I've been dying to post here

But this is all that I came up with.

Gnome 2.20 Released

Improvements are nowhere near revolutionary, but I like how Gnome consistently improves the desktop experience and simplicity. Two particular "minor" improvements caught my attention:
  1. Tomboy notes synchronization - I swear by this cool app to manage all the "stuff" and information that needs to be handy when I'm in the computer, and making it available across all the computers I use through synchronization is a big PLUS. I am definitely looking forward to this in Gutsy...
  2. This is a personal pet peeve. Gnome's window list (or the task bar in the Windows world) has this annoying "bug" that resizes the width of its buttons (corresponding to open applications) when the length of the window title resizes. It's much easier to see, so I'll try to post a screencast of this later, but the most important thing is that IT'S FIXED NOW! Sa wakas...
For a complete low-down on what's coming, go to their (tasty) release notes: But then again, if you're a gnome fan then you've probably read that already, and if you're not, you probably don't kare at all. :p peace.

A live cd to try the new features out is coming! I heard someone's got a good Internet connection at their office ... nuninuninu

Google Presentation App

It just keeps getting better. Google Docs (formerly docs and spreadsheets) has now a presentation web app. See official blog post here and see initial review here.`

Prince Caspian

Desktop Brag...errr Share

(Updated Screenshot)

Of course, this is not my working settings, (who can work with transparent desktops*?) But this is just a glimpse of the things you can do with a 3D linux desktop (well... besides putting off the other things that you need to do)

*notice the back view of the movie player on the right desktop and firefox on the back desktop.

New iPods Released: Shuffle, Nano, Classic and Touch

New iPods. I know some of you just want to go right in to the juicy details: head right to Apple.com.

Here's a quick review of what transpired at 1:00 am today.
  • Lots of new colors for the iPod Shuffle, including (red); same form factor, same memory sizes. As always, excellent entry point to the iPod line.
  • iPod Nano major upgrade: all-metal, new colors, now plays videos and games, features cover flow. Fatty nano! (that has to be said)
  • Original iPod form factor is now called iPod Classic. New all-metal enclosure, two colors: ash gray and black; thinner than ever, and still the iPod with the largest storage: 80Gig and a whopping 160GB
  • iPod Touch. Four words: iPhone without the Phone. Thinner than the iPhone, runs OS X, uses multi-touch interface; has wifi, safari browser, youtube, and other applications. Killer feature: iTunes Wireless Music Store
  • $100 $200 price cut on the iPhone 8GB model (they're probably dropping the 4GB one).
  • iTunes Wireless Music Store: buy music from the iPod touch or iPhone (will be added later through a software upgrade), through your wifi connection. Probably one of the least interesting things for those in countries where Apple Music Store is not operational to start with, but this is one of the biggest (probably bigger than the touch, since it was expected) of all the announcements. This further catapults the iTunes Music Store ahead of its struggling competitors. This is going to be big.
  • Very interesting deal with Starbucks: free wifi access for the Wireless iTunes Music store: the app automatically adds a starbucks button to the Music Store that allows you to purchase the song that's currently playing in Starbucks, as well as the 10 most recent tracks.

A "6-pixel" Post

on User interfaces...
I didn't notice when this feature landed on Google Reader, but I like that they added it:

The option to hide the feeds list in Google Reader just got a lot more discoverable. There's now an arrow in the splitter to do that. (before it was just a keyboard shortcut: "U"). This allows you to see more of your feeds when you're reading stuff.

On that note, I remember something I read in Signal vs Noise:

Will Shipley (of Delicious Monster) said:
This is all your app is: a collection of tiny details
As long as you don't forget about the big picture, I couldn't agree more.

(Minor edits on construction and some typographical errors)


CAPTCHA was invented in an effort to fight the war against spamming, and other shady activities that involves bots pretending to be humans. So when this feature was added to blogger's comments, i immediately added it to my blog. I remember getting one or two spam comments before that, so I reasoned that it was perfectly reasonable. Everybody else seemed to have done the same.

But then blogger's captcha started to act up. I haven't really identified the problem, but nowadays when I'm commenting on a blog with CAPTCHA, it's almost always the case that my first attempt to enter the challenge code will fail and I will have to re-enter a new one. It can get really frustrating sometime.

I realized that a CAPTCHA challenge, though trivial to use, (for a human, that is. ;p) poses an irritating usability barrier to a feature that's used very often, such as the blogger comment form. It is perfectly necessary in sign-up pages and other sensitive pages that a user will use once or a few times while using the web service, but beyond that, I think we have to find of a perfect balance between being spam-proof, and being user-friendly. Now in the case of this blog, which is low-traffic, the serious problem of spam is yet to really show up. And frankly I think I can get away without having CAPTCHA in the comments.

So a month ago I removed CAPTCHA from Wandering Geek to make commenting easier and faster. I realize that I'm monitoring my comments anyway (both thru blogger's comments feed, and the comments email notification) so in case any spam gets through, I can easily delete it. Honestly, if it makes things easier for readers, I don't mind doing that.

This is a lesson in designing a user interface: sometimes we think too much about solving an "expected" problem that in doing so we alienate the very people that we are designing the user interface for.

To Some "US Americans"*, P2P Hurts Corn Farmers

The few times that I feel good about what's happening in the Philippines is when I see much much more absurdities happening in other countries.

Take for example the recent scuffle between iTunes and NBC: NBC asked Apple to raise the per-episode price of its tv contents in the iTunes Store. Apple stood firm against it, and NBC went home with the ball, announcing that they're not renewing their contract with Apple.

Discussions on this happenings promted John Gruber to point to a document from NBC in its filing to the US Federal Communications Commission back in June, calling for more regulation of the internet:

Because of our nation’s interlocking economy, two-thirds of the lost earnings and lost jobs are in industries other than motion picture production. For example, in the absence of movie piracy, video retailers would sell and rent more titles. Movie theaters would sell more tickets and popcorn. Corn growers would earn greater profits and buy more farm equipment...
As funny as the argument is, Mr Art Brodsky still dilligently refuted this claim in his post in public knowledge.

On a the same note, Michael Gartenberg of Jupiter research came up with probably the best description of some old-school movie and television executives:
Sometimes I think God put video content guys on the planet to make the music guys look progressive and visionary.
That really made my morning. :)

*Words borrowed from Miss South Carolina.

Introducing the Google Phone

A bold headline by The Boston Globe. But they have a pretty good reason for that.
Cambridge has a chocolate factory, and a Willy Wonka. The chocolate factory is Google's local research lab, located on the seventh floor of a Kendall Square office tower, and the resident Wonka is Rich Miner, a Google executive sometimes described as the company's vice president of wireless but officially a "technical staff member," according to a Google spokesman.

The golden ticket is a chance to see a prototype of Google's new mobile phone, which Miner has shown to a handful of Boston entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, some of whom have signed nondisclosure agreements and some of whom haven't.
Now I'm torn.

Bill Gates Doll

Learned about this site (via Matt Cutts) that lets you "dress up" a variety of dolls. There are a few business personalities there, including Bill gates, which i played around for a while. Anyway, see what I came up with (click on the picture for thecomplete version). :)

Create your own

I know, i know. I should just start working...

Cloud-based Anything

I'm spoiled. My google web history is turned on, my google talk chat history is turned on, and right now i'm really frustrated because i was trying to remember the site of a book fair that connet ( i can use your name here, right? oops, too late. :p ) mentioned but I'm not sure if Yahoo messenger is saving your chat history (in the cloud) so I can't find it right now (I was using pidgin at work when I chatted with her). My google calendar, though lately has been ignored, is still my main calendar. I can't live without del.icio.us (i have learned not to trust my memory too much) to annotate my web browsing, and I can't live without my foxmarks. The list goes on.

The thing is I'm one of those who are really sold out to the idea of putting things (well all that makes sense to put there anyway) in the cloud. Yeah, privacy be damned - frankly I don't worry much about privacy concerns, because 1) I either put things that are private in services whose security I trust, or not put them up at all, and 2) the convenience of easily accessible information very much outweighs the privacy paranoia that seems to plague the mindset of most users and naysayers.

I remember when I was on my way to a job interview more than a month ago. On my way there (around 45 minutes before the appointment), I suddenly realized that I left the index card with address to the building where I'm going and I'm not really sure about its exact location. Knowing that I probably won't have much time left to look around, I was faced with dilemma. I contacted my friends and tried to request them to google the building for me, but almost all of them were either offline or got my message too late. Salvation came from Jason, a good friend at work whom I had to call. I gave him my google password because I'm quite sure that I added the address as a note to my calendar event of the said interview (this was also the first time that he learned that I was moving to another company) . I was in MRT the whole time, and as I look at my trusty (well, used to be anyway) Nokia 1100, i couldn't help but wonder then how things would have been different if my phone was more capable (read: has a web browser).

Anyway I did get to the place on time, but the punch line came at exactly 15 minutes before the interview: my phone (which i was bashing moments before) buzzed with a new SMS message: a notification from my Google calendar giving me every bit of information that I was frantically looking for just minutes ago. I setup my SMS alerts in GooCal and i forgot about it. This is one of the best things about information in the cloud: they can be made accessible through devices other than your internet-connected desktop computer. It may have not worked in the most ideal way (i should've trusted my system more), but in the end, at least for that moment, it paid to have things in the cloud. :)

Pisay Homecoming 2007 on Ustream

Batch 82 has setup a Ustream channel for the upcoming Pisay reunion. Cool... Another reason not to feel too bad about not going. hehe.