Thursday, September 30, 2010

Space Battleship Yamato

...I am officially in nerd heaven.  See the Space Battleship Yamato website for more details.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Die-hard protestors

I took this photo some weeks back when President Aquino paid Davao a visit. What do you make of it? Me, I find it odd and funny that the police should outnumber the protestors.

Mickey Mouse is evil...

Behold the true face of Mickey Mouse, from the view of some Chinese toy manufacturer anyhow. I saw this on sale at Victoria Plaza. I don't know what could have possessed the designer to come up with this monstrosity, but I have to admit, it does have a certain ring of truth to it.

Sunset on the Street

A colorful sunset from street-level, taken at Claveria. Note Venus (the planet, not the airhead) shining in the sky.

The return of the "quotation marks"

I thought we had gotten rid of the quotation marks after the infamous 'Thou shalt not "CHEAT"' signs went away. But it looks like they're ba-aaack.

Another view of Ateneo

A friend booked into Marco Polo and invited me over to their 17th floor lounge. The lounge has a stunning view, as might be expected, and it gave me a look of my school as I have not seen it before.

Friday, September 17, 2010

FOSS and Social Development

My presentation for Software Freedom Day 2010 in Ateneo de Davao University. This is a bilingual presentation, by the way, with both English and Bisaya / Cebuano text.

If notebooks were treated like software

Here's a small thought experiment.

Consider a notebook: not the high-tech computer notebook gizmos of late, but your run-of-the-mill spiral-bound paper notebook, the kind you write on with a pen or a pencil. It's so cheap and ordinary we don't give much thought to it. You scribble on it, you read it, and that's that.

Now what if, just consider what if, all the paper notebooks in the world were owned by the companies that made them. Those companies would have the exclusive rights to the manufacture, distribution, and use of notebooks.

If you needed a notebook, you would pay to get it from one of those wouldn't really own the notebook. Having exclusive rights, the company you got it from would still own it. The company would only give you the rights to use the notebook, for your use exclusively, and to only use it for writing. At any time, the company can look into your notebook to see what you used it for.

If you violated those rights, let's say by tearing out a page and making a paper hat, or by doodling flowers on it, or by letting a friend write on "your" notebook, the company reserves the right confiscate the notebook and throw you in jail.

That sounds like a crummy deal, right? And it is. But guess what: that's the case with proprietary software nowadays.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Interview

By rights my blog posts this week ought to be about the upcoming Software Freedom Day celebration, but I feel I just have to insert this little story here. You see, E. and I went to the church for our interview with the priest today.

It was only a preliminary interview, their prerequisite for scheduling the wedding at their church on such-and-such a date. There are other requirements, but those will follow a little later, just a few months from the actual date itself.

E. and I had plenty of laughs from the questions in the form.

Software Freedom Day 2010 Commemorative Button

Prepared for Software Freedom Day 2010 this coming Saturday.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Software Freedom Day 2010 at Ateneo de Davao University

Software Freedom Day 2010 at Ateneo de Davao is a go for this September 18. We're all pretty excited, and doubly so now that the contest and its prize have been announced. I'm very happy with the way the team put this event together: entirely student-driven, with industry participation. Looking forward to it!

Poster by Jan Basoc.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

In other news...

...I'm engaged.

Sick Days

Despite repeated evidence to the contrary, I usually maintain this notion that sick days give me time to rest and catch up on the things I normally don't have time for. Said notion evaporates once the sick day actually comes. Then all I really want to do is lie in bed and moan.

I had been nursing a cough since the middle of last week. Strangely, it metamorphosed into a cold. Usually, it's the reverse that happens. But there you go.

Again, despite repeated evidence to the contrary, I thought I'd get better. But oh no, it usually ends up getting worse. Monday, I struggled to get through the day, which I did, heroically. By Tuesday, I was down and out. I thought I'd recover enough to make it back to class on Tuesday afternoon: no go.

To add to the indignity, I twisted my back. I'm back in the harness today, but...the pain! the pain!

Finding the right book... getting to be an important consideration.

I don't know whether it's because my tastes have evolved or I'm just getting older (gasp!) but I can't devour as many books as I used to before. Some books are just a chore to read now, and it takes a really special book to get me going. Ironically, this comes at a time when books are cheaper to get and easier to come by.

As it happens, I also have a pretty large backlog of unread books. I've amassed quite a few owing to small purchases here and there, usually no more than P50 each. As I've learned, it takes quite a toll on the shelves. I really should start divesting, but the miser in me wants to read them before parting with them. See problem above.

I've had to slog through a few unforgettable titles lately and I've only just recovered my reading groove with A Canticle for Leibowitz. Again, a touch of irony: this was a book that I bought at almost full price.

I'll be more careful what I buy from here on.

Monday, September 06, 2010

National Solipsism

Two weeks after the Quirino Grandstand hostage crisis fiasco, national media is still picking over its carcass and regurgitating it supposedly for our benefit. We get live coverage of retrospective investigations and armchair analysis of the shouldas-wouldas-couldas: all par for the course, I understand. I would switch off if I could, but it's hard to turn on the television or open the newspaper without catching a glimpse of yet another angle on the incident.

Yet for all the commentary and the coverage, there's something national media continues to miss out on, or perhaps glosses over: the victims.

Friday, September 03, 2010

When students get pregnant

In his column on "Unitown and Teen Pregnancy", Dr. Perry Mecqui quoted a study whose findings struck me as odd. I wonder if anyone else noticed?

From Dr. Mecqui's article: "In the Philippines, a study conducted by the UP Population Institute and the Demographic Research Foudnation in 2002 showed that 26 percent of Filipino youth, ages 15 to 25, admitted to have had premarital sex, and that 38 percent are in a living-in arrangement."

I don't quite know how to interpret that. Taking the statement at face value, I would conclude that 12 percent of Filipino youth who are living in together are NOT having premarital sex. Frankly, I think it's kind of incredible: do they mean to say that they're really just playing house? If so, the researchers missed the opportunity to ask the respondents the secret to their abstinence.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Bidding the words return...

...though they come but in trickles.

My friend and officemate Michelle read my long post on Firefly and commented that, at last, I had written something lengthy. It seemed that this blog had been almost nothing but pictures the past few months. I can't help but agree.

I can think of a number of reasons why I should have abandoned my blogging habits of yore, but in the main, the root cause is more frightening than I care to admit. And it's this:

I'm finding it harder and harder to write. The words don't come as easily as they did before.