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March 19, 2007

Photography & Philippine Civil Aviation Law

We were on board a Cebu Pacific plane back here in Manila this afternoon when during flight, Eyb took pictures of the clouds thru the cabin window. We were then approached by the stewardess saying that the Philippine Civil Aviation Law does not allow taking of pictures of “Philippine lands“, or that’s how I heard/understood it.

Airplane Photo

That’s odd. All these years that I’ve been taking pictures from inside a commercial plane during flight, I’ve never been told that. Maybe, it’s a new thing? Could be connected to the new anti-terror law, perhaps? Funny how new policies always ends up being tagged as a by-product of the anti-terror law.

Reminds me of Elber’s entry about “Photographers’ rights in the Philippines” and how such restrictions usually takes the thrill out of tourists.

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March 19, 2007

How to bring your blog to the next level?

This has been mentioned to me several times already and up to now the idea still escapes me. How do you bring your blog to the next level? What is the next level? What is my blog’s current level? What do I need to do? The question might be a little cryptic because they seem to be open-ended.

So, help me figure this out and suggest ways to get to the next level. Here are my scenarios.

Case #1. You blog about personal stuff — no apparent direction, just random rants and raves, with irregular posts. Your blog started out as the classic personal online journal.

The next level. You blog regularly now and you are more focused — less about yourself and more about the issues. You decided a blog about clubbing in the metro will be your niche. You do a regular weekly review and in between, you blog consistently. Have you grown to the next level?

Case #2. You have a fairly popular blog. You have very active readers sharing with the rest thru the comments. You have a good coverage of your niche and your blogging is paced on a regular basis.

The next level. You create a forum to keep repeat visitors high and allow them to start discussions. You start a podcast to recap your weekly blogging activity and invite people to guest in your show. By expanding the tools and features in your blog using a forum and a podcast, have you moved on to the next level?

Case #3. You are an authority blogger and an influencer. You are regularly covered by main stream media and have always been asked to be a resource person in your niche. You have that social currency at your disposal.

The next level. You put up your own publishing company or you join some blog-friendly main stream media conglomerate?

So, what do you think? How do you define or quantify the next level?

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March 18, 2007

BoBCast, Episode 1: Breakfast with Piolo

BoBCast, Episode 1: Breakfast with Piolo
Hosted by: Yuga & Jayvee
Guest: Aileen Apolo
Time: 20 minutes

Summary:
Davao Blog Party
Casa Leticia
Costa Marina Beach
Wifi in Davao
Bayan Telecommunications
Smart Mobile TV
Palm Treo Launching
Max’s Power Breakfast
Blog Awards

This is the first episode of the Band of Bloggers Podcast or BoBCast. Recorded using Jayvee’s MacBook and Garage Band.

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March 18, 2007

Davao Blog Party

Last night’s Davao Blog party was a blast! I never imagined Davao has so many bloggers and are actively participating in such offline community gatherings such as these. Finally met several bloggers I’ve known for a long time but never got the chance to see face to face.

Davao Blog Party

Bloggie, the lead party organizer, has the rundown at Ang Dabawenyo. Tha place, Netfront Cafe, was really cool. Really cheap PC rates and free wifi. Yes, free wifi on almost 90% of the hotspots in the city. Thanks, Marc Javellana, for the invitation, to Casa Letecia for the free accommodations, Andrew for the ride, Ria for the DOTA invitation, Aileen for the Durian-flavored coffee, Dennis for the dinner tonight, and a whole lot of bloggers whom I met there last night.

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March 17, 2007

Podcasting in Davao

Tonight’s the Davao Blog Party! We’re currently here at Casa Leticia in the heart of the city of Davao thinking of some really good title for a new podcast project hosted by me and Jayvee. (Special thanks to the Casa for the free accommodations.)

The first one we did in Puerto Galera a couple weeks back was good (The Bugged Cast) and we’re listening it it right now trying to strike off some stuff that doesn’t need to be disclosed to the public (like Jayvee’s new love interest or Marc’s upcoming wedding). *hehehe*

So, we’re going to do a new one with a new name and a new format. I hope it’ll be interesting enough for you guys to listen. Watch for that here and on Jayvee’s blog later tonight. ;)

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March 16, 2007

WordPress.com bans PayPerPost, et. al

This I didn’t know until I read a post over at Matt’s blog:

Perhaps rather than trying to find better ways to hide from Google, they should just stop the questionable behaviour in the first place. This is one of the reasons we took an early stance by banning PPP on WordPress.com, and other blog hosts should do the same.

Does this mean they’ll do the same with other similar ad markets like ReviewMe, Text Link Ads, etc? Think so?

But wait, check this trackback to my blog about the ReviewMe affiliate. The support guys from WordPress says “ReviewMe is okay, yes.”

However, an update on that post revealed that they’ve pulled back and disallow any participation with ReviewMe. Interesting twist and turn, huh?

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March 16, 2007

Selling your house on YouTube

An article on Yahoo! Finance talks about “The ‘YouTubing’ of real estate marketing” where people are starting to use the popular video sharing website to showcase their homes for prospective buyers.

Here’s a sample video I got while searching YouTube:

For some time now, I’ve been scouting for a house to permanently settle in so whenever I get some free time or chance upon a local real estate website, I’d browse around and check out their model homes. However, you’d only get 3D presentations, maybe a couple of pictures and a layout or sketch of some sorts. Most people would want to see the real thing but going on trips just to do that could be time consuming.

With the video, you can get the feeling of being walked through the house and see the actual thing. Anyway, I hope brokers or agents could get a hint and do the same.

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March 15, 2007

Extending the Desktop

Was watching a lot of movie series lately (Supernatural, Lost, and Heroes which is really getting addictive) while doing some work, but instead of watching it on TV, I wanted it on my LCD monitor. That’s when I discovered Windows Extended Desktop.

Windows Extended Desktop

So, I can work at the same time watch the movies (multi-tasking, heh). I’ve seen 2 or three 20-inches Dell monitors side-by-side to form a really wide desktop screen but didn’t realize it can be done with the laptop monitor and an external screen.

Now, all I need is a really nice and comfy executive leather chair.

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March 15, 2007

Anobody for a free Power Breakfast at Max’s?

I receive about a dozen free passes to the Max’s trial run for their Power Breakfast on Monday (March 19, 7AM to 10AM). It came from the people at Press, Inc., the same PR agency that sent those boxes of Krispy Kreme last November. The same people who sponsored the Blog Parteeh! by giving away boxes and boxes of doughnuts after the event.

Max Power Breakfast

Press, Inc. handles several food companies including Max’s Restaurant, Bubba Gump & Krispy Kreme, among others. I’m also coordinating with them about sponsorships for the Blog Awards. From my several discussions with them, it looks like the blogosphere has become a regular target for their PR campaigns.

Anyway, I will still be in Davao by then so if anyone of you can stop by my place between now and Sunday, I’ll be glad to hand over a pass.

Latest Review


March 15, 2007

Auto-upgrade your WordPress Blogs

More than half of the local bloggers I know don’t have enough technical knowledge on how to upgrade their WordPress blogs. So, it’s a real pain and time-consuming task helping them out in upgrading them. If the server they are on happens to have Fantastico available, and it was used to install the blog, the upgrade could be a one-click pass. However, there will still be more left to do manually.

I was actually hoping that one day, Automattic or WordPress.org would have developed an extension or plugin that allows easy one-click upgrade to future versions of WordPress.

Then I saw this a couple days back — The InstantUpgrade plugin:

Fully automatic upgrades of your WordPress

Current version: 0.1

There’s no doubt about it: Upgrading is annoying. You must download the new version, unpack it, delete the old files, copy in the new files, run an upgrading routine.

Now for WordPress users, much of this is obsolete. The InstantUpgrade plugin provides is a easy and safe way to upgrade your WordPress automatically with a single click! (It is to say that it needs some preparations, though.) You can upgrade to the latest WordPress version, or you can upgrade to a version of your choice.

The installation instructions are a little complicated but once you’re done with it, all will be well in all future releases of WP. Read the instructions carefully before doing this and there’s no guarantee that all future upgrades will be 100% hassle free.

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March 14, 2007

How to be an SEO Consultant without even trying

A client once asked me where to look for SEO consultants and how will they know that the person is the real thing. Surprised that they knew about Search Engine Optimization, I told them I’ll point them to the right people. Then again, how do we really know who are the right people?

Continue Reading

Latest Review


March 14, 2007

WordPress Live Plugin

Live is a nifty little stats plugin for WordPress. It’s basically a clone of Digg Spy for you blog. If you’re always checking out that WP-Shortstats panel several times a day, you’d be amused with Live’s auto-update.

WordPress Live

Live is a free WordPress plugin that lets you watch your website activity in real time. You can watch as people are visiting your pages, leaving comments, and grabbing your feeds.

The display of site activity is similar to Digg Spy. Each page hit, RSS hit, and comment slowly scrolls onto a canvas.

The latest version now scrolls the entries onto the canvas in a smoother motion. It also includes a hit graph that dynamically shows you how much traffic your site is getting over a period of time.

It’s more interesting if the blog you’re tracking has enough traffic — feels like a mini-Digg.

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March 14, 2007

Viacom sues Google + Youtube for $1 Billion

Not too long ago, Google bought YouTube for $1.6 Billion. After that, YouTube is getting swarmed with complaints and lawsuits. Just now, MTV’s owner Viacom is going after Google+YouTube.

Viacom Inc. said Tuesday it has sued YouTube and its corporate parent Google Inc. in federal court for alleged copyright infringement and is seeking more than $1 billion in damages.

Viacom claims that the more than 160,000 unauthorized video clips from its cable networks, which also include Comedy Central, VH1 and Nickelodeon, have been available on the popular video-sharing Web site.

The lawsuit marks a sharp escalation of long-simmering tensions between Viacom and YouTube. Last month Viacom demanded that YouTube remove more than 100,000 unauthorized clips after several months of talks between the companies broke down.

Had Google not bought YouTube, I don’t think Viacom would have filed this lawsuit. That $1 billion in damages is almost two-thirds of the total value of the video sharing service.

YouTube is getting to be a huge burden for the search giant. They should calculated the “risk of lawsuits” and factored that in the acquisition value.

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March 13, 2007

ReviewMe Affiliate Program

Last month, ReviewMe opened up their affiliate program to bloggers. The affiliate allows publishers who refer an advertiser to ReviewMe.

Not only will the affiliate program drive traffic to your individual listing at ReviewMe which will encourage review sales for you but it will also pay you $25 for any referred sale even if the visitor does not purchase a review from your blog

This is similar to the affiliate program over at TLA (aff) and judging by the success I got at getting TLA referrals, I’m hoping this one will get some traction as well.

Note, however, that the badges ReviewMe are providing for the affiliates is a little too forward:

I’ve added the same badge on the right side bar but I wish ReviewMe would add some other alternative badges as this one smacks of being too commercial. It’s like having a TLA ad saying “Add your links here for $45!” IMO, they could use a little more subtlety with this one.

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March 13, 2007

Tuesday’s Wrap Week 2

There are days when you got too many ideas and stuff to post and then there are days where nothing gets published. I would normally suggest pacing them and future-posting some but more often than not, it’s the timing that really counts so you just got to hit that publish button.

  • MarcVill writes a nice post about blog networking and adds that putting up one is like going into a marriage. I’d like to push it a bit more and say having a blog network is like raising a family — treat your newborns carefully so they’ll grow up to be great kids.
  • Over at PTB, Migs asks the question “Is the Philippines still a good place to work?“. It think it’s more than just the industry salary standards but the overall quality of the work environment. But I’d always say, it’s not how much you earn but how much you save that counts.
  • GoDaddy succumbs to a DDos attack. No matter how big or small you are, if someone is hell bent on crushing you, you’d likely bow down on your knees.
  • Several rounds of weng-weng were shared last night at Jill’s in The Fort to celebrate Sasha’s unshackling from the corporate rat race. Marc was floored at the Php8,000+ bill for such paltry orders. Never again, he says. Don’t worry pre, we’ll do your stag party somewhere else where it much more worth it.
  • Got a scoop for BH yesterday about HostGator buying the design directory CSSVault for a whooping $USD100,000. Darn, that’s a lot of trailing zeros for a PR9 site.
  • We’re off to the Davao Blog Party this week-end with Aileen and Jayvee. I’m excited to meet the Bisaya bloggers down south and as equally excited to take that whitewater rafting trip.
  • Aileen is contemplating on making me sign an NDA before I meet her guest from Mountain View tomorrow. I don’t know exactly what she told the guys from the big G about me but I’d sure wanna sneak this little post before I sign anything above the dotted lines.
  • PC World lists The 50 Most Important People on the Web and I’m sure John C. Dvorak will try to take a swing at it on the next TWiT podcast.
  • A mobile phone tracking application wins this year’s Sweep Awards (Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program Innovation and Excellence Awards). Max is one of the judges. I saw this at MOA this week-end but never tried to get past the gated area.

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March 12, 2007

Blog Readership Survey

Blog SurveyOne of the PR guys from Vizu sent me a PDF copy of their recent survey for Ad Age on blog readership for this year.

Key findings from the Vizu Answers/Ad Age blog readership study include:

How many and how often do people read blogs?

- 30.8% of blog readers read more than three blogs regularly – and of the blogs they read most often, 68.3% of respondents said they read them daily.

Community is a primary driver of readership within the blogosphere

- When asked how they find the blogs they read, 67.3% follow links from other blogs.

- Recommendations on blogs (22.9%) is ranked higher than finding links on search engines (19.6%) when selecting which blogs to read.

What makes a good blog?

- 43.9% of respondents said the quality of writing determines which blogs they will read regularly, and 43.6% said that topical focus is a key determinant of regular readership.

- 51.5% said quality of writing helps them asses which blogs are credible and high-quality, and 38% said it was the author’s reputation that drives perceived credibility.

- Post frequency and site design are also drivers of perceived blog quality.

What makes a blog a blog?

- 38.4% replied that expressing personal opinions is the key element in separating blogs from other online media.

- Other factors include: writing style (28.2%), editorial freedom (26.3%) and layout (25.8%).

Why people read blogs…

- 65.7% read for entertainment, and 42.5% read about Personal Interests/Hobbies.

- 32.5% read for education and information.

- 1 in 8 (12.3%) reported reading blogs for work or business.

Why blogs are read for work?

- The majority of those who read blogs for work use them as a tracking tool as opposed to a research tool.

- 27.3% use blogs to track specific trends or issues, while 49% of respondents said they don’t read blogs for work.

I’m actually interested in doing a similar survey for the local blogosphere. However, several factors need to be considered especially when taking a large enough sample size (in the thousands) and the effective randomness of methodology. I have some ideas in the works but I think it needs some pretty concerted effort to get enough data.

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March 12, 2007

Speedtest: Location-based bandwidth meter

This is not just any other bandwidth meter around. It tracks your location, including your ISP and upstream provider. You choose which server to connect when measuring your bandwidth. Here’s my results for my PLDT myDSL 1995.

It’s supposed to be rated at 1.2Mbps. The connecting server I used was Bayantel. The system also saves a whole bunch of data from other users so you can dig them up, get the average for your area and even compare the performances of other ISPs. This one screen shot report I got the the Metro Manila area:

Text Your Bandwidth

Interestingly, Destiny is topping the charts with average speeds in excess of 1.6Mbps. That’s almost twice that of the runner up, PLDT.

Should be really useful when people move houses or something. They’d be able to get the average performance of an internet provider in that location.

{hat tip to Dave Starr}

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March 12, 2007

Web 2.0 is a state of mind

At one of the panels in the SxSW (South by South West) Conference, Andy Budd and Jeremy Keith presented a session I think I would really enjoy watching — How to bluff your way in Web 2.0.

You can read more about the session summary here.

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March 11, 2007

Never Mix Blogging & Alcohol

I rarely miss a day blogging but yesterday was an exception. We had to rush to Recto to find a really good trophy/plaque-maker for the blog awards. Gail and her hubby were debating on the doability of the designs we’ve been conceptualizing that morning. Reality sunk in and with the limited time and resources, we settled with an ambitious yet unique look (imagine our surprise when we found out the PWA trophies came from stock designs). Tips on those who want to give away awards — always go for huge and really heavy trophies. Awardees will go nuts and say “pare, hanep, ambigat ng award mo!“.

Late in the evening, my brother and I were debating if I should get him a PSP or an XBox 360 for the hard work he’s been doing overseeing the renovations of our house in the province. He chose the former. Though the XBox 360 was way heavier than the PSP, I guess the “huge & heavy” rule-of-thumb doesn’t work with gadgets.

The rest of the evening and most of the early morning were spent at Markku’s huge, huge mansion drinking and singing the night away. Jayvee pulled some strings and got a guitar, Aileen was busy mixing some drinks (calamansi juice + sprite + GSM Blue) while Marc was itching to go upstairs and grab the Magic Sing from the other guests to do a rendition of I-Axe.

Several pitchers of the aileen apolo concoction were shared, countless numbers of high notes were missed, flawless pictures were shot, a new out-of-town destination was planned, and one super-secret was unveiled. Good thing nobody had their laptops with them or we could have spilt more juicy secrets. So hear this, never mix blogging and alcohol.

P.S.
Belated Happy Birthday to Markku!

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March 09, 2007

Chikka threatens blogger over noypiTunes post

When I wrote about noypiTunes which Christian reviewed on his blog KissNewMedia, I shared the same opinion about the similarities and the subtle use of iTunes in the wording. I didn’t realize the site/service was being operated by Chikka until Chris pointed out to me a comment they left on his blog:

Dear KissNewMedia,
Be careful of what you’re writing. NOYPITUNES is far from the brand iTunes. Noypi is slang for Pinoy. It’s like saying pinoytunes. iTunes sells mp3 and NOYPITUNES sells ringtones for Pinoys/Filipinos. As for the record, NOYPITUNES is a registered brand in the U.S. and they passed all the legal requirements.

First, Apple’s iTunes Store are not selling mp3s. They are selling licensed TV shows, movies and songs in digital format, specifically in protected AAC file format.

RingtonesSecond, if noypiTunes was targeted towards mobile phone users, then it should have been noypiTones, referring to ringtones which is what they’re actually selling. So, one cannot avoid the idea that the use of Tunes instead of Tones was largely influenced by iTunes and not because they’re selling ring tones. Just look at their logo. (Note: although noypiTones.com is already taken, it was only registered Dec. 28, 2006 while noypiTunes was registered Sept. 15, 2006.)

And lastly, the tone of the comment smells like a threat. Yeah, I think it sounds like a threat. C’mon guys, can’t take a public opinion?

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March 09, 2007

Is your blog banned from Technorati?

Was just reading John Chow’s blog and how he got banned from Technorati and Digg.

This reminded me of a bug (I thought it was a bug) that time I was updating this Technorati Top 100 list a couple weeks back. See, some of the blogs I was checking out at Technorati are no longer showing on the results. Here’s what’s you’ll get when you type in their blog url:

Technorati

The text says “There are blogs, and then there’s whatever you just typed in. If it’s a blog, we don’t know about it. Maybe you made a typo. Or maybe it’s a blog that doesn’t exist. Maybe you don’t exist. (In which case, please ignore this.)

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March 09, 2007

Has blogging matured on the Philippines?

I was answering a couple of interview questions for a local business daily when the issue if blogging has matured in this small corner of the blogosphere popped.

When I look back at blogging a couple years back, I’d say that we’re more active than ever in the blogosphere but has it actually matured? Does it need some sort of metrics? What are the indicators? Or is it just a perception?

Whenever I go back and check the list of nominees in the blog awards, I look at them as a good sample size of the Philippine blogosphere. Here are the ranks of blogs and bloggers that more or less make up the face of blogging in our country. What does that list represent?

Two years ago, you couldn’t even categorize the blogs and identify their niche. Now, I’m glad to see that all those main categorize have at least 4 or 5 nominees in them. And that’s a good sign.

Maybe next year, we’ll see more on those list. I’m just a little concerned with podcasting. I think we need to do some more promotion in that area. (Time for a YugaTech Podcast?);)

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March 08, 2007

Smart, MediaQuest give Philippine TV a “new face”

I’m posting the title and the full body of the Press Release sent to me by one of Smart’s PR people. Will be having lunch with them next week so if you have specific questions you’d like me to throw their way, just leave a comment.
Continue Reading

Latest Review


March 08, 2007

Photo Project: Rivers and Falls

Some shots I took of the Pagsanjan Falls earlier today.

These are shots of Majayjay Falls and the famous Pagsanjan Falls. Frankly, I was a little disappointed with Pagsanjan. It didn’t look the way I expected it or as others would have described it.

Majayjay Falls
Pagsanjan Falls

I also experimented on the silky effect when shooting running streams or rivers. Here’s what I got.

Pagsanjan Falls

I think the camera settings was F22 at 1.6s. I didn’t have a tripod with me so I improvised.

Latest Review


March 08, 2007

Firefox shortcuts you might not know about

Here’s some Firefox browser productivity tips you might not know about.

Every time I see someone typing a full URL on a browser starting with the non-obligatory “http”, my hand itches and I hold the urge to grab the keyboard to show the Shift + Enter magic. So, here are some more quick tips when using Firefox (also works with Flock & Mozilla):

Ctrl + Enter : auto-prepends and appends www and .com in the address bar

Shift + Enter : auto-prepends and appends www and .net in the address bar

Ctrl + Shift + Enter : auto-prepends and appends www and .org in the address bar

Ctrl + T : open a new browser tab

Ctrl + F : jump to search in page

Ctrl + F5 : force refresh/reload page

Ctrl + mouse wheel spin : to enlarge or shrink page font size

Alt + D : to jump insertion point to address bar

Shift + click a link : to launch a new window with the link

Ctrl + K : jump to Google bar to search

Some of the shortcuts are mine while others from About.com were omitted. I already know the first 6 by heart for a while and am trying to memorize the last 4.