Category Archives: Technology

Digitizing Filipiniana

The Filipinas Heritage Library recently launched their newest endeavour, the Filipiniana Online, last January 22, 2014. It is the digitized version of FHL’s rare Filipiniana collection. They have over 2,000 rare books, many of which are too fragile to be handled and lent out to their users. The idea of digitizing the books was born a few years ago and to date, they have around 500 books digitized and uploaded as flipbooks to the website, with many more in the works.

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Our class was able to attend through the invitation of our professor, and was considered to be part of our collection management and development curriculum. Prior to the launch, we took a tour of the Ayala Musuem and the Filipinas Heritage Library.

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The FHL was previously located at the Nielssen Tower along Makati Avenue. Personally, I found it a very picturesque location, and quite unique too. But times change, so the library was moved to its present location at the 6th floor of the Ayala Museum.

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Here we saw their collection, and in line with our studies, talked to the librarians who were in charge of developing the collection as well as digitizing it. As libraries in the Philippines go, FHL is one of the better ones, support and budget-wise, but that doesn’t mean they are without challenges. Still, it was very interesting to see their process of how they gathered the resources to purchase the equipment they needed to digitize the books.

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The Filipiniana Online is open to the public. However, only the preliminary pages are available for viewing and full access to the books requires a paid membership.

Congratulations to the team of the Filipinas Heritage Library for the successful launch.

Related links:
FHL launches Filipiniana Online
What is Filipiniana?

New Topcase

After five years, my laptop went in for repairs. I had separation anxiety the day I left it at the shop, but I thought it was for the best. My laptop and I have never really been apart since I got it. It’s integral to what I do for a living, and it’s also a way for me to keep in touch with people. Not that I’m super attached to my laptop that I’ll die without it, and it’s not like I’ve been without it for a couple of days, but there is a need for it in order for me to make a living.

I left Manila for a four-day vacation in Palawan, and I survived nicely without it. When I got back, I fired it up so I could upload the photos that I took. Surprise, I couldn’t log in. After assuring me that nobody used it, I finally figured out that it was a keyboard problem.

Initially, I didn’t mind using the virtual keyboard to write status messages and other simple stuff. But as a writer, I needed a full keyboard. I called up the shop that my uncle goes to for an estimate. The cost was pretty ok, but it did take a chunk out of my savings. Still, it’s a cycle. I need to make money but in order to do that I have to spend money to get the instrument I need to make money fixed (awful sentence, I know).

I have my laptop back, and it’s got a brand new topcase. It’s as clean and as bright as it was when I first got it, and it makes me ashamed to see the other parts of the laptop so dark and dreary. I need to clean that up. But it’s nice to have a full keyboard back, and I can go on writing.

New topcase

So clean!

Phone Upgrade: Sony Xperia Go

Eight years after I bought my first smartphone, I finally upgraded. I had initially thought about getting a entry-to-mid-level Android phone that costs less than PHP7,000 while saving up for the iPhone 4s that I wanted. However, I realized that I won’t be able to afford that any time in the near future, so I decided to go to the mid-level to high Android phones.

Xperia go attracted me for a few reasons: First, it’s waterproof and dustproof. It may not be a deal breaker for some but I don’t mind having this as an extra (knowing me, it’s going to come in handy). Second, I like the Xperia interface a little better than the skins of other Android handsets. Lastly, while it costs a little more than my original set budget, it was still reasonable.

Online reviews give the Xperia Go an average of 3.5 stars. Among the gripes these reviewers have is that the screen is small for today’s standards (3.5 inches), not to mention its quality at 480 x 320 pixels (you can see the specs here). Some reviewers didn’t like the material the phone’s back was covered with, while others bemoaned that internal storage was only 4 GB.

Frankly, I think we’re all just spoiled and want the biggest and fastest in every handset and still keep it at a low price. Anyway, here’s my take. Continue reading

Some tech issues

With my connection out until I move and get it reactivated, I’m relying on all sorts of ways to go online. For the past week I’ve been borrowing a friend’s Globe Tattoo mifi. Recently, I’ve been able to get an unsecured wifi signal. Finally, I decided to give those mobile broadband connections a try. My experience with Smart so far has been great, so I decided to give that a spin.

I’m using Mac OS X 10.5.8 and I have the Smart MF627 USB Dongle. This the NCAA edition, but I since that’s mostly a branding thing I don’t think it’s important. I bought a Smart Bro prepaid SIM for P50 (patong ng P10 sa mga tindahan, but it’s P40 sa Smart mismo) and loaded it up with P50 so I can browse on Unli for one day. Continue reading

Reading Gone Digital

I got an Amazon Kindle Touch as a present from my godmother-aunt. I’ve long been reading ebooks instead of print books (mostly because I can download a lot really cheaply), but I’m not really mobile as I read on my laptop.

Reading ebooks on the computer can be a pain. You can’t move around much to find a comfortable position, and even with a laptop, you are not at all that mobile. After a while, the glare of the computer hurts your eyes, even if you have the light turned down to the lowest setting. I tried reading on my mobile phone, but the screen was too small and the light was also a problem.

Amazon Danboard meets the Amazon Kindle Touch.

So when I received my Kindle, I couldn’t be happier. While I maintain that printed books are still my main choice (there’s so much about them that I love that technology has yet to replicate in digital form) for reading, ebooks and an ebook reader provide several advantages.

  • I can now read my ebooks anywhere I wish. I am no longer limited to reading through my laptop, so I don’t have to stay parked in one place.
  • I can carry as many books as I like at any time. The Kindle is really lightweight, and it is easy to pack into my bag and bring out any time I want to read.
  • I don’t need bookmarks as the Kindle automatically remembers where I last left off.
  • Built in dictionaries help me learn new words I encounter throughout the books.
  • The Kindle’s eInk is not harsh on the eyes. It’s color and text emulates an actual book, making it easier for me to read. Amazon’s claim is that that it is almost like reading the real thing, and I can say that yes, it is definitely close to that.

The Kindle Touch also has some features which are quite handy. It has an MP3 player, so I can listen to music while I read. It can connect to Wi-Fi and I browse the Internet if I need to research or check Facebook. Some other notable features are the text-to-speech function, which reads out the books to you. And if you need new books, just go to the Amazon store and purchase one right from the Kindle and get it in seconds (there are free books available too!). You can even share books to your friends (though I haven’t tried that one yet).

There’s still a lot of features in the Kindle Touch that I haven’t used, but so far, I’m very happy with it. It may not be flashy or has multiple uses like an iPad or an Android tablet, but it’s fulfilled my need for an ebook reader. Now if it emits some musky book smell, feels like paper when I turn the page or makes swishing sounds… but you can’t have everything.

Canon Kiss X4 Err 01

My four month old Canon Kiss X4 (also known as Canon 550D/Rebel T2i) was getting an error when I’d shoot. It has never happened often, but now I’m seeing it often enough to worry. I fired up Google to search for people with similar problems and possible solutions. I know the fastest way to fix it was to bring the camera to the service center but I wanted to see if I could resolve the issue myself first.

The following are some suggestions that I found online:

  • Remove and replace the lens – Did that. No success.
  • Remove and replace the battery – I removed the battery to charge it but I still got the errors
  • Clean the contacts on the camera and the lens – I’ll try this as a last resort because I’m too scared to try it.

I did a test to see when the problem occurs. Initially, I noticed that the error happens when I set my lens to shoot at 18-24mm, but never when I go beyond that. Many of my search results show that people get this error while using different lenses, so I had to look for someone who had the same setup as I have. I found a short thread on Digital Photographer Philippines, with some suggestions on what to do.

According to one of the replies, if the contacts are clean, it is possible that the error is caused by a faulty aperture mechanism. He suggested to shoot at the widest aperture available, and see what happens.

My current settings are ISO 800 and 1/320. I kept changing the aperture and recorded the results. For the first round of shooting test, f4.0 and f5.0 showed errors, while f3.5, f4.5, up to f22 didn’t get any errors. My second test, I decided to just shoot using the aperture that got errors. So far, no errors up to f5.6. A third try on the ones that had errors worked fine. I’m back to not knowing what the problem is.

I am a little confused as to what’s going on. I don’t have any other lens I could use as a test, but I’m pretty sure it would work ok. My camera has taken a few knocks since I got it, so I’m hoping nothing got damaged. I guess if the same thing happens again and I can’t fix it, it’s off to the service center.

Here are a few forum threads that talk about this problem.

Thank you Steve Jobs

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Steve Jobs
1955-2011

“Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.”

Thank you, Steve. Rest in peace.

Note this

I have a fondness for stationery. Notebooks, pencils, pens, even ordinary pad paper. Often I find myself wandering to the bookstore and after I looked at books, I’ll go browse the stationery section. Chances are I’d end up buying a pen, or a notebook… or both.

I have more notebooks than I care to count. Some of them are so used, the covers and edges are frayed and falling apart. Some barely have anything in them, while others are still in their plastic cases, waiting for years before I even get the urge to rip them open, much less use them.

Various notebooks I've collected. This is not all of them 🙂

As a kid, I used to collect stationery. I’d hoard these pieces of paper with cute designs and keep them in a box. My godfather knew I liked them so much, he gave me a letter set which I only used to write to very special people. I traded the ugliest ones I liked the least. I’m such a pack rat, I still have most of them.

In college, I’d collect notebooks, albeit unintentionally. My friends (especially my housemates) noticed this and gave me the notebooks they don’t use. After I graduated, my mom used them because she couldn’t stand seeing them go to waste. I was irked at first then I realized she did have a point. Besides, that’s what notebooks are for right?

Yesterday, I couldn’t help myself and bought this Moleskine lookalike from National Bookstore. At P80 for two small notebooks, it was far cheaper than the Italian brand. Don’t get me wrong. I love Moleskine and own a few of them, but it does cost a lot.

My new companion: Mini notebook for random ideas

These notebooks will reside in my bag and will be the first thing I reach for when an interesting idea pops up. It’s great when I need to make a list, or have a plot that I want to explore in the future. Sure, you can say that I can input it in my cellphone, maybe even set an alarm to remind me of it. I actually do that, just so I won’t forget that I wrote something down that needs to be explored. However, one major advantage my notebooks have over using my cellphone? It never runs out of battery, and given how my phone’s battery drains really fast and I must conserve it as much as possible, my notebooks are very handy indeed.

I haven’t even begun talking about my pens…

Laptop stand

I bought a laptop stand at Royal Duty Free yesterday. It’s a metal mesh one from Rubbermaid, and it cost me US$12 (PHP 577.10 or so). At first I thought it was too big for my laptop, and if in that case, I could sell it online. But when I tried it, it fit my desk exactly and the MacBook was ok with it too.

I’m not sure if this is the same model but if it is, then I can say that I got a pretty nice bargain.

Whew

Today was pretty busy. It wasn’t a bad day, but it was just… busy. 🙂 And since I no longer update my Project 365, this is sort of a make-up post.

It’s my grandfather’s birthday. Yesterday Mama said he wasn’t feeling well, so I made it a point to call him as soon as I woke up. He sounded really happy, especially when I said that my brother Miks and I were going home this weekend. Later, I found out that my uncle & his family will be there tomorrow so that should make Lolo doubly happy.

I went to the bookstore today to get a present for him (hurrah for subsidy!). I found this U.S. Presidents Factbook by Elizabeth Jewell, which I know he’ll like, being the history buff that he is. I gave him a book last week, and Papa said he was devouring it. Awesome. I love you, Lolo. 🙂

I also got to spend some time with my friend & former co-worker Winston, who was going to watch Transformers 2.

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This is where I get yappy.