Where’s the Snakes?

Past few days I’ve been so busy finishing a bunch of projects. That I often burn the midnight oil finishing all these sites. I only pay attention to this and I don’t even think about anything else. So my room is often a mess that my room floor looks like tons of junk and seems like a snake could probably be living already in my room jungle.

My workstation

This is my work area, and once I work, I don’t pay attention to anything else.

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Badsense Adsense Technique / Black Hatter and Spammer

No this is not about a badsense adsense techhique. And it is also not about being a black hatter and spammer. This is just about Sam Casuncad’s experiment. As he posted on a thread in the SEO Philippines forum, saying that he has finally found some keywords to target to beat the the Blackhats, Matt Cutts and Marc Macalua. Where he showed some SERP results having his pages higher than some other blackhat sites, higher than Matt Cutts and higher than Marc Macalua. He also mentions in the thread: “go and beat me if you can guys.” *LOL* Although he does mention that he is a newbie in SEO according to him and this is just basically for fun. Although I am not a sucker for this challenge as I have a lot more things worthwhile to do. Although, let’s just see how far can a push-button-flip-the-switch-instant-automatic-magic-SEO can do. If it will really make a big difference in SEO or if it will not. But if you seriously want to take Sam Casuncad’s challenge, tell him and target the keywords: Badsense Adsense Technique or Black Hatter and Spammer.

The Big Bad Bullies of Philippine Broadcasting!!!

As of this writing, I am mad; the description fuming just could not contain the emotion I was trying to relieve.
Most of you know the type of work I do, my day job, besides the occasional sculpting projects I enjoy. But for others who still haven’t got a clue, I was privileged to be hired as an online comics illustrator at one of the top outsourcing companies of the best web designers, developers, and artists here in the Philippines, bar none. We work according to Philippine laws, pay our taxes. Our company provides work to almost 400 talented Filipinos.

Now granted, some of our clients and some of our works deal with adult materials, but none of them illegal, based on the vague anti-pornography laws we have here. Just how vague? More is explained in this news clip: http://www.gmanews.tv/video/5636/Lack-of-law-hinders-fight-vs-cyberporn USCIS on Global Warming

Now, some unscrupulous people under the guise of Investigative Journalism are trying to destroy the business our good employers and we are trying very hard to establish by taking that vague law and twisting it to serve their selfish evil schemes.

I’m not going to beat around the bush and I’ll come right out: They are extorting money from our company and trying very hard to make our working conditions miserable by disrupting our work schedules, through intimidation and harassment by their paid goons or associates and threatening us through trial by publicity (why else would you have a camera crew in hand?).

Our employers have had enough of this and decided to stand up for it, knowing we are not doing anything illegal. You can read how we scored some points in this news article here: http://uw.abs-cbnnews.com/storypage.aspx?StoryId=73466

Now we’re guessing this is something their egos couldn’t take, so they are getting back at us, always some sort of unauthorized raid (no search or arrest warrants) is going on, treating us like we’re effing criminals, treating our female employees with disrespect, disrupting our outsourcing business and scaring off potential clients in the process. Like most of my peers, I’m fed up. I have to take action. What better way could I have done? Who can I turn to? Who can I trust? If some government agents are on the take, if journalists of high regard like the Tulfos can threaten anyone with trial by publicity if they are not happy with the amount of payola they receive, what other options are left at my disposal?

How about trial by exposé? I’m going to expose their wicked ways through blogs, the one media they could not control. To destroy what little credibility they have left, credibility they probably acquired through intimidation, threats and manhandling little folks like us.

So I’m humbly requesting those of you who’ve read this, especially Filipino artists among you, to please repost it in your blogs and other journals. Through this minor effort, I want to show them that not all of us can be intimidated and are willing to stand up to being bullied. If no one else’s going to stand up against these extortionist bullies now, who will? I do have a seething hatred for bullies, don’t you? I’m hopeful too, that this post may reach some of our still honest government agencies and maybe they could take action against these people.

The fate of 400 talented Filipinos, people that are only trying to earn an honest living in their own country, hangs in the balance. Please, we need your support.

Enough is enough. We’re taking the stand.

By an anonymous writer from iweb

I reposted this from another blog, I am not the author of this blog post, pero ito masasabi ko… if there is no law on pornography, then I see nothing wrong in what they do. Next thing na masasabi ko from an Internet marketing point of view, since target market naman nito, hindi naman mga taga Philippines, kadali lang ma-block ang Philippine-based IP addresses. So no one in the Philippines can see the site. So wala nang problem ‘di ba?

Who is the Tsikot.com Babe?

Tsikot.com has a new hot babe joining their group. Problem is, we don’t know who she is. Some kind of buzz marketing I guess. Here is my guess who is the tsikot.com babe is.

Tsikot.com Babe Photo - Picture of Tsikot.com Babe

I think my guess is wrong, but join in the community on Tsikot.com. There are more reasons to go there if you are into cars.

Vacation is over, back to work and car problems

Now I am back in the US. Vacation can never be long enough. Everyone sees vacation to be a short period of time. Well I got a 2 week vacation from my job. And the company I work for is really awesome in having me go on vacation to attend this SEO event, thanks everyone. I also organized a quick 2-day CSS, PHP and AJAX workshop for my brief stay in the Philippines. I maybe i have thanked the following people but I will thank them again.

  • Mike Lopez and Jason Torres – While I did the tableless CSS workshop on day 1, day 2 was excellently handled by Mike (PHP) and Jason (AJAX). Truly experts in their field. Thanks for being the lecturers in this area.
  • Reine Sison – Longtime industry friend who contributed in helping out in some of the event organizing troubles and for hosting and handling all registrations on the event website.
  • SEO Philippines – Thanks to the forum which help promote the event. It was mainly from this forum where i guaged if I have enough target audience to pull this off. So I guess the real person to thank is Marc Macalua who started this whole group about 2 or 3 years ago. Thanks Marc.
  • Participants – Of course thanks to all that registered and hope everyone was happy with the new things you have learned. People that learned about the event were either promoted via IM through friends from the Philweavers, PHPhilippines, PHPUG-Ph and others who learn about it from ICI.
  • Juliet Santiago-Chan – Center Business Manager of Informatics Computer Institute – Shaw Blvd. Center in Mandaluyong City. For letting us use her largest computer lab for the venue of the event.
  • My wife and daughter – Who helped out in tiny things and was patient to hang around the area when I helped in setting up the computers and organizing during the last day.
  • Everybody else I forgot to thank that I forgot about, thank you also.

But I guess the most rewarding thing for this vacation is being able to spend a lot of quality time with my family. Nothing beats that, these priceless yet very treasured time. I miss everyone back home already but it should not that that long until everyone is here also in the US.

Now it’s been a week already after my vacation and it’s all work again. Everyday endless optimization of websites. And after work, there are more websites to work on, not only for SEO but design and development as well and the whole project management and operations management, customer support issues everywhere. And jsut as the busy life comes back, here comes some additional expense of having a car. Maintenance problems.

Yesterday as starting my car, I felt this hard start and the car seemed having a hard time to run. While driving to work it felt like something was pulling the car backwards and the RPM would not increase as I step on the gas. Not risking going a long 10-mile drive to work the next day, I had it checked out today and a bunch of problems came out, although they said all these parts that need to be fixed, the 4 main problems are:

  • Engine tune up, spark plug and distributor cap issues
  • Leaking oil (I suspected this as the oil light flashes on the dashboard)
  • Worn out brakes (I felt this already, I knew I needed this checked)
  • Busted shocks (I knew this already when I had a tire change)

I am driving a 1994 Toyota Paseo, relatively old car. The shocks are still the originals so they are a bit old. But with all the expenses I could not really have everything done right away. So I chose to get the most important ones done first. The engine tune up and worn out brakes. I will get the cracking belts changed and have an oil change too. Then on my next pay day, that is when I will work on the oil leak and shocks.

The person I was talking to said: “I don’t know how much money you would want to spend on a ’94 Paseo, but it’s up to you.” So what is he saying? Don’t spend on it and implying to buy a new car? Maybe but I think after this tune up, this can run another good 3 years with less bills to pay. Just the occassional oil change, tires and brakes. Getting a new car is paying a higher amount for a longer period of time. Well I don’t know either, I did not do the math, this is just my rough esitmates. My car is not that problematic that it becomes too expensive to maintain. And having cars just to look cool is far from my personality. I just need a good fast car to bring me from point a to point b.

Saturday Hybernation

Ever since I was a kid, my parents slept late at night. Which made it become my habit as well. And at the school where I studied in grade school, the top section always had classes in the afternoon so I was not required to wake up early. Since everyone at home seemed to sleep late, it became my habit too and even worse, as I stated growing up, I even slept more late, most of the time early morning. I just seem to be more productive during this time of the day. So most of the time I get less than 8 hours of sleep. Today, the same situation is true. I sleep less everyday, go to work, then work at home, then sleep late and wake up early.

But every Saturday, I go through this hybernation period. I sleep almost all throughout the day. I supposed to go pingpong with Mishon today, and bring a data DVD to Jimmy. But I was out cold in my hybernation period. I woke up at 5pm and here I am again, facing the computer and needs to finish a bunch or work. Sometimes, the work is so varied across several websites keeping focus on one gives me a hard time. Right now, I will focus on a proposal for some company in the Philippines for design and development. Then I know I have to do something for Seda. OMG, this is long over due. I will email Seda once I am done with the proposal.

Pen Spinning and Book Spinning

Russian friend of mine Mishon who I also work just randomly asked me one day: Hey dude, can you do this? And he was holding a pen with his thumb and pointer finger slightly off-centered in a horizontal position, moving the pen up and down loosely held giving the illusion of a bending pen.
And I said, yeah, and just did it right away, and then I showed him the illusion of a spinning pen holding a pen between your pointer and middle finger. And then I showed him the spinning pen on your thumb. Which for me were things I did since I was kid.

He asked me where did I learn this and when did I learn it. And I cannot even give a good answer, since from where I came from, everyone seemed to know how to do it. I grew up in another country, in the Philippines and went to school there. And I believe I started spinning pens in 4th grade. Why? Because everyone else was doing it. I guess the first person I have seen it was from my cousin Jong Medrano who showed it to me and my sister started doing it to since everyone in school was doing it. I started doing it and many friends of mine were doing it. It was like a natural thing in school. And it was not only from my school, but all across the country.

Mishon was asking further why do we learn it, and I said, I really don’t know. And I said further, it is also the same reason we do book spinning. And he asked how. I just took any book and started spinning it on my finger. For some crazy reason, many people from school was doing this. And I was doing it too, sometimes you see the whole school spinning books and pens and I remember vividly my teacher Ms. Cherry Desiderio (Whom i believe has a new last name already) hated this spinning movements while in class. And if she saw anyone doing some pen spinning or book spinning, she throw away your pen or book. (But she was still one of the cool teachers I had.)

Now that made me wonder, what is it with the Philippines, that many students know pen spinning and book spinning like it is a default talent?

I’m not used to a cold environment

I slept the whole Saturday and work up at 7:00 in the evening. Just ate light, did a few email checking and a few work stuff and went to the gym, since it is part of my new year’s resolution to get back in shape. I went out at around 1:00am on Sunday. It was so cold and I was thinking it won’t be cold inside the gym. Since it was early morning, there was only two other dudes working out. So the body heat was not high and the air conditioning was still running where I can feel a light wind of cold air inside the gym. I was in a sweatshirt, keeping the body temperature up, and while working out as blood circulates and my body heats up, I feel, the cold air conditioning wind on my head, and it is just a large temperature difference between my head and body that I feel like getting sick. I feel my nose freezing up as my head heats up. It is cold but it is dry that it feels like my throat is drying up. In the middle of my working out, I decided to go low weight and just finish my workout as quick as possible. And after a few minutes, I just didn’t feel right being in a cold area. I grew up in a hot and wet country and I was just not used to what i was going through. So I decided I am stopping working out for now. Maybe I’ll try working out again when it’s not that cold.

Saddam Hussein Hanging

At the trial of Saddam Hussein, the final verdict was not led to torture but something worse. Saddam Hussein’s hanging. I am not that well versed in my history and current events, and all I knew about Saddam Hussein was his invasion attempt into Kuwait that the UN was against and the US has fought in a was against Saddam because of this invasion.

When I heard about this in the news, Saddam Hussein captured, went to trial, and will hang to death, I really do not know all the details and i checked out his biography, and his profile shows he was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death. His half brother and the judge at the trial of the original case in 1982 were also convicted of similar charges.

Below is the video of Saddam Hussein’s hanging.

A Beautiful Mind

I still remember vividly 3 people that told me to watch the movie A Beautiful Mind. I do not want to give names but I will tell you some background about them and about the event when they told me to watch the movie.

  • A woman who I used to train in programming – Why she thought of recommending me the movie was I guess maybe my teaching reminded her of the movie. Many of things I was teaching her did not come from a book of techniques on how to do certain simple programming algorithms. But I just based everything from the programming language manual or reference book. When encountered with a problem, I just come up with a solution with the known functions I have. And in the middle of teaching her, she tells me: “You know what? If you learn this other language, I think you will do good to. Have you watched A beautiful mind?” I said no and she told me i should watch it.
  • A priest who was in a small group of parishioners in a somewhat prayer group – This once a month meeting of this group at church would read the readings and Gospel of the Catholic religion for the week of that meeting and reflect on it giving their own reflections and then do some prayer afterwards. As we were seated in a circle as everyone was sharing their reflections and sometimes the priest would call out someone to share just to make them share when no one else volunteers. When I was called, I simply said, I have nothing to say with a smile. And the members of the group were encouraging me to say something, any reflection I had and maybe they were assuming I was shy. And all I said was everyone said everything already. During that time was also the birthday celebration of some of the members and after the meeting was a mini party just eating some specially prepared food. And while I was sitting and talking with one of the members who was my long time friend, the priest sits near us but no one was talking. And just to break the ice, I told the priest: “Fr., the reason I had no reflection to share to anyone was because my reflection is so different that it might change the minds of many. And I do not want to influence them.” The priest got intrigued and asked more about it, although I made it clear that my reflection is not against any teaching and even augments it better, but many of my reflections involve a lot of science and our conversation went on and on. And the priest was not contradicting my ideas but seemed amazed with what I had to say. But since he was busy and needed to talk to many people, he ended our conversation saying: “Have you watched the movie A Beautiful Mind?” Again I said no and the priest highly recommended it saying: “You should watch it, it is good for analytical thinking, for intellectuals.” And all I said was, ok, I will watch it someday.
  • Someone I used to work with in a company – It was lunch time and in this company I used to work straight without breaks and my lunch was only 30 minutes or less. Maybe I was trying to impress the company then since I was still new in the company but as time passed by, I knew I was over working myself and was starting to take my breaks to the maximum possible time. And during lunch, I would eat fast, and after eating, I solve a Sudoku puzzle trying to solve it quickly and was challenging myself every time to finish it within my required break time. And he was watching me solve it just writing numbers and he asked: “Are you solving that?” And I said yes and he says: “But you should not repeat a number on a line…” and continues on telling me about all the rules of the puzzle. And I say, yes, I know, and he says: “And you are not using a pencil? What if the numbers are wrong?” And I say, well they are right. “And if I am not sure with the answer, I do not write it down.” And he asks: “How sure are you that those are right?” And I say: “Where am I wrong?” Looks like he can’t point it out either, but was wondering why I was solving it fast, and he then asks: “Have you finished any of these?” And I said: “Yes, I just finished one here, but this is at level easy.” Then he says: “You should watch A Beautiful Mind.” And I say: “You know what? You are the third person that told me that.” And he says: “You should, if you are solving Sudoku that fast just by looking at it, that movie is for you.”

Ok, all of those were some number of years ago already. And here comes the opportunity to watch it. I finally decided to watch the movie. I just finished watching the movie and is making this blog post right after watching it. All I can say is, these three people that were very enthusiastic in telling me to watch the movie, like there was some great mission to watch it, for me is just a so-so movie. Not really a big deal. It had nothing to do with thinking, it had nothing to do with analyzing things in the movie which I was expecting this movie to be a thinking movie. Something that was like solving a puzzle or something. It is nothing but a drama movie of the life of Dr. John Nash.

Now before I continue, do not get me wrong that I am saying this movie is not a good movie. It is in fact a great movie with 4 Academy Awards, and Dr. John Nash is one of the greatest mathematicians also. But all I am saying is this movie had nothing to do with the reason I was told to watch it.

  • Do they think I am a great thinker, some analyst like John Nash? I believe not, I am just Benj Arriola. Although I may like the sciences, my knowledge is no where close to anyone with a PhD in Math or any natural science. None of my college professors nor classmates would say that. But these people that told me to watch it had no science degree background as well. Although these things may seem simple to many people that do the same things I do, but for the unknowledgeable, they think I am doing something great already. It is just like an ordinary person that finds a medical doctor smart simply because they are not knowledgeable, but among the peers of doctors, some doctors are just simple doctors like any other doctor. Let’s say Pacquiao is admired by many boxers, but Pacquiao admires Efren Bata Reyes’ billiard skills because he is less skill than Efren Bata is. These people that told me to watch the movie maybe thought that I should watch the movie because I am smart or something, I think not. I am just the ordinary Benj that just knew a little extra of what they did not know and I am sure they also know something I don’t.
  • Do they think I have the potential to think of something great? Well I think yes in small stuff, but not as the magnitude as shown in the movie. A total disconnect, but for the people that may have thought of it that way, well all I can say is thanks. But I am sure they themselves have their own great potentials in themselves that maybe they just haven’t seen yet.
  • Do they think I am thinking too much that I am going nuts? Hahaha maybe. Nyhahahahaha. Well many great thinkers really go nuts sometimes. When I was in college, I can think of 2 professors that were nearly by the borderline of going nuts. One of them reads NMR spectra as if she was reading a book of fairly tails and gives the summary already looking at these 2D graphs in crazy lines. The other was an excellent physicist, that at the end of every class, her clothes look like it was used to erase the whole blackboard. I have heard about another professor that I was not a student of and was in another neighboring school that dragged his chalk box on a string and would walk backwards on stairs. But all of them had this incredible mathematical ability.

To me the movie is nothing but a feel good movie of triumph. It is not different from a sports oriented movie when someone starts out losing in the beginning and starts working on their weaknesses and becomes triumphant in the end. And along the way, the movie highlights all the drama involved in this quest for success. In some movies it can be a game of basketball, football, karate match, whatever, but in this case, it was with one’s own mind in dealing with schizophrenia. Generally, I like the movie. It is good. I loved watching it because of the drama of success, and overcoming weaknesses, but I would not say I would love the movie because it is for thinkers and analytical thinking. The movie does not go into that details. It is not about the specific computations John Nash had in his life. It was all about John Nash’s life, his personal life and problems and how he dealt with it.