Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Tunguska Event

A very large explosion in the sky over the Krasnoyarsk Krai region, Siberia, Russia happened on 7:17 am (local) June 30, 1908.  Years later russian investigators found large areas of toppled trees and burnt forests plus eyewitness accounts of a glow bright enough to be mistaken for the sun. 

What we know...

A russian expedition found a zone of scorched trees around 8 km. across.  The same expedition found no impact crater.  Eyewitness accounts tell of a loud sound and a bright glow above the forest.  The zone of burnt forest is consistent with the effects of a nuclear explosion in the magnitude of 20 megatons (1 hiroshima) of TNT.


The leading theory as to what happened in Tunguska is generally held by most scientists in the world.  There was a meteor penetration of our atmosphere.  The meteor which survived the heat of entry exploded above the surface causing the effects documented in Tunguska.

Other theories include methane or natural gas explosion, a black hole and a crash of an alien spaceship. 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

"You Can Come To Me"

The icon shows 4 characters namely: Mary, Mother of Jesus, the Child Jesus, Archangel Michael and Archangel Gabriel.  We see Jesus clinging to his mother alarmed by a vision of his Passion.  The angel Michael is carrying a lance and sponge.  The angel Gabriel is carrying a 3 bar cross and nails. 

If those two angels don't scare a 6 year old I don't know what will.

But the most striking impression to me is Mary's eyes.  Her hand is holding her child but her eyes are looking at the viewer. 

Image from Wikipedia.org.

Full Circle Magazine for May no.38

Full Circle Magazine is out. I download their pdf version. It's a beauty. After finishing a quick look, I got a tip on ScribeFire. ScribeFire is a Mozilla Firefox extension for easier blogging. It turns out it has a Google Chrome version too. To get it, head on to your Tools>Extension and type Scribefire in the search. It's a quick download.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ganito Kami Noon...

The american soldiers were holding down their prisoner while someone pours liquid into his mouth and nostrils.  The prisoner is a captured filipino soldier fighting for the Revolutionary Government which just proclaimed Philippine independence. 

Yes.  It's water boarding-1898 style.

Water torture. http://philippineamericanwar.webs.com/

Friday, June 25, 2010

Then Was Malacanang

Malacanang Palace is to the Philippine government as the White House is to the United States.  It is the architectural icon of the seat of government, well the executive branch at least.

Malacanang started out as a wooden house overlooking the Pasig river.  It was purchased by the Spanish government from a private individual with the intent to serve as a summer house for Spanish Governor Generals. 

After the 1863 earthquake in the Philippines, the newly built summer house became the residence of the representative of the Spanish crown.  It represents the highest authority of government and power.  It was said that Jose Rizal's mother went to Malacanang to plead the Governor General to pardon her son and save him from the death penalty.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Evolution: View By Conversation or Thread

I notice many Ubuntu forum members are asking about this.  If you're using Gmail you should be familiar with messages viewed as conversation.  When the same message is sent back and forth by the same parties then it's a conversation and it forms a thread.  Most Gmail users who would be using Evolution as a desktop client will look for this feature in Evolution.  It's a feature you will certainly miss.

To enable this in Evolution just go to your keyboard and hit cntrl+T.  If you want to use your mouse then just click View>Group by Threads. 

I don't know how many Evolution users are Gmail users.  I don't know how many Evolution users are going to agree with me if I suggest that Evolution enable this feature by default.  But I am sure the Evolution developers have heard this suggestion before. 

Linux being all about choice, should provide an opt-out when it makes something the default.

It's just that I am arguing that email isn't just electronic mail but a conversation.  The default behaviour should be group by thread and the feature doesn't belong under 2 layers of mouse commands.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Remember Jaws

If I remember anything about the 70's, it's Star Wars and Jaws.  Jaws was released this day in 1975.  I remember the terror of watching a predator, with open mouth and white endless teeth.  Steven Spielberg made these terrifying close shots.

The film has Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw.  I was 8 when I saw the trailer and the movie.  It gave me a healthy respect for the sea and big watery expanses if you know what I mean. 

Jaws ushered in the kind of movies that are watched by millions of theater goer, helped by word of mouth.  It will earn 470 million dollars world wide until the end of its run.  It is the record holder at that time.  Star Wars will knock it off its position 2 years later.

My Wordpress Blog Is Down

Wordpress is experiencing down time today.  My two posts aren't showing up.

Record Use of Twitter

The trend in the twitter universe this past week is the FIFA world cup in South Aftrica and the NBA Finals between the LA Lakers and the Boston Celtics.  Every goal in the world cup soccer games being played in South Africa results in a spike in tweets all over the world.  But according to twitter the win by the Lakers produced the record number of tweets since the Obama inauguration. 

Another trivia for the twitter users out there is the use of this service in announcing the execution of a man convicted of murder in the United States.  Before that, Hillary Clinton and the State Department used twitter in announcing updates in diplomatic negotiations. 

Problem With A Samsung SyncMaster Monitor

I can't show you screenshots of the problem with my monitor because it doesn't show up in the screenshots.  I have a Samsung SyncMaster 920NW I purchased back in September 2008.  I like it.  Now it shows a long horizontal band of corruption in the dark pixels.  The band of erroneous color is about a third of the total screen.  Mostly it shows warm colors like white, yellow, red and I lose the blue and darker colors. 

This happened just after I downloaded updates which includes an nvidia driver update.  Coincidence?

It feels like a hardware problem than a software problem because it doesn't show in the screenshots.  That's bad news.  It means I have to replace it.  Good news.  That means I'll have a brand new LCD.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Aquaman Is Dead!

All right.  This is not funny.  When news like this goes out I worry about our chances to beat this oil spill disaster.  But Aquaman is dead?  I don't believe it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Google Docs Updates

Yes everybody's encountering some problems nowadays.  If it isn't twitter, it's facebook or google.  Speaking of google, they just put out these new collaboration tools into google docs.  So I just had to type my blog post using google docs and use it to publish to my blog.  I figured that since google and blogger.com use the same authentication protocols (openid, and all that) that they would play well with each other.  No luck. 

I have better luck publishing it to Wordpress.  Just entered my username and password and after typing my post in google docs they will offer to post it to my Wordpress blog.  Ironic. 

They should work on this automatic posting/publishing bit though.  It is a big thing.  I mean imagine after using their docs tools I can then publish it to one or more blogs.  Presently that's not happening.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Does Tech Make Us Stupid?

Yes the technology that gives us a constant stream of information can be distracting and addictive but we should not blame the internet for that.  Knowledge is increasing and the internet is what enables us to keep up with the scale.  Human brain power needs these new technologies to cope with the increase demand for analysis, research and reasoning.  They do not make us stupid.  They are keeping our heads above the water, so we don't drown in the sheer volume of data around us.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Raise Your Web Vocabulary

When I go to read a new blog, I can tell if it's written by a twenty-something.  When I check my niece's facebook posts, it feels like I'm in a foreign country.  Wait, I am in a different country but you get my point.  Sometimes it's just my age that's showing.  Most of the time, this is just too deliberate.  Teens are inventing ways to make it harder for their parents to check what they are doing online.

I do recommend talking to your son or daughter directly about it.  An honest question should be very helpful.  I also recommend that those of us being left behind should try to catch up.  So I have two websites that can be very instructive when it comes to difficult words and acronyms popping up everyday in the internet.  I wonder if they're still calling it that.

I have the Urban Dictionary included in the search engines inside Mozilla Firefox.  If you have the latest version of Firefox then it is easy to add search engines, just click the arrow icon in the search field.  This dictionary should also serve you well when you hear words thrown at you in anger. 

The second one is Teen Chat  Decoder.  If you own an iphone (and I'm talking to my sister) there's an app for it.  This website is simple like the google search.  You just type the search string and that's it.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Twitter Is A Word

This is not turning into a debate about whether I can use tweet in Scrabble.  The New York Times editors do not think it belongs in standard english just yet.  The newspaper editors cautions its reporters and writers against using it too much.  Apparently, their average reader are complaining about using the word in reporting.

Tweet is a word which commonly refers to a message sent out using the Twitter service.    Users of the service are limited by a 140 character cap on each message.  All messages are public, and users can subscribe or follow other users.  When two users follow each other they can send private messages to each other, the only time a message is private.

With a growing army of twitter users around the globe, twitter has changed how we gather news.  You want to have confirmation of the earthquake in China, just type a search string to access the public stream of messages.  This is its real power-search.

Imagine you have a product and you want to know what your market is saying about it.  Go to twitter.  Say you are interested in the latest results in the World Cup in South Africa.  Before the regular news media comes out with their polished report, twitter users with barely standard english have informed you which team won.

Twitter just made all of us content creators.  Be the witness to something mundane or something historical, who knows.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Twitter And Breaking News

It is seldom that I find a tweet even coming from Roger Ebert, sounding a social commentary.  We know now of course that the Chicago Blackhawks won the 2010 Stanley Cup.  This from Roger Ebert:

Working my way down Twitter, I find the Blackhawks won! I will press on until the Sun-Times makes it BREAKING NEWS!

And then several tweets later this:


Congratulations Sun-Times.

It's A Kernel Regression

There is no easy way to install drivers in Linux.  I for one try to avoid it.  It could really mess things up especially graphics card drivers.  I only use Nvidia supported cards.  Do the homework before you purchase your new hardware.  The happy news is there are many many hardware that are now supported by the Linux kernel out of the box.  I really am surprised when somebody still have to manually install a driver in Linux.

Also if you are planning to add a printer, use HP.  It very friendly with Linux.

I have been wondering about the kernel updates a couple of days back.  Now it all make sense.  The Ubuntu security team just released a post that the second kernel update in two days is a kernel regression.

A kernel regression happens when a later update breaks a previous patch.  Happens when you try drive too fast I guess.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Always Connected

I first notice one of my friends do this a few years back.  They would start an IM session in their PCs and after a few hours go to the malls and still have a presence in the chat rooms.  He is using his mobile phone to continue his IM activities after he closed his PC.

People developed an insatiable appetite to be always connected.  An individual is not only connected one-on-one but also connected to his network (twitter,IM chat rooms,facebook) and to his public.

We are all rockstars now.

We even crave for information that's unimportant!  We amaze ourselves with the trivial and laugh at the misfortunes of others because they have become commonplace.  We skim the surface of this sea of information but do little of deep analysis.  We are mystified at someone doing that.  We call them gurus.  As if it's a new religion.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mobile Developments

HTC Evo is launched in the United States with Sprint as the service provider.  It is the first mobile handset capable of using the fourth generation mobile technologies.  It is faster and has improved screen and user interface.  Yes its better than the old iPhone.  But Apple is coming out with its own iPhone 4G. 

It used to be 3G services and GPRS.  GPRS is now being used by embedded devices usually in vehicles to serve as links for updates and requests for maintenance.  We don't see this very often nor notice it.  It's like an iceberg with a third of the ice underwater.  These embedded devices are in our cars, toys, appliances in the house, camera, and our lawnmower.  Each device has its own chip to control processes, connectivity and code.     

Imagine you buying a brand new car with one of these devices and a finger print scanner in the steering wheel.  Your 18 year old asked you if he could borrow the car and you said yes.  Only the car would not start when your son sat to drive the vehicle.  I think the technology is 3 to 4 years in the future.  But who knows?

HTC Evo with its 4.3 inches of screen is gigantic as far as mobile screens go.  My opinion is that in order for mobile web to really take off, the browser experience must mimic as close as possible, the one in the desktop.  How that is going to be accomplished is a designer's holy grail. 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Reblogged: UpWords with Max Lucado

I have no permission and did not attempt to contact the rights holder regarding this article.  I am posting this in my blog because it is inspiring and just maybe i can bring the light and warmth of the fire to those who want it.

The Cave People
by Max Lucado

He came to the world that was his own, but his own people did not accept him.
John 1:11

LONG AGO, OR maybe not so long ago, there was a tribe in a dark, cold cavern.

The cave dwellers would huddle together and cry against the chill. Loud and long they wailed. It was all they did. It was all they knew to do. The sounds in the cave were mournful, but the people didn't know it, for they had never known joy. The spirit in the cave was death, but the people didn't know it, for they had never known life.

But then, one day, they heard a different voice. "I have heard your cries," it announced. "I have felt your chill and seen your darkness. I have come to help."

The cave people grew quiet. They had never heard this voice. Hope sounded strange to their ears. "How can we know you have come to help?"

"Trust me," he answered. "I have what you need."

The cave people peered through the darkness at the figure of the stranger. He was stacking something, then stooping and stacking more.

"What are you doing?" one cried, nervous.

The stranger didn't answer.

"What are you making?" one shouted even louder.

Still no response.

"Tell us!" demanded a third.

The visitor stood and spoke in the direction of the voices. "I have what you need." With that he turned to the pile at his feet and lit it. Wood ignited, flames erupted, and light filled the cavern.

The cave people turned away in fear. "Put it out!" they cried. "It hurts to see it."

"Light always hurts before it helps," he answered. "Step closer. The pain will soon pass."

"Not I," declared a voice.

"Nor I," agreed a second.

"Only a fool would risk exposing his eyes to such light."

The stranger stood next to the fire. "Would you prefer the darkness? Would you prefer the cold? Don't consult your fears. Take a step of faith."

For a long time no one spoke. The people hovered in groups covering their eyes. The fire builder stood next to the fire. "It's warm here," he invited.

"He's right," one from behind him announced. "It's warmer." The stranger turned and saw a figure slowly stepping toward the fire. "I can open my eyes now," she proclaimed. "I can see."

"Come closer," invited the fire builder.

She did. She stepped into the ring of light. "It's so warm!" She extended her hands and sighed as her chill began to pass.

"Come, everyone! Feel the warmth," she invited.

"Silence, woman!" cried one of the cave dwellers. "Dare you lead us into your folly? Leave us. Leave us and take your light with you."

She turned to the stranger. "Why won't they come?"

"They choose the chill, for though it's cold, it's what they know. They'd rather be cold than change."

"And live in the dark?"

"And live in the dark."

The now-warm woman stood silent. Looking first at the dark, then at the man.

"Will you leave the fire?" he asked.

She paused, then answered, "I cannot. I cannot bear the cold." Then she spoke again. "But nor can I bear the thought of my people in darkness."

"You don't have to," he responded, reaching into the fire and removing a stick. "Carry this to your people. Tell them the light is here, and the light is warm. Tell them the light is for all who desire it."

And so she took the small flame and stepped into the shadows.

From A Gentle Thunder

Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 1995) Max Lucado

A Personal Perspective on Computer Security

Computer security is a tug-of-war.  It isn't about discovering a bullet-proof product out there.  It isn't something you can buy in a box or download online.  Forget the marketing releases of security products.

Read and learn the basics of computer security.  Strong passwords, basic firewall configuration, privacy and cookies, history and memory caches, browser security and extensions.  In other words computer security is really personal responsibility.  Begin with informing yourself. 

Let me go back to my opening sentence.  The foundation of computer security stands on how you value usability and security.  If you disconnect your computer from the internet and lock it inside a vault, you will have a totally secure machine.  But can you use it?

You can also do a set-up where anything and everything goes, and within 5 minutes the computer is already hacked.

When making your personal decisions about usability and security, do read up on current computer security threats.  After updating your vulnerability to the current threats, make changes to your set-up accordingly. 

Friday, June 4, 2010

Is It True That Linux is Virus Proof?

The short answer is No.  No existing operating system is malware proof.  But there is no significant threat of a Linux virus so far and there are a lot of people watching out for that. 

Whenever somebody hear Linux for the first time, this particular question is going to come up.  Invariably, this person is using Windows and their eyes go wide when they hear that a Linux machine is not affected by the latest Windows virus.  I also add of course that a Mac is also not affected by a Windows virus. 

Then comes the secondary question:  what sort of anti-virus do you use?  I don't know about other linux users but I don't use an anti-virus.  I don't use an anti-virus because the threat of a linux virus infecting my machine is insignificant. 

It is possible to infect a linux machine.  Maybe this light hearted article can show you.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sound Decision To Me

After the security breach a couple of months back which involved China and Google, a lot of the computer forensic details have been posted and analyzed.  Many believe that this is the cause of Google choosing to drop Windows and offer Mac or Linux to its employees.  The Official company blog offer the most plausible reason to me, and in a word it's efficiency. 

Using Windows results in increase in costs because of lost productivity and lingering security worries.  Google employees do not want to be the next one to fall victim to hacks.  Believe it or not a lot of Google employees use Apple Macs, so letting them continue to use them is just common sense. 

The use of Linux does not require huge resource since Linux is free.  Linux can be downloaded and installed on existing PCs. 

Mac and Linux are good operating systems but they are not bullet proof.  But shifting their system to both is just practical and efficient.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Plan B

Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Relying on just one service for all your requirements isn't a good idea.  I've kept all my old email addresses since yahoo to gmail.  In the process I enjoy the new services those email providers give to their users. 

When your One and Only email account fails, it's like writing with your left hand.  It helps if your a lefty or better yet ambidextrous.  Use an email client that can pull all your email no matter what email service it is. 

I keep two blogs and when I post, I post to both.  Almost.  I don't know.  Redundancy is at the heart of managing critical systems.  Meaning if it's something very important to you, then better have a plan B. 

Good Morning Via Mobile

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Benchmarking Meego

Meego is a netbook operating system drawing from Intel's Moblin and Nokia's Maemo.  Meego's performance were tested by Phoronix against other linux distros such as Ubuntu Netbook Remix, Fedora and Chromium OS.  It's performance in the Phoronix test suite outshines the others.

It has the fastest boot time at under 10 seconds.  Meego is the only one clocking below 10 seconds.  It's using the btrfs file system.  Canonical also wants to switch Ubuntu to btrfs by 2011, maybe even sooner when it comes out with version 10.10.  This should be interesting.  Will Fedora 14 follow suit?

The only speck in Meego's test is the OpenGL performance.  This means anyone playing accelerated games in Meego will pay the price in speed. 

Meego is being developed for devices with small screens.  Meego and the other linux distros mentioned here should find their way into your netbooks, tablets, smartphones and even your everyday laptops. 

The Aid Flotilla Fiasco

The US policy of supporting Israel, right or wrong, should be abandoned.  An aid flotilla should enjoy the same respect as a red cross painted ship, and in any case these group of vessels were running international waters when the israelis launched their operation. 

Mr. Ehud Barak's statement that Israel is only defending itself is, in this case, getting very thin.  If this reasoning even applies here, the natural course of action is to impose a naval blockade and announce it publicly. 

The Israelis chose to do it covertly and this has become a fiasco resulting in 10 deaths. 

Update Gnucash 2.6.16 --> 2.6.18

It's a long road to this update. It isn't a normal update at all. I had to manually compile goffice0.8 and webkitgtk as well as gnu...