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February 15, 2007

RocketDock on my Desktop

This one’s from LifeHacker.

RocketDock

It’s called the RocketDock, a light app that adds Mac-like shortcut navigation to your Desktop. It’s free so get downloading now.

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February 15, 2007

5 Ways to Kill your RSS Subscribers

Last night, I was adding dozens of new feeds into my FeedDemon and found myself deleting a couple old ones too. Those are blogs which I’ve subscribed to for months now but seems like a ghost town already.

If you got a Feedburner chicklet that displays your RSS count, you’d see that number dwindle because of any of these reasons:

  • Erratic post schedules. One week, you’re on a roll; then, the following week, you got one two-liner post. (You might be mistaken for #2)
  • You stop blogging or updating your blog for weeks on end. If your subscribers think the blog is dead, they’d unsubscribe right away. If you’re on a blog leave or sabbatical, it would be good to leave a note for such in your last entry so people would know and not expect any new updates soon.
  • You switched from full feeds to summary feeds. Some people tell me that they don’t bother subscribing to feeds if it’s just a summary feed. So, if your subscriber’s already enjoying your full feed, don’t wish them away by switching to summary feeds (unless you have a really, really compelling reason to do so OR if you have some kick-ass content to serve).
  • You turned pink. I don’t know but one day, you just felt like posting all personal stuff and pictures of you and your significant other (or others) like there’s no tomorrow. And it went on for weeks and weeks. Aw, it’s sweet but I don’t think your subscribers will like a Pinoy Big Blogger issue for the next 45 days.
  • You switched programming. And I thought you were covering tech? Why am I reading all babes and boobs now? (Well, some might not really unsubscribe but may move your feed to another channel group. :D )

A nice Feedburner chicklet number usually attracts more subscribers as the perception that you are widely read adds to the convincing powers of your blog. Then again, if you think your target audience aren’t that cool with feeds, why not try email subscriptions? (Feedburner has one.)

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February 14, 2007

Phil. Blog Awards: Nominate your fave blogs!

As promised, we’re now opening the nominations for the 2007 Philippine Blog Awards. We’re actually already getting submissions when we opened it early today, so we know people are watching out over there.

We’re getting huge response from people/bloggers and companies wanting to sponsor the event and we can never stop saying thank you to them.

Here’s our incomplete list of sponsors/donors so far:

If you emailed me and didn’t get a response, please re-send. It might got buried. If you still want to support this event, there’s still plenty of time. Contact us anytime. Those who are interested and willing to volunteer for the awards night itself, thanks and we’ll contact you for a planning session.

Thanks. Many, many thanks to everyone!

But wait, there’s more! The Pinoy.tv has also pledged to sponsor an Apple iPod Video 30GB to be raffled off on the awards night itself! Fotogra Weddings, Inc will also be providing a photo booth on the venue for people to have their pictures taken. Sheero Media Solutions will also be giving away a Canon MP-160 Photo Printer for the Best Blog Design Award.

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February 14, 2007

Could Friendster win you an election?

That’s what senatorial candidate Chiz Escudero is trying to find out. Check out my short entry on PTB: Friendster, an unlikely internet election campaign arena.

It made me more curious what Regnard said in his talk about “Winning the 2007 Elections in Cyberspace” last month in Ateneo.

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February 13, 2007

Are you a netrepreneur?

This was inspired by Ben Yoskovitz of StartupSpark. Here are my top 10 checklist to see if you’re a netrepreneur.

  • You own a blog and a domain (not on BlogSpot or WordPress.com). Though free is good, nothing beats a good impression that you are willing to invest in your own virtual/online image.
  • Your first online credit card purchase was your own domain and you now have close to half a dozen other domains. You also have a backup credit card, just in case the other one exceeds its limit.
  • You have at least two of these accounts — Paypal, Xoom, StormPay, Ikobo and eGold.
  • You’re not concerned to publish your complete name, address, phone number and email on your website as you know transparency is everything online.
  • You consult Google and read forums first before shooting an email to a friend asking for help. Yes, Google is your best friend.
  • You have more than one blog/websites, and they’re more or less niche blogs/sites. And you don’t go crazy with Blogger (see #1).
  • You know that there is more to online business other than the advertising model.
  • You have more connections in LinkedIn than in Friendster.
  • You’ve maxed out your Yahoo Messenger’s 300 contact list limit.
  • You’re not ashamed to tell your first client that your laptop IS your office.

If you scored at least 7 out of 10, you *might* be on your way to become a netrepreneur.

P.S.
Don’t take this too seriously. Just for fun. ;)

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February 13, 2007

Youtube on Nokia E90 Communicator

According to Engadget, the Nokia E90 Communicator has just launched and sports quad-band GSM, WiFi, and HSDPA radios along with a 3.2 megapixel camera with flash. You can forget the camera and flash but with a full keyboard, Wifi and HSDPA support, you bet this could end up in the hands of a lot of jet-setters.

Nokia E90

Reminds me of Smart 3G which isn’t so reliable after all. I wish Globe would step up with Visibility’s HSDPA and offer time-based pricing like Smart (I’d switch in a heart-beat!).

CrunchGear also noted that the Nokia S60 series is now Youtube-capable starting with the E95. The lower versions will be later supported as well.

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February 12, 2007

StumbleUpon & Adsense not a good mix?

For bloggers Adsense Publishers who’ve realized the traffic gold-mine in StumbleUpon, it might not be a good mix for you. A thread over at DP (via SEORoundTable) mentions StumbleUpon as a possible auto-traffic program by Google:

It has come to our attention that invalid clicks or impressions have been generated on the Google ads on your site(s) through users of third-party programs paid or provided with other incentives to visit your site. Such programs include, but are not limited to auto-surf, pay-to-surf, pay-to-read, or pay-to-click sites. Please bear in mind that if we continue to detect invalid clicks or impressions from these services on your ads, we may disable your account to protect our advertisers etc…..

Though there’s no definite answer to this issue yet, I believe that this could be a possible reason for an Adsense Publisher to get his account banned (not because there was a surge in traffic but because of the surge in ad clicks caused by that traffic.) This could also be riskier if majority of your site’s traffic are not organic but inflated because of social sites like StumbleUpon, Digg or del.icio.us. Best thing to do is always inform an Adsense Rep when it happens.

P.S.
Actually, when I first saw StumbleUpon a couple years ago, I had the first impression that it was just another traffic exchange program.

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February 12, 2007

Davao Blog Party

Several bloggers down under are organizing a Davao Blog Party on March 17, having successfully done a second meetup last week.

I’ve been invited to fly down there and the invite’s too good to pass up. I haven’t really confirmed attendance but I’m more or less convinced to go. If any of you down south want some action, go check them out. :)

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February 12, 2007

The Blogging Times is looking for an Editor

Yup, Minic will be doing something else (he says prolly baking). So, if you’re interested in a problogging job, head over to The Blogging Times and apply for the slot.

You need to have other source of income other than this gig. This will not pay you anything but bragging rights… and maybe some. Let’s discuss.

If you’re interested, email me at minicrivera@gmail.com. Be frank in your requirements. If you know also of anyone who might be interested, please pass this on.

Minic is a fellow Filipino and an old friend/classmate of Migs back in college. He co-founded the news blog The Blogging Times.

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February 12, 2007

A Joomla Workshop

I’m doing a whole day workshop on blogging and podcasting for the entire Newsbreak team. Actually, make that a Joomla Workshop.

Joomla Workshop

Joomla has really positioned itself as a good CMS for portal/newsites.

P.S.
Btw, thanks to all those who inquired about sponsoring the Philippine Blog Awards ’07 (I got around a dozen people/companies already). If you haven’t heard nor gotten a reply from me, please re-sent. :D

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February 11, 2007

Joining the Feedburner Ad Network

I’ve just been invited to the Feedburner Ad Network the other day so you guys subscribing on my feed may get some sort of ads at the bottom of each entry.

Feedburner

Not really sure how I was qualified but from what I’ve heard, you need to get at least 500 RSS subscribers to be able to join. Another thing is that they only make payments thru Paypal which is a bummer but I’m hoping we could get some more Paypal functionalities before I get my first payment. :D

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February 10, 2007

Photo Project: Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

Just woke up from deep slumber. We all came home back from the 11th Hot Air Balloon Fiesta at Clark in Pampanga in the afternoon after a long drive and no sleep from the other night.

Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

Hot Air Balloon Fiesta
An old officemate and her friends tagging along after they read about the trip over at Pinoy.Travel.Blog.

Hot Air Balloon Fiesta
From left: Markku, Jobarclix, Sasha, Marc, Gail, Jayvee, me, Alet, Trisha, Minnie (Rico, missing in picture)

Hot Air Balloon Fiesta
Experimenting with red/orange filters.

Didn’t get any good pictures, partly because I was too busy cleaning off that dirt off of the lens (or was it the sensor? *waahhh*)

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February 09, 2007

Call for Sponsors: 2007 Philippine Blog Awards

This project has been delayed for many months now but it’s better to start fresh and ready than not at all. A lot of people have been asking me to pursue this blog awards event so here we are in full force. We’ve done a soft-launch of the 2007 Philippine Blog Awards but nominations will only be open on the 14th.

This is an awards by bloggers to blogger. So, again, I’m looking for sponsors. If you’re interested to become one of the sponsors for the awards, please contact me for possible blog mileage.

We’re raising funds for plaques/trophies and other prizes as well as some budget for a small awards party (hopefully, that small won’t become too huge to handle!). Props to Jayvee and Gail for making this possible.

Our Sponsors so far:

[tags]pba07[/tags]

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February 09, 2007

Samsung F700, now that’s an Ultra Smart Phone

If you can’t wait for the Apple iPhone, then this new Samsung F700 Ultra Smart phone may do just well (or even better!). Here are the specs:

440×240 at 2.78-inches
Tri-band GSM, HSDPA, EDGE
5-megapixel camera with auto-focus
Slide-out qwerty with VibeTonz (input device)
Full HTML Browser
MPEG4, H.263, H.264, Real MP3, AAC+, eAAC+, Real
Unknown onboard + microSD expansion

My favorite part is not the 5MP built-in camera but the 3G capability and the full keyboard. It might just fit my needs for portability + connectivity. {source: Gizmodo}

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February 09, 2007

Yahoo launches Pipes, then gets crushed by Digg

Yahoo! Pipes has been officially launched a few hours ago and Diggers have brought it down. Now, you know how huge Digg traffic if it can clog a Yahoo service. The site now returns “Our Pipes are clogged! We’ve called the plumbers!

But what are Pipes, btw? Pipes are a hosted service that lets you remix feeds and create new data mashups in a visual programming environment. The name of the service pays tribute to Unix pipes, which lets programmers do astonishingly clever things by making it easy to chain simple utilities together on the command line.

Can’t wait to try this out but since the service is still down (no thanks to Digg), we’ll just have to wait a little while longer.

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February 08, 2007

5 Ways to Check Blog Growth

Everybody has their own way of measuring blog growth. More often, it’s usually the traffic metrics but there’s more to it than traffic IMO. Let’s revisit several of the online tools and services that measures blog growth:

Some of the 3rd-party metrics tool might overlap in what they use as formula for the figures. The figures I indicated above are for this blog (they’re not that impressive anyway).

P.S.
Coincidentally, I also wrote a short piece on BlogHerald about One Big Blog vs. Many Smaller Ones. I’d like to hear your thoughts on that matter.

Latest Review


February 08, 2007

LF: Home-based Medical Transcription Work

I’m looking for any gig related to medical transcription work or related fields. Should be home-based. It’s not for me but I’m helping out an old friend get some part-time job while he’s finishing med school. If you know of some work related in this area, please direct me to them.

I’m also hooking him up with with blog networks that needs bloggers in the med industry. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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February 08, 2007

More phishing activities targetting local banks

While BPI has recently released an email notice to all their online banking clients about the recent phishing activities targetting their BPIExpessOnline system (via Ka Edong), yet another one has just surfaced for Equitable PCI Fastnet users.

Consumer education is the key but I believe there could be some minors changes local banks can do to prevent it.

  • Do regular weekly/monthly newsletters. These familiarizes online banking users to the email notices and would help them expect (or not to expect) such notices in the future.
  • Create a dedicated section in the official bank website enumerating all important email notices sent out to customers. This will allow users to compare what they got from the mail with the one posted on the official website.
  • Make a better-looking newsletter layout or alert email format. Aside from branding, it helps the users to be familiar with the look of the authentic notices.
  • SMS notices. If an email alert is important, SMS alerts may also be used to verify that an email has been dispatched for full details of the urgent notice.

These are minor changes that can be done easily but will greatly help in the effort to fight phishing scams. Care to share some of your thoughts how phishing scams can be avoided or spotted easily?

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February 07, 2007

PinoyTopBlogs is back

Thanks to everyone who gave suggestions, especially those who were willing to donate some amount to help support the Pinoy.Top.Blogs Project.

I’ve opened up the site back as per my conversation with a donor who is willing to provide a much faster and bigger dedicated server to host the site. For the meantime, it’s still running on the current server and once it’s migrated to the new one, we’ll get back to tracking and approving new submissions again.

Thanks everyone. :)

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February 07, 2007

5 Things You Need to Know About SLR Lenses

Check out this article from TheTechLounge via Digg for some basic stuff you’d need to know about SLR lenses. Something I should have read and fully understood before buying lenses left & right.

Anyway, while Jayvee & I accompanied Sasha to Hidalgo to get her new Canon 400D yesterday (which is down to Php40k now), we took some time to take pictures of the kids along Quiapo Church.

Our last stop was at the PhotoWorld exhibit at Glorietta where we got several lens filters and Gary Fong’s LightSphere.

We’re gearing up to this Saturday’s Hot Air Balloon Festival in Pampanga so if anyone’s interested to tag along, just leave a comment. I got all my gears ready for the shoot:

  • Canon 350D Rebel XT
  • Canon EFS 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
  • Canon EFS 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5
  • Sigma DC 18-125mm f/3.5-5.6
  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II
  • Sigma APO 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro
  • Canon RC1 Remote Control
  • Canon Speedlite 430EX

We’re also hoping we could do some photoshoot for bloggers who wants some creative shots they could use whenever they’re asked to send in pictures for interview. Just check out the recent issue of Marie Claire to see what I mean (Connie & Noemi are on that issue along with other femme fatale bloggers like Wysgal).

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February 06, 2007

When search becomes personal

Google is trying its best to deliver personalized search. The official Google blog explains:

We’re constantly trying to improve the quality of your search results. One of the ways we’re tackling this is by personalizing your search experience. After all, you’re the only one who actually knows what you’re really looking for.

We have two main ways of personalizing your Google experience. First, you can customize products and services like the Google Personalized Homepage. Personalizing your homepage gives you the at-a-glance information that you care about—such as your latest Gmail messages, news headlines, or to-do list—right at your fingertips, just the way you want it.

Second, we offer automatic personalization through things like personalized search and recommendations. Our goal with these types of technologies is to make your Google search experience better based on what we know about your preferences, without you having to do any extra work.

Today, we’re taking another step toward making personalization more available to you by combining these two into a single signed-in experience. Now, when you’re signed in, you’ll have access to a personalized Google—one that combines personalized search results and a personalized homepage.

Many of you may have noticed this already for a while — the Google search results showed to you are somewhat based on what you’ve searched and clicked before. This is good because you are delivered the results which is most likely you want based on your search history. That means there’s a totally different and tailored placement in the SERPs for everyone.

Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t. Personalized search doesn’t give you the bigger picture. This is even scarier for the SEO guys because it really screw things up. You could be #1 for 5 people, #2 for 10, #8 for 100 and #99 for a million other searchers. So what’s your average rank now?

Latest Review


February 06, 2007

Better Google Adsense Referral Bonus

Lots of changes around Google Adsense lately that I haven’t covered. One of them is the lifting of the restrictions against other contextual ads like YPN, Kontera, etc. being displayed together with Adsense. Nice move there. It allows publishers to really see and compare the performance of each ad and their ROI.

Next is this Adsense Referral Program which used to have a really dumb policy. What are the chances that a newly signed up Adsense Publisher will make $100 in the first 90 days? Here’s the revised one:

  • When your referral earns $5 in the first 180 days, you get a $5 referral fee.
  • If your referral earns $100 in the first 180 days, you get a $250 referral fee.
  • Within 180 days, if you refer 25 Adsense Publishers and each of them earns at least a $100, you get a $2,000 bonus.

The last bonus is limited to once per year but I must say the the $5 is very much doable, the $100 in 180 days has a good chance and the $2,500 is pretty exciting. If only Google had done this on day one (*sigh*). I guess they realized the old scheme wasn’t doing much push on the campaign. I might put back those Adsense referral banner ads back after this.

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February 05, 2007

Wife Limits Sex Until Husband Blogs More

This is one blogging story you ought to Digg!

From the other Marc’s blog:

In an effort to encourage me to revive this blog, my wife has imposed this “No blog, No sex” rule. The rule is simple: I am supposed to blog at least once a week in exchange for love-making. The hornier I get, the more blog entries I get to post. I don’t know where the hell she got this idea (but I think it must have been from one of her blogger friends: Abe, Noemi, Javyee, Rico.)

How’s that for a blogging motivation?

Digg this: Wife Limits Sex Until Husband Blogs More

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February 03, 2007

Off to Cabatuan, Iloilo

Around the time this post is published, I should be aboard a plane to Iloilo City. We had a death in the family and the burial will be this afternoon. She’s the older sister of my grams (father side) but since she’s been with us since I can remember, we’ve treated her like our very own grandmother. Cabatuan is my father’s home town (20+km from Iloilo City) so we’re going straight there.

I will be staying there for a couple more days as well to visit my other grandmother (mother’s side) as she had a stoke a week back and is still confined in the hospital. That’s why all my cousins and brother went home earlier last week to take turns watching out for her at the hospital.

This will also be a chance for me to meet old friends, some of whom have already married (and which I failed to attend).

Again, anybody can reach me thru my mobile though emails might take a while longer than usual to get replies. :D (Is that anything new? :D )

Latest Review


February 03, 2007

Bayantel Span

I think this new service by Bayantel has been around since middle of last year. I only got wind of it when a pamphlet was dropped in my mail box the other day. Basically, Bayantel Span is a landline phone that works like a mobile phone.

Here are the basic features:

  • Unlimited local calls from: (1) Bayantel Span to any landline (2) Any landline to Bayantel Span (3) Bayantel Span to Bayantel Span
  • Free unlimited text messanging from Bayantel Span to Bayantel Span within your locality
  • Wireless phone has wider area of coverage than regular cordless phone.

Available units are the Huawei ETS2556 (Php4,200) & and ZTE WP960BD (Php 2,200). The mobile phones are sold separately: ZTEx185 (Php2,800), Nokia 2125 (Php4,600) and the Nokia 6235 (Php8,600). Monthly service fee for Bayantel Span is Php749.

I don’t see any unique or great value for this service except that it’s wireless. Even the unlimited features are only restricted to it’s own network (worse, own locality?). It just looks like a glorified cordless phone to me (which btw, you can get for less than Php1,000 and attach to your existing line).