Saturday, August 30, 2008

Web Connectivity

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While reviewing my set of pictures from the Minneapolis trip I chanced upon this picture again. I have used this photo before in my MBA widget as symbolic way of showing the connectivity through the internet. Just like my feedjit at the side bar. I can see where from the world do my visitors come from.

The internet has truly flattened the world. The only thing limiting us from connecting real time is the particular time zones we are in. Well, we could actually drop at each others sites and exchange comments in a matter of minutes. But if we are located on the opposite side of the globe, either one of us would definitely be having a big set of eye bags in the morning. lol!

MBA widgetMy other blog, MBA On-Line was intended to be a learning platform about the blogosphere and about leadership development. Although it has taken me almost a month already in preparing the blog's outline. It is intended to be a step by step blog development from the basic frameworks to hopefully become even a web hosting tutorial site in the future. For almost the whole of August, I had been doing research and collecting tutorial materials and web hosting articles for the blog. I even bought a book about multimedia for the web which I intend to use as resource material.

Preparation phase is done. Now comes the implementation. I just wish that the blog earns its ratings and reviews well by contributing to the betterment of our being. As we connect with each other around the world, it increases our awareness and understanding how we all can make a difference and help change this world for the better.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Percussion

Percussion

This entry is for the Tuesday and Wednesday Editions of:

Summer in September

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September is just around the corner. At this time of the year the weather is just great in the mid-west, nearing the end of summer. In Minneapolis, our company holds the President's forum annually around this months, where the representatives from 27 countries across the globe are invited to fly over to be recognized for their achievements and contribution to their respective business units.

Last September 2006, I was fortunate to be one of the Philippine delegation to attend the forum. We had the chance to meet not only the senior leadership team but also our counterparts from other locations. A fruitful venue to exchange ideas and learn from their experiences. That year, it was Vietnam who got the Business of the Year Award.

It was a full 3 day event that was very well organized and executed. There were spectacular presentations and trade show exhibits. All the different brand segments have their own booths, custom made for the occasion. The booths were lined inside the perimeter of the wide trade hall. Brochures, books and souvenir items were a plentiful table top display. There were even games and raffle draws. Really incredible!

Trade ShowThe trade hall was also delightfully colorful,dressed with the different flags of the represented countries. Then at the center were coffee shop tables complete with table covers where colleagues lounge after touring the show.


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They say your stay in Minneapolis wouldn't be complete if you haven't tasted the Famous Dave's baby-back ribs. So after the convention, our team decided to share a couple of beers while savoring the sumptuous meal...and mind you, their servings were really big.


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Then before we all flew back home, we dropped by the highly acclaimed Mall of America to check-out the items on sale. Funny, but we ended up buying items at Victoria's Secret.



That September in 2006 was a very memorable & humbling experience indeed. Knowing that you are only part of a very big whole. A speck in the universe of diversity yet your contribution is celebrated by everybody.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Of Anxiety, Expectation & Faith

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With my wife expecting the arrival of our new son in the next few weeks, I can not help but to pray that they both surpass the ordeal safely. Hoping that our second child will also be born normal.

As the full term is nearing, both excitement and anxiety fills every gap of our conscious mind. It is somewhat stressful. Last night, I succumbed to tonsillitis. A combined effect of stress and erratic weather. It came quite a surprise though, since I haven't been bothered by tonsillitis for sometime now. It just bothered me since I had a history of rheumatic fever in my childhood due to frequent battles with tonsillitis, and this has led me to wonder on the possibilities whether my expected son could inherit such predisposition.

So I did some web searching. One of the most striking relationships I found that could have a congenital effect on newborn was about mitral valve defects.

The mitral valve , a.k.a. bicuspid valve, is a dual flap tissue inside the heart. It lies between the left atrium and the left ventricle which functions as a regulatory measure preventing the back-flow of blood from the ventricle to the atrium. In the normal cardiac cycle, once the oxygen filled blood from the lungs enters the atrium, the mitral valve relaxes allowing it to pass through the left ventricle for distribution to the other parts of the body via the aorta. At the same time that the ventricles contract, the valve shuts close preventing any back flow. However, if the mitral valve is defective, a portion of the oxygenated blood enters back to the atrium, reducing the amount of blood that will be distributed to the entire body. It produces a murmur sound that can be heard by auscultation.

Several factors can cause such malfunction and one reason can be associated to rheumatic heart disease. If left unchecked, the condition can be fatal. Good thing, modern medicine has come up with ways to do mitral valve repair. Several institutions have specialized in treating the condition with high percentage of safety and success. They can either do mitral valve surgery or altogether do mitral valve replacement.

Knowing this, it comes as source of relief. Plus of course, staying in faith that my expected son would be free any congenital anomaly. At least, if ever he would be contracting tonsillitis later on, it would be easier to prevent and treat.

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* Illustration courtesy of http://www.mhhe.com

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Making a Better Place for the Next Generation

Dew Drops

We have a new member of the family expected to arrive in the next two weeks. So far, preparations are underway. We have upgraded the bedroom. Now the next challenge will be the nursery and the living room.

We were thinking of letting go of old items and look for Modern Furniture which could be more ergonomic. But the idea of holding a garage sale to dispose the old ones is not very appealing. I guess, we have to do a lot of rearranging and furniture donations to make for room.

As I said, ergonomics is the name of the game. A simple Modern Furniture that could be stylish yet space saving fits very well in a small living room. A few chairs would have to go to give room for the collapsable crib.

For the nursery, ideally it should be another room by itself. But having only two bedrooms in the house, it would have to fit in also with the Master's Bed room. A combination of Old and Modern Furniture will have to work together to give the suitable ambiance.

It is really great how our creativity can work when we are expecting a new life coming on our way. Besides, I believe that it lies on our responsibility to create a better world for the future of our next generation.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Kick Ass Blogger

Have received this award from Maiylah and Liza.


Kick Ass Blogger Award

Do you know any bloggers that kick ass?

Maybe they’ve got incredible, original content. Or they’re overflowing with creativity. Is it someone that helps you become a better blogger? Or a bloggy friend you know you can count on? Or maybe it’s someone who simply inspires you to be a better person… or someone else who sends you to the floor, laughing your ass off.

Whatever the reason may be, I’m sure you know at least a couple of bloggers that kick ass. Well… why not tell ‘em so?

LOVE ON ‘EM

  • Choose 5 bloggers that you feel are “Kick Ass Bloggers”
  • Let ‘em know in your post or via email, twitter or blog comments that they’ve received an award
  • Share the love and link back to both the person who awarded you and back to http://www.mammadawg.com/
  • Hop on back to the Kick Ass Blogger Club HQ to sign Mr. Linky then pass it on
And now I'm passing this great award to:
1. Wisdom Hypnosis
2. Steve v4.7
3. Robin's Woods
4. How is Bradley?
5. My Wanderings

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Taking Care of Finances

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Of late, I had been receiving SMS phone messages from several banks offering salary loans from PhP30,000 (US$667) - PhP1,000,000(US$22,222) at 1.39% interest per month. Then when you ask them how they got my number, they say it was randomly selected.

Are these banks that desperate now to get credit? What happened to the good old customer assessment and credit evaluation, where they use to offer Credit Repair and restructuring?

Well, maybe these banks are just more aggressive in providing personal loans compared to home or auto-loans. For sure, with the bigger amount of money at stake with the home or auto loans, they will definitely be more selective. With personal loans, they would only ask for your last months payslip to get approval. Where with home loans your historical credit records will be scrutinized. That is, if you have a bad record in the past and haven't had a Bad Credit Repair, you would definitely have a harder time getting a loan.

I have some friends who have actually gone though enormous lengths just to get their home loan restructured and Repair Credit status. It made life easier for them. After the that they were able to sleep better with the re-structured loan. Some even thought to apply for another loan once again. Thanks to the Credit Repair Services offered by companies on-line.

For me, I take caution before getting into such credits. That personal loan offer looks attractive. But until I see a definite use for such a credit, one that would be productive enough to repay for that loan, I find it non-beneficial to my net worth.

Friday, August 15, 2008

To Swipe or Not to Swipe

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Last night, I was trying to book an emergency airport to airport cargo transport for a client. It was many times more expensive than our usual shipment by sea and the hard part was that we have to pay on the spot. Then, for the nth time that it happened to me, my cash came short to cover the bill. Fortunately, I have my handy credit cards that helped me settle all the dues (...as if they were saying Mighty Mouse' famous line.."Here I come to save the day!").

Its good to have credit cards as long as you know how to use them and have the will power to resist the temptation of whimsical buying. I learned that lesson the hard way long ago. Imagine, even when I had a low interest credit card back then, just because I chose to leave a balance every month and pay only the minimum, it practically ate up my monthly salary. There were even times that I missed the payment due dates because of lack of funds only to receive a hostile reminder from my creditor. If not from family support, I wouldn't have been able to pull myself out of that debt. We were so thankful for them.

That was why, my wife & I lived on cash for a time. It was only after I landed on another job and a few years of healing did we consider applying again for credit cards. Although we use the pre-paid debit cards instead to make cashless transactions especially for groceries.

Then at work, when I was given a new regional assignment some four months ago, I requested to avail of our corporate business credit cards. It was a practical alternative to our usual revolving fund. Since most of the time I am away from office for weeks, I no longer worry about delayed reimbursements and revolving funds running dry. Like what happened last night. If I didn't have my credit card with me, I couldn't have shipped my stocks and most probably would have to deal with an irate client today.

There are a lot of credit card providers to choose from in the market. You can actually compare their benefits. But the thing to remember when using credit cards, is to use them only when necessary, take advantage of their cut-off periods to maximize the credit term and as much as possible, NEVER LEAVE AN OUTSTANDING BALANCE UNPAID.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Christmas Gift

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Last last Christmas, I gave an Apple iPod Nano 4GB as a present for my wife. She was surprised. She never thought I would actually buy her one since it was our niece who was really giving out hints of wanting one. Fortunately, I chanced upon one store in Bacolod City that sells iPods at a discount, around $20 less from the malls in Metro Manila.

My wife was very grateful of course. But more than happy was my 9 year old son who filled up the iPod with Naruto songs. The fact that the iPod Nano that I bought was fuscha in color doesn't seem to bother him at all. You'll know if he is listening to his favorite songs when he starts nodding his head and stomping his feet as he hums along with the music.

That started us into considering of buying him his own iPod Nano. We eventually searched the online stores to see whats the latest in the market and study the reviews. So far its the iPod Nano 8GB that stands out, next to the iPhone. It has 8GB of flash memory that can store up to 2000 4 minute songs which is equivalent to 8 hours of video. It also has a 2-inch LCD screen with 320x240 pixel that gives better viewing experience. Plus, it can store versatile file format of data, MP3 and video. A very chic & versatile feature for such a small device.

Probably its that versatility that makes the iPod click especially with the current genre. An all-in-one gadget that is very efficient and easy to use. It's appeal actually spans across different age groups. That is why my wife would love to get her iPod back.

Well, kudos for the iPod Nano's developers. We could be buying one again for this coming Christmas.

Wordless Wednesday: Sleeping on the Job

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Blogger's Dream

Web Hosting

Most of the bloggers I know, if not all, usually intend to get some earning from their blogging. It is definitely rewarding once you have developed your blog and have taken care of the traffic. Advertisers are most interested if you have a good page ranking and high visitor turn over. However, they prefer that bloggers have their own domain to provide them better opportunity.

This is why many bloggers look for a Web Hosting provider instead of using the free websites that either get lower rates or prohibits pro-blogging altogether. Yes, you may argue that it comes with a fee. But it also has its advantages. For one you can have your own unique domain name like "kingknight.net" and so forth. Then once this has been recognized by the search engines, your web site will be on the top of the list and most probably be the first pick for the searcher to click.

But looking for web hosting providers, one should always take into consideration the percentage of its up time. This is the number of times that the site is accessible in a given number of uploading. A 99%-99.9% up time is most preferable. It is important that you look for the web reviews for this sites to see for your self.

I actually have a friend who recently transferred from one web hosting provider to another just because the new provider is reputed to have a lesser downtime. There are a lot out there in the web, yours for the picking.

Conquering Mt. Pinatubo # 5 (Following the Leader)

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Up to the pass, at the foot of Mt. Pinatubo, the group of 16 men and a lady started their trek up the mountain. Supplied with water, sandwiches and some chocolates, they enthusiastically lined up to follow the trail. They were led by a team leader, aided by the local tour guide. He paced his way at different levels overseeing the rest of the group.

At the start, the group was all energy. Everybody was jolly walking in big strides. You can hear a burst of jokes erupting followed by a thunder of laughter. Until the first casualty came just a few kilometers of trek. A group member had suffered from cramps. The word was passed and the line went on a halt. Immediately the team leader was there and comforted the suffering member.

More jokes were thrown the group teasing the suffering member, as the designated first aid giver attended to his aching leg. Some of the team were considering to carry him up. But after a few minutes of rest and leg massage. He was back on his feet.

Moving on, they continued the climb. Stopping only to catch breath and to regroup. As the team leader prods them on, motivating all to give their best. A shout and chant of "Lets Get it On!" recharges the team as they rushed towards the peak.
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After hours of trekking and boulder hopping, feet drenched in sulfur water, one by one, the team reached the peak and saw the beauty of Mt. Pinatubo's crater. Shouting as they ran up the last remaining steps, as if a second wind has sailed, everyone has finished the course. When all were accounted, the leader gave a smile of content. Happy for all for achieving a common goal.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Conquering Mt. Pinatubo # 4 (Charting the Course)

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Enroute to the drop-off point going to Mt. Pinatubo, the 4x4 jeeps tread across the lahar at full speed. Water splashed as the jeeps crossed the river one by one. It was one roller coaster ride.

Imagining how many times the drivers of these 4x4 have navigated through this course, it made the ride reassuring. A first time driver would surely run this course with greater caution. For these drivers, beyond the thrills and excitement of each adventure, every successful trip only boosts their confidence to ride the tide.

Afterwards, when the group discussed about the experience, one colleague pointed out a very good insight he had. When the jeeps ran out of road, it went straight through the rivers and treaded the circumstances. Just like in business, at times situation happen when the usual solutions will no longer work. It would call for innovations and courage to create the road to success.

The Light of Night

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When night time falls in the world so big,
Darkness unfolds to make us sleep.
O' brilliant thou man to prolong his wake,
Lamps he made to lit his fate.


Oddity brewed and to the light he stared,
He felt the peace of the warmth it shared.
Happy was he and was enlightened with glee,
For the lamps and lamp shades that made him free.


Forever thus the world has changed,
Cities were born and came of age.
The glimmer of light from dusk it starts
As torchieres burn til night departs.


So now the world has shined so bright,
Grateful for the lamps that gave man sight.
But only HE is the true light of night,
HE that made the world and gave us life.


- Strider


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Conquering Mt. Pinatubo # 3 (Appreciating Simplicity)

Off to Work


After Mt. Pinatubo's erruption in 1991, there was an estimated 1000 square kilometers of prime agricultural lands that were put at risk because of the subsequent lahar flows. Every time the rainy season came, the surrounding areas of Zambales, Tarlac and Pampaga always had to face the dangerous lahar floods.

Mt. Pinatbo spued 6.83 cubic kilometer of pyroclastic flows in 1991. The erruption of hot ash was about 200 meters thick*. After 15 years, it left a vast gray desert.

The span of the lahar was enormous. During the long bumpy 4x4 jeep ride to the drop-off point, the group was drawn to an awe to see how the local folks thrived in that lahar devasted area. Seeing a horserider who was going to who knows where, the group started to wonder how would they fare if they lived in his condition. Most of them couldn't bear the thought of having no access to Direct TV to watch their favorite movies. Some said they can't stand the isolation. While others can't imagine how silent the nights would be.

For sure those local folks have their fair share of exposure to the modern world, directtv and all. Even though everyday life could ba a little tougher. Nonetheless, its definitely much simpler.

No Monday morning rush to work just to get caught in a jungle of traffic. Their blood pressures probably don't spike up that often. And most probably, they don't have that much credit card bills to pay.

A simple life that can be enjoyed with peace and tranquility. Thats a kind of thing many would agree to trade for a day or two. Yet there are a few who can live in the middle of anywhere...as long as they have a DSLR, laptop with high speed internet connection and of course, what would better complete the picture than also having directv .

Now, that's simplicity.

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* sources: ILWIS



Sunday, August 3, 2008

Conquering Mt. Pinatubo - #2 (Doing the Process)

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On July 20, 2006 a group of highly spirited men and a lady began an early day to climb Mt. Pinatubo. They gathered at the parking area Holiday Inn Resort in Clark Field, Pampanga.

Four sturdy 4x4 jeepneys lined up, all with heavy duty wheel base and roll bars. The head driver told the group that they should be hitting the road by 6:00AM. When the group members have all checked in and after some picture taking...at exactly 6:00AM, they were off.

The road trip was long going to Capas, Tarlac. Because aside from the traffic, the jeeps were more cut for off-road travel. The maximum speed gained never passed 60KPH. It really ate up time. But there was nothing that the group could do but to endure the bumps and the wait. It was an inevitable part of the process.

The real thrill began when the jeeps ran out of roads...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Conquering Mt. Pinatubo - #1 (Facing the Challenge)

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After the big eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in June of 1991, it became a famous tourist attraction for mountain climbers and nature lovers.

The feat involves a two (2) hour ride on a 4x4 jeep from Clark Field in Pampanga up to the foot of the Mt. Pinatubo via Capas, Tarlac. Then another two (2) hours of trekking up to the crater of the volcano.

Last July 2006, our team leader organized a climb to commemorate our fiscal year kick-off (Our Fiscal Year cycles from June-May). Part of the objectives were to mentally prepare our team for the challenging goal that year. Another was to build the team camaraderie, especially that time, where we had a group of visiting colleagues from Vietnam that joined us.

Big goals are truly like mountains. When you are at the bottom, it would either scare you of its enormity or challenge you to go on and conquer it's summit. It would take a great deal of courage and conviction to stay the course. The accomplishment of such goal primarily relies on the decision to go. As with the Japanese Proverb that says: "The journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step".

Luckily for our group, we all stood and faced the challenge. We decided to go. Along the way, our battle cry was forged as we shouted together....LET'S GET IT ON!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Nostalgic Moments

Together with the picture from my previous post, I stumbled upon this. A picture of Inay & Itay (Mom & Dad) when my son celebrated his 6th birthday in Tagaytay City.

47 years ago, Inay & Itay had their honeymoon in Taal Vista Lodge. We even thought of surprising them with another honeymoon treat for their anniversary. Unfortunately, Itay passed away exactly a year ago today.

Remembering

We struggled over the loss, most especially Inay. It took her several months before she got back to her regular community work for our church... which was only understandable of course. Imagine, after their retirement, they have practically spent everyday together for the last 20 years. Tell me about sharing a lifetime together.

What's wonderful about their relationship was the way they have grown to know and understand each other. They can communicate without uttering a word. Still at times, they have misunderstandings...but nothing that love couldn't forgive.

Now that Itay is gone, we can only look back to those shared memories...and what's most memorable about his death anniversary is that it will always happen on my birthday. lol!