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

Browse funny. That’s my reaction to the “Browse Happy” site (a good deed by WordPress.com via browsehappy.com) 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 browsehappy.com (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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_web_browsers.

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


Got a new laptop bag

Introducing my new laptop bag. I gave up my old military-green bag in favor of this black one. The main reasons why I had to buy a new one (from out of the money I earned from a quick count project this last election) were that I needed a bag that has a slot for a bottled water and that I needed accessible pockets for me to put different stuff like a headset, a book, and a couple of pens.

This new one’s brand is Parker, yes, the maker of the popular pens. It’s made in China, so I don’t expect it to be as durable as other known brands. It’s price is affordable (2,500 pesos or about 50 dollars) so I didn’t think twice to buy it.

It’s pleasing cats and dogs

For me, it’s OK to be informed about a very important site’s being down, so long as the maintenance pages look like that one with a cat struggling on a computer with a screw driver. It’s even OK to be told that my files hosted by a site are gone like forever. Who would not take pity of that cat feeling ashamed and sorry?

Bad thing I haven’t screen-captured that widget by Yahoo that has several cute hamsters moving their bodies asynchronously while waiting for a long transaction to finish. (I think that is on the photo service.)

So using animals to mellow down the high-blooded is cool. Twitter.com is the runaway winner.

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I am Asian!

At the tailend of the three-day Access to Knowledge Workshop held in Bangkok, one of the Filipino participants focused his reflection about the workshop on his confused identification as an Asian. He attributed the problem to a mix of foreign influences on the Philippines, starting off with Spain which first colonized the country many centuries ago.I wanted to react to his reflection immediately. But as a rule you can never question a personal opinion during the evaluation of an activity. So I just had to keep the reaction to myself.

Yes, Spain and America have hewed the mindsets of the Filipinos (I venture that the snootiness of the elite came from the former and the liberalism of the bourgeoisie from the latter) but I understand that Filipino roots came first from Indonesians and Malaysians, who helped civilize the Philippines with their knowledge particularly in trade.

The Filipino colleague must have had no exposure in a number of Asian exchanges, which must explain his confused identification. Not my case. A decade ago, I was deeply involved in many Asian exposure-exchange activities that gave me the opportunity to befriend Indonesians, Indians, Malaysians, Koreans, Vietnamese, Burmese, Thais, Japanese, Sri Lankans and even Australians and New Zealanders (those belonging to the ethnic groups). The activities then were sponsored by the Hongkong-based CCA-URM (Christian Conference of Asia-Urban Rural Mission).

Spending several days with the fellow Asians also enlightened me on their national histories an contexts. I’m sure that they too learned from their Filipino co-participants realizing that the latter were Asians as well.

My Asianness was revived by the number of Asian conferences that I attended since 2005. This time the activities focused on ICT and access to information, no longer Christian faith and community organizing as it was a decade ago. I feel that these conferences of the new millennium kind of completed my affinity with the Asian community.

With the pot-pourri of foreign influences on my lifestyle and thinking, am I Asian? Yes I definitely am.

Patronize your own! Use Pinoy softwares!

The call has been there since centuries ago. In the 19th century, Andres Bonifacio’s national liberation movement implied it. A century hence, former President Carlos Garcia sort of ordered it. In my generation, I have already heard of the “Buy Filipino Movement”. I quoted it because there is no movement to speak about, after all. It has practically failed to win the hearts and minds of Filipinos and Filipinas because of their ‘colonial mentality’, as I was taught. Consumerism has prevailed–“Filipino Buy” mentality.

But now, times have changed. Pinoys are already pragmatic, thanks to the economic difficulties they are in. The “original” has now changed so that its quality is reduced in exchange for a cheap price, making it affordable to Juan and Juana dela Cruz. Made in China? Cool! it’s still ‘original’ yet affordable. DVDs? Yes, one can now view six movies in one disc at a price of P100.00. (These cheap items, I heard, are ‘imported’ from Indonesia.)

I believe that the call for patronizing Filipino products should remain the issue of the day. But I’m not saying this in a puristic sense. Consumers have the right to quality and ecology-friendly products. Filipino-made stuff must then compete with the others sold in the market. However, in order to compete, the playing field must be leveled. In this, the role of favorable State policies is crucial.

Nevertheless, while working for this favorable State policy, the civil society can already do it themselves by promoting environment- and pocket-friendly products made by the grassroots communities. This has been done by Alay Kapwa, a religious community-run concern dealing with products made by the hands of community folks, who are mostly women. Although, I wish that there are other initiatives along this line.

Patronizing own products can range up to stuff like software development and computing. There should be high-profile initiatives (coupled of course with favorable State policy, like one that gives incentives) towards recognizing Filipino-made software creations, not to glorify the creators but to promote their effective use among folks who may need them. The Philippine Linux Users Group (PLUG) maintains a site that lists a number of software inventions made by Filipino programmers and developers. So far, there are 20 software applications listed. I assure you that when you visit that site, you’ll feel that Filipino programmers also deserve the world’s accolades.

One software I’d like to promote here is the Bayanihan Linux. It’s a Debian-based Linux distribution aimed to be a desktop alternative for Filipinos. It’s being developed in the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI). Like any Linux and BSD variant, BL (as it is called for short) offers safety, fun, and freedom in computing as compared to Microsoft Windows, which ties the end-users to its technologies through unfair terms.

I plan to install BL in one of my office’s machines and explore it myself. In the meantime, I find the BL site very encouraging, which only deserves every Pinoy’s support. Just look at this screenshot of the ‘About’ page: