Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Departures (tv series)

When Romy, my buddy, introduced me to the show - Departures, i just shrugged and left it untouched in my external hdd, that was for a week. It's like i don't wanna feel like watching a series, yet, due to the impasse floating around during the holidays, i was mandated to browse the folders, then launched VLC player and started watching the show.

Prior to the first episode of season 1, i was already pre-empted by my buddy of what's the series is all about. I never thought to be so unique and so cool, i couldn't help remembering National Geographic Channel. I loved watching NatGeo when i was a kid but this travel-serial-tv really blew my mind, it was awesomely plotted and well-narrated.

Probably the biggest turn down on it was the non-girl casting, the starring roles go to Scott and Justin; while behind the camera is Andre -  he maneuvers the journey and travel thru his wisdom in lens and video. Despite the lacking of a girl character, i think it was far better off, than with a girl in it. As i moved on from the 1st episode to the next and to the next, it dawned on me that an inclusion of a girl as one of the main stars would definitely hinder the extremities of their journey. 

As entertainment and lavish-breathtaking scenes of natures rolled up on my screen, from the vantage point of a cinematographer(Andre) conveying it thru the realization of this kind on a serial tv, the inspiration to travel came rushing in through me like a mammoth arousal. I felt envious to Scott and Justin suddenly, their jobs to travel the world is downright an "i wanna be part of that stuff too".

Somehow, the profoundness and depth of the show invigorates every single nerve in me to jump out from the comfort zones in real life. While it's true that the show is funded, it's absolutely screaming on the audience to enjoy life to its fullest. This travel show may not depict a truly one perfect vacation, but it certainly plays the resolute wisdom that reality is as is, that "we are living in a strange world, don't be a stranger to it" (quoted from Scott)

Another epic character of the show is on being neutral, Scott and Justin could rant and talk about the negative vibes in every culture and country they've experienced but never did i hear any. Instead, the blackballs on certain cultures that was apparent (they didn't talk about it but it was shot thru) as the camera rolls, were turned to give an aspect of realization that indeed, everyone of us, every country and society have their own to offer and cherish from the perspective of a foreigner. Appreciation - that was what i learnt as my eyes feasted on the extraordinary, while the negative impressions on certain countries accumulated thru reading the news and watching CNN were suddenly vanished, rather, i was now more grateful and has intellectually widened my perspective on the people in all walks of life.

I couldn't describe much the enjoyment of watching the travels and adventure, i am neither promoting nor advertising but everyone of us must have an eye on this show. This goes esp to the upper upper class people who are so capable in travelling- it would be a superb experience in life. 

Travelling though is still relative, we might be stuck in one place - but it's still considered as a journey. I dream the day when i myself would travel around the different countries in this world, with the sole purpose to seek and experience adventure, doing a rendezvous from one scenic spot to the next. Taking in full the danger, thrill, adrenaline and bliss of trip to forevermore.

 PS: if you wanna know their facebook page, click here.

posted by MAC

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Vegan Wrap (My Midnight Snack)

The wisdom of whatever the mind can conceive, it can be achieve, lucidly bounced back into my train of thoughts after i've tried and realized TPEB's food recipe. Neither am a bon vivant nor a special kind of vegan, but i really mind my food intake nowadays.

I realized also that preparing your own food somewhat relieves the tension inside the mind and body that was accumulated in a day's work. By cutting and slicing the veggies, and or prepping the bowls and all, somewhat creates a soothing and calming effect.

The Vegan Wrap lifted from TPEB's blog is so easy to prepare.

Everything's self-explanatory, based on the images below. Before you hit the break though, these are what make my tastebuds drip with gusto. So if you want to make you're own, be creative and follow your cravings. The possible list of ingredients can be found here.

Goodness great! Flashes of memories ran through me as i've seen the final outcome of the cut veggies inside the airtight containers, it brought me back to nostalgia at DELL's pantry in Mall of Asia where you could pick the fillings of your sandwich.

Listening to OPM alternatives (Eheads, Rivermaya and the likes) while the earphones are plugged tight on the iPhone made me even more crazy and anxious while preparing this. I couldn't help but smile deep inside. I think it's what you call, preparing your food with love and affection.

It was too late to find for a low calorie wrapper, so i just grabbed a brown-kubos (brown bread) and used it as my wheat tortilla.

Mixing, mixing, mixing. According to Celes, it's better to pour your dressing before plugging in the lettuce. Indeed! i followed.

I just added some mayo on the tomato ketchup.

Wrap it up, hahaha! i couldn't tuck it in properly. Cuz i'm superbly eager to chomp down and taste the home made creation.

Heavenly awesome!!! It's indescribable, i just so love the taste, i could really savor the juice of the mixed fruit and veggies, creating a deliciously aroma inside my mouth.

 It was unbelievably tasty. I relished it with gusto and pride. There are some points that i want to emphasize in here:

1. This home made wrap snacku is cheap and downright economical
2. Easy to prepare, and is not time consuming since you are segregating each veggie in a lunchbox, that is, whenever you feel like making one, just grab those boxes and pour them in to your tostillas.
3. It's utterly delicious and nutritiou.

My inner mind is trying to convince me again to slowly convert myself into a pure vegan. Somehow, i would do that in the future, not now. Meat is still irresistible.

Then again, i realize one thing here, i love preparing my own food, it gives that kind of unblurted satisfaction in the inside.

PS: if you choose grapes, make sure it's seedless... that oozing juice from it really makes you feel tangled.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


How many times would i listen to our favorite song?
Before i realize i was too late to bring you back.
I couldn't discern no more between reality and illusion
Or am i just getting stoned by the endless pang of regret?
I wouldn't want you back, but the crisp, vivid memories
Are just so hard to let go, so brief yet full of bliss

"Do me a favor baby, put down your new God"
The song goes, over and over again
The melancholic rhythm drowns me
Allowing me to breathe once and for all
To cherish and reminisce
the good times, our downsides
and yes, even the pledge..
the silent intimacy that was never spoken
where the language of action
murmured in pain and disbelief
and in glorious affection
to finally submerge the unsung hymn of our hearts


(damn right! i'm just feeling homesicked again, good thing there's an outlet like this to kill the attempting party of radicals)

Monday, April 18, 2011

iPhone Apps for GMA & ABSCBN News

Sometime in 2010, i asked GMA and ABSCBN via Twitter when are they launching their News App for the iPhone? I never get a tweetback, for i all i knew, the two network rivals had released their news app recently.

ABSCBN's app was posted in the AppStore around March this year, while GMA's got a fresh release last April 16, 2011.

This a big break for the two networks, finally getting into the trend of the ever-fascinating world of iOS apps. The launch were timely, congruous, and subservient for all those Pinoys abroad. A great help indeed for those who couldn't stream TV-Patrol or 24-Oras on the internet or those who aren't TV buff at all when it comes to news despite living in the Philippines. Kabayans who runs iOSes could now read the latest news right through their palms free of charge.

The kicker here is, which app can deliver? At this preliminary stage where updates weren't made yet, were bugs and hang-ups are noticeably annoying, i'm going to ran through the pros and cons between these two apps. I'ts like head-on collision, which one's better. Of course, i'll drop the newsworthiness criterion.

An app is in good greatness shape when it's capable of sharing or linking social networks such as facebook or twitter. Fortunately, the GMAnews app runs fast over ABS' with that category, although it lacks Twitter linkage or Email sharing, it's not that bad. Compared with the ABS app, it doesn't offer any sharing at all. Nevertheless, it has an extension tab for its Twitter updates. 

On the plus side for ABS, you could customize your newsfeed, there's a setting for that that you can tweak. The MyNews option serves as your news reader for all news you want to appear in an instant browse.

Probably the most disappointing part is that there's no option for Offline Reading on both apps, nor the alternative to save articles of your liking. (i hope they could include this feat in their next update)

Despite my wifi signage to be full bars, i experience lagging on both apps. This bug is so coherent when shifting from one news to another (it's like forwarding and backwarding the website on an IE 7 browser). Most predominantly, the GMA app totally crashes when offline, it doesn't load at all, neither does it give a no internet error nor it warns you, it just opens then hangs then closes. But for the ABS, at least you could still load where you left off, but when you'd view the article already, it's dozing off to its doom.

Aesthetic and Navigation-wise, i couldn't help thinking of the CNN App being copied by the ABS while The NYTIMES app imitated by GMA.  The headline structures of the ABS app including the tabs seemed like lifted from CNN minus the color combinations. While the GMA app is shrieking with simplicity and tone like the NYTIMES application.

There's a lot of room for improvement on both. I'm looking forward to it, that these two creations of Pinoy SW Developers if i'm not mistaken would lift further the bar in competing or at least being in range with the quality of famous News Apps in the US.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Ways to Keep Your Momentum Steady (Writing)

Ideas are just simply ideas. Until execution is performed, then and only then you can feel the glory of its realization. There are times that words and thoughts would just come so easily, flowing, smooth and unrelenting. There'd be times also that ideas and thoughts are like forever jammed in the back of the head, so difficult to untangle to translate into writing, so impervious, it's like there's a disconnect!

There are common denominators when it comes to writing. Books and the infinitesimal articles over the internet offer the same sound advise over and over. Reality check, for those unsung writers and bloggers, we follow the free-lance style -  most of the time, the spur of the moment of what's hot and what's on the mind-ready to deliver kind of dish.

I gathered some odd ways to keep the momentum flowing in writing consistently.

1. Listen to Jazz Music (with your earphone plugged)
Why did i say this? Because this kind of melody has a soothing effect in the brain. It won't distract your writing skills from diverting to the songs.

2. Do it in Your Bed
Get your laptop, your blanket and a couple of pillows to support your backbone as you enjoy the comfort of your bed

3. Review Your Notes
Keep your note taking app handy, may it be on your phone or on your desktop, your tidbits of info regarding ideas must be always at hand.

4. Get Full
Before heading for a writing session on your laptop, prepare yourself, make sure you're stuffed already so as not to disport your imagination to your craving for food.

5. Watch Your Time
Getting a timer keeps you alert and focus. The task at hand - writing your post is as crucial as getting the right lapse timing in a swimming competition.

The saying "So Good 'till the last Drop" is applicable when you're at wit's end in trying to get pass through the cadence between your train of thought and your fingers tapping the keyboard, -trying to match the pace in transcribing the awesomeness of your mind, of your imagination, of your eagerness to let those words come to life through writing.

posted by Mac

Monday, April 11, 2011

2-Step verification for Your Google Account (my thoughts)

If you're like me who feels paranoid at times that someone might be hacking or simply snooping at your precious Google account, hear ye! cuz the big G has rolled out the more secure log-in  to your record, may it be Gmail, Picasa, Blogger or the other plethora of Google ingenuity.  This feat has been available for a while but only this time that i had fiddled on to activate it.

There's the big WHY? as i was asking myself, is it really necessary to have this 2-step verification? It's better being prepared than nothing at all. If you could remember the news about phishing, account hacks at lifehacker (to name a few), and there was this news before that Gmail accounts were hacked. Kind of creepy, lots and lots of black hats out there are emerging to spread their malicious intent or solely to prove their indepth knowledge in the world of hacking.

To simplify things what is this 2-Step Verification is all about? it boils down to two things (kind of redundant, am i? hehehe)
- enter your password (1st step)
- enter your verification code (2nd step)
Once you've passed thru these two steps, you can now access your google account.

The 2nd step is where the complication is. There are 3 ways to get your verification code (well, so far as of this writing).

When you set-up/turn on the 2step verification feature, Google would ask you to customize how'd you like to get your codes. The three options below are irrevocable:
- via Mobile App for (iPhone, Blackberry, Android) - im not really sure if you could turn the feat if you don't have these kind of smartphones, really! i don't remember getting a SKIP as an option when i was asked which phone do i use!
- via Text Message (sent thru your mobile number which you've entered)
- via Printable Pre-Given Codes that you must print and store in a safe place (you bet i didnt print those, i just took a screenshot, saved as a JPEG and drop it to my cloud-based application)

After all those configuration, Google warned me that i will be signed out to all Google apps from my own computer, including other devices such as smartphones or tablets where i was initially logged on. To kill the anxiety in getting over this, i clicked confirm and there you go! my 2-step verification has been activated.

Now it's time for the real drama, i checked my iPhone to see if my POP mail is still up and running, Oh no! it wasn't. Next stop, i checked my Gmail-configured MS Outlook and made a test mail, oh no! - failed. I checked my web-based Google apps like Gmail and Blogger apps, i entered my password, then it asked me to enter the verification code-which i've got it thru the Google Authenticator App from the iOS, and presto, it worked. Now i gotta solve the non-webcentric apps like Outlook and POP mail for the iPhone.

Thankfully, there's what you call "application speficic passwords". Below's a screenshot of what's this all about:
In layman's term, OUTLOOK for example couldn't override the 2-step verification feature, same thing with iPhone's Mail. So inorder to resolve this dilemma, Google has provided the option of "Application Specific Passwords". To concretize this, say my iPhone Mail application - where Gmail is enabled, i have to re-enter NOT my original password nor my 2nd step verification code but the "application specific password" which could be generated from the google account settings. Behold, and worry not because you will only enter this once, no need to memorize at all.

I've tried it, and everything is perfect again. Smooth and happily smiling - my Outlook and my iPhone mail app.

To tell you honestly, i was relieved to know that i've successfully straighten things out. Now i feel more secure with my data and account from Google. There are what-if's, like what if my phone is lost?, like what if my printed codes are gone? As per Google policy, i wouldn't be able to access my account! - ever. They advised that at least one those three options for the 2nd step must be always accessible inorder for me to get a code handy.

I do recommend this to y'all who have google accounts to try and activate this feature. Pretty neat and interesting. This is like logging-in to a super-secured online banking.


Saturday, April 02, 2011

BNH 2011

Of all acts of man repentance is the most divine. 
The greatest of all faults is to be conscious of none.
Thomas Carlyle

To defy affliction is to know your faith
Could you stand your ground in the tests of life?
Or remain true to your belief in this journey?

On your way are enticements
Would you choose to go left?
Do a u-turn or go right? instead of the straight narrow path

You know for sure that there'd be struggle
the earth is on tremor and in despair
Cries and trouble of nations amongst nations

They said, the end is near
it approaches like a thief in the night
You learnt that all these will end, soon

But how long could you endure all these?
Are you almost over and about to give up?
Never! for the promise is real

Rejoice for His generosity
For you are still inside His protection
especially the calling He has bestowed

At times you falter and stumble
to Iniquities in thought and in deed
all these are steps away from Him

Introspect and reminisce
Are you that far away already?
That almost you're blurred with tears

He is abundant in forgiveness
Don't think twice, return and be selfless
Submit, get lowly and surrender

Your heart is wrecked in anguish
to accept and acknowledge your transgressions
These are steps going closer

And He shall listen
Embracing and harboring your return
in a glorious love and everlasting mercy

Dine with His son, your heart and soul must be ready
To get cleansed, be strengthened once again
the gift, so wonderful and grand

And now that you're about to face the world again
With renewed vigor, hope and inspiration
Adhere to your promise of new life

posted by mac

Gmail Motion beta, now rocking with productivity!

I hate to break this news but the Gmail Motion beta is actually a prank from Google. I never learnt it was all  untrue till i tried clicking the link.

Imagine using Gmail via body language, by virtue of the camera built-in to your computer (if there's any), you could mimick opening an envelope to signal opening an unread mail; pointing your thumb backwards to reply; pointing your two thumbs backward to reply all; and so on...
It was actually another cool advancement in technology, a camera interpreting your body language through motion-detect algorithms. It's really a must try!!!

Much to my eagerness and being a fanboy to the Gmail engineers, i found the video so convincing at first during the first 30 seconds of its playback. But when it rolled down to the guy demoing the body language commands like mimicking to lick a stamp and putting it down - to send a message, it went all from   seriousness to laughter (at least in the back of my head).  Nevertheless, my urge didn't stop to click the download link in trying the Google Motion.  Only to find out that it was just a joke.

It's April the 1st - my first April Fool's prank of the day and i got sold!!! In retrospect, this could happen anytime soon. Google has its way of giving a lil bit what's in store for the future of their giz.