Category Archives: family


My mom’s amazing. Her interest in organizing information helped
professionalize the advertising photography industry here in the
Philippines. She told me how they exchanged forms with other
photographers, sharing with them the format for the cost estimates so
that clients would be able to find information easily.

Many of the forms we use haven’t been shared with other people in the
industry. I wonder when they’re going to do another forms exchange to
help other photographers learn how to manage their work? I really
admire the way my mom keeps looking for ways to improve the workflow.
Now we’re getting client call reports from the account executives. Way

I want to get into that sort of stuff. I want to learn how to identify
the kind of information we need to capture and design the forms to
make it easier for people to write things down. My mom’s still working
on finding a balance between asking for too little and too much
information. People skip fields if the form asks for too much
information. Hmm…

US laws say that blank forms aren’t protected by copyright because the
forms do not contain information in themselves. I wonder what our laws
say? Anyway, this is cool stuff. I want to do things like the D.I.Y. Hipster PDA templates

何社製のコンピューターをお使いですか。 What make of computer do you use?

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Cleverer and cleverer

My mom called me in a panic. “I just got this message from info AT saying that my e-mail account has been suspended.”

I grumbled. Yet another notice. Our e-mail had recently been suspended
because people weren’t deleting their old mail. I had just spent a few
days with ipowerweb tech support and
Adphoto employees working out the
issues. Another notice? I was going to track down and scold the errant

_After_ helping my sister, who paged me to come down so that I could
help her with the market study along the highway. And meeting my
friends. And tracking down that planner bug. ARGH!

My mom poked her head into the Internet room. “SACHA, fix my e-mail

Informal tech support people the world over know that when moms use
that tone of voice, everything else gets bumped down the priority

I trudged over to her Mac and brought up the Ipowerweb help support.

Kathy called to follow up. My mom picked up the phone and said,
“Sacha’s here fixing my e-mail.”

“No no no, I’m just going to show you how to ask for help. Where’s the

“Why don’t you fix it first and then you can teach me how to ask for
help next time?”

“I _can’t_ fix it. It’s up to the Ipowerweb people. Where’s the
message? Okay. Hmm. Temporarily suspended… check account details…”
I didn’t catch any typos during my cursory glance, but it didn’t feel
like the other notices we’d gotten from Ipowerweb. The message felt
wrong. I read further. “Adphoto Support Team… Wait a minute, we
don’t _have_ an Adphoto Support Team.” I looked up. Sure enough, there
was an attachment named “” just begging to be opened.

“So what’s wrong with my e-mail?”

“Nothing,” I replied, disgusted. I reread the message. Clever of them
to work the first part of the domain into the message. “It’s one of
those fake messages with attachments.”

“Wait! How do I tell which ones are real and which aren’t?”

How do I explain that feeling of something being wrong? It’s a blink moment.

  • Messages that ask you to look at attachments are immediately
    suspicious, even if they come from someone you know. Most worms fake
    the From: address to be someone you might now. Write the person who
    supposedly sent you the message and ask if that’s really the
    intended attachment.
  • Don’t click on random links, too. This could open you up to more spam
    or attacks that exploit browser vulnerabilities.
  • If the message says it comes from an automated system and you
    shouldn’t bother replying, see if there’s a human somewhere you can
    get in touch with.
  • Tech announcements shouldn’t be coming from info AT,
    but rather an ipowerweb account. This is particularly true when
    they’re announcements I don’t remember making.
  • Make life easier for other people. If you send an attachment or link
    to someone else, include enough outside-the-computer information to
    let the other person know you’re human. For example, you could give
    some details about the job just finished.

I’ve had to enable e-mail access from the PCs. I’ve made the employees
promise not to click on strange links or attachments, and Internet
access is restricted to a set of government websites and the Adphoto
website itself. That should provide us with some modicum of protection
because there’s no way for them to establish a direct connection to
the outside.

With social engineers getting cleverer and cleverer, though, will that
be enough?

コンピュータがこの会社に導入されつつあります。 Computers are being introduced into this company.

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Moments with my mom

Mom said:

Neko is missing you so much that it wanted to cuddle up
even with me. I was having lunch yesterday when she approached me,
then jumped (ever so gently) on my lap. I put my hands up, but later
decided to touch her. she just accepted that. then that was a little
too much for me, so I stopped stroking her back, and she decided that
was enough – she jumped out of my lap – again without scratching me.
hmmmm… Neko and I are making progress.

there’s hope for Neko yet. =). there’s hope for me, too. =)

Awwww… Upon hearing that this is my fourth day with adobo in one form or another:

you better learn to cook something other than adobo. You can cook tapa. just get a thin slice of beef. marinate it in vinegar (white), soy sauce and garlic. cook the beef in the marinade, and when when almost done (before the marinade dries up completely), take out the marinade. fry the beef briefly, then put back the marinade, with onion slices , (round), cook just very, very briefly and that’s it. The sauce is yummy, and can flavor your rice. You don’t need a lot of vinegar and soy sauce, just enough to make the beef tender. Make sure the cut of the beef is across the grain. Here, you can buy beef slices really for “bistek” (which is Filipino for beef steak).=)

I love my mom. =)

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I’m planning to get myself a domain name tomorrow to celebrate my 22nd
birthday. Geeky, huh? Well, it’s about time I got something like that.
For extra symbolism I should’ve gotten it last year, on my 21st
birthday, but hey—better late than never. Jijo Sevilla of
QSR Hosting has offered to host the
domain name service for me, like the way he’s currently handling I really owe him and Richi Plana a lot for hosting my mail and website!

For practical purposes, I will also get myself a 3/4 or knee-length
winter coat and perhaps winter boots as well. Yes, I know, it’s the
height of summer, but that’s a good time to start rooting through
vintage and second-hand shops. This is a hefty purchase, so I’m
treating it as an expensive birthday gift that will help ensure that I
have future birthdays. ;)

My friends are organizing a little Skype party for me tomorrow morning
(evening, their time). It’s nice to be loved! =)

I’ll blog some more tomorrow, but in the meantime, let me post letters
to two people who made all of this possible.

Dear Mom,

I really think that we should celebrate our moms during birthdays. It
must not have been easy raising me, and despite the fact that I seem
to be sorta doing well on my own (at least I can cook adobo!), a mom’s
job is never truly over, is it? <hug> I wouldn’t want you to ever stop
being my mom. I like having a mom: someone I can ask questions,
someone I can tell stories to, someone I can even disagree with every
so often because I know we’re going to make up really quickly. Thanks
for teaching me so many things about life. I love you, mom. Happy

And it _is_ a happy birthday. I’m really happy that I was born, and I
think a lot of other people are happy too. I hope to make thousands
and thousands of people happy about that, and thankful that I had such
a wonderful mom.


I love you. =)

Dear Dad,

You always tell me, “Remember, I gave birth to you!” I paid attention
during my biology classes, so I know that’s not _literally_ true—but
it’s truer than people might think. You _did_ give birth to me.

You showed me what it’s like to dream and to pursue that dream.

You showed me the sacrifices people make to do what they love, and how
they can help the world by doing so.

You showed me how to excel.

You showed me how to tell stories and how to get people excited.

You showed me how to get myself out of scrapes (and, err, how to get
myself into them, sometimes).


I love you. =)

My parents totally rock.

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Flowers! =)

I received a beautiful bunch of red, orange, purple and white flowers
in the mail, from Mom, Dad, Ching and John, Kathy, Neko, Ollie, Lucas,
Patch, Picco, Mali, and the Adphoto staff! =) The bouquet came with a
vase (handy!) and a birthday balloon.
Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww… I feel really warm and

Yes, yes, flowers are flowers and they’ll wilt after a while, but
they’re very pretty, and it was such a great surprise to receive them.
Besides, flowers tell other people that Something Special is Up, and
This Girl is Special. =)

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