodgy HI-Downtown. Can always, always, always trust Hostelling International. =)

Now that my accommodations are out of the way, I have to figure out
how to get e-mail to work. I’ll give myself until 4:00, and then I
really have to run out and look for a cellphone charger and see about
hooking up with Guylaine…

Random Emacs symbol: dirs – Command: Resync the buffer’s idea of the current directory stack.


December 3, 2006 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Fixing tech problems was not the way I imagined spending my Sunday
afternoon. Oh, forget this. I’ll worry about my e-mail after I pick up
a few essentials.

Random Emacs symbol: eshell-echo – Function: Implementation code for a Lisp version of `echo’.

Why you should do more research before reserving a spot in a hostel

December 3, 2006 - Categories: travel

In San Francisco, having narrowly escaped staying in a very very dodgy
hostel. (And believe me, I’ve stayed in pretty dodgy hostels, but this
one takes the cake!) I have no idea where I’m going to sleep, but I’m
definitely not going to sleep there. After much assertiveness, have
managed to get a refund.

Looking for a place I’d actually feel comfortable leaving my *clothes*

Random Emacs symbol: gnus-article-strip-all-blank-lines – Command: Strip all blank lines.

Things are working out

December 3, 2006 - Categories: love

School is winding up nicely. I’m making progress on my research. My
personal life has been much too interesting over the past few days,
and that’s why I’ve been feeling up and down. Thanks to everyone who
called, texted, and e-mailed support… <hugz> You rock.

The past few weeks have been difficult, but we seem to have cleared
the worst and have come to a new understanding. It amazes me that even
though I kept trying to walk away and even though he was also under so
much stress from business, he refused to give up, and he refused to
let me give up.

Maybe this is a big part of what love is. It’s not so much about
having lots of high points—those will come with time—but being able
to deal with the low points. And day by day, week by week, month by
month, we’re learning.

From “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran:

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

Besides, there are high points too. <grin> I just have to blog
more of them so I’ll remember.

This isn’t an LJ post, so please e-mail me your insights or use the
form on my page… =)

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Random Emacs symbol: utf-fragmentation-table – Variable: Char-table normally mapping non-Latin mule-unicode-* chars to iso-8859-*.

Bleah. Never doing that again.

December 3, 2006 - Categories: life

Should definitely have stopped eating when I no longer felt hungry,
instead of finishing the entire meal. I could blame the portion size,
but that’s not helpful. Yes, it was vegetarian, but it was still way
too much and now I feel satiated. I’m going to have to figure out a
good food solution for the next two days…

Random Emacs symbol: set-window-point – Function: Make point value in WINDOW be at position POS in WINDOW’s buffer.

OMG, Sun evangelized the Philippines!!

December 4, 2006 - Categories: Uncategorized

I’m at the first Global Network of Technology Evangelists conference,
and I’m practically bouncing out of my front-row seat. In front of a
hundred of Silicon Valley evangelists and other way cool people from
as far away as Beijing, Scott Thompson of Sun Microsystems talked about
JEDI as ultimate evangelism. Right. He even showed pictures of the Java teachers from all over. Glowing testimonials about the Philippines. Wheeeee!

I couldn’t help but whisper to Betsy Weber: “Psst! That guy in the blue shirt in the top photo – that’s one of my best friends!”

Yes, Mario Carreon, you are Internet-famous… ;)

I’ll look for the webcast ASAP. =D

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Random Emacs symbol: gnus-article-strip-all-blank-lines – Command: Strip all blank lines.

Global Network of Technology Evangelists – first conference

December 5, 2006 - Categories: Uncategorized

The conference totally, totally rocked. I’ll blog more about it when I
have free time, but here are a few quick highlights.

Guy Kawasaki was surprisingly down-to-earth. =) Well, not surprising, I guess – he’s known for being able to easily make that kind of a connection with audiences. Nifty. =) The panels were excellent, too. I liked the fast-paced panel discussion on the evangelist in you, and I’m looking forward to following up on that.

My favorite favorite favorite conference segment was when Matt Thompson (Senior Director
of the Technology Outreach Group at Sun Microsystems) started talking
about an example of ultimate evangelism: the Java Education and Development Initiative (JEDI). As soon as I heard the acronym for the project, I was riveted. When he mentioned PSITE (the Philippine Society for IT Educators]], I was, like, “I know those folks!” When he flashed pictures of the teachers from Baguio and Cebu and all these other places, I was, like, “The guy in the blue shirt in the background of the top photo is one of my best friends!” And when he waxed lyrical about the benefits of working with the Philippines to a hundred of Silicon Valley’s evangelists, I was just *floating.* Very nearly literally, too. I was practically bouncing off my seat with barely-contained energy. I love my country. I really do. I want to tell more stories about it! =D

My favorite post-conference moment was chatting with Kiran Patel and a
group of other people over dinner.
During the round of introductions,
I got to meet all sorts of fascinating people (including the guy who
made Babelfish, Altavista’s machine translation engine!). I told them
how I had moved heaven, earth, and final exams to make it to the
conference, and how I made room for it in my (grad) student budget.
This was my favorite post-conference moment because it really brought
home the fact that I *am* a technology evangelist. I have been a
technology evangelist since third year university – since I was 17!
(That’s five years now!)

And I *want* to be a technology evangelist. I’m going to make that
happen. I’m going to be one of the best they’ve ever seen. =) I want
to become really really good at connecting with people, building and
maintaining relationships. I want to become really really good at
giving presentations and engaging people in conversations. I might
even want to become really good at organizing events (best way to meet
interesting people!). I want to scale up and outwards.

So what did I take away from the conference?

I met lots of people and ended up with a stack of business cards, for
one: lots of people to meet again and again, lots of notes I can now
attach to their online personalities. I’ll encode those tomorrow
morning before heading out. If I feel diligent, I might even get them
all encoded tonight before I forget anything. =)

They’ll probably remember me for my energy and passion, my questions,
my business card, my outfit (purple and tan malong, gold and brown
scarf (thanks Simon!)!), or the distance that I flew. ;) There were a
few people from even farther – Czech Republic and China! Wow… I was
probably the youngest person there, too. =) Heh.

Meeting all these people made me realize that there are a lot of
people out there who are passionate about evangelism. Sure, I’ve read
people’s blogs, but it’s different when you *see* them. I *loved*
hearing people talk about about what they do, even though many people
have insane travel requirements. A room of evangelists – wow!

The best thing I took from the conference, though, is a better sense
of what’s out there, what people are doing, what skills people are
using, what people love about their work. I *resonate* with their
descriptions. I’ll blog more about next week, after I finish a few
more requirements.

I would *love* to do technology evangelism. Proper. Enterprise 2.0
stuff, maybe. Talking to developers, customers, etc. If IBM doesn’t
nab me, though, there are a hundred other flowers that can blossom, a
million other opportunities to make or explore. =) Sun just got a
*huge* positive karma boost with me for the JEDI thing – not just
because they did it in the first place, but because they *bragged*
about it. =D Awesomeness.

What a totally terrific conference. =D Well worth it!

What could make an evangelist conference even *better* for me?

Even more energy and practical tips. Let’s talk about our favorite
resources. Let’s talk about how we can help our (future) managers
write our job descriptions, and how we can manage the fact that our
job descriptions keep changing. Hmm… I can make this happen on the
mailing list. I’m definitely posting a list of my favorite things to
the GNOTE mailing list. (Favorite communication blogs, favorite
networking books, favorite contact management tips, etc.) In fact, I
should blog that too. Handy stuff to have around. Weekend.

More women. I don’t know why, but I’ve become much more sensitive
to this, even counting the number of women (1) in Microsoft’s partner
success stories brochure. Attendees: roughly 15% women. No female
speakers except for one panel moderator (who did a very good job, mind
you, but wasn’t speaking). Lots of women in supporting roles
(organizers, staff, etc.). I talked to the organizers, and they said
they had such a hard time looking for female speakers given the
schedule. I would’ve loved to hear Betsy Weber
talk about her work as the chief evangelist at Techsmith, and how one
of her personal metrics for evangelist success is the number of hugs
she gets. ;) Heck, *I* would be happy to talk about bootstrapping
yourself as an evangelist, even though I haven’t quite Arrived yet.
More perspectives! More diversity! =)

Minor logistical tweaks: Nametags – larger fonts, smaller
sponsor logo, consistent company identification. Also, should be there
at the beginning of event, but delay was understandable. More support
for networking, perhaps? Maybe that speed networking idea… ;)
Slightly more notice so that people can book cheaper flights? ;) Now
that we’re on the mailing list, that should get sorted out. And
something closer to Toronto would be nice, of course. I guess we’ll just have to
have an east-coast evangelism conference… ;)

But all in all – awesome, awesome, awesome!

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Speaking of warm and fuzzies…

December 5, 2006 - Categories: Uncategorized

I had two choices for my flight into San Francisco: arrive at 11:30 in
the morning, or arrive at 11:30 at night. It is generally a good idea
to arrive in the daytime when going to an unfamiliar city, or, well,
anywhere, really. This meant, however, that I needed to fly out of
Toronto at 8:40 AM. Getting to the Toronto airport by 6:40 AM
(recommended two hours before departure) is Not Easy on Sundays, as
subway service doesn’t start until 9 AM.

W- Young had offered to give me a lift, but
it was ridiculously early and out of his way, so I was figuring out
where the best place to catch the Airport Express shuttle was. If I
took a cab to the Westin and caught the 6:15 Airport Express shuttle,
it would cost me less than a cab would. I wasn’t quite sure how all of
the timing would work out, though, and waiting in the chilly Toronto
weather for a bus was not exactly my cup of spiced tsokolate.

I was really touched when Simon insisted on taking me to the airport.
He had very little sleep from the party that had finished late the
night before (that morning, really), but there was no sign of that as
he whizzed me to the airport on the highways. It would’ve taken me at
least three times longer to commute there, and I wouldn’t have started
my day so pleasantly.

He’s wonderful. =)

Random Emacs symbol: comint-password-prompt-regexp – Variable: *Regexp matching prompts for passwords in the inferior process.

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I like Like

December 5, 2006 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Like. =)

Random Emacs symbol: electric-help-map – Variable: Keymap defining commands available in `electric-help-mode’.

Non-stale snail mail

December 6, 2006 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Wow, this is a first. I’ve actually written and stamped all of my
postcards *before* reaching the airport, which means I’ll probably
remember to drop them off before I reach Canada…

Random Emacs symbol: key-substitution-in-progress – Variable: Used internally by `substitute-key-definition’.

Movies That Motivate

December 7, 2006 - Categories: emacs

Kevin McIntosh just linked me up with an interesting
motivational speaker named Emmanuel Lopez who’s starting a movie / networking series at the Royal Ontario Museum this January. =) Check out Emmanuel Lopez’s blog to find out more about the series and the guy!

You know what I *really* want? A weekly / monthly feel-good
conversation salon at which we talk about inspiring things and what’s
going *well*… A gratitude group, a happiness hangout, a joyful jubilee! =)

E-Mail from Emmanuel Lopez

Random Emacs symbol: planner-gnus-get-address – Function: Return the address of the sender of the current message.

2006.11.27 – 2006.12.10: Frantic/fortuitious fortnight

December 10, 2006 - Categories: weekly

What a great two weeks it has been! I haven’t been blogging much, but
that’s because there’s been so much to blog about. ;)

I moved heaven, earth, and final exams to get to the
Global Network of Technology Evangelists
conference held in California on December 4, paying for the trip out
of my savings. It was well worth it! I got to meet all sorts of
interesting people. Now I just have to make sure I keep in touch with
them. =)

It was great walking around San Francisco, too. I stopped by
Ghirardelli Square to pick up some absolutely wicked drinking hot
chocolate, and spent the rest of the afternoon at the Exploratorium.
I’m really such a geek. I can’t go to a city without visiting its
science museum… <laugh> That was fun. The tech get-together I
went to in the evening was cool, too. I really like the idea behind, and I was amused to hear how some
fifty engineers and PhDs had to learn the difference between wedge
heels and kitten heels!

I’d forgotten how stressful flying could be, what with all of the
security stuff. I’m glad that Simon Rowland
took me to the airport and W- Young picked
me up on the way back. Company really makes such a difference; the
commute would’ve been soul-sucking in this gray weather!

Schoolwork’s winding to a close, too. I’ve passed my
second-to-the-last requirement and will work on my last one over the
next two weeks.

With all of these things, though, the IBM lab’s a little nervous about
my research progress. I’ve been working on things; I just haven’t been
talking about it enough, I guess! (Strange, huh?) I’ve uploaded a more
detailed copy of my schedule to the intranet and sent links to my
manager and developer sponsor, who can use the schedule to keep track
of my deliverables and milestones. Proper project planning and all of
that. I hope that reassures them enough to extend our funding so that
I can continue until August, my projected completion date.

I learned a lot about interpersonal relationships, too. I don’t know
if it was because I was so stressed out about the end of the year, but
I had come so close to breaking up with Simon a number of times over
the past few weeks. We’re both learning a lot in the process, and have
so far decided to keep going. I’m learning to think even more
positively. =) Strangely enough, I suspect that the long-distance
relationship we’ll have over the next six weeks might actually be
easier. =)

That explains my earlier sad note about some things for which Google has no answer. I’m still learning a lot about life and relationships, and neither Wikipedia nor Wikihow can really give me insights. I’m profoundly grateful for all of the friends who have expressed their concern and support, though, and who have helped me come to a better understanding.

I dropped by The Gorey, the new house being shared Quinn, Leigh, and
Jed, who are among my closest, closest, closest friends in Toronto.
Their place is awesome! I’m so envious… I’ve drafted my 2006
Christmas letter / annual report, and will figure out how to get it
printed and sent out. Jed told me that I couldn’t cheat and send just
one copy to their house. <laugh>

Oh, and I found the salmon flakes my mom’s been asking me to get for
my dad! =) I checked all the supermarkets in Chinatown.

So, plans for next week:

Work: Aside from classes on Tuesday, next week pretty much belongs to
IBM. I need to give a presentation on mashups as part of Hack Day
University on Monday. I have a meeting with a potential user group on
Friday, and will hack madly on my prototype in order to get it into
somewhat presentable state by then. Life is good. I’ll probably be up
at IBM on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Social: The Toastmasters Christmas party is on Tuesday. On Thursday,
I’m having coffee with a motivational speaker who’s a friend of a
friend. On Friday, I might catch up with one of my friends over dinner
in the Danforth. On Saturday, Simon gets back from Florida. On Sunday,
I might have a little going-away party. How and where, I still have no
idea. Graduate House isn’t easy to entertain in because I have to
fetch guests myself, through several keyed doors. Note to self: next
year, find an apartment or house that will let me just buzz people

Maybe I can borrow someone’s place for a going-away party. Or maybe I
should just declare visiting hours at the Linux Caffe, or something
like that… ;) I’ll bring my computer so that I can plan dinner or
coffee with people for next year. Yeah, that sounds more like it.
Linux Caffe closes at 5 on Sundays, but maybe I can ask David nicely.

Life is good.

Random Emacs symbol: test-completion – Function: Return non-nil if STRING is a valid completion.

Filipino diaspora blog

December 10, 2006 - Categories: filipino

Kudos to Juan Gonzalez for telling me about
Insurgelicious, a
thought-provoking blog that often discusses the Filipino diaspora. I
should check it out during the holiday break.

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Random Emacs symbol: cons-cells-consed – Variable: Number of cons cells that have been consed so far.

Inbox zero

December 10, 2006 - Categories: geek

My e-mail client *must* be lying to me, but it seems that I’m at inbox
zero, at least for my main inbox. As you can see, some of the messages
were pretty old… <blush>

Random Emacs symbol: muse – Group: Options controlling the behavior of Muse.

Christmas letter prioritization

December 11, 2006 - Categories: connecting

Hmm. The prospect of sending a Christmas letter / annual report to
500+ people is a little overwhelming. Granted, some of those are
getting-back-in-touch letters. I’m going to have to prioritize people
into must-send and optional. I will still be addressing the letters by
hand, after all!

I think I’ll write out my letter long-hand and have it photocopied. I
think I’ll lay out a few pictures or perhaps use my icon or a malong
pic – something that will photocopy well in black and white. No sense
in just printing the darn thing. Too boring. I may as well e-mail it,
but there’s no point in that, either. ;)

I might also have to divide this into stuff to send from the US/Canada
and stuff to send from the Philippines.

Okay. There are around a hundred people I *really* should mail or else
I will be a delinquent friend… Mindboggling, isn’t that?

I’m going to have to e-mail people tomorrow to confirm their postal
addresses. Emacs to the rescue, you bet!

Random Emacs symbol: w3m-http-url-path – Function: Path of the HTTP-URL.

Programming competitions

December 12, 2006 - Categories: geek

I always love reading Didith Rodrigo’s blog posts about programming competitions and my alma mater, Ateneo de Manila University. Her latest entry about Wilhansen Li and Thomas Dy‘s performance at Mapua’s PaC++klaban made me wish I could be teaching first-year computer science again! I think it’s amazing that Thomas plunged right into a C++ programming competition despite not having previous programming background in C++.

Wow, huh? I love the programming competition scene back home. It’s a great way to meet amazing people, and I hope Wilhansen and Thomas get as much (or more!) out of it than I did—and I learned a _lot!_

Random Emacs symbol: pcomplete/rlogin – Function: Complete a command that wants a hostname for an argument.

Personal contact relationship management

December 12, 2006 - Categories: connecting, emacs, pimpmyemacs

It’s a good thing that computer geeks appreciate automation. They can
sniff out form e-mail in seconds, but they don’t mind as long as it
comes from a very clever technical hack. Such was the case with the
form letter engine I put together just in time to ask people for their
postal addresses for my holiday updates. Paul Lussier wanted to know what kind of Emacs Lisp magic I was doing
behind the scenes. Simon Ditner got his
revenge by obfuscating his reply with 1337sp34|<. People humored me and replied with their addresses and birthdays, knowing that although the e-mail they got may have been mostly automated, my interest in them and my replies to the replies they sent me were very much real.

Good magicians never reveal their tricks, but I like talking about the
crazy Emacs wizardry that goes on behind the scenes. Let me lift the

 "Hello, " (or (bbdb-record-getprop record 'nick) (bbdb-record-name record)) "!

I've actually managed to write my 2006 life update / holiday
letter somewhat in time, and will be mailing them out soon. I'd
love to find out how your year has been and what you're planning
to do next year, and I'd be happy to keep you up to date too!


 ((= (length (bbdb-record-addresses record)) 1)
  (concat "Is this address the best one to reach you at?\n\n"
          (sacha/bbdb-address-string (car (bbdb-record-addresses record)))))
 ((> (length (bbdb-record-addresses record)) 1)
  (concat "Which of these addresses is the best one to reach you at?\n\n"
          (mapconcat 'sacha/bbdb-address-string (bbdb-record-addresses record) "\n")))
 (t "I don't seem to have a mailing address for you, though. I'd
like to be able to snail-mail you postcards or holiday updates.
I promise not to use your address for anything evil! =) What's the best
way to send something to you?"))

(if (bbdb-record-getprop record 'birthdate)
  "\n\nBy the way, when is your birthday?")
"\n\nHope to hear from you soon!

Sacha Chua

p.s. No kittens were harmed in the writing of this message.")

That’s the source for my form letter – a Lisp expression, allowing me
to use the full power of Emacs. I used that as the input to the
following function:

(defun sacha/gnus-send-message-to-all (subject &optional text)
  "Compose message to everyone, with notes.
SUBJECT is a string.
TEXT is a string or an arbitrary Lisp expression starting with (."
   (list (read-string "Subject: ")
         (read-string "Body: ")))
  (let ((records bbdb-records))
    (while records
      (when (bbdb-record-net (caar records))
        (bbdb-send-mail (caar records) subject)
        (goto-char (point-min))
        (re-search-forward "--text " nil t)
        (forward-line 1)
        (let ((record (caar records)))
          (when text
            (insert (if (= (aref text 0) ?\() (eval (read text)) text))))
        (when (bbdb-record-notes (caar records))
            (insert "\n--- NOTES ---\n"
                    (bbdb-record-notes (caar records))
                    "\n--- END NOTES ---\n"))))
      (setq records (cdr records)))))

The function composed a message for each of the records currently
displayed. I edited the messages by hand, combining messages where
appropriate, and sent them off.

What else can I do with this? Because this function accepts arbitrary
Lisp expressions, it would be really easy to include a random
holiday-related greeting or poem. If I had a database of significant
events, I can include a random factoid about the recipient’s birthday.
If I had a local database of people’s names, I could send one-off
messages including the meaning of their names.

Yes, it’s pretty crazy, but that’s what you get when you have a geek
who cares about connecting with people. I’ve stolen all the cool
features from the contact relationship management systems I know
about, and I keep trying out more ideas. It’s a pity that the base
system I’m working on can be quite intimidating. If I found the time
to learn enough, say, Microsoft Outlook programming to implement a
similar system, I think I’d have quite a market.

Even with my idiosyncratic setup, though, it’s fun pushing the
envelope. =) There are a lot of other things I’d like to add, and I
don’t think I’ll ever stop coming up with new ideas. In terms of
personal contact relationship management, I’ve got one of the most
advanced systems I know—which just means I need to get to know more
people, so that I can find other inspirations!

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Random Emacs symbol: previous-buffer – Command: Switch to the previous buffer in cyclic order.

Found my vertical: HR

December 12, 2006 - Categories: career

I ran into Pete Forde at
Andrew Burke‘s birthday party last night. He
explained to a number of Andrew’s friends in other industries that it
was really the technical strengths and reputations of tech evangelists
that made them much more effective than non-technical marketing or
sales people. After all, many developers can easily detect marketing
hype, and they don’t like it one bit.

IBM consultants are always talking about “verticals”, or industries on
which people focus. Banking, real estate, pharmaceuticals, education –
for salespeople to truly excel in any of these areas, they need to
invest time into learning the industry inside and out. They need to
know the vocabulary people use, the concerns people have, the
opportunities for growth, and even the competitive context around
their clients. Focusing on an industry allows people to develop deep
competence and strong relationships both within and outside the

On the walk to class the next morning, I thought about how that deep
knowledge of an area helps me make deeper connections. I love having
read most of the Toronto Public Library’s holdings on social
networking. I can quickly recommend appropriate books and tips. I’d
love to have that kind of knowledge on a business area. So I started
thinking about what I should focus on…

A friend once told me that he had no idea what he wanted to do at the
moment. I told him that if you know who you want to be, then you can
figure out what to do. I want my career to help me be the person I
want to be. I don’t want it to just pay the bills until I accumulate
enough money to “retire”. I want it to factor into my personal growth.

So the real question is: who do I want to be? What do I want to

At some point in my life, I’d like to know a lot about real estate. I
won’t be able to make the most of it right now, though. Microfinance?
Investing? Education? None of these really hit me as the right next
step given my passions, skills, and the needs of people around me.

Then I started thinking of it in terms of who I want to be and what
I’d love to do. I want to help people think, and I want to help people

The first explains my interest in personal productivity, notetaking
strategies, etc. The second underlies my passion for social computing.
One standard business area that covers both would be HR. Human
resources – seems to be a fantastic fit for what I’m doing right now
and where I’d like to head in the future.

At networking events, I perk up whenever people tell me they’re in
recruiting—not because I want a job for myself, but because
recruiters know how to manage lots of relationships and get a sense of
who fits into what positions. What excites me about my research at IBM
is the idea that I’ll be able to help people find and connect with
other people within the company.

I think the second part – helping people connect – is what I’m going
to focus on for a while. We’ll see if I need to further niche myself.
Large tech companies that need social knowledge management tools for
internal use, such as IBM’s offerings? HR consultant for lots and lots
and lots of small companies to help them grow professionally, source
people, etc.? We’ll see. Whatever space I choose, I want to learn
everything that I can learn about it, and I want to own that space. =)

So that’s my vertical, and my ideal job description for the next step
is getting clearer and clearer. I want a sales + evangelism job (both
aspects!) focusing on HR products and services that help people
connect. I should find people in the area and ask if they niched
themselves even deeper (HR for real estate companies? HR for campus
recruitment of technology companies?). Then, just as companies post
job ads describing their ideal candidate, I’ll get a better idea of
what an ad for my ideal company would look like… =)

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Random Emacs symbol: mail-header-set-id – Macro: Set article Id of HEADER to ID.

Inbox meter

December 12, 2006 - Categories: geek

I should have one of those almost-real-time inbox meters that count
the number of messages I’ve promised to respond to. That would be fun
to add to my contact heading…

Random Emacs symbol: mm-w3m-safe-url-regexp – Variable: Regexp matching URLs which are considered to be safe.

50 e-mail messages today

December 12, 2006 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Okay, my fingers are tired. No more e-mail. =) Someday I’m going to
have to learn how to scale, but today is not the day. I suspect that
it involves a more ergnomic environment. Maybe a larger keyboard (my
Lifebook would do perfectly) and a slightly higher monitor so that I
don’t get a crick in my neck from looking down.

No more blogging, too.

Shower, then book, then sleep. That’s the ticket…

Random Emacs symbol: syntax-after – Function: Return the raw syntax of the char after POS.

Twenty-three years and two strikeouts

December 13, 2006 - Categories: Uncategorized

You just can’t win them all, I guess. As warm and fuzzy as other
people feel about me, there are people who would really rather not
hear from me again. I’ve tried pinging them a few times, but now I’m
getting definite get-out-of-my-life replies. I might check back in
another decade. In one case, I really messed up, but that’s part of
life. I didn’t hurt him as much as I hurt some other people before,
who had forgiven me and come around to being one of my best friends.
In another case, I don’t understand what he’s having such a hard time
with, but oh well.

At the very least, this is a good way to learn how to deal with
rejection. I need to develop a thick skin, anyway. And as Kathy Sierra
said in Creating Passionate Users, until or unless you’re willing to risk passionate hate, you may never feel the love.

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Kudos to Kevin Magee: sales and networking tips

December 14, 2006 - Categories: connecting

I had a terrific conversation with Kevin Magee
over coffee and chocolate chillers at Second Cup this morning. I met
him very briefly at the Mesh planning party—in fact, while I was on
my way out—but within a minute he had set me at ease, established a
connection, and left me looking forward to chatting with him some
other time.

We finally had the opportunity to catch up today, and I’m glad we did.
He had read my blog (and even some of my homework assignments!), so he
knew of my passion for evangelism and my enthusiasm for sales. (Awww!)

Role model

And boy, did he have a lot to teach! He’s the kind of salesperson I’d
like to be. Many people both inside and outside sales think of sales
as a nasty, cut-throat business. Kevin Magee proves that not only do
nice guys finish first, but that it’s really the only sustainable way
to go.

“Have we met?”

Kevin told me about the benefits of having the kind of face that
everyone thinks they’ve seen somewhere. “Have we met?” is one of his
favorite techniques for getting people to talk about their backgrounds
and interests. Looking back, I realized that he must’ve deftly pulled
that on me too! Wow.

You just need 60 seconds

Kevin also shared some of the ways he taught other salespeople to
handle cold calls. He said that for the first 10,000 calls, it’s
truly, truly horrible. After that, it’s just horrible.

You know how many people start their call with, “Have I called you at
a good time?” Kevin shared that “Have I called you at a bad time?” is
much more effective. There’s never a good time to receive a
telemarketing cold call, after all, but in general, people will be
generous and say that it isn’t a bad time.

Then Kevin told me how he taught sales people to ask for 60 seconds,
just 60 seconds to find out if this is the right conversation they
should be having. They would then time themselves, stop at 60
seconds—preferably in the middle of a sentence—and ask for
permission to continue. By so clearly respecting the other person’s
time—and piquing the other person’s interest!—they might be able to
get permission to continue for 5 minutes. And then maybe a meeting in
person. Asking *permission* draws people further in because you
respect their time and allow them to control the conversation.

Recruiters rock

Even with the 60-second technique, though, cold-calling is tough tough
tough tough. You can warm up the call by connecting with people in the
organization. Kevin found that recruiters are *great* for doing that,
which is why he’s happy to help them however they can. See, recruiters
are in the business of connecting with people, and they form special
bonds with the people they place. When Kevin wants to crack open an
account, he’ll ask his recruiter friends if they’ve placed anyone
there—almost always yes—and then he’s in with an introduction!


So for an hour and a half, this experienced, wonderful salesperson
shared all sorts of sales tips that I would probably have had to spend
years learning. I’ve read lots of books on networking and sales, but
it’s different hearing from people who are actually doing it and doing

I’d love to help him grow, too. Kevin told me that reading my
reflections on this blog had prompted him to think about how he was
doing things and how he could improve. For a 23-year-old, I’ve learned
a fair bit, and that’s because of kaizen – the Japanese
principle of constant improvement. I love experimenting, reflecting on
the results, sharing my thoughts, and working on the next step.
Sharing what I’m learning about life has led to so many more insights
from other people. Wow!

Next steps

So, how can I act on his advice?

His “Have we met?” trick will be very handy for me. I meet so many
people at the local tech get-togethers. That’s one way to make that
connection and to naturally tell people about these events if they
haven’t heard of them yet.

I can look for ways to be more useful to the recruiters in my network.
I would love to introduce them to teachers who are interested in
helping their students find cool work, for example. I can keep an eye
out for students and professionals looking for work at the events I go
to. Still, I’m not adding much value that way, but at least referrals
are handy, and if I vouch for the recruiter, that’s at least a little
bit. If I get to know people better, then I can add more value.

And the things I want to do for my career? I think there’s a big
market for it, bigger than I’d realized… I can do so much to help
people connect!

I’m looking forward to getting to know Kevin Magee better in February. What a way to start my day!

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Enthusiastic rapport with Emmanuel and Rob: movies that motivate

December 14, 2006 - Categories: connecting

What a day, what a day!

I went back to Second Cup for coffee with Emmanuel Lopez and Rob Schaumer at 3:00 PM. Kevin McIntosh introduced me to Emmanuel Lopez because of Emmanuel’s upcoming series called “Movies that Motivate”. Instinct told me to invite Rob Schaumer (Purpose Realized), whom I had met at the Mesh planning party last November 15 and again at the DemoCamp afterparty. And what a conversation we had! Two hours just flew past, and we all had great fun.

Emmanuel Lopez has been a motivational
speaker for the past three years. “Motivational speaker” is too bland
a word to describe him—hence the moniker, “Motivatorman”. The movie
series this January at the Royal Ontario Museum looks really
interesting. With feel-good and thought-provoking movies such as
Groundhog Day, As Good As It Gets, and Pleasantville, he’ll help so
many people face their challenges and develop themselves. And the
events aren’t just movies, too. He’ll start each event with 30 minutes
for a motivational speech and discussion, and wraps it up with more
discussion and reflection. Sounds like good stuff!

I’m *really* excited about his second project, too: a series of
workshops on self-development for hubs/connectors. With the tagline
“network – interact – share”, it definitely sounds like my kind of
thing—heck, it’s something I wish I could’ve organized! <laugh>
It’s a pity that the first event is in January; I’ll only be able to
make it to the next one. AHA! I know, I can suggest homework…

What a delight! I’m looking forward to inviting the people I know to
those events (even in absentia!), which will help me get to know their
non-work sides too.

And I had *no* idea that Rob Schaumer had a
talent for marketing, but I’m glad I discovered it in the course of
conversation! He suggested all sorts of useful little tweaks for
Emmanuel’s marketing campaign.

He has such a fascinating life history. Self-educated in an Orthodox
Jewish community where most people are expected to complete university
degrees, he really wants to reach out and motivate other people. He
related how motivational speakers tend to break into the profession in
three ways:

  • earn a university degree in it (they have degrees in motivational speaking?)
  • work for someone already doing it
  • prove your worth

Rob decided not to go for university, and ended up building a company
for the heck of it—just to see if he could. (Wow!) The motivational
companies he talked to wouldn’t consider someone without a university
degree, so by process of elimination…. I’ve no doubt that he’ll find
his niche and fill it really well!

Rob’s got such awesome experiences. One of his stories fits in
perfectly with Emmanuel’s focus on movies. He was playing squash, but
he was pretty tired and out of form. He told us how he intentionally
visualized the scene in Superman Returns where Superman flies into
space to recharge, and that just filled him with energy. Every time
his energy flagged, he’d go back to that scene. Because of that, he
played a pretty good game!

We swapped many more tips that I’m looking forward to writing about
over time, but I just wanted to help you get to know some of the
fantastic people I met today. Isn’t life awesome?

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Learning from the best

December 14, 2006 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I grew up with books and audiotapes of Tom Peters, Zig Ziglar, and Tom
Hopkins. I can *still* hear Tom Hopkins say “Unbelievable!” in my
head. Not because I was unbelievably precocious when I was young, but
because my mom was always, always, *always* learning about sales and
management and whatever she needed to learn in order to help my dad
and my sisters and me succeed. Being an indiscriminate bookworm who’d
happily read anything on the shelves (and quite a few books that
weren’t), I quickly chewed through her business books, her
interpersonal books, her writing books, her parenting books…There
was so much to learn, and it was always so much fun!

My parents often scolded me for taking books to breakfast, lunch, and
dinner. I would read while walking, while chatting, while waiting in
line; in bed, in the car, even in the shower sometimes… Looking
back, it seems as if I never looked up! Now I’ve realized that reading
was good but not as good as it could’ve been, though. Instead of
reading during meals, I should’ve been picking my parents’ brains…
but I probably hadn’t yet learned what questions to ask in order to
learn even more! =)

So if you think *I’m* interesting, you really have to meet my mom and
my dad. This process of constant improvement? It definitely comes from
them. The number of times I’d gone downstairs to check on my dad, only
to find him learning all sorts of new Photoshop tricks… The number
of books I’ve borrowed from my mother’s bookshelf…

I have confidence that my life will unfold well. If I’m really,
really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really lucky,
I’ll have the kind of partnership my mom and my dad have, and have the
kinds of close friendships my mom has.

I’m learning from the best.

(Hah! I blog something and within five minutes, my mom *blogs* a
response—a personal story she posted to an online forum before.
Blogs! Online forums! How cool is that? Now if only she allowed me to
link to her blog…)

E-Mail from Mama

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Stuffing envelopes, writing cards…

December 14, 2006 - Categories: -Uncategorized


Halfway through my US/Canada 2006 letters. I’m limiting myself to 100
letters for now, although I *might* send more from the Philippines if
I feel particularly diligent. Of the 100 on my must-write list, there
are 32 people in Canada. Come to think of it, that’s actually pretty
interesting. It’s only been a year and a half…

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The Plan

December 15, 2006 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Okay, here’s what I need to do.

  • Tonight, I need to e-mail friends about my travel plans and any party plans.
  • Saturday morning, I’ll cram the last requirement for KMD2004. No word yet from groupmates; v. odd.
  • Saturday afternoon: I will set aside time to write thoughtful postcards and letters
  • Saturday evening: touch base with Simon, who’ll be back from Florida
  • Sunday morning: have a relaxed morning
  • Sunday afternoon: clean out fridge, then head over to the Gorey to donate extra food like eggs. Cookies and chocolate – spend time with great friends? Borrow boxes from the Gorey folks just in case I have stuff in suitcases that doesn’t neatly shelve somewhere.
  • Sunday evening: Christmas dinner? Final chance for pictures with people.
  • Monday: print e-ticket, pack, pack, pack, KMD2004 revision
  • Tuesday: last-minute cramming, pack, fly

I really want to spend some quality time with my closest friends here,
but it might be difficult to do that and still keep the sense of
abundance of time. I would *love* to meet all of them, give them an
extra extra extra big hug, tell them my favorite story of them from
the past year, and find out what they want to do with the next year. I
don’t think I’ll have the time to visit everyone personally (I’d like
to!), but I could call on Sunday (after dinner) or Monday (after packing).

Priority packing list:

  1. Carry-on laptop bag: travel documents
  2. Carry-on backpack: correspondence, journal
  3. Salmon flakes for Papa
  4. Electronics
  5. Clothes I don’t need any more
  6. Clothes I plan to wear while there
  7. Shoes
  8. Books: may as well bring all of my books home. I can always keep my notes or reaccumulate my library

Sounds like a Plan…

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All my bags are packed

December 18, 2006 - Categories: travel

All my bags are packed and I must confess,
I’ve still got food and my room’s a mess,
I don’t know how I’ll sort it out in time…


And as warm as all the days have been,
The leaves have fallen, but no snow we’ve seen
I think I really need a change of clime…

Please forgive the pop-rhyme of been with seen. =) At least I’ve been
paying attention to meter…

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Not panicking

December 19, 2006 - Categories: -Uncategorized

My wallet exists somewhere in my suite. I know because I had to take
my room key out of it in order to get in.

I opened the door, put the key into my bag, took off my shoes, and
dropped all of my stuff on my bed. I then charged my iPod, phone, and
laptop, cleaned out the fridge and freezer, and packed last-minute stuff.

It’s not in my backpack or purse, where I’d logically put it if I were
paying attention.

I think I’ll nap for twenty minutes. Maybe that will help.

Ah, found wallet

December 19, 2006 - Categories: life


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In transit

December 20, 2006 - Categories: life, travel

There’s a certain kind of sadness among standby passengers. I’ve
overheard stories of missed connections and early-morning vigils,
long-distance calls to tell family that they might be back early on a
standby flight but that the family shouldn’t go to the airport yet
because it was just a number on a piece of paper, not a boarding pass,
not a guarantee.

A woman’s flight reservations could not be found anywhere in the
system. The airline agent flipped through all the papers and receipts
the woman received from a travel agency in Iowa, but was firm: no
ticket, no flight. It wouldn’t be the first or last time a travel
agency’s missed something in the rush and stress of holidays. The
woman is advised to buy another ticket and ask the travel agency for a
refund. I don’t know if she’ll be able to afford to. I don’t know how
responsive the travel agency will be.

It’s always hard travelling, especially on flights going home. Looking
around at the airport lobby and guessing who’s scraped and saved to
earn enough for a ticket home, who hasn’t been home in a year or
two—or a decade or two. Hearing them speak, argue, plead. Watching
the airline agents, seeing exasperation flash across their faces until
they school their expressions into at least curtness.

I would’ve been on the next flight out of here, number 12 in what will
no doubt be a very long line by the day’s end. There’s plenty of time
for me to watch and learn, though. My luggage couldn’t be found in
time to get me onto the next flight. I’ve asked them to keep looking
for it; maybe I’ll make it to the next flight. Or the flight after
that. Two more flights before my confirmed trip home, two more chances
to share more time with family and friends than with all these
strangers in an airport.

I savor the chocolate truffles a friend gave to me, letting them melt.
I don’t know how long I’ll need to make the truffles last. It seems
almost cruel to use them to get me through the hours and the
sadness—these chocolates deserve more than that!—and incongruous to
lift them out of the gold foil box in the middle of all these little
tragedies and trials. There is nothing else I can do but wait.

The tinny jingles playing over the public announcement system
remind me that it is Christmas, and I will be home soon.

At the Hong Kong International Airport

December 20, 2006 - Categories: travel

I’m at the Hong Kong International Airport, and have just polished off
breakfast. I have four hours before I need to check with the transfer
desk about chance passage on the next flight to the Philippines. What
would be the best way to spend that time?

I could take a shower. That would be nice. USD 10.00 for the privilege
of feeling nice and clean, hmm. I don’t have any extra clothes right
now, though.

Shopping is boring.

I think I’ll write my letters for 2006. I’ve got my writing stuff,
anyway. =) I can address and stuff the envelopes, and then get to work
on writing notes…

Maybe I’ll write in my journal, too. I’ve got quite a lot of stuff to
think about…

Best thing to do at the HKIA

December 20, 2006 - Categories: travel

… is to park yourself in a chair and use the free wifi to chat with friends. =D

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There’s no place like home

December 21, 2006 - Categories: philippines

It’s so good to be home again!

Now if only wireless Just Worked. Hmm…

Long time no blog

December 24, 2006 - Categories: blogging

Between family, jetlag, and lack of support for the wireless
encryption used on our home networks, I haven’t had much time to blog.
I’m starting to feel the strain of it, too – days passing without
reflection, stuff happening without being processed and understood.
I’ll wake up early tomorrow and write. I need to keep in touch with
myself, after all.

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December 25, 2006 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I’m quieter than I remembered, than I hoped. The stories I most want
to tell, the unbloggable things I still need to think through, I can’t
share because my family isn’t ready to listen instead of judge. I
can’t think things through with them.

So I dodge the barbs, change the topics of conversation, downplay what
I feel. I’m sad, but not for reasons they think I am. I’m happy, but
not for reasons they know.

It’ll be hard to learn how to trust them with this. I should talk to
them about it, perhaps. Tell them how I feel when they do what they
do, tell them that the consequences of their actions is that I am
discouraged from talking to them about stuff like that, explore more
constructive ways of interacting. I’ll try that. I want more than what
we have now.

They are still human and still learning, and I am still human and
still learning.

When you realize that this is true for everyone and everything, it
becomes a little easier to practice loving kindness. It is still hard,
but it becomes a little easier.

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I am -so- blogging that

December 25, 2006 - Categories: life

My mom at the breakfast table: “Sacha, do you remember that
conversation between Kathy and your dad last night?” She remembered
wanting to blog something, but she couldn’t remember what it was. I
drew a blank, too.

My mom! Having “I am -so- blogging that” moments! And blogger’s

I heart my mom.

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How to tell when your parents are addicted to the Internet

December 25, 2006 - Categories: family

I think my parents spend more time on the Internet than I am.
Seriously. My parents are hooked on these online forums for
photography in the Philippines. My dad checks then first thing in the
morning, last thing at night, and several (dozen) times in between. He
has his own thread on one of the forums, with 170+ pages of posts. My
mother started by lurking on those forums to find out what my dad was
promising to other competitors, and has come to have her own

I love what it’s done for them. It’s the daily dose of appreciation
that never fails to cheer up my dad. It’s the way my mom can remember
the good things about my dad when he’s grumpy. It helps them reflect
on and share their experiences.

And my mom now thinks in terms of blog entries… <laugh>

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Carefully unfolding

December 25, 2006 - Categories: life

Maybe I don’t have to highlight it explicitly. Maybe I can just keep
sharing good stories. Maybe I can just choose to be open instead of
quiet. Maybe that will be all that’s needed. =) Loving patience,
that’s all.

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Home; between two worlds

December 25, 2006 - Categories: travel

Prophet of God, in quest of the uttermost, long have you searched the
distances for your ship.

And now your ship has come, and you must needs go.

Deep is your longing for the land of your memories and the
dwelling-place of your greater desires; and our love would not bind
you nor our needs hold you.

– From The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

I am of two worlds that will never meet. I will be like the ocean,
waves touching first one shore and then the other, and yet in both
places at the same time.

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December 25, 2006 - Categories: -Uncategorized

It’s easier to drink plenty of water when you’re sweating rivers of it. =)

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Also, Freeciv is darn cool

December 25, 2006 - Categories: geek

Not the kind of thing that I can easily play on my computer, but I
think we just might enjoy sinking some time into it. Amazing. Last
time I played it, it still looked like Civ I… Wow.

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Another day, another sunrise

December 26, 2006 - Categories: -Uncategorized

This time from a watersports resort said to be the best in the world
for wakeboarding. I’ll give it a shot, although I haven’t worn my
swimsuit in ages…

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Slowly but surely making progress

December 26, 2006 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Goal: inbox zero by New Year!

This will be somewhat easier if I don’t check mail between now and then, of course… ;)

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From the Freeciv AI documentation

December 26, 2006 - Categories: geek

The code base used to be in a bad shape but it has gotten a lot
better. The reason for this is that the developer (Syela) who in a
few months put together a working AI had suddenly disappeared. His
bright ideas could only be matched by his inability to name variables
and to comment the code. Subsequent AI developers were not brave (or
stupid?) enough to start from scratch, taking instead a small bite
here and there, trying hard not to break much, to understand Syela’s
original design and only then to throw it away. Or perfect it.

Heh. You gotta love open source docs. They tell it like it is.

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Ay, my sister

December 26, 2006 - Categories: family

So my sister’s drafting a letter to this guy she really likes, and she
ends up explaining her feelings in terms of croissants – plain or with
jam. ;)

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I keep forgetting that I’m on vacation

December 26, 2006 - Categories: life

Me: “So, what are we doing today?”

Mom: “Nothing.”

<brain implodes>

Hmm. Maybe I should meditate a little bit before going to the next
item on my TODO list… ;)

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A year in review: Emacs

December 26, 2006 - Categories: emacs, pimpmyemacs

Over the last five months, I’ve added all sorts of code to my Emacs to
make it a contact relationship management system that fills the
salespeople I know with envy. =)

  1. 2006.07.20#1: Emacs BBDB magic: Greeting people with nicknames
  2. 2006.07.24#1: Emacs: Automating the insertion of text
  3. 2006.08.10#3: Sharing the link love
  4. 2006.08.30#3: My Big Brother Database and social networking sites
  5. 2006.09.01#2: Emacs: Keep track of messages sent
  6. 2006.09.01#3: More Emacs coolness: List of contacts
  7. 2006.09.01#4: More Emacs fun: Composing mail to everyone with notes
  8. 2006.09.02#1: More Emacs goodness: Refresh your memory when you e-mail using notes from BBDB
  9. 2006.09.15#2: Emacs: Changing the font size on the fly
  10. 2006.09.15#3: Emacs clinic at the Linux Caffe
  11. 2006.09.28#2: Emacs + LinkedIn: Another totally idiosyncratic bit of code
  12. 2006.09.28#3: Emacs: Show only people whom I haven’t pinged since…
  13. 2006.09.28#4: Emacs: BBDB rapid serial visualization
  14. 2006.09.28#5: Emacs: Animation in presentations
  15. 2006.09.29#2: Emacs BBDB: Filtering tags with the power of lambda expressions
  16. 2006.09.29#8: Emacs BBDB: Prioritize exact matches
  17. 2006.10.02#10: Crazy idea for Emacs: Random Emacs taglines
  18. 2006.10.02#11: Crazy Emacs: Personalized signatures with random taglines
  19. 2006.10.04#1: Developing a better sense of time
  20. 2006.10.04#2: Emacs Gnus hack: Prioritize based on the number of recipients
  21. 2006.10.11#4: Emacs: Hideshow
  22. 2006.10.12#3: Emacs: Quick way to collect references
  23. 2006.10.12#4: Emacs and a British voice
  24. 2006.10.23#1: Excited about my DemoCamp presentation!
  25. 2006.10.27#4: Keeping track of the age of messages
  26. 2006.11.02#2: Contact report
  27. 2006.12.12#2: Personal contact relationship management

On Technorati: ,

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Thoughts on life

December 26, 2006 - Categories: life

My favorite blog posts

December 26, 2006 - Categories: blogging

Here are my other favorite blog posts:

  1. 2006.01.07#2: Things every geek should know
  2. 2006.02.05#2: Why I like the Emacs editor
  3. 2006.03.18#3: Upon reflection
  4. 2006.03.26#1: Forks – breaking up with Dominique
  5. 2006.03.27#2: I love my life!
  6. 2006.04.13#3: Reflections
  7. 2006.04.18#1: How to wear a malong
  8. 2006.05.02#1: Linux Caffe – first date with Simon
  9. 2006.05.17#1: Aftermesh
  10. 2006.05.24#6: Microsoft Word in schools
  11. 2006.05.30#2: Networking with Moleskines
  12. 2006.06.23#1: First taste of the Canadian medical system
  13. 2006.06.25#4: What’s the value proposition of a student?
  14. 2006.06.25#6: Listening
  15. 2006.07.10#1: Finally on a phone plan
  16. 2006.07.16#1: Barbecue
  17. 2006.07.22#4: The best birthday gifts
  18. 2006.07.30#1: Simon
  19. 2006.08.15#1: Rock-climbing
  20. 2006.08.22#1: Networking for Geeks: Advertise with your laptop!
  21. 2006.08.30#2: Backlog: A great weekend
  22. 2006.08.31#9: The power of proactively networking
  23. 2006.09.02#2: Networking tips: Bring your own nametag
  24. 2006.09.05#2: Sometimes I just get homesick
  25. 2006.09.06#2: Break glass in case of emergency: For homesickness
  26. 2006.09.28#6: Conference Commando: Networking with Nametags
  27. 2006.09.29#4: Networking: Create value with your business cards
  28. 2006.09.30#2: Capsule summary
  29. 2006.10.13#1: Wow.
  30. 2006.10.20#2: Notes from CASCON2006: Passion is the key to Web 2.0
  31. 2006.10.24#1: Democamp a blast! Blew their brains to bits
  32. 2006.10.30#2: Activity ideas, or Spending-time-with-Sacha-HOWTO
  33. 2006.11.19#3: Nov 13 to Nov 19
  34. 2006.11.21#1: Dinner with a technology evangelist
  35. 2006.11.25#2: Woohoo! Global organization for technology evangelists!
  36. 2006.12.14#1: Kudos to Kevin Magee: sales and networking tips

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Back from wakeboarding

December 26, 2006 - Categories: family

We spent the afternoon at the Camsur Watersports Complex. My sisters
and I tried wakeboarding. Now I can barely raise my arms, and it’s
such a good thing that I brought my Twiddler one-handed keyboard…

Wakeboarding was tons of fun. We started with kneeboards, kowtowing
close to the water. I found it a bit difficult to navigate the cable
course without eyeglasses or contact lenses. I nearly made it first
time around, but I wiped out on the last leg of the circuit because I
couldn’t see the buoys. I swam to the side and waited for the golf
cart to pick me up. Then I was back in line for another try. After
several tries, I finally got the hang of the course. I learned where I
needed to brace myself for the sudden slack and jerk as the cable
changed directions. My sister Ching teased me about the fact that I
stuck with the kneeboard instead of trying the waterskis as soon as I
could, but I figured that becoming familiar with the course and the
feeling of gliding over water was a good idea—and it was.

I eventually graduated to the water skis. After two faceplants right
in front of the launching pad, I figured out how to crouch. I even
made it all the way around, coming in almost standing. Yay!

I couldn’t get the hang of starting on the wakeboard, though. I always plowed into the water. Maybe tomorrow.

I remember coasting along on my skateboard behind Jed’s bike, pulled by a power cord we scavenged from discarded electronics on the street. That was tons of fun, too. And picking myself up after faceplanting on that hill… Yup, that’s me, getting back in line after clearing the water from my nose!

Wish my usual adventure buddies were here. I know they’d love it too!

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Starting life on the lecture circuit

December 27, 2006 - Categories: family

My dad gave a day-long seminar on photography to more than fifty
photographers from Naga and surrounding areas. He’s been thinking
about speaking more often, and because we were in Naga for
wakeboarding anyway, he figured that he might as well. He was worried
that there wouldn’t be enough material or that there would be too much
material and people would be bored. I think the audience would’ve
happily listened to him for a few more days!

He regaled them with anecdotes, showed them great shots, and shared
some of the tips and tricks in advertising photography. I learned a
few new things, too, like using a backlight for all my CookOrDie food
shots to give definition, and using black backgrounds to bring out
color. I may yet learn how to shoot portraits…

He showed off his improvised equipment with glee. A styrofoam box
turns into a light box for a fraction of the cost of regular
equipment. A piece of plexiglass results in a million lighting
possibilities. He knows how to shoot on a shoestring budget because
that’s how he started. With a passion for photography and a can-do
attitude, he made everything happen.

My dad has always loved sharing what he’s learned. My mom told me how,
when my dad was starting out, he asked an established photographer
about a shot. The photographer refused to teach him, telling him,
“That’s a secret.” Then and there, my dad must have resolved to share
everything he could—and sometimes a few things he shouldn’t, to my
mom’s chagrin!

I can’t believe my dad was once shy. My mom said that when she first
got to know him, he answered each of her questions with a single word!
“So you like photography?” “Yes.” “What do you like shooting?”
“Anything.” Now you can’t get him to stop talking! ;)

My dad doesn’t need Toastmasters training or anything like that. He
does it all naturally: exciting vocal variety, vivid body language,
dramatic pauses, and a strong rapport with the audience… Wow.

My mom learned that she also needs to be able to speak at the drop of
a hat. She found out about seminar just a few days ago, when she read
a post by my dad on a Philippine photography forum. Not only did my
dad announce the workshop, but he also said that my mom would speak
about the business of photography. After all, his success at shooting
wouldn’t have been possible without her, and no whirlwind tour of
professional photography would be complete without talking about the
professional side of things. She managed it, though, and will probably
refine her talk as she has more of these sessions.

I foresee my parents getting the hang of holding workshops… Maybe I
can learn from them about life on the lecture circuit! =) I love this

On Technorati:


December 27, 2006 - Categories: -Uncategorized

I realized today that Nethack isn’t fun for me. I admit, I like some
of it, and it’s kinda cool that I have a level 13 wizard who’s
currently wandering around the Quest level, and it does give me some
geek cred, but it’s not really doing it for me. My character runs into
problems, and I’m like, darn, now I have to remember where I put that

Freeciv is a little bit interesting because it’s one of the strategy
games my friends play.

Maybe I should try more puzzle games. I remember liking the fish

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December 28, 2006 - Categories: -Uncategorized

These are the four words that resonate the most with my desire to grow
to be a better person: meaning, abundance, integrity, and love.

I help people connect with their better selves and
with other people in deep and meaningful ways. I create a better self
and a better world through action and reflection so that I can do
meaningful things.
I can do all this because I enjoy an abundance of
blessings and opportunities. I have enough time, energy, and resources
to share with others.
Because of this abundance, I can always act with
integrity: keeping my word, living according to my values, and
respecting others and myself. When I make a mistake or give in to
temptation, I catch myself through reflection or the support of my
others around me, and do what I can to return to a life of integrity.
Through all of this, I act with great love and
compassion. I strive to choose the loving option even if other choices
are easier, and I also open myself to the loving kindness of the

My understanding of these values will evolve over time, as I follow or
even lose sight of them along the way. Still, they’re a good guide.

What are your values?

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Jedediah Smith wrote:

Love as much as you can, yourself and others
Responsibility take control of your life, fix whatever mistakes you can, let go of those you can’t
Forgiveness if a grudge isn’t helping you, let it go
Truth always search for what’s real even when you would prefer the unreal
Fluidity embrace change, seek novelty, face your fears, grow
Sarcasm yeah, this is a GREAT value

Wakeboarding woes

December 29, 2006 - Categories: family

“Oh, don’t worry,” one of the wakeboarders reassured me. “I fell a
hundred times before I figured it out.”

Twenty-two faceplants and counting!

I managed to make it all the way around on water skis last Monday, but
couldn’t duplicate the feat today. Wakeboarding was a complete
non-starter. I kept plowing into the water face first, right off the launching bench. No matter how well I visualized myself holding on, no matter how much I tensed my knees, I kept getting pulled off-balance by the cable.

Still, I kept going back.

Maybe I’ll get the hang of it next year… =)

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Waking up

December 30, 2006 - Categories: -Uncategorized

Day five of waking up before 7:30. I’m starting to like this. Waking
up early means I have lots of time to myself for reading, writing, and
learning new things. It has also helped me make sure I drink enough
water. Not bad!

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I give up on WPA and WPC11!

December 31, 2006 - Categories: geek

After several days of compiling and recompiling kernels and tracking
down HOWTOs and fiddling with configuration files, I officially give
up on getting WPA encryption to work with the Linksys WPC11 v3
wireless card under Ubuntu. As a temporary fix, I’ve disabled the
encryption on the router at the Alabang house. I really need to get a
newer wireless card, though, something that can handle encryption…


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