Monday, July 20, 2009


Very often I think/talk silently to myself while in public transit. Lately I even developed a habit of bringing along a small tickler notebook to record my thoughts when I'm in the jeepney, train, bus, or wherever I may be.

During situations like these, I sometimes think that the people around me are like automatons going about their daily lives like a routine that never tires. It didn't occur to me that people may think that about me too, as they see me deep in thought sometimes. This cartoon sums it up nicely.

(What are the stuff I'm thinking about? They circulate mostly around the personal site I'm trying to launch.)

More on this soon.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Chuck Norris vs Manny Pacquiao vs Park Jung Suk

This is a poll to determine who is the toughest: Chuck Norris - martial artist/killer/supersoldier extraordinaire, Manny Pacquiao - the #1 pound-for-pound boxer in the world according to Ring Magazine, and Park Jung Suk (aka [Oops]Reach) - a Protoss Starcraft progamer for the Korean Airforce team who is "often noted for his extreme manliness" and to whom CholeraSC attributes many manly achievements to.

Google is afraid of Chuck Norris, boxers are afraid of Manny Pacquiao, and Park Jung Suk (aka [Oops]Reach) has been busy catching Nokor nuke missiles for the world.

But who is the manliest of them all?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Saturated fat, cholesterol and a change in habit...

I recently took a company-sponsored physical examination to see where I am in terms of my health. The results surprised me a bit, let me explain.

I've been generally healthy since childhood, and I don't eat a lot of fatty foods. I rarely drink alcohol, and I don't smoke. I'm a thin person (5'10.5", ~145 lbs) and I find it extremely difficult to gain body mass.

Fatty Numbers
My doctor told me that I have high amounts of triglycerides. My reading's 201 mg/dL, just above the normal 30-200 mg/dL limit. According to wikipedia, it is the main constituent of vegetable oil and animal fats, and high levels are normally linked to heart disease.

I also had high readings of VLDL cholesterol. Like triglycerides, VLDL accelerates the risk of heart disease like atherosclerosis. I got 40 mg/dL, and normal is 0-35 mg/dL.

The doctor said that these numbers are associated with ingesting fat. I was quite surprised to hear these numbers, as I don't eat fatty foods in general. In fact, my mom meticulously drains out the oil in the food our family eats. The doctor said it could be because of genes, but I don't think my family has this disease in our lineage.

So I went back home and tried to observe the food I normally eat. One day when I was eating biscuits (I love biscuits, my mom makes sure we always have biscuits at home to eat as snacks, I eat quite a lot per week.) I took a look at its label. We have Monde's Bread Stix at that moment.
What I found? Bread Stix has a very high amount of saturated fat - 23% of the recommended daily allowance (based on a 2000 calorie diet)

I went to the supermarket and checked out various other cookie/biscuit brands. Except a few, they all have extremely high saturated fat amounts.

So what's saturated fat?
I did some research, and found a great resource in this NY Times article. According to that article, saturated fat is "the biggest dietary cause of high LDL levels ("bad cholesterol"). When looking at a food label, pay very close attention to the percentage of saturated fat and avoid or limit any foods that are high. Saturated fat should be limited to 10% of calories. Saturated fats are found in animal products such as butter, cheese, whole milk, ice cream, cream, and fatty meats. They are also found in some vegetable oils -- coconut, palm, and palm kernel oils. (Note: Most other vegetable oils contain unsaturated fat and are healthy.)"

Eating too much saturated fat, NY Times shares, heightens the risk of heart disease. Saturated fat leads to the buildup of cholesterol in the arteries (or atherosclerosis).

Reducing daily fat intake helps reduce the risk factors.

Change in habits...
Right now, I'm doing my best to avoid biscuits. I'll know soon if my VLDL and Triglyceride numbers decrease.

And from another POV, we're saving a bit more money because we no longer buy biscuits. :)

I'm wondering now - is it safe for kids to eat stuff like this?

Web page screen grab/capture tools

Have you ever experienced having to grab/capture an entire web page into an image file, but found it difficult because the page spans more than your computer's monitor with tools like zapgrab or print-screen?

If you have had that dilemma, here are 2 nifty tools that can help you.

The first one requires that you have Firefox installed as your web browser instead of the standard IE. The add-on that does the magic for you is called Screengrab, downloadable at the Mozilla add-ons site, here. It's extremely easy to use. Once you've installed the add-on, you'll see the screengrab icon at the lower right of your Firefox window. Go to the page you want to screengrab, click the icon, and click either save or copy.

The second one is a free online tool called Aviary. How you use this tool is just simply go to:<>. Even more so, you can also do basic image editing on this tool! So if you want to grab and edit, just go to And oh - Aviary is also available as a Firefox add-on.

Hope these can help you!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Google's Microsoft moment

Very insightful blog entry by Anil Dash, on Google finally having their "Microsoft moment" when they announced Chrome OS.

What's the Microsoft moment? Simply put, this is the inflection point from "Google being the upstart" to "Google being the old, big company." With this change, company culture changes, and as Anil said, the reasons for innovating at Google also changes.

I'm going to post his entire blog here, because I think it's worth the read.

I'm not sure Google's new Chrome OS announcement is that big a deal, or that the eventual product that gets released will actually have that much impact, but it's a useful milestone in marking Google's evolution towards becoming an older company with a distinctly different culture than they used to have.

This is, for lack of a better term, Google's "Microsoft Moment". This is the point when the difference between their internal conception of the company starts to diverge just a bit too far from the public perception of the company, and even starts to diverge from reality. At this inflection point, the reasons for doing new things at Google start to change.

Let me be clear: I don't think Google is "turning evil". Hell, I've caught a lot of flack for the fact that basically I don't think Microsoft was evil. But there are some notable trends going on across Google today that could cause the company to compromise its stated values and that will certainly cause people to think Google is being evil, if not corrected. I'll try to outline a few key cultural indicators from around Google.

Designing for corporate synergy, not for users

Google's recent development work on applications for mobile devices has often been delivered exclusively as applications for their own Android platform instead of as iPhone applications, despite the fact that iPhones are roughly forty times more popular in the marketplace. iPhones are also much more popular outside of the United States than Android, further limiting the actual audience served by these applications. Now, it's obviously good company policy to make sure to support Google's own platforms, and Google does an admirable job of using generic open web technologies where possible to avoid having to choose between platforms at all. But choosing to leave the majority of users in a given market unaddressed because they are on a platform that is not part of your corporate goals is short-sighted and leaves a lingering sense of mistrust.

If you look at Microsoft ten years ago, or even as recently as five years ago, they had a tendency to say "Well, we've got a version that works on Windows Mobile." or "This works on Internet Explorer" and feel that they'd done their job for addressing mobile or the web. Or Windows Media Player would connect to XBox but not to any other systems for sharing media. They were putting their corporate agenda ahead of what the marketplace had chosen as its preferred platforms. But after all these years, Microsoft's internal teams have finally started to develop their web or mobile versions of products to work on competitor's browsers and competitor's mobile platforms, recognizing that they have to go where the users are, instead of favoring only the platforms created by their corporate siblings. Google appears to be headed the other way.

Forgetting what the real world uses, and favoring what's convenient for your own business goals is a quick way to have customers think you don't care, and to indicate to partners or developers that pleasing Google is more important than pleasing customers.

Multiple competing product lines: Chrome OS and Android

This is one of the simplest and most obvious examples, after this week's announcements: Google is now offering not one, but two mobile operating systems. While they undoubtedly share code, I can't help but think back to ten years ago, when Microsoft was vehemently protesting about how much code was shared between the Windows NT/Windows 2000 operating systems and the Windows 95/98/ME operating systems. If I make a screen two inches smaller, should I use Android instead of Chrome OS? If the keyboard works with my fingers instead of my thumbs, I should use Chrome OS and not Android? I know Google is convinced its employees are smarter than everyone else in the world, but this is a product management problem, not a computer science problem.

Changing methods of communication

Within Google, I'm sure the perception is that their public-facing communications are still very "Googley". Now, Google does an excellent job of maintaining and using an enormous number of official corporate blogs in dozens of languages for a rapidly-blossoming number of products and initiatives. But despite my admiration for that effort, and their commendable willingness to forgo the usual boring press releases, the way that the company communicates with the public has fundamentally changed, and not necessarily in a more human direction.

In lieu of blog posts or simple word-of-mouth, as helped popularize the Google search engine itself ten years ago, efforts like Chrome are being accompanied by television ads, complete with all of the production values of primetime TV. Instead of launching a new developer initiative by promoting an SDK on their blog, Google is filling convention centers, Apple-style, with day-long developer presentations and an Oprahesque giveaway of free phones under every seat. Instead of white papers, there are highly-produced comic books being distributed to the press to explain the value of Chrome.

Now, I actually support these types of outreach. Getting outside of the insular tech bubble requires higher production values and clearer messaging. But when Google evokes Apple or Microsoft or Oracle in its style of communicating ideas, and when cell phone ads on TV say "Powered by Google", an average consumer's conception of Google essentially shifts to seeing this company not as "those guys who do the search engine" but instead as another consumer electronics company, like Samsung or Sony, but a little more hip.

This would be okay, except that I doubt Google's internal self-image as an organization has changed to reflect this new reality. "We're not like some giant company with flashy TV ads — we're just a bunch of geeks in Mountain View!" And while that might be true for the vast number of engineers who define the company's internal culture, the external impression of Google being just another tech titan like Microsoft will gain footing, making the audience for Google's messages less tolerant of ambiguity and less forgiving of mistakes.

Only the last generation of companies can be evil, not us!

Though it's almost impossible to picture now, in the era when Microsoft was formed, IBM was synonymous with an almost Orwellian dominance of information technology. It's been a full 40 years since the antitrust actions against IBM, and IBM is seen as a bastion of open-sourceness now, but Microsoft's founding mindset clearly was shaped with the idea that "those old guys from the last generation are evil, and we're the nimble, smart upstarts who are going to humanize this industry". Sound familiar?

Though it's hard to believe, the FTC's first investigations against Microsoft began eighteen years ago. When Microsoft reached its apex in terms of public perception and industry respect, with the launch of Windows 95, the culture inside the company still largely saw themselves as upstarts against old, proprietary behemoths. Though Microsoft's headcount has increase fivefold since then, at the time of Windows 95's launch, they had about 17,000 employees.

Google's headcount just passed roughly 20,000 employees. And most of those staff members are firmly convinced that evil, or at least incompetence, is firmly the trait of the last generation's dominant tech player: Microsoft. The idea that developers or customers might start to bristle at their dominance is met with the (true, yet irrelevant) argument about how open their data and platforms are. Eric Schmidt said yesterday that Chrome OS is so open that Microsoft could make Internet Explorer for it, though of course the effort of porting the browser would be prohibitively complex. By neatly inverting the framing of the conversation ("We didn't bundle a browser with our OS, we bundled an OS with our browser!"), Google's avoided having to confront the parallels between this moment in their corporate culture and Microsoft's similar moment of ascendancy 15 years ago.

Still haven't developed Theory of Mind

And finally, as I outlined two years ago, Google still hasn't developed theory of mind. From my piece then:

This shortcoming exists at a deep cultural level within the organization, and it keeps manifesting itself in the decisions that the company makes about its products and services. The flaw is one that is perpetuated by insularity, and will only be remedied by becoming more open to outside ideas and more aware of how people outside the company think, work and live.

Worse, because most of the dedicated detractors of Google have been either competing companies or nutjobs, it's been hard for Googlers to take criticisms seriously. That makes it easy to have defensiveness or dismissal of criticisms become a default response.


Google has made commendable steps towards communicating with those outside of its sphere of influence in the tech world. But the messages will be incomplete or insufficient as long as Google doesn't truly internalize and accept that its public perception is about to change radically. The era of Google as a trusted, "non-evil" startup whose actions are automatically assumed to be benevolent is over.

Years ago, GMail introduced context-sensitive ads and was unfairly pilloried for being anti-privacy or intrusive. And while there have been a few similar hand-slappings along the way, Google's never faced a widespread backlash against their influence or dominance from average consumers yet. Today, protestations of "but it's open source!" are being used to paper over real concerns about data ownership, and the truth is that open code doesn't necessarily imply that average users are in control.

And ultimately, once a tech company becomes dominant in its space, it's susceptible to a kind of reverse Hanlon's razor: Anything caused by stupidity or carelessness will instead be attributed to malice. Similar to the Law of Fail ("Once a web community has decided to dislike an idea, the conversation will shift from criticizing the idea to become a competition about who can be most scathing in their condemnation."), Google is entering the moment where it has to be over-careful not to offend, and extremely attentive to whether they are treading lightly.

Is Google evil? It doesn't matter. They've reached the point of corporate ambition and changing corporate culture that means they're going to be perceived as if they are. Whether they're able to truly internalize that lesson, accept it, and act accordingly will determine if they're able to extend their dominance in the years to come.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ayumi Uehara - cool Japanese model

I've recently come across this pretty Japanese model Ayumi Uehara.

According to Japan Sugoi, Ayumi Uehara 上原歩 is a pretty 27 year old fashion model and actress from Tokyo. She started acting in 2000 and has since appeared on 12 TV shows and is currently appearing in TV Asahi’s Eazy Sports and Otome音女 .

Despite her TV appearances, she has really been more popular as a fashion model regularly appearing in magazines such as S Cawaii and Puckish. She’s also modeled for lingerie maker Ravijour, MTV Pinks, Kobe Collection 2008 Autumn/Winter and appeared on MTV Japan and girlswalker’s Girls Collection vol1 and vol2.

Update: A lot of high res pics are here. Just scroll down the page to see more photo sets.

Some sample pics below.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

How to embed flash/SWF files in blogspot/blogger

While creating my last post (engaging and funny Pringles ad! - must see), I faced an issue of how to embed flash files properly in blogspot. The menu buttons when you create your blog post only support image or video, but it is not impossible to embed flash files.

Two easy steps to embed flash (SWF files):
1. Host your SWF files somewhere - I uploaded mine in Google Pages.Take note of the URL of your SWF file. You'll need it. (As example, mine is at

2. Edit the HTML in your blog to embed - You'll see that right to the left of Compose, there's an "Edit Html" tab. Click that and put the following code:

Change the URL to your own SWF file location, and change the width and height as needed.

That's it!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Funny Pringles can ad - Comedy!

This is one of the funniest and most ingenious banner ads to ever grace the internet! And it's done by no other than Pringles! Play with the ad to see why.

Mybrute - weak brutes running list (part 3 of more to come)

Mybrute weak brutes list, part 3! Here are more weak brutes for you to level up easier. Majority of these are level 11 brutes. BTW - thanks to the people who viewed and commented on the first two parts so far!

1. Dadwada - Lvl 11 (has 1 dog)

2. fouros - Lvl 11

3. justdoneit - Lvl 12 (has 1 dog)

4. Pannus - Lvl 11 (has 1 dog)

5. Morkern - Lvl 7

6. Vale.mg23 - Lvl 7