Monday, September 25, 2006

Dengue Lessons

My younger brothers, the twins, caught the disease this week. Needless to say they were confined for 3 to 5 days at the hospital.

In honor of their being discharged I've compiled a list of lessons learned from this experience.

  1. An unexplicably long fever. If you have fever that comes and goes in a span of 2 to 3 days, don't wait, get a blood test, quick. I mean NOW!!!
  2. CBC. A complete blood count or a blood test is the only sure way to determine if you have the disease. A platelette count lower than 150 means that you could have the disease. My brother's platelette count was an alarming 50.
  3. Pesky Mosquitos. Keep a stock of mosquito repellant lotion. The disease spreads thru mosquito bites. Even if it's not dengue season, make it a habit to dab some on exposed skin before the late afternoon, that's when they bite.
  4. Fluids and lots of it. Dengue is caused by a virus. The only way to fight it is with the body's own immune system. When you get confined, the first thing they do is stick you with dextrose. If you're strong enough to drink water, drink lots of it.
  5. a Doctor in the House. It pays to have a doctor in the family. They're always on call for the members of the family. A pleasant bonus is that doctors and nurses who treat you at the hospital will be extra careful when they find out that you have a doctor in the family.

Monday, September 11, 2006

the 5th reason for virtualization

I just noticed that I have only 4 out of 5 reasons for liking virtualization .

Today a friend Vinod encountered some difficulty while installing Ubuntu on VMware server. The problem maybe related to his cd burner.

He has the ISO file. He burned it on CD and was trying to install it on a virtual machine.

I told him that he could skip burning the cd and just configure the virtual machine to read the ISO file ! :-)

That's my reason No. 5. It's easy to install a new operating system, you don't need to burn a CD , just change the settings for the virtual machine to read from the ISO file.

Friday, September 08, 2006

So you wanna be a Public Speaker

I started learning the art of public speaking in high school.

I was pretty much an introvert, I never understood why my class would vote a "silent type" to represent us in a public speaking competition. The only two reasons I can think of are (1) no one wanted our class to win and (2) no one wanted to represent the class so everyone figured the "silent type" would be silent enough not to object.

I could be wrong on both counts, in which case, the people who voted for the introvert to participate, really believed that he had it in him :-)

I think I did. I won first runner up on my first competition and I started participating in a few more.

I have to thank my adviser and my classmates at the time. They provided the opportunity and the encouragement. I just had to muster up enough confidence.

I doubt that I will ever be as good as these poeple in TED. I'd be lucky if I could at least have a quarter of their wit, presence, impact and humor on stage.

My favorites so far include :

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Long Tail applied to Job Boards

I have rediscovered Joel Spolsky's blog. This is an interesting way of looking at job boards. Reading the article, it kind of reminds me of the concept of the "Long Tail".

Hmmm I wonder if the OpenACS community should open up it's own job board :-)
Seems we have a fair share of forum posts looking for OpenACS coders.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Meeting Meebo

Being in the web development industry, I really ought to be more security conscious. I showed meebo to a friend a few months back. His first reaction after seeing the log-in page was ... "yeah right, like I'm just going to type in the passwords to all my IM accounts".

It occurred to me later that he probably thought that I was trying to "phish" his passwords.

Phishing is indeed one of the things that you need to look out for when surfing online but so are companies that are just plain "evil". These companies exist online to extract statistics, marketing trends and user information from people that sign up to their so called services.

Don't get me wrong, gathering information about your users is not evil. It's when they sell it or use the information without explicit permission, worse still if they sneak that little detail in the "terms of service" which no one bothers to read. When they do that, it's not just sneaky, it's plain evil.

Meebo doesn't seem to be that type of company.

I read their meeblog once in a while and I like how their blog articles are posted. It makes me wonder if all of them are excellent writers or whether an editor reads thru them first before they get posted. Either way, I find that the style of writing is informative yet casual, almost endearing at times :-) This is a recent example.

The about page is another one to like. These people don't hide themselves behind a brand name, a mission statement or a company logo. They put themselves out into the open and post pictures of themselves with clever captions. It's the people that make the company and not the other way around.

Friday, September 01, 2006

What's the fuss over COMET

A friend of mine, who works at a gaming firm, and I were chatting about the recent buzzwords that we have been hearing about on the web.

I was describing COMET and how it differs from the behavior of the web as we know it today. As I was mentioning how COMET keeps a persistent connection between the browser and the server, he raised the fact that it's the case too for Massive Online Multi-Player games where the game client needs to keep a persistent connection with the game server to communicate game status, statistics and other game information.

This got me to think. COMET is not a new concept and yet there are many who think that the next "Holy Grail" of the web, the next killer web app is one that actually uses it and uses it well.

Then, it dawned on me. It's not the technology per se that has everybody hyped but rather where it is implemented.

It's all about the "universal client". The one software that you find pre-installed on any operating system on this planet. The one client that every computer user has access to and knows how to use. The Web Browser.

To play a game of Ragnarok, you need to download a client in the 5 to 10 MB range. You need to install it on your computer and configure it before you can use it. It's no surprise why gaming firms spend a lot in marketing. This marketing effort even includes giving away free CD's in promotions and tie ups.

Imagine if an MMORPG can someday run comfortably on a web browser using COMET. It will make the games ever more accessible to many more people at much less cost to gaming firms than ever before.

Maybe that day is not too far off.