Author: dungkal

A development manager (so I guess) with a passion for information empowerment.

Deflating the balloons mindset

Attending activities can be as enlightening as surfing the Internet.

During the Parents-Teachers Conference yesterday at Martin’s school, one female parent raised a hand to be allowed to speak. The emcee obliged.

The parent reacted to the plan of the school to release balloons into the air during its 25th Foundation Day. Without any explanation on her being an environmentalist, she said that letting go of balloons puts sea creatures into danger. OK, fellow parents as well as the school’s officials must have asked silently: Why the heck?

She explained that deflated or burst balloons are likely to end up landing on the seas, with marine animals eating them like food. She mentioned that there was a study that discovered dead sea creatures with pieces of deflated balloons in their stomachs.

With an enlightened tone, a school official promised to cancel the balloons plan and to consider the parent’s suggestion to just let go of butterflies instead.

Thank God for such activity, the Parents-Teachers Conference. It kind of reinforced the environmentalist mindset in me.

I now realize that balloons may still put life to parties but kids (and adults alike) must be educated that letting go of balloons into the air may end the life of other God’s creatures. Better burst the balloons.

Suggested link on caring for the seas and God’s sea creatures:

Debian rejects software patent FUD

It took a long while before the largest free software development organization, Debian, came out with a strong statement against software patent.

In its policy statement, it recognizes the threat that patents pose to free software. In this light, the statement provides guidance for Debian community members confronted with patent issues away from fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD).

Read the statement here.

Is your web browser up-to-date? Find out with

Browse funny. That’s my reaction to the “Browse Happy” site (a good deed by via that features five web browsers whose respective logos, names and slogans are juxtaposed with one another. Visitors will find out how their favorite browsers describe themselves and their browsers’ latest versions.

I really find it funny that (or WordPress?) lines up the logos ‘arbitrarily.’: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Internet Explorer. I refreshed the page thinking that perhaps the order might change. But it did not. Question is: How do they arrive at such order? Why is Chrome first? Although I’ll never complain why Explorer comes last.

Funnier as it may seem that the site says this at the bottom of the page: “Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. Browse Happy is a way for you to find out what are the latest versions of the major browsers around. You can also learn about alternative browsers that may fit you even better than the one you are currently using.”

The first sentence is great, although they may be bashed for inferring that an up-to-date browser really makes our computers safe. However, the second sentence makes users wonder how they “can also learn about alternative browsers”. No further information nor links. So dear reader, if you really wonder, have you visited this page of Wikipedia:

Anyway, I’m giving A to WordPress for this noble need of keeping netizens informed.

Ninong Oca Francisco

Today is first death anniversary of Oscar D. Francisco, whom I prefer to call Ninong Oca. (He is one of the primary sponsors to Lea’s and my wedding.)

This piece about Ninong Oca is overdue. I should have written this in the wake of his passing away one year ago. I did not even pay my final respects at his wake, for the reason that I could not take seeing him like I will not see him live forever, for as long as I live.

Ninong Oca paved the way for me to discover my political destiny. I was involved in Youth Volunteers for Popular Democracy (YVPD) in the late 80s when he was looking for an ‘computer encoder’ for all his type-written pieces as well as those handwritten on yellow paper. (It’s no secret that Ninong Oca — in the company of Ninong Steve — has not learned how to use a computer. Though, I’m aware that he once tried to learn, but in vain.) With the blessing of my political officer then, I grabbed the opportunity to work with Ninong Oca even as his encoder.

Time flew past from then on. As I said, I found my political destiny through him. My involvement with the peasant movement started to grow when I joined him at PEACE Foundation as staff of the National Training-Organizing Desk.

He also broadened my perspective, literally because he would bring me along to his various trips abroad, in Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Through these travels, I learned a lot of things and met people that I look up to up to this day.

It was almost like wherever Ninong Oca went, I went with him. In the barely 10 years of companionship, there developed a brotherly rapport between us. I feel that he enjoyed the company of Alex Soto and me. He really liked the “Bruce” company. He was Bruce Willis, I, Bruce Walis, and Alex, Bruce Co (as in brusque). Though I wonder if he realized that he himself took Alex’s identity (as Bruce Co) a number of times.

Two of the things I like the most about Ninong Oca are that:

1. He was brave enough not to hide his sentimentalism or his being human. I saw him cry a couple of times. One time was when a comrade criticized his being ‘magarbo’ (luxurious) in lifestyle despite the poverty of the peasants.

He cherished friendships. I remember him saying that like me, he liked the song “Kahit Maputi na ang Buhok Ko.” He would sing it along with me a la LSS (last song syndrome). He would ascribe the song to his company with Bruce Co and Bruce Walis.

2. He didn’t believe that “men are not monogamous by nature”. I remember the time when we watched a program where the topic was male human beings’ tendency not to stick with one partner. Guests at the program, who were all showbiz personalities, would practically agree that indeed men are not monogamous by nature. I told that I didn’t agree. I asked him, “Do you agree?”. He replied: “Of course not.”

I’m sure the spouses of Ninong Oca and mine vouch for that, that we have been true to our convictions up to this day.

Memories of Ninong Oca will remain etched in my heart. I owe him what I am today.

Pacquiao is gray, so is politics

Rep. Manny Pacquiao is gray, not black-and-white. He is against the reproductive health bill, yet he joins the movement’s call for P125 wage increase across-the-board.

I remember one Congresswoman civil enough to keep her anger at the people’s champ at bay by just sort of saying that he’ll lose his battle against the RH bill. Her colleagues in the labor front will surely be in the opposite disposition. They jubilantly claim that the workers’ protracted struggle will finally conclude to their advantage.

Politics has not become less gray. It entails conjunctural acumen, hard work, and civil, much less sincere, (tactical) collaboration with even your enemies. You must also control your emotions that get in the way, even though these days campaigners use people’s emotions to win their hearts and minds.

There’s always bible truth in “getting-to-yes”, principles-based negotiation. Respect is another. Jesus said, “Respect thy enemy.”

The movement I used to belong to once worked with the Church along agrarian reform issues. The synergy begot awesome results, with the passage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) Law. (How the law is to be implemented is a totally another Herculean battle.) But now, they diverge along reproductive health/pro-life issue.

Campaigners should not struggle to translate gray into black and white, but rather the reverse. With gray, everybody is a winner, partaking in the harvest: You take that, and I take this, for the greater majority or the disadvantaged. For the greater glory of God, if you may.

Those remaining ungrayed, maverick with their black-and-white color, will have their day. Although, no one can tell when that day will be.

My Macbook’s backlight problem just solved

Thanks to Mr. Neil Turner for being my digital angel for this morning.

I’ve been banging my head on the wall for (figuratively) for my problem with “my” (it actually belongs to my office) Macbook’s screen backlight which has been unpredictably off and on. I am sure I haven’t done anything to cause the problem.

I even gave up on Googling (sorry but I prefer to ‘verb’ the word) on the concern.

Until this morning when God seemed to shed light on my head. Then I was able to hand-pick this URL from the list spewed by Google:

The tips came from Neil Turner and I chose the tip #2: “Zap your PRAM”. It worked like magic. And if I may add to the tip, the Macbook user trying this should be advised that as soon as s/he heard the ‘ding’ sound and the backlight was on, s/he should already release the keys s/he’d been holding down.

Thanks again, Mr. Turner. Your tip shed (back)light on my Macbook.

The Net as a knowledge engine

Look up this entry’s title in your favorite search engine and chances are that there is at least a web site that contains an article arguing in the same vein.

The global capitalistic system wants every piece of intellectual property well accounted for, from a robot building robots to a compiled computer code allowing a user to edit text embedded in an image file. I cannot imagine how the current system manages millions of trademarks, copyrights, patents and the like. It is the complex system that has begotten lots of lawsuits that not protect the plaintiffs’ business interests but also bring more cash into their coffers. Patent lawyers bring more money into their purse, too.

I thought that a brainchild that remains hidden in one’s notebook, digital or otherwise, is most likely to be ‘robbed’ by another person, who immediately publishes it on the net, for reasons of fame, nobility in purpose, or whatever. There’s nothing that the ‘original’ creator or author can do to lay claim to such idea. Not unless legal issues come into play.

I therefore argue that the one who publishes first gets the credit. We have this Filipino saying: “Daig ng maagap ang masipag” (The person who rises early finishes first or gets more than the industrious one.)

Of course, with the early publishing comes the responsibility of committing no or minimal factual, logic or even assumption lapses in such exposition of idea. Or s/he will draw flak from concerned netizens. And it might usher in his/her descent to disgrace.

More often than not, I tend to consult the net on concepts that I’m sure incubated from my mind but leave me wondering whether such concepts incubated from other persons’ minds either. At least, such information will help me think how to present the idea in a non-plagiaristic manner.

The Net has become an engine through which historical, empirical and new-frontier knowledge can be searched. If you will, the Net can also be considered as a virtual repository of knowledge creations, including the more technico-legal intellectual property claims. If, after a flash of discovery or as a result of burning the midnight oil, one comes up with an idea, be it revolutionary or fantastic, s/he should find out first whether such idea already has earlier proponents. Consider it a standard practice of research, the digital equivalent to a visit in library.

And to bring this scheme of knowledge creation into proper perspective, I propose that alternative ways of sharing and protecting knowledge on the Net (yes, both can be done at the same time) should be explored. Ever heard of the Creative Commons and Go explore.