Micael Andrei Diaz de Rivera

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The Return of the Comeback

I'm alive but my previous computer where all of my work is stored is still in repair. It has been in that state for more than a month now. The repair has paralyzed me from doing the things that I have to be doing. My parents were worried so they gave me a replacement laptop for the meantime so that I could move forward with life and Computer Science. I'm ashamed to admit that I'm now writing this blog post on my third laptop. These laptops are not supposed to just last a year or so but they unfortunately do just last a year or so with me.




Acer Aspire 4310
Intel Celeron M (1.73 GHz)
1 GB DDR2 (RAM)
80 GB HDD (Hard Drive)

All of that for less than 30K Pesos. It's definitely not high end technology but for only thirty thousand pesos, it's a good deal. It didn't come with any Windows OS in it so I had to install Linux in it so I could use it. I was offered for a small price, an unlicensed version of Windows and I refused it because I didn't want to go hypocrite with my anti-piracy campaign with the kids. The laptop had Linpus Linux preinstalled in it but I overridden it with openSuse 10.3. Suse Linux is not as popular as Ubuntu or Red Hat in school but I think it's the prettiest to look at. I share Steve Jobs love for beauty. Even if he, like his rival Bill Gates, dropped out of college; he knew what matters (Oh so pretty Mac).



In other stuff. I got a new gadget to play with. A Sony HD Handycam (6.1 Mega Pixels)! This is only our second video camera. Our first video camera, that is still working, is a Sony Handycam that's already around 15 years old! I never knew HD looked so good. *drools*. You might see more videos in this blog this year because of this new video camera.



I was not able to do much for the past month because I really had nothing to work with but now that I'm out of my grave I got to finally update my Pokemon site.

Read about the winners of the Pokemon toys giveaway and about the second letter I got last year from Pokemon USA.



My Activities:
What: Sony Workshop
Where: Sony Philippines Head Office Training Center - West Bonifacio Global in Taguig City.
When: January 5 / January 12

What: Disney on Ice
Where: Araneta Coliseum
When: January 20 or January 29 (We haven't reserved our tickets yet so I'm still not sure of our schedule)

I've seen Disney on Ice once before. If I am not mistaken it was on 1992 and the theme was Beauty and the Beast. I was just around 5 years old back then. I can still remember the ice and the playbill of that show!

What Am I Doing Now:
1) The never ending Special Problem. Yep! I'm still working on that Java based Call Simulator even if I'm not currently enrolled for my SP subject. Work has continued with my Acer computer.
2) Finishing the book written by a talented teacher in Ateneo by the name of Ambeth R. Ocampo. The book is entitled Rizal Without the Overcoat (Expanded Edition).
3) Watching Prison Break. I currently am halfway through Season 2 and I can't wait to start on Season 3. I love it.

"
Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found." - Luke 15:32,

Alright! (I just remembered a discussion I had with an Evangelical Christian about their Once Saved, Always Save teaching. The bible verse above is one of the many lines in the Bible that makes the said teaching sound absurd. Oh and that verse fits this comeback post as well. Hehe.)

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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Japan's Vanishing Act

My dad left me his Newsweek magazine for December 10, 2007 with me and the cover title is "How Japan Lost It's Groove: The Asian powerhouse struggles to explain its stumbles in hot technology." You can eventually read the article in Newsweek's website. If you have the time to spare, why not read the article and tell me what you think about it.

"Ever heard of DoCoMo? probably not, unless you happen to live in Japan."

Well I have. I don't live in Japan but I do get lost in Japanese sites quite often. I first heard of DoCoMo when I was browsing for interesting Japanese commercials. The video below is the first DoCoMo commercial that I've seen.



The technology featured there is also known as TMS. I think I've wrote about that before and said how excited I was for the future when I tried the technology on my phone. This technology, though popular in Japan, didn't catch up here. Accessing a mobile site is still not that affordable here in the Philippines. Taking pictures using your phone in mall stores is still looked down upon as weird. G-Cash is still not known by many. There's is so much potential for mobile phones these days but most of us are not yet even ready to try them out yet.
  • TMS
  • Video Calls - Well, we can already do this in the Philippines if you have the right kind of phone. It costs the same as your usual voice call but we've found it hard. Me, my dad, and my little brother could call each other using this technology but it's still easier to talk to someone on the phone with your phone in your ears than in front of your face. It's easier walking safely that way.
  • Digital Cash - Check this out. When we visited Hong Kong a few years back I was amazed when I discovered their Octopus Card (they've been using it since 1997 and we still haven't learned to implement this?). Well in Japan DoCoMo has developed a way to make their phones act like the octopus card. Cool!
I wish we could invent and start using technologies like that.

Many people throw curses at commercials but I love short and well made ones! DoCoMo has had a good track record on cute good commercials. Interested in learning more about DoCoMo? Click here for their 2.0 site (I like their clothes *smile*). The trailer for their DoCoMo 2.0 commercial series (*laughs* yes a series) is posted below. If you want to view the longest commercial I've ever seen go to their site or click the link I've provided.


"The technology crisis is often summed up by this one simple question: 'Why didn't we invent the iPod?'"


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Ang Wikang Pilipino

My PI 100 instructor, Adonis Elumbre who was taught by now columnist Ambeth Ocampo, really had a good lecture on the importance of the Filipino language today. I wish I could write this whole post in Filipino but I sadly admit that I've grown a little bit foreign to our national language when it comes to writing and reading.

Can you still write and read Filipino as well as you could write and read English? I can't. Sad.

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Not for the Stupid

I just came from my PI (Philippine Institutions) 100 class and my teacher had talked about the history of Republic Act 1425. That law is one good reason why we are studying the life of Jose Rizal and his works (Noli and El Fili). The history of it reminded me of The Golden Compass and the Da Vinci Code books.

Some people in the Church have tried to ban these books for being read by the public because they have some sort of Anti-Catholic feel to it. My teacher asked why?

Are people that stupid to give up their faith because of these books? Do people really read books and treat is immediately as fact without even studying its sources and content? Unfortunately many do but not the educated.

I've talked to some people that said that Constantine manipulated the compilation of the Bible during the Council at Nicea because he read it in Dan Brown's book. I asked him two question that silenced him about the topic.

According to real history, when did the Catholic Church really compiled the Bible? Once you get that you check your history and tell me when Constantine died.

Not for the stupid. I did read the Da Vinci Code (also watched the movie) and it did the contrary to me. I wanted to read more on Church History because of that book.

Golden Compass is coming out soon but there really has been some resistance to it from the Church especially in the United States. His books might not be really that offensive but Pullman is suprisingly stupid being caught with those quotes of his.

"I am for the death of God," and "My books are about killing God." - Pullman

If he didn't say that... this trouble with the movie would have not gone this huge.

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The Culture of the Pwned

I became a moderator at the K-Zone Forums last January 2006 after more than the year of being a member, the first person to become one who doesn't work in Summit Media. What have I learned after almost 2 years of being part of the moderation team in the Philippines' biggest forum for kids? Read along.



1) Kids grow up - A given fact that I just want to put in this list. "Growing Old is mandatory. Growing Up is optional." My kind, people who can really live up to that quote, is a rare kind. Kids grow up... majority of them do.
2) TV is powerful - Have your ads on channels like Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and Disney Channel if you're a toy distributor. It works and I'm very confident about that. The Filipino kids today who have buying power are so easily influenced by TV commercials! This is why I cringe every time I see Pro-Choice a.k.a Anti-Life advertisements at ABS-CBN.
3) The Bullied can Downgrade to the Bully - This is what I call as the culture of the pwned. When I took a break from KHQ I returned a few months ago and saw chaos. Out of nowhere, I see the peaceful KHQ burning. Bullying for the greater glory of eradicating evil out of the forums has become a popular philosophy. The spread of this philosophy has somewhat lead to the exodus of some of the more innocent kids in the forum. The kids who survived the short lived chaos have not all returned to normal. When the moderation team took control of the chaos, some of the kids who had this philosophy deleted their accounts and went away for good. Some mellowed down a bit but I have seen some sort of resurgence these past few days. Some of the ones bullied for doing "evil" have adopted the philosophy. The bullied have now downgraded to the bully. The bullies love to throw around F word.
4) Ignorance (Forced and Unforced) on Bad words - "Why am I being reprimanded for using STFU when it just means Shut the Freakin' Up" they say. But in another post we see links like this to sites. I've talked to proud Christians about the popular word WTF. Some of them thought that it had no meaning and that it is just said on the Internet when one is excited or angry. Ignorance really is a big problem. I want to believe that it is only due to ignorance that kids act like 18+ year olds but back in my mind I know sometimes it ain't so.
5) Religion Matters - I hang out in forums because I believe I have the responsibility to defend the hope that is within me. It's not rare to see a thread about religion even in a kids forum. It's sad to see some kids promoting atheism or kids ignorant about their own and other's religion (I was once a good example for this). I'm especially disappointed with some of our Catholic youth in the country today and their lack of knowledge and love for their faith. Some religious kids are left speechless after some older member copies and pastes a long article denouncing another person's religion. Some are willing to learn while some just leave it be. "If you can memorize all the Pokémon then you can easily read on your faith and Church History." I dared them. Just planting the seeds of change ;)
6) It's Important to do Background Checks - I go nuts with some of the kids who mess things up in the forum but I have learned to listen first before I go judge someone. There was this naughty kid that really bugged as all before and all we wanted to do was ban him. I almost jumped in the bandwagon but decided to have a background check on the boy. After reading all his previous posts I discovered that he started being really mean in the forums when he posted in a personal post that his mom just left his dad. I understood.
7) Threatening works but not for long - Some young moderators threatened bad guys to keep order in place but I learned that making an environment where the kids can build their respect for you is the most effective way on keeping that order.

When all hell breaks lose within the forum, I am often seen saying "Where is the Love?" Why do I say that? Because!

Oh that reminds me... The Second Encyclical Letter of Pope Benedict XVI is live! Read it.

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The Pokémon Days of Summer

I just listened to one of the best recorded anecdotes about Pokémon so far. It was made by a hard core gamer/Elementary teacher/American in Japan.

You'd enjoy it if you're into podcasts or Pokémon or games.

4 Color rebellion
http://4cr.earthdies.com/podcast/4cr_podcast_120107.mp3

The Pokemon Days of Summer
Its hot today. Very hot! Sitting at my desk at a near abandoned elementary school. I'm not there because I have any real work to do but because I don't want to waste anymore of my summer vacation days. You see, even if the students are at their summer vacation now, the teachers should still have to go to work. I'm using the word work loosely in this case, for there is really no work to do. The important case is the Japanese tax payers who demanded it is that they should...

Listen to the podcast if that got you interested! It is located at the 7:55 of the podcast. The next segment after that which talks about the Used Game Market in Japan is also very interesting.

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Talking with a Stamp Collector

A few months ago someone sent me something through the mail; Limited edition Pokémon stamps from Japan! Today I was able to "interview" him and I would like to share what he said.



Micael: Hi Henry! Let's talk about stamps and stamp collecting. Tell me about Stamp Collecting.

Henry: Hi! Stamp collecting, if done in the right way, can be a fun lifetime hobby: you collect the things you want to see by way of stamps.

Micael: So what's the "IN" thing today in the world of stamp collecting?

Henry: Many young people are now into anime stamps, but there are unlimited choices, depending on your life interest -- girls/women on stamps, transportation, birds, butterflies, horses, Walt Disney character, etc.

Micael: Anime stamps, girls/women on stamps, transportations - especially trains, and Walt Disney Characters... sounds all good to me! So what kind of stamps are you personally in to?

Henry: I myself am partial to Philippine stamps because they are good in design. If there is one thing in which the Filipino excels, it's in artwork, so our stamps can compete very well with those of other countries.

My second choice is Japan, for the same reason. The two countries merge philatelically in WW2 when Japan occupied the Philippines 1941-Feb. 1945.

Micael: I'm a big newbie in your field but your choices sure do sound swell! What are the usual problems in stamp collecting especially for people like me who is considering to start a collection?

Henry: Budget is usually the problem. Unless you have unlimited funds, specialize in what you intend to collect in life. This applies not only to stamps but also to friends, girlfriends, accessories, etc.

Micael: Spoken like a true expert! Do you have any tips you can impart to me on stamp collecting?

Henry: One important rule-- get top grade items whenever you can. They may be more expensive, but you don't want our life characterized by cheapness: you don't rise in life that way.

Micael: You're such a big help Henry, thank you. Any last words before we end this chat?

Henry: That's it, give it a long thought because it will change your attitude and way of thinking. If you do right, those attitudes will make you rise. It's the harder but certainly best way to go about everything.

If stamps will not be your hobby, the same principle applies in life. It's what you think and do that defines you.




I hope everyone enjoyed that one. Cheers!
Image taken from Kamasaki in Flickr.

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Random Tuesday

Today, my class starts seven in the morning and ends seven in the evening. But look at me, I'm blogging! This post was meant to update the people who try and follow me with every post I make in any site or forum I manage.

- I'm registered but I'm under load. More time for the more important things that I plan to do.
- K-Zone Philippines December Issue should already be out. Enjoy a small one page review I wrote on the DS game, Heroes of Mana by Square Enix. Final Fantasy 12 for the DS is also already out and I read that it's also an RTS (Real Time Strategy) RPG (Role Playing Game) type of game. Can't wait for money to come in.
- Just finished Wikinomics. Suggest a new book.
- Still digging "The floor of hell is paved with the skills of priests, and the bottommost pit of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops." quote by St. John Chrysostom. Kudos to Sir Rex for this.
- I'll be at the Digital Media Conference 2007 at Podium with or without my family on either or both Friday and Saturday. I'm hopping to attend some seminars there if there are any but I'm pretty sure there will be. I will finalize my schedule later. Yeah, I'm a conference/seminar freak. There are a couple of good restaurants at the Podium rin. Mmmm.
- I've been writing an essay about this article I found in the Inquirer entitled "System-wide solutions needed, not band-aids." It's a series of articles about the education system in the Philippines. I might post the essay if I find it good enough to be posted online. Article two gets printed today. And no, I haven't read it yet because I haven't grabbed a newspaper yet. Makes me/you want to be a Grade School - High School teacher and be a Hero.
- Oh that reminds me... Heroes rock! Season Finale next week if I am not mistaken! Go Nathan! Go HRG! (My favorite characters hehe)
- I'll be having a Christmas contest giveaway for the many kids who read Pokémon-PH. 1000 Peso plus worth of gifts to giveaway if I am not mistaken. Many thanks to those who have constantly sent me Pokémon stuff that I cannot keep. Stay tuned for details on this one. Hint: It's a coloring contest and I'll be picking more than 10 winners. Woohoo. No more money!

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Sonic Plushes

A Limited Edition Sonic Plushes/Doll created last century (just almost 10 years ago)! I actually got two dolls in the mail but I haven't quite finished my research on the Tails doll. I've just finished my research on the Sonic (Albino Version on the above picture) and was I surprised!


"The two in the front are some bizarre albino version of their normal selves. These are MUCH rare-er. They even have these vaguely-colored white plastic eyes. They're actually somewhat creepy if the photo was better... Every once and a while one will turn up on Ebay, but don't expect to pay any less than $100 dollars to get it! It is possible they were some kind of limited run in Japan." - Sonic Gear

Who knew researching about plushes and old dolls/toys was so much fun? Many thanks to the person who sent this one in. You know who you are. That's all for now!

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Birthday Mario Party

"A new poll suggests many parents completely avoid taking part in their kids? videogame pastimes." - Next Generation

Does that hold true for Japanese families with members owning a Nintendo DS or Wii? How about Filipino families here in the Philippines? I'm not sure but my parents are at least not yet into video games.

Now this leads us to another story that I would like to share.


Last weekend we went to our uncle's house for a surprise birthday party. Our cousins and cousin's cousins were there for the event. While we were there, we had the opportunity to play with the Nintendo Wii (too bad they only had two Wiimotes). Legend of Zelda, Mario Strikers, Wii Sports, and Mario Party 8 where are choices.

There were three 20 year old and seven minors (the youngest was 5 years old). I've played Wii Sports numerous times already so I suggested Mario Party 8. The game was really designed to be played by many people. I considered us "many" so it did play very well for us the whole time. The game very much suits the casual game category. That just means that a 20 year old gamer can easily be beaten by a 5 year old in this game.

My cousin's cousins who were aged 10 and 5 were extremely adept at their use of the English language. The five year old boy (who actually gave me a good baby bite *ouch* in the face while playing) could put many Filipino students my age to shame when they battle it out in conversational English! The 10 year old girl cousin of my cousin reminded me of the contestants in the American TV Reality Show, Kid Nation. When she spoke in English she didn't sound your normal 10 year old Filipino kid at all. My 9 year old brother could converse in English better than most but no way near them.

I now conclude that Filipinos who could speak in English fluently any time makes those Filipinos look smarter, more mature, more handsome, more prettier, more macho, and more sexier. And that is why many speak highly of ADMU! The so called place for smart, rich, and pretty girls. *grin*

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