Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Dilemma of the Times


Technology has all of us on our feet all the time. Gadgets are coming out in different shapes and form and we are left with so many choices, it is almost appalling.
Do we wonder why we are constantly scrambling to do things as if time is so squeezed we can barely fit any chore in it? Give an honest answer, for once. How much time do we waste each day on distractions like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, e-mails and the eight hundred apps or so residing in our mobile devices? Do we wonder why we have a phone, and we don’t even call people anymore? I do.

I always catch myself updating on the latest happenings and interests around the globe through Twitter. I always catch myself giving inputs and insights on my Facebook wall about the things that I’m currently preoccupied with and interested in. What a life!

Sometimes when my morning alarm rings which is conveniently carried out by my iPhone, I catch myself clicking on the Facebook app even when my eyes are still half-open. Why is that so? It seem as though there is this hunger to connect to the world in real-time every second of the day and these modern-day social networking tools made it a possibility for us to dwell into that need. Woe me!

I have a few laptops and other gadgets that I barely touch because everything is easier with the mobile phones and the apps. I have other gadgets that I don’t even bother to use like Kindle, a Macbook, iREx reader, iPods, DS because it’s almost redundant and much more complicated to jump from one device to another when all we needed is to be connected to the world. In the end all these devices sit in the corner and gather dust while they start getting obsolete by the minute. What a waste!

There is so much information overload, and if we are not careful about limiting the information that we take on a daily basis, we end up wasting our life away on technological distractions. We end up losing sight of the bigger picture. Life in all its simplicity is still the best way to live.

Yet, with new gadgets looming in the horizon and more promise of technological innovation and mobility, there seem to be no end to this growing dilemma. In fact, I’ve been itching to get an iPad and the only thing that is holding me off is the buzz that Apple will soon release its latest, more improved version.

But honestly, I’m at a point where I’m not that crazy anymore about gadgets. All these years, I have learned that these toys are only exciting to hold the first time after unboxing them. After that, the thrill is gone plus, unless you are truly utilizing the gadget to help you out on a daily basis with your career or business, much of these devices don’t actually improve your quality of life.

For now, I will stay away as far as possible from technological distractions; limit my playing time with my gadgets; enjoy life through healthy food, yoga, exercise, friends, nature & outdoors, my family; and continue my pursuit for career advancement. This I promise to myself and I intend to keep it.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Geek Attempt: Data Recovery


I am very impatient when it comes to computer technology. I figured since we are already in a new era of computing, things should work faster, error-free and reliably all the time. But, computer geeks and enthusiasts are constantly fighting to master something that is too unstable to be confined within the realms of what an ideal computing environment should be.

When I’m in front of the computer, it’s always a great adventure to find out things here and there in the internet superhighway. In the process though, we get caught up with information overload, and our PCs suffer too.

I normally would clean my PC every time I get a hint that it’s struggling, or if I realize that its overall throughput as a high-speed computing device is unsatisfactory within my own perceived standards. I clean everything to the point of tweaking the internal registries not minding the consequence of removing & rewriting endlessly onto my HDD partitions.

In the end, I have to deal with a corrupted disk drive that refuses to boot and instead I get the unforgiving blue screen of death (BSOD) which is Windows' own way of saying ‘Hey you screwed up Windows, and now screw you…na na na na na!’ (just kidding) . In all its fairness this is Windows’ innate way of protecting your basic system files from getting more damage. And there are a few things you can do but it requires a few sleepless nights, a great deal of patience, some technical knowhow, a good chunk of geek mentality, and some cash to dispose of for recovery software and perhaps backup disks or drives. There are a few free resources online but depending on how desperate you are to recover your data, it is essentially an impossible route to take without doling out something in return for recovering your corrupted data.

So now we’re talking. My point is backing up your data on a regular basis is the only way to get stability in this unstable computing world. Data on your PC gets corrupted so easily and it’s not a matter of if but it’s a matter of when.

I have a VAIO that runs on VISTA and for all its grace I just loved the way it performed that I wanted to save it, instead of just dropping the ‘f’ bomb and running to the store to get a new laptop.

So I went through the hassle of going through several attempts of booting & rebooting my laptop, and it didn’t work. Apparently some of my basic Windows .exe files are nowhere to be found. What did I do? Then moving to step 2, I acquired an online utility tool to help in the BSOD dilemma called Spotmau that attempts to fix Windows upon boot by tapping into your BIOS files and re-coding the order in which Windows would boot, plus it’s got its own bit of Windows utility tool that attempts to assist Windows to load and fix any sort of errors provided your wounded OS is still crouching inside your PC. Nah, the BSOD still happened. This solution didn’t work for me.

The next attempt is a little too extreme for one who is not really into the nuts and bolts of how the PC internals work. I mean come on guys, someone already lost sleep over this. Why would I lose sleep too? But anyways, sometimes you don’t really get the satisfaction that you want until you get to the bottom of things so I decided, what the heck, let me open up my laptop, take the HDD, attach it to another laptop as an external disk drive and see what’s going on inside. In order to do this, you need to have of course another working laptop or PC, and a tool that will allow your HDD to be connected through the usb port—an HDD dock(hardware) which you can get online. Didn’t I tell you, you need cash?

Now the juicy part. I got the dock and successfully connected my dismantled HDD to my laptop. Voila my PC recognized it as just another external memory device. Now what? You are going to start with the process of recovering data by again scouring the web for the best resources to help you carry out the process so I again managed to find a potential cash-cruncher but if it helps, why not? No free lunch dearie, let me remind you of that!

For a sneak peek into your HDD you can download Recover My Files. The beauty of this software is that it lets you start the process of recovering the corrupted data before you even decide to pay a few dollars for this utility. This software lets you recover either a few lost files or recover an entire corrupted drive. In my case I decided to do the latter since the BSOD is a definite indication of a serious drive issue. This process takes time, so brace yourself for it. A good way to carry out this process is to temporarily disable your working laptop's other functionalities like standby mode settings, regular updates that results in automatic restart, just so the utility can go on with the process of locating files without interruption. I tell you, this takes days so be patient. And don’t be stupid.

Once the process of locating lost files is done, you need more time for analyzing the recovered files and this takes a longer time. After this process is completed, you get to see a glimpse and even a preview of the files and more. Only when you decide to complete the recovery process that you then need to purchase a license key. I did.

As of this writing, I’m still in my underpants with my less-furrowed eyebrows, waiting to complete the entire process. And I am actually doing eight hundred other things on the side while burying my 'fo-his' into a cold bar of Haagen daaz.

Will this be a success? We’ll wait and see. For now, I can proudly say, ‘I tried’.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Twitterrific: Some Great Finds On Twitter

These are a few useful links that you can check out.
  1. http://www.teacherclick.com/index.htm
    Free Online Computer Tutorials.
  2. http://web2.uvcs.uvic.ca/courses/elc/studyzone/
    English-language lessons and practice exercises
  3. http://freelancefolder.com/35-online-tools-to-make-your-freelance-career-easier/
    Freelance Career Tools
  4. http://issuu.com/
    Collect, share and publish in a format designed to make your documents look their very best.
  5. http://www.onlinemathlearning.com/
    Math help and learning resources
  6. http://basket.kde.org/
    Multi-purpose note-taking application
  7. http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Main/WebHome
    A website where the community shares and collaborates on free and open curricula
  8. http://www.dumblittleman.com/2006/10/40-ways-to-make-money-on-internet.html
    40 Ways To Make Money On the Net
  9. http://lifehacker.com/5266613/six-best-mp3-tagging-tools
    6 Best MP3 tagging tools
  10. http://www.ipl.org/index.html
    Librarian’s Internet Index--Free reading resources including books for Kids & Teens; and Newspapers
  11. http://pricelesswarehome.org/2009/2009pl.php
    A comprehensive list of the best freeware/programs

This Digital Age: How Connected Are We?

Some famous computer enthusiast said that “The future is now. It’s just not evenly distributed among everyone.”

If you wonder how many bytes of data is being sent across several points on a daily basis, globally, the number is astonishing. Probably aside from food, information is something that we now feed on endlessly every minute of the day.

Have you twittered? Do you facebook? What’s up with myspace? How many RSS feeds do you read day in and day out?

Add to that the new social networking apps like Foursquare and Whrrl and basically information is at the palm of your hands.

For as long as you have your iPhone, your Motorola Cliq, your Blackberry, and lately the HTC Nexus, you are never left out with what’s going on in the world.

The only drawback is that since there is too much information exchange, people tend to set aside the importance of keeping their private life private. That fifth wall that separates our privacy from the public’s eye is basically torn down. Much of the younger users don’t even care.

The evildoers who are lurking in the dirty corners of the web are waiting patiently to take advantage of our recklessness in terms of protecting our data.

Yes we are so connected these days that anything can be organized at such a short amount of time; that everyone can be summoned at once to do something spectacular; that printed media is almost unnecessary; that we spend more time engaging in our digital lives than with our family within our home. Yes we are dangerously connected through the information highway; we might as well be less human now.

Our phones and our laptops, have replaced the human company that we used to cherish. The one thing that never gets out of sight is our priced gadgets for digital networking, gaming, online shopping, and web eavesdropping.

Indeed, we have become more digitally meshed with our digital lives, that we all have become less connected to humanity—its basics, morals, principles and the very core of living life the way it used to be before the advent of the digital age.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Year That Was...2009: Hello 2010!

Time flies. I remember how everything just blew down on us like a whirlwind from the recession to the bailouts, from war and still more war, from ponzi schemes to the unbearable market losses, from the enormous unemployment rate to still a staggeringly high number of people still unemployed, 2009, came and stayed like a dark cloud without any silver lining.

A lot of people in the U.S. are still finding answers. A lot of people around the globe are still groping in the dark. Suffering and war have not eased up a bit. Chaos and indifference still loom everywhere. Add to that the ever growing fear of a catastrophic pig flu outbreak, and this world seemed like a sad place to be in.

Horrid as it is, media and the authorities tried their best to project a less daunting future for all of us, as if everything is under control and things will get better soon.

I don’t see anything promising at all for the near future. The war will remain. More war will brew in places unheard of. The global community will still be suffering and none of these scientific breakthroughs can even secure our future and assure us that a global pandemic resulting from new virus strains will always be preventable.

Global warming has supposedly showed it signs, when icebergs melted and were transported to warm waters near the Australian region. A global summit was called to protect the environment and ease the effects of global warming, yet, the people who were there couldn’t even agree on how to fairly distribute the global budget amongst participating nations.

Sometimes, it’s easier to think that this world is without hope. It’s more comforting to think that the end is near. Then you can rest on your laurels and say that the apocalypse is here. Let us just enjoy life, have fun, and not even try to correct what is wrong. We can also redirect all our energies, thinking that the end is near, to salvaging humankind by doing good for a Godly purpose.

It is exasperating to really try to grasp everything that’s happening around us. Will there be hope for our children and our children’s children? Will there be a world for them to enjoy and cherish?

I guess the answer to that is as black as night. None of us know what the future holds. We can only surmise that our best efforts addressed at making this world a better place will hold up and offer some hope for a savable future.

In a sense, we are all a contributor to whatever happens ahead. Every little thing adds up, thus, we should all be aware of the choices we make now.

Let us all look back, assess our course. Have we steered clear on our paths? Were there any major blunders that we could have prevented? Is there still time to correct the wrongs we’ve done?

Whatever this year has marked in our lives, 2009 won’t stay that long. The New Year 2010 is here. Let us embrace the New Year with an enthused spirit, a renewed courage, an enlightened faith and an unwavering resolve that whatever this year offers we will survive it with an unflinching spirit.

Happy 2010!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Filipino Nation: In the Face of Tragedy

Typhoon ‘Ondoy’ struck the northern part of the Philippines and flooded most of the Metro Manila areas. Rainfall that didn’t fall for six months poured in just a matter of six hours causing loss of lives and devastation in the hard hit areas.

The initial death toll was at 73, and still rising as more and more bodies are pulled out from flooded regions. There’s countless number of victims who are still missing; and displaced families ran in thousands.

Is the country and its disaster preparedness agency ready enough to tackle the huge task of helping all who are directly affected by the tragedy? It might have been too much but the president promised that ‘it didn’t break’ the resolve of the nation.

It’s too early to tell because as I write this blog there’s a good portion of the region that is still under water and has no electricity and probably has no water resource safe enough for human consumption.

This is not the first time that heavy torrential rains brought about by a typhoon has drenched the countryside and flooded the region. In fact the number of casualties doesn’t even come as a surprise at all. Landslides and flooding have already claimed a many lives in the past.

In all these, the Filipino nation of course is uniting to help out those who are in dire need. Overseas workers are even extending support thru a relief drive. The global community is also helping through the Red Cross.

Was there anything that could have been done to lessen the damage of this recent disaster? Who knows? I’m sure the poorest of the poor who are probably among the casualties would have no choice but to live in uninhabitable areas, building shanties made of cardboard boxes, a makeshift of a floating abode with a luxurious view of the bay, yet was in all sense is and was a tragedy waiting to happen.

It was not uncommon to build a tent on top of a slightly covered sewer system and call it home. And when the downpour ravaged the land, these people had nowhere to run to seek refuge or at least stay out of harm’s way as the threat of the typhoon looms.

That’s the biggest tragedy! These people would have easily awashed with just the rising of the tide because they were in a place where they weren’t supposed to be.

Time and time again, tragedies have occurred in this poverty-stricken country and it’s always the poor who suffered. Did the leaders learn their lesson?

I doubt it. This is not the first time that the nation is bruised and left helpless with a tragic event, and certainly, this will not be the last. The country’s leaders need to be proactive to the obvious need of the poor, if things have to change. Until then, I, being a Filipino feel that I can only watch in horror as tragic events like this unfold.

On the lighter side, I believe that pain and suffering are the common strands that bind all of humanity. We all at some point in our lifetime have to deal with pain and suffering.

Pain and suffering makes us more humane every time, if only we see the silver lining.

For anyone who wishes to help, you can contact the International Red Cross hotline.

Friday, July 31, 2009

A Great Political Icon: Corazon C. Aquino (1933-2009)


The Filipino nation is mourning today the loss of a great leader and a beloved past Philippine president ‘Cory Aquino’. Cory died at 3:18 a.m. on August 1, 2009 (Philippine time) after she was diagnosed with colon cancer over a year ago.


Cory Aquino is notably remembered for changing the face of Philippine politics after ousting a former dictator-president Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 through a people’s revolt on the streets. She then became the first lady president of the Philippines.


She was an intelligent, courageous and a morally-conscious leader who openly waged a war against the ugliness that hounds the face of Philippine politics. After her reign as president, she continued to be an ambassadress for the masses.


The Filipino nation owe her a lot for all the lessons she has imparted being a true Filipino in spirit, defending and fighting for the cause of democracy and together with her husband, Ninoy Aquino, gave so much to us all--the Filipino nation.


She is a great hero, and she will be remembered as one.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Monkey and the Turtle


Pay attention closely to this story. It may reflect something about how you take opportunities in life. The original author of this story is Dr. Jose Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines.

Two friends, a monkey and a turtle decided to go strolling one day. As they were strolling around, they saw a banana tree filled with luscious ripe banana fruits. They were trying to figure out what to do with their find, and since the two were good friends they decided to divide the tree into two parts and each one will go home with his share.

The monkey then suggested to the turtle that they cut the tree into two halves—the top half and the lower half. The monkey opted to take the top half of the tree already sprouting with its harvest of ripe banana fruits. Meanwhile, the more laidback turtle agreed to take the bottom part that has the roots.

The monkey was doubly jovial about the fact that he has fruits that he can eat right away plus he gets a chance of getting more once he planted the tree, not realizing that without the roots the tree won’t grow.

They both went home happy and then planted their respective tree halves on the ground. They were both eager to see their plants grow. After a few days, the monkey’s tree died while the tree that the turtle planted grew and bloomed into a full fruit-bearing tree.

The Lesson:

Every once in a while life presents us with opportunities to make our lives better. Most of us though, choose ‘instant gratification’, thus, blinding us to the real value of the opportunity before our eyes. In the end, all we can do is sigh and wished we chose differently.

In most cases, good things come to those who wait.

I Beg To Differ:

If good things come to those who wait, what about those who die in the process of waiting?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Pacquiao vs. Hatton: KO at 2:59 of Round 2

Tonight’s boxing match between two great fighters in the boxing arena was sweet and short.

Like he normally does, Pacquiao was brilliant in his boxing techniques that led to a premature end of a match that was slated to go for twelve rounds. For all Hatton fanatics, it was a surprising and disappointing end after Pacquiao brutally pounded Hatton with his left and right hooks, at lightning-fast speed.

I have watched the pre-fight documentary, Pacquiao-Hatton 24/7 which highlighted both fighters’ unique journey to prepare for tonight’s match. It was entertaining to listen to the exchange of words between two camps. It was obvious, that there was intent to psyche out each other. Hatton’s camp in fact claimed a sure win over Pacquiao, made visibly clear by Mayweather Sr.’s remarks. He was very dramatic over the certainty of their victory that he even made poetic rhymes to mock Pacquiao’s camp.

On the other hand, Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer knew better. He casually brushed aside the remarks by saying, “I have the best fighter.”

I couldn’t agree more. Pacquiao is the best pound for pound boxer not only in this era but probably throughout the history of boxing. Pacquiao from six years ago has annihilated boxing’s notable names: Barrera, Marquez, Morales, de la Hoya one by one.

Tonight’s performance by Pacquiao surely shut out doubts about how far Manny Pacquiao can go as a boxer. Pacquiao has evolved from a regular boxer-puncher to one who knows priceless techniques inside the ring, studying his opponent quite artistically as he throws his quick damaging punches.

I could go on and talk about how great Manny Pacquiao is as a boxer, but I wouldn’t even go there. The boxing match tonight said it all.

I am amused though, at hindsight, remembering Hatton’s trainer’s comments.

Talk is cheap. And for some, they can talk the talk, but can’t quite walk the walk.

What matters inside the ring is performance and results. Pacquiao delivered what was expected of him and more.

It couldn’t get any better than that.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Signs That Your Geek Meter Is Dangerously High

1. You are convinced that Bamboo, Apple & Blackberry don't come with leaves or stems.

2. You know that Iliad and Kindle are synonymous words.

3.You incorporate 'backup and recovery' as part of your daily chore.

4. You are so wired, you'd pass for a terrorist at security check points.

5. You are so unwired, you utilize HSDPA, 3G, UMA, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and wait...what happened to infrared technology?

6. You read e-books on e-paper that uses e-ink. You even shop at e-book mall.

7. You are an advocate for paperless statements and electronic notifications.

8. You have subscribed to at least three of these: ITunes, Napster, Rhapsody, Dada, E-music & Grooveshark.

9. Your media player, weirdly is not the one provided by any of the above; instead you have the best media player there is...MediaMonkey.

10. Your main hobbies include 'coding' and 'troubleshooting'.

11. Your mobile apps include Yahoo Go, Avantgo, Wattpad, Nutsie and every free apps for the iPhone and for the G1 Android system.

12. You know that del.icio.us is delicious, indeed!

13. Your most valued asset is a list of the top 100 free resource online, be it books, music, software, tutorials...and you choose not to share it.