Thursday, January 19, 2006

Men's Fun blog moved

Just want to advise that my "other" blog has moved to its own site at www.philippines4men.com. So update them bookmarks!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Writely

I wrote in my 2006 geek predictions that there will be a web-based office suite. Well, tobats04 pointed out that a website (http://www.writely.com/) that provides for web-based word-processing.

I tried it out today and it is awesome.

Google on a downward trajectory

I once thought that Microsoft should be worried about Google. Now, after reading the news of CES and seeing the latest output from Google, I am now re-thinking my position on this company.

Lets start with Google Pack. Now isn't this a bunch of crappy software? Google Search is a resource eater. Who needs a Google screensaver? Why bundle a toolbar for IE AND Firefox? Who doesn't have Adobe Reader? They bundle a TRIAL version of Symantec Norton Anti-Virus when there is a reported vulnerability in all Symantec products. Besides, there are a lot of free anti-virus products out there (I use avast). No bundled firewall? And Real Player????

Some tech pundits analyze this as Google's "F**K YOU" flipping-a-bird gesture at Microsoft byy releasing tools that highlight Microsoft's weaknesses. But seriously, if they want to flip a bird at Bill Gates, releasing crap against crap is not the way to do it. Besides, why compete with Microsoft at the Operating System level? I don't think that Google's core competency is on the PC level---it is in the web space. And they are not in the business of selling software---their business is in advertisements. So the more they get people to flock to the web and into their site, the more eyeballs and hits they get, the more ad revenue they garner. So Google should try to get users to move away from applications on the PC and get applications on the web. Writely already has an incredible web-based word-processor---Google should seriously consider buying that company.

Firefox 15% Marketshare In U.S. And 20% Marketshare In Europe!

Spread Firefox Announced: A new Xiti Study shows that Firefox has now more than 20% marketshare in Europe and more than 15% in the U.S. Check it out!

read more | digg story

Monday, January 16, 2006

Can't read my Men's Fun blog?

A reader commented that his IT department blocked my other blog Men's Fun in the Philippines because of adult content and wondered how to get around this.

One way is to subscribe to a news aggregator. I use Bloglines a lot, mainly because I can view all the updates of various websites that I subscribe to. And it is also PDA friendly!

Another way is to get the articles via email. Click here to subscribe via email.

Prediction: Movie houses dead?

I spent most of the weekend watching DVDs at home. I, together with a companion, watched The Matador (starring Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear, about a hitman and a salesman meeting in Mexico) and Syriana (a VERY complex story about oil, power, and politics). Both are supremely incredibly EXCELLENT movies, the type of movie you watch relaxing on your couch, maybe with a glass of wine and some light snacks. Both are intelligent and thought-provoking, the type that encourages conversation and discussion, and definitely not a mind-numbing SFX-laden film that makes you shuffle out of theaters like a brain-emptied zombie. If you consider yourself a movie affecianado, you owe it to yourself to watch these movies.

(As a side note, I also watched "The Village" in Star Movies last Sunday and that movie sucked big-time. I find that M. Night director severely over-rated and while his directorial style is good, his stories are becoming more and more ridiculous.)

It just dawned on me that DVDs, large screen monitors, and the Internet will soon spell the death of movie houses as we know it. Probably in 5-10 years. Variety had published that worldwide ticket sales was about USD10.1 billion in 2005, as against USD10.7 billion in 2004. Consider that there were 527 films in 2005 versus 507 in 2004. Consider also that ticket prices have been steadily increasing. What does this translate to? Less and less people are watching movies in theaters.

And I don't blame them. I am very meticulous about movies, but nowadays I have chosen to watch movies at home rather than at movie theaters. With the cost of movie tickets themselves, plus the extraneous expenses such as gas, parking, popcorn, I begin to wonder---what is the added value of watching at a theater? I would agree that if you want a movie EXPERIENCE (like King Kong or a SFX-laden film), then you go to a movie house. But in a movie where dialogue and character situations are key, a pirated clear-copy DVD at a fraction of the cost will offer you the same thing.

Then we have the whole mobile phone situation. There was a time when I was watching a movie and someone's phone went off. This person literally answered the phone, and proceeded to have a conversation! I paid good bucks to enjoy a movie undisturbed and I have to put up to this. Ok, so one can argue that the disturbance is worse at home with dogs barking, kids running, phones ringing, tricycles roaring in the background, but at least I didn't pay P100. And if I missed a dialogue point, I can always stop and replay. Or if I have to pee or answer a phone, I can pause the DVD.

Which moves me to the next prediction. People will flock less to movie houses. And the old adage that SFX movies are best viewed in a theater will no longer hold. As LCD and plasma screens become cheaper, people's home theaters will begin to rival those of big-screen theaters. With bandwidth similary becoming faster and cheaper, Internet movie distribution will begin to hit mainstream. Soon, instead of going to a theater to watch movies, people will begin to download them and watch them at their schedule. The whole concept of DVDs will change---instead of purchasing DVD movies, you will buy DVD-RWs to store the movies you downloaded.

Timeframe? I'd say in 5 years . . .

Friday, January 13, 2006

Having an affair

In many forums, chat rooms, and blogs, one question that often pops up is whether one should fall in love with a married man/woman.

Without going into a religious or moral debate, here is my response: I don't see anything wrong with falling in love with another married man/woman

A lot of people argue this way . . .

"HE/SHE WILL NEVER BE YOURS. " My response: how sure are you? If he/she is looking around, then there is something lacking in his marraige.

"YOU WILL EVENTUALLY BE HURT." Again, how sure are you that you won't be hurt? Or, the flip side, how sure are you that you won't be hurt EITHER WAY with or without him/her? Let me put it this way. In every relationship, there will always be pain. And even in a marraige is no guarantee that the relationship will last forever. So if you feel you will be happier with him/her than without him/her, then why not?

"YOU ARE BREAKING UP A FAMILY." How sure are you that it is YOU who is breaking up the family? Maybe it was doomed from the beginning? Maybe it was broken already? To think that you are the sole, lone, singular, number one reason for a marraige break-up is kinda arrogant. And maybe even without you the marraige will fail. In life, there is rarely a simple one-to-one cause-and-effect relationship---in many cases an end effect is the result of a multitude of causes.

"WHAT'S STOPPING HIM/HER FROM DOING IT TO YOU?" My response: if you think everything in life has a guarantee, then wake up and smell the coffee. In life there are no guarantees. Promises are broken. Contracts reneged. Even marraiges can be dissolved.

In short, I think the question is not about right or wrong. It is a question of whether you can live with the choices you made, the risks you've taken, and whether you can survive if the worst happens. Come to think of it, isn't that how life is---you are never really certain of what happens in life, so go where you think you will be happiest and live your life without regrets.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Internet Cafes

I went around a few internet cafes here in Philippines and there are a few trends or questions that pop up in my head.

Why aren't there a lot of PCs with Firefox installed? Don't these people know that it is a technically a more superior browser than IE?

No Open Office? It is a free alternative to Microsoft Office. And are you telling me that Internet Cafes are able to buy Microsoft Office for all their PCs?

And why not Linux?

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Taegukgi

I was having a drink with friends when the discussion moved to war movies. Why is that when people mention war movies, the discussion almost always gravitates to "Saving Private Ryan?" Ok so it is a well-made film, and granted that the first 30 minutes are indeed a harrowing and riveting experience, but after the Normandy beach sequence the movie doesn't seem to make sense.

Take the reason why the character of Tom Hanks decided to stay and sacrifice his entire platoon for Pvt. Ryan. Why was it a choice between leaving him behind or staying behind? Why not instead haul that spoiled brat home?

And what was that flashback scene anyway? How can the story be told from the point-of-view of Ryan? He wasn't even at the Normandy beach!

Take away those two plot points and the movie falls flat. And I don't care if it was a Spielberg film. Sometimes I feel that I am being manipulated and led astray when senseless scenes are placed simply to tug on emotional heartstrings.

Now I contrast this with a little-known but nonetheless critically-acclaimed South Korean film titled "Taegukgi." The movie is about two brothers who are dragged into the Korean War, told (in a more coherent manner) through the point-of-view of the younger sibling. The relationship of the two brothers is what drives the story forward. There is however no less action. If you take "Ryan's" Normandy scene , create maybe 4 or 5 such scenes, and spread them throughout a 2 1/2 hour movie, and you have a sense of what "Taegukgi" is. "Ryan" shows that war is an affront against man's unmeasureable value (one entire platoon sacrificed for one man---which I still find stupid because they could have dragged his stupid ass home). "Taegukgi" simply shows that war is inhumane, barbaric, and senseless. War causes relationships to falter. Morals are compromised. Friendships are forgotten. And there is bloodshed galore. Torn limbs. Bloodied stumps. Dark gushing blood. And up close in-your-face battles.

I was pleasant surprised with this film. It is a further testament of the quality of Korean cinema (look for another memorable if not shocking film called "Oldboy" if you are not convinced).

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Pocket PC

Yesterday I got myself an HP iPAQ h6300. Fascinating device it is, being a wireless PDA cum phone. Now I can surf wirelessly through hotspots if in malls, or through GPRS if no hotspots are available.

One advantage is that I can post to blogs (using a freeware called PocketBlogger) and respond to mails wherever I am. I can now transcribe comments and thoughts almost immediately after the experience.