Everything and Nothing

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

I'm moving my posts over to my newly activated "techscene" journal, on a test basis. It's using b2.

Monday, October 28, 2002

I met interesting people at the lunch today for the judges and organizers of the Philippine Web Awards. I'm judging the final round.

Sacha is the person associated with Linux now, among the general IT public. She's got her taste of glam - she's one of the movers and shakers coming out in the local Seventeen Magazine. (Thanks to Joey for bringing this up.)

Saturday, October 26, 2002

I wish I had programming contests back in college. I hope to watch this one and admire the current crop of talent. Posted by Jonathan Ritchie Yap of the University of Asia and the Pacific.

Byte Wars

Think…Create…Solve…will be the battle cry of 48 teams as they slug it out for the first-ever ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest Asia Regional site to be held in Philippines on November 12 –14, 2002. University of Asia and the Pacific will play host to around 144 contestants in teams of three university students trying to develop solutions to 9 machine problems using C++ or Java in 5 hours.

Sandra Jean Chua or "Sasha" as she is more popularly known in the Philippine IT circles after topping this year's JITSE exam and
powering the Bayanihan Computing Group to the top of the heap in
Microsoft.NET contest will lead Ateneo de Manila which also features freshman sensation Mark Punzalan. Standing in the way of Ateneo is their Katipunan neighbor, UP Diliman which boasts of many time National Team member Mario Carreon, who used to mentor Sasha back in their high school days at Philippine Science. DLSU, Mapua, Asia Pacific College, Lyceum, East Asia College, Informatics, NIIT, TRACE Computer and Business College, AMA, STI, UE, and UST are some of the 22 Metro Manila-based teams participating in the contest.

Ateneo de Naga and UP Los Baños will lead the charge of 18 provincial teams including delegations from Angeles University Foundation, Mindanao State University, Saint Louis University, San Pedro College of Business Administration, and University of Saint Louis.

China's Fudan University will be seeking a return trip to the World
Finals after placing 7th in the 26th edition of the contest held in
Hawaii last March 2002 which was won for the first time by an Asian University – Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Also trying their luck in Manila are teams from Kasetsart University (Thailand), Parahyangan University (indonesia), Tokyo Institute of Technology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, The University of Hong Kong, and Yonsei University (Korea).

Winner of the Manila site will be one of the sixty teams that will
advance to the World Finals (March 22-26, 2003), at Merv's Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills California during the Academy Awards week. The event is considered to be the "Olympics of Computer Programming".

The Manila site Steering Committee is composed of Dr. Jose Maria Mariano (Regional Contest Director), Rey Vincenzo Cruz (Contest Associate Director), Jonathan Richie Yap (Executive Sub-Committee Chair), Maria Asuncion Sahagun (Director for Publicity and Promotions), and Cyrus Paolo Buenafe (Director for Delegates Development).

IBM is sponsoring the event in a global scale with Globe Telecom's Net Express DSL leading the cast of local partners, which includes Watercare, Hot Café, Kingfisher, Goodview and yehey.com.

For more information, please get in touch with Susette Buenafe at 633-8697 / 634-2806 or e-mail acmmanila.uap.edu.ph.

Friday, October 25, 2002

Now finished with one week of giving "beginner" Linux training at work.

Gathering the Pieces

Here is the download list for pinoyjavalearners so far, in my latest post. I'll be copying the CD-R for people getting started. I need to get this going since I don't get to code as much as I like. Hopefully, this will recruit more people to help me out!

This is 388 Megabytes already... :)
Please suggest stuff to be added, or maybe removed.

Java 2 SDK 1.4.1_01 for Windows and Linux
Java 2 SDK docs
Java 2 Mobile Edition Wireless toolkit for Windows and Linux

Jakarta ant 1.5.1 (Build tool)
Jakarta logj4 1.2.7 (Logging toolkit)
Jakarta Tomcat 4.1.12 (Servlet/JSP server "container")
Xalan (XML XSLT transformation)
Axis (SOAP web services)

IDE's and Editors:
Netbeans 3.4 for Linux, Windows and platform-independent
Eclipse SDK 2.0.1 for Linux/GTK and Windows

Poseidon 1.4.1 Community Edition

Sun Java Tutorial and examples

With this DSL link, I can now cut down on spending on Internet from the house. I'll just prepare what I need. That will also help me cut down on unnecessary computer time.

Are you with us?

Abet de la Cruz and Jed Domingo on using crypto for the proposed Philippine National ID. I can't say, I just write code...

Feet on the Move

Now off to my latest pastime - learning Dance Maniax! I've peaked at Percussion Freaks for now - I'm not too keen on playing the songs at Four Stars and above.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

If it wasn't clear, "Who is Eastern Telecom" is their ad campain for their rebranding effort. They need to get out of relative obscurity, and consumer confusion between "Eastern Telecom(s?)" and their initials, ETPI. But if they do, my DSL connection will slow down! I don't want to have PLDT DSL speed connections.

It will take a lot of effort to dislodge PLDT from its near-monopoly status, but but the Philippine Internet Service Organization is going to file suit and try.

Who is Eastern Telecom? I'll find out now that I got an office DSL connection from them. I can now put together the pinoyjavalearners CD for newbie distribution. I'll probably hack on it this weekend since haven't been spending time on the group. I haven't been even doing much Java either! I can now try more stuff that's heavy on the byte side. The better thing about it is that it offers a lot of bandwidth going out. It would be neat for hosting stuff that isn't too mission critical, and for testing servers.

Exactly one week ago today, I was at Pam's party. She is my primary influence in getting a journal up, second to the tech blogs at O'Reilly. It was so nice to hear her sing with her band, after reading about it for so long. I think Alanis Morrisette was influenced by Pam's writing and followed her style. (That's right - not the other way around!)

I also got to see The Pin-Up Girls. They are nice to listen to but too "pop" for me to go out and watch live. Jeng Tan really reminds me of another blogger friend. (I'm not telling who!) I wish they had a song with the girls singing lead vocals, if possible.

The musical highlight of the night was experiencing Dahong Palay. I wanted to get up on my feet and march the streets, even if we were at Club SEx (Sound EXperience). Our ears were all ringing after the electric explosion of protest rock.

In contrast, Nityalila is quiet. I caught her Tuesday night at Bistro 110. She played really really nice original songs, with a friend on electric lead guitar backing her up, but I found her choice of covers a bit strange. Elvis Presley? I doubt that the bar crowd there knew who she was. I look forward to watching her again playing originals and less well-known stuff.

I joined electronicamanila group on an invitation. While I neither play nor compose, I hope to be able to help out in custom programming and music file distribution. The former would be an interesting coding exercise, while the latter will complement my content distribution and IP engineering explorations.

Monday, October 21, 2002

Ping Lacson wants to regulate prepaid GSM SIM (Subscriber Information Module) cards since criminals use them for their activities. (Sorry can't find a news link). The City of Makati is also banning the use of mobile phones in banks and money changers. Now, we are catching up with technology. Visit ph-cyberview for the discussion.

The Inquirer writes about credit card companies as the "Fine Print Fiends". This came out in print beside news from Mastercard regarding their target of 2.4 million cards in the Philippines by the end of the year. Ironic.

While non-musical stage plays rarely interest me, I want to see the Repertory Philippines staging of "Forty Carats" - if only to see Jenny Jamora again. Note to lifestyle writers - please please interview her! There is almost nothing on the web about this fine actress.

Another girl who's hardly on the web is Reema Chanco. I saw her show Trabaho Lang (produced by Ideal Minds) just tonight. You can greet her at the Juice TV messageboard, though!

Sunday, October 20, 2002

If Joey can have his cinephiles' Coffee Club, who can sponsor a round of drinks and a venue for coders? Are there any local companies who want to nurture coding creativity? Or do we start our own thing first?

Today I visited the Cafe Papemelroti to see the exhibit of Ilustrador ng Kabataan.

Friday, October 18, 2002

Pieces of Friday Five:

On average, how much TV do you watch in a week?

Less than ten hours. I don't schedule any viewing, but just switch channels around for the most part, spending an average of two minutes before switching. Just like my choices in reading, my choices in viewing reflect my general apathy towards anything fictional. I think I should spend my time reading and watching things I can learn from directly, and not just make them my entertainment.

If you had the power to create your own television network, what would your line-up look like?

It will be news, analysis, documentaries, and non-fiction the whole day. I would buy programming from creative indie-thinking local outfits and help them in their business.

I used to proclaim that TV was made obsolete by the Internet because of the lack of interaction, but then I realized that you have to shut off your mind and watch passively for a while.

Come to think of it, people working in TV and media might have thoughts along mine. I have a recurring thought that everyone who uses a computer should also be a computer programmer. Likewise, everyone who watches TV should make their own shows too. But then again, gaining programming skills are not interested to the majority of computer users, and people who watch TV need separate gear to create their own material.

Here is a history of IBM Philippines at the Philippine Star. It's their 65th year anniversary in the country. There is no mention of it at their own website.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

I'm looking at October 26 for the first meeting of the pinoyjavalearners. The CD distribution for beginners is taking shape and is related to the project concept for the Kabuhayan (Livelihood) CD for Pinoy programmers.

The Linux threading problem for freeradius was fixed by upgrading to the glibc in Red Hat 7.3. I have continued working on my prepaid Internet card suite for RADIUS.

I'm starting to learn the Ruby language. It's in use for one of my other projects. So far, it seems OK except for concepts I haven't seen elsewhere. (I have never used Smalltalk). Let's see if I'll encounter confusion between Ruby, Python and Perl.

I'm also poring on Java language issues in this Ken Arnold interview. This reinforces the fact that I need a solid hold on language basics to construct larger things.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

I'm hacking on my Python module for the FreeRADIUS server. I might use it in a commercial project. I'm still having trouble with Linux threading.

A post at pinoyjavalearners led me to Java Practices. I should start using the tips there for better coding. This is more reason I want to get a copy of Effective Java by Bloch soon. The site derives from it.

I've almost finished Programming C# by Jesse Liberty. It refers too much to Visual Studio, but I guess that's the reality of .NET programming. Learning .NET will clutter my brain, but it's still good to know its principles.

Wilson Chua of Bitstop Computers has an article. The business was my client in the previous ISP job. One of his most significant projects is streaming Philippine radio stations at eRadioportal.com. That's a n interesting content delivery problem that would satisfy the average Pinoy user abroad looking for a taste of music from home.

I tried that in early 2001 with disastrous results. The Erap "White" album, anonymously produced by RJ Jacinto and the Riots, was an "underground" hit. I ripped the tracks fo MP3 and posted it at asarproject.org (now defunct). That was the site of Artists for Social Action and Responsibility, who still have a site here and an inactive Yahoo! group. (asar roughly means "peeve" in English).

The Cocktales business section gossip column at the Inquirer spread the word about the CD. I mailed the author, Victor Agustin, to inform him that the music was available online. In a matter of three days my web traffic shot at the paid web host through the roof and I paid quite a large sum of money - my contribution to EDSA 2.

I'm now figuring out the proper, scalable way to do these things!

Aside - why doesn't Erap update his blog?

Sunday, October 13, 2002

Howard Rheingold has extended his study of virtual communities to the wireless space in Smart Mobs. He cites the fall of Joseph "Erap" Estrada as the catalyst for starting his book, in this interview.

After working on wireless back ends for a few months, I have considered different ideas on how to make use of SMS for "distributed intelligence" and not just games and chatting. Perhaps I'll work on it, Jayce and friends will speculate on it, and we'll meet in the middle!

Someone with a mobile camera - like the seemingly growing number of Nokia 7650 users - should consider putting up a picture blog like this one at Hiptop Nation. It's just an email to web conversion, so the magic is not in the tech but in the social experience.

Saturday, October 12, 2002

I would like make programming a performance art - that is, making the craft of programming entertaining to a general audience even when the work is still in progress. It could be like musical improvisation made by jamming musicians, or dance steps composed on the spot from a known set of patterns.

This is different from the discussions I've found on programming as art, since the others focus on either the source code or the output made by the finished product.

I could not find more writing on this topic, though I found one article dismissing the thought.

But who would want to watch a bunch of geeks pound on their keyboards? Let's see...

Working with Jetty has led me to a strange problem, where a java.util.LinkedList passed to a thread subclass constructor gets set to null. It must have been some gotcha I hit.

Jason Banico digresses about cracking the Lotto mathematically. I'll try something along those lines, and perhaps with Genetic Programming as well, when I feel like playing with numbers.

Friday, October 11, 2002

I finally saw Fuseboxx live!
I was at Club Sound Experience, seated right in front of Abby, their vocalist and keyboard player. Listening to them is tiring because it demands your full concentration.

I was chatting with Eric, the keyboard player, and he said that they couldn't be categorized simply as progressive rock. They form stories out of the songs they play.

There should be online samples of their music soon!

In response to the thread, Sacha Chua (who has been a visible open source advocate as of late) comes up with an insightful essay relating CS to philosophy. The compsci archives are down right now, so here is my own copy.

The compsci mailing list has a very interesting discussion about the relationship between Art and Computer Science. I was led to the interesting pages of Richard Gabriel I am most interested in the proposal for a new course, Master of Fine Arts in Software, and a different take on why Open Source is important, from the point of view of complexity.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Congratulations to Budjette, he got Globe Telecoms to use a comic book to promote XTM, an email-over-GPRS service. Will that convince me to get a GPRS-enabled mobile phone? I doubt. The day I figure out something neat to be done with J2ME for my own use, is the day I upgrade my handset.

In the meantime, Budjette will reinforce his claim to pop icon fame.

The "Post" button now appears on Mozilla! How unpredictable. Nevertheless, its failure is a wake-up call for me to find a Content Management System that I can live with.

I just finished the Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. While it has been put down as an attempt at pop psychology and sociology, it still has enough to make me think. This essay relates the concept with blogging and the spread of ideas. How funny that I was reminded of this concept by an article in The Pragmatic Programmer which refers to the "No Broken Windows" principle brought up in the book.

Gladwell has a collaborator, Seth Godin, who put has an idea called the Idea Virus , and has the complete ~200 page book in PDF form. (Godin says "read and share," and I'd like to print and share too!)

I'm fascinated in marketing and business in the same way I'm fascinated bv art. While I no longer want to get into business like I did before, I am very interested in the people, the stories, and the culture. I guess I see it from a "journalist" point of view.

I got that concept some time ago, when I talked to an IT journalist and complained that IT writing was not technical enough for me. The journalist replied that their job is to explain IT to laymen, and "hard core" tech writing is for peer-reviewed papers. I understood that further when I started writing papers and had to be strict about it.

I look forward to following these different scenes and using my experience there to help in my core area, the tech scene. For this week sharing and mentoring in core Java would be it. This blog entry at the O'Reilly Network by "chromatic" reinforces my ideas and pushes me to take it to the local, Philippine context. His Slashdot article makes me think about the proper ways of using open source software development as a channel for building development skills.

For work, I'm studying Jetty as a lightweight Web server for filling in a project requirement.

This weekend, I should be picking up in C# and .NET where I had left off, as well as learning SASL and more crypto for the implementation in JSO (Jabber Stream Objects in Java).

I'll have to update this some other time, or, I might be switching content management systems. Mozilla fails to display the Blogger "post" buttons, so I downloaded Opera. Now, Opera constrains my text input box to 1/8 of the width of the screen, worse than Mozilla.

In any case, my thoughts for now revolve around the Idea Virus and the Tipping Point, learning the Jetty web server for my project, Omniscient Debugging, and developing my mentoring program.

The more I code for work, the less I feel like coding for fun. Thus, my ideas on free software coding will have to take a back seat to mentoring.

Saturday, October 05, 2002

I got the work project to run. I hope to be able to release parts of it as open source after cleaning it up. It's good practice for OOP design.

Aside from that, not much coding has been going. I haven't felt like working on the other non-commercial projects, or continuing with C# and .NET. Yet.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Tech stuff I've been busy with: Java+SMS back end for work, reading on C# and .NET, testing different media for my new CD-RW drive.

Stuff to do: study the MIT open courseware on software engineering, practice security stuff for PH-CERT projects, read up on SASL for JSO.

What I might be doing: hacking on Bayanihan Linux, thinking of writing a prepaid card dialer for Linux - most likely in Python.

What I should be doing but am not: developing the content management system for the tech site/journal/blog!