Sunday, October 31, 2004

Firefox in 98?

This internet shop is using Windows 98, apparently. And it looks like Firefox's icon doesn't show properly in 98?

Oh, and Yahoo has a new front page.

Posting From the Boondocks

Well, not really, seeing as how there aren't really any mountains anywhere near here. I'm in Daet, Camarines Norte, if that means anything to you. It's great to be back here -- apparently the last time I was here was in 1996.

Some things have changed, but mostly things are still the same. There's some sort of minimall now, and a Shakey's, and a Jollibee. :P And there's internet! I'm posting right now from a dingy internet cafe near my grandmother's house. The mouse is horrible, and I had to put up with using IE for a while. I got fed up quickly though, and just went ahead and downloaded and installed Firefox on two of their machines. Hehe, I'll leave them open when I leave, hopefully I can convert someone. :D

I'm actually here out of necessity - work necessity that is. I forgot to pass a couple of fspecs before I had to run for the bus yesterday, so I whipped up some quick specs here and sent em over to China. That's the beauty of the internet age, I guess. I can pick up my work whenever I want, and be working with people from 3 different countries while waking up late in some desolate corner of a third-world country. :D

I like it here in Daet, despite the lack of some modern conveniences. (The toilet here does not flush...I have to get a bucket of water and flush stuff myself.) Ironically, I was just lying around sleeping and reading the Cryptonomicon the whole morning. Ironic, because when I was a kid, I seem to recall that I didn't particularly like coming here, 'coz I'd be all bored out of my wits. This time though, I actually did come here to bum around. :D

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Getting Away From It All

I need to escape from this madness, this constant flow of unfinished tasks. I am leaving for the land of my ancestors, returning to my roots, seeking the tranquility that has eluded me these weeks past. For seven long years have I not ventured there, and yet now I find myself seeking its warm comforts. What will I find when I return to those shores? Will it be the same simple, quite town I once knew? Or has it changed and grown, to become a bustling metropolis? Will this short rest bring me answers, to the questions that plague my heart and mind?

(I'm going to Bicol for a few days. Cheers.)

Friday, October 29, 2004

GTA III for the NES? Nuff said.

Man...I want to do a project like that. :P

I Vow Revenge!

Okay, so I didn't perform very well at the recent company bowling tournament. It's quite embarassing, considering both my parents are pretty decent bowlers. Which is why, I vow revenge! This I declare, with my nice guy pose, I will practice, and I will win next year!

The embarassing thing is that by the last day my right hand was tired from all that ball-swinging. When I told my mom about it, I found out she actually used a ball one pound heavier than the one I was using! Okay, that does it. I vow revenge!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Best Software Essays

Joel Spolsky, of Joel on Software, is collecting nominations for the best software related essays of 2004. A lot of them are interesting reads.

Reading these essays make me realize that, well, I like being a coder, a programmer and a developer. (These are different things, figure it out :D)

Monday, October 25, 2004

The 48 Laws of Power

1. Never Outshine the Master
2. Never Put Too Much Trust in Friends, Learn How to Use Enemies
3. Conceal Your Intentions
4. Always Say Less Than Necessary
5. So Much Depends On Reputation -- Guard It With Your Life
6. Court Attention At All Costs
7. Get Others To Do The Work For You, But Always Take The Credit
8. Make Other People Come To You -- Use Bait If Necessary
9. Win Through Your Actions, Never Through An Argument
10. Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and the Unlucky
11. Learn to Keep People Dependent on You
12. Use Selective Honesty and Generosity to Disarm Your Victim
13. When Asking for Help, Appeal to People's Self-Interest, Never Their Mercy or Gratitude
14. Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy
15. Crush Your Enemy Totally
16. Use Absence to Increase Respect and Honor
17. Keep Others in Suspended Terror: Cultivate an Air of Unpredictability
18. Do Not Build Fortresses to Protect Yourself -- Isolation is Dangerous
19. Know who you are Dealing With -- Do Not Offend the Wrong Person
20. Do Not Commit to Anyone
21. Play a Sucker to Catch a Sucker -- Seem Dumber Than Your Mark
22. Use the Surrender Tactic -- Turn Weakness Into Power
23. Concentrate Your Forces
24. Play the Perfect Courtier
25. Re-Create Yourself
26. Keep Your Hands Clean
27. Play on People's Need to Believe to Create a Cultlike Following
28. Enter Action with Boldness
29. Plan All the Way to the End
30. Make Your Accomplishments Seem Effortless
31. Control The Options: Get Others to Play With the Cards You Deal
32. Play to People's Fantasies
33. Discover Each Man's Thumbscrew
34. Be Royal In Your Own Fashion: Act Like a King and be Treated Like One
35. Master the Art of Timing
36. Disdain Things You Cannot Have: Ignoring Them is the Best Revenge
37. Create Compelling Spectacles
38. Think as You Like but Behave Like Others
39. Stir Up Waters to Catch Fish
40. Despise the Free Lunch
41. Avoid Stepping Into a Great Man's Shoes
42. Strike the Sheperd and the Sheep Will Scatter
43. Work on the Hearts and Minds of Others
44. Disarm and Infuriate with the Mirror Effect
45. Preach the Need for Change, But Never Reform too Much at Once
46. Never Appear too Perfect
47. Do Not Go Past the Mark You Aimed For; In Victory, Learn When to Stop
48. Assume Formlessness

From a book by a guy named Robert Greene. I sense an urge to get in touch with my Machiavellian side. :D

Sunday, October 24, 2004


I was bored. And I was going through the Sinfest archives. But then I thought, why should I bother going through these comics manually over the net? I'm a programmer, I'll make a SinfestDownloader!

I've left it running for about 4 hours now. There's a lot of Sinfest strips...around 40MB worth have already been downloaded!

I wonder if this violates any sort of copyright? ...

Update: Done in a little over 4.5 hrs. Sinfest weighs in at a bit more than 1700 strips, and roughy 50MB of space. I wonder if I should try for Penny-Arcade? :P

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Firefox 1.0 on November 9

In case you haven't heard, Firefox, the little browser that could, is scheduled for the official 1.0 release on Nov. 9. There's a large promotion campaign going on over at, including a campaign to gather donations for a large ad of some sort on the New York Times. I'm still using 0.9, despite the availability of 1.0PR, but I'll surely get the official 1.0 come November 9. :D

BTW, there are some cool Firefox wallpapers available.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Energy Bliss

There's a new, official Windows XP Theme out. Supposedly meant for Tablet PCs, it works for regular desktops too. Cool.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Google Desktop

People have been raving about Google Desktop lately. I didn't like it. Aside from the obvious problem with multi-user computers, apparently there are some other issues. I wouldn't use it for my everyday, personal stuff, but I think it might be okay at work.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Bad Bowler!

First day of company bowling today. I got 101 and 87 in the two games. Bleah. The dinner was at Max's. The chicken was dry. I really don't like Max's. :(

So much for raw talent :P

Monday, October 18, 2004

Taxi Tales

Sometimes the best stories come from the strangest places.

Tonight, I was tired, I just wanted to get home quickly and unwind. So I took a taxi, just outside Megamall. The driver had to ask me where I was going, and luckily my choice of destination was favorable to him. Now, to be honest, I really hate taxi drivers who choose passengers based on where they're going. Not only is it illegal, it's annoying. So I didn't really like it when he turned out to be a chatty driver.

On our way down East Avenue, near the LTO offices, he told me how he had spent the whole day there yesterday to get his taximeter calibrated. Now, the government recently declared an increase in taxi fares, so taxis have been lined up in droves along East Avenue for days now.

For some reason, I found myself interested. He told me about how he was there since 5 in the AM, sleeping in his taxi (apprently a new one, or so he said) He told me about how the chairman (of what exactly, I'm not sure) didn't know anything about cars and had to call a senior citizen employee to help her sort it out. She didn't know much, he said, but she had guts. She stuck to it all day, stopping only to eat, making sure everything was in order, enduring the verbal abuse of the taxi drivers.

He said he was impressed with her, a diminutive woman in her late thirties, a bit attractive, apparently single. She hunched when she sat down, but when she walked, she stood tall - she knew how to carry herself. She was new to the office, he said, but she was eager to learn and she meant well.

He was a good storyteller, relishing the details of his story, I wish I could do it justice. I came away impressed, and not a bit ashamed. I was ready to dismiss him as another nobody, someone who couldn't learn anything in life but how to drive a car. But the way he spoke, the words he used, they spoke of a subtle intelligence, a stoic understanding of events around him.

I should chat with taxi drivers more often.

Sunday, October 17, 2004


(Warning: sappy!)

Have you ever been in love with someone who can't love you back?

Unrequited love: one of the worst possible states a human being could ever hope to achieve.

It starts quite innocently. You start to notice this certain person. You find her sweet and friendly. You like the way she looks, the way she talks, the way she smiles. She's pretty cute, she's smart, and her smile is enough to melt your heart. You hang out with her every so often. You find something about her that turns you on. Pretty soon you find yourself thinking about her more than usual.

What is it about her that has your interest? You're not sure. You don't even know her that well. She's not the type of person you always thought you'd fall for. She's not a super-beautiful hot babe. She doesn't give any special indication that she's even remotely interested. But your heart doesn't give a damn, you love her anyway.

You start to worry about how you're feeling. You wonder whether you should try to get close. Or maybe you should be upfront and tell her how you feel. You agonize for weeks; all the words left unsaid, swimming around in your head, yearning for release. You want to be careful. But you want to shout your love from the rooftops.

It doesn't matter. In a moment of weakness, it comes out. Your first mistake. You tell her how you feel. Verbally, by SMS, by email, by chat, by hand-written note, it doesn't matter. It all starts coming out. Like a fool, you pour your heart out, believing that your love for her is enough; enough for her to give you a chance.

No such luck. She won't even consider it. She can only be your friend she says. You walk away, sad, shattered, dejected, not knowing what to do. It rips away your heart, the fact that you love her so much, you feel so strongly for her, yet she cannot return even a fraction of the intensity of your emotion. You feel so helpless, so powerless over this situation that means the world to you.

You ask yourself what went wrong. Did you say something stupid, did you do anything wrong, did you blow it? No, she says, there's nothing wrong with you, it's me. Bullshit, you say to yourself.

You try to keep on hanging out with her, to be her friend, as she says. But you can't . Every moment you spend with her is infinity of torture. You want to speak out, tell her how you feel, remind her that there's someone loving her. Seeing her is pure agony. In yet another moment of weakness, you make your second mistake. You tell her you still love her, you tell her you're still there.

She refuses to talk about it; she says she doesn't want to feel the guilt. Damnit! You blame yourself, asking why you always say the wrong things at the wrong time.

Soon, things become awkward between the two of you, and you drift apart. You see her everyday, but you barely talk. You still feel the same way, but you can't even comfortably spend time with her anymore.

You tell yourself that you should just try to be her friend. You bottle up your feelings, try to set them aside. They eat away at your heart, tear apart your soul. Running into her becomes a double-edged sword; you're glad to see the smile on her face, but you're saddened by the awkward silence that exists between you.

You start to question yourself. You start to ask God what you did to deserve this sort of pain. Are you really so unattractive, so unremarkable, that the girl of your dreams won't even consider you? Was it really too much to hope that this girl could at least look beyond your outer shell and try to get to know the real you?

You start to doubt the girl you fell in love with. Maybe she wasn't as nice as you once thought? Maybe she's an evil, heartless bitch? Maybe she's no more special than you are, maybe you've put her up on a pedestal, and maybe you'd just be disappointed if the reality did not match your expectations? Is she really worth all this pain?

You start to think about how you feel. Are you really in love with her? Or do you just want her because you can't have her? Are you in love with the real her, not just some made-up idea of her?

"This is madness!” you finally conclude. "There has to be more to life than this... Why should I waste so much of my time and energy pining over this woman, a woman who will probably never even consider me, a woman whom I'm not even sure why I'm attracted to?" You come to a decision. You will get rid of these feelings, these emotions; push them away to some dark corner of your soul and leave them to rot.

And you do it. It pains your heart to do so, but you start to avoid her. You don't talk to her unless you need to. Whenever you think of her, you throw yourself into your work, your hobbies, your friends, anything to rid your mind of her lingering presence. You do what it takes. You pull out that part of your heart that remembers her smile, and you bury it inside, deep inside, so that you may never feel those painful emotions again. You kill that part of your soul that knows how to love and how to live.

It is living pain and torture, but eventually you manage to do it. You manage to regain control of your mind, heart and soul. You're finally at peace. All is right with the world.

And then you see her again.

She greets you, talks to you, compliments you, smiles at you. And suddenly all your hard work fades away. Your world is no longer your own. You're falling in love, all over again.

You recognize it, and you accept it. You are able to survive, because somehow, through all those moments of pain, heartbreak and despair, a light shines through. Every so often, you manage to get some time to sit with her, talk to her, see her smile. And those moments, while very rare, are also very precious. Those moments are pure, unadulterated bliss, and you wish there was a way to make them last forever. They are no more than fleeting instants between oceans of pain, but somehow, those few moments are enough to make all of the loneliness worthwhile...

And the cruel, vicious cycle repeats itself...

Where Have I Been...

Well the week before was supposedly preparation for the JITSE (although I think a lot more time was spent on SF3...) And this week, there was a lot of overtime to be had (quite a bit of food too).

Oh, and I've been having medical problems apparently; After some days of experiencing dizziness, I had myself a check up (free! I now think company-sponsored health care is cool :D) at Clinica Manila in Megamall. After some blood tests and stuff, I found out some bad things:

  • I have too much uric acid in my system. Apparently I have to avoid beans, canned goods, wine, shellfish, etc. The weird thing is, I don't even eat most of this stuff! (Except maybe canned foods - I eat Spam regularly :D)

  • I'm suffering from hyperthyroidism. I'm not sure what it means, except that my thyroid is too eager to do it's job, so it's giving me some sort of fast metabolism or something. Apparently I should be experiencing dizziness (yes), palpitations (, shakiness of the hands (some), and possibly rapid weight loss (haha, not likely...)

  • My sinuses are clogged up. Now I have to take some nasal spray or something.

  • And some other stuff I don't want to talk about :D

Nothing too serious I guess, but I am seriously getting tired of waiting for doctors! Last Friday, I had to wait in the (cold, cold, cold) waiting corrider of Clinica Manila for more than two hours!!! Lost half-a-day's work time, I did. Luckily, (or unluckily, maybe) I had Neil Stephenson's Cryptonomicon handy. I only killed some 150+ pages in those two hours though, which says a lot about my opinion on his writing/pacing.

Last Monday, I also spent some 45 minutes in a big tube thingy, with some 5-minute periods of not being allowed to swallow (ye gods that was hard!)... it was a thyroid scan at the new Medical City on Ortigas Avenue. Nice place, very spiffy. Has a Starbucks.

About the JITSE, and Exams in general

Alright, so it's been a week since I took the JITSE, over at the Philippine Christian University in Manila. Like all other exams I take, I finished it unhumanly early. If I didn't have any kind of shame, I would have submiited the AM exam a whole hour-and-a-half early just so I could get some sleep before the PM part. (Some people noticed I was dozing off anyway :P)

I don't get the big deal though. For objective-type, multiple-choice exams, there's really no reason to linger over the questions. Read the question once or twice, and you realize that either (a) you already know the answer, (b) you will never know the answer or (c) you think you know the answer, but you'll need time to remember it. For most questions, it should be either (a) or (b), because you should be aware of the scope of what you have studied. For (c), well, I guess I'm unique here, because instead of taking time to actually think about what the right answer would be, I just go with my gut and pick a likely answer! (I said I was fast, not accurate :P)

Oh, and the JITSE itself? A tip to anyone who might want to take it: Don't bother with those five thick reviewer books they give you. Just go through a couple of years worth of sample exams and you'll be fine.