Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Laptop wishes

About two years ago, my uncle came home from the U.S. and brought me a laptop. It wasn't new, but rather a Compaq Armada that was upgraded to its maximum capacity, both in software and hardware. It worked very well, and I was ecstatic. But then, my mom asked if she could have it, especially since I recently won a computer in a contest I joined.

I still share the computer at home with my brothers, and I feel so much more at home with my office computer (which goes to show how much time I spend on it daily hehe). Still, I would love to have my own laptop for my use: writing stories, browsing without having to worry about someone trying to get my time, watching DVDs, playing my own games the whole day, reading ebooks...

Yesterday, my mom asked me what would I pick: a MacBook Air, or a Lenovo Thinkpad X300? I don't know why she asked (maybe she's going to be me one? Hehe), but I had read an article about the two ultra thin and light laptops in the newspaper the day before, so I somehow had an idea that she might have read it too. My quick answer would be the Lenovo. My real answer would be, neither.

I find both laptops very expensive (range is Php100,000 and up), especially for their features (or lack of). If I am not mistaken, the Air only has 80 GB hard disk space, which you can't upgrade. There is the option of buying the 64 GB solid state drive or the USB drive, but reviews say it's very expensive too. Neither one has a DVD drive, but you can opt to have one on the x300, just add a few hundred bucks.

I also figured that having a Macbook Air is just going to be a status symbol of sorts, especially here in the Philippines. Useabilitly and practicality is totally out of the question with it. I'd much rather get an ordinary MacBook, or if I'm truly budget strapped, any of the laptops I saw in local computer shops that have adequate specs to meet my requirements, and cost only a quarter of either the Air or x300.

I probably still need to read more about them (not to mention look for more updated reviews), but my general verdict is that I'll get a cheaper, but of still good quality, alternative; and if I want a Mac, the regular MacBook will work just fine.

Thinkpad x300 at Geek.com
Thinkpad specs
Apple MacBook Air at Cnet
Missing MacBook Air features
MacBook Air specs

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Writing for oDesk

I decided to jump in on the online work force a few months ago. My friend Denise was a writer for an offshore company, and though she was earning good money from that, she wasn't happy with what she was doing. Given that she had a lot of free time, she decided to look for online writing jobs. Her feedback is positive, and that encouraged me to take the plunge.

I signed up for oDesk, but it took me a while to get my profile up and running. I made an account just when they rolled in their new system, so I had to take the oDesk readiness test. Thankfully, I passed it and I was on the Top 10%.

I didn't really apply for any jobs just yet, because I didn't feel like I was ready. I was surprised when someone left me a note inviting me for an interview. Figuring that I won't lose anything, I gave it a shot.

I am now working as a freelance writer for an architectural and interior design site. The work is light, and it involves mostly research about designers and their work. It's been almost a month since I started and it's going along pretty well. My employers are great; they're online most of the time and I can easily ask them questions about my work even if they're located on the other side of the world an on opposite timezones. My teammates are helpful, and one of the is like my "mentor" who sends me updates and tips on how to maximize the quality of my work. Payment is done in a timely manner too, so that's a plus.

My experience with oDesk is good. Some people don't seem to be happy with the software the site requires its providers to install. I do however, find it a rather fair way to monitor one's work hours and methods. I wouldn't want to pay anyone for not really doing their work, and I also wouldn't want to give out shabby work to my employers. However, this method may not work for everyone, so I do advise you to proceed at your own discretion. I haven't compared it with other systems, so I don't really know what is the standard.

Recently, another company offered me a job as a web content writer. I was really stoked to get more invites, however, I had to decline it. Still, it was great to see that my profile was being looked at, and that I do have the skills that many companies are looking for. As soon as this project is finished, I'll check on some new ones.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Pinoy writers in top Asian Lit awards

Four Filipino writers are on top of the second Man Asian awards. Released last July 22, the list includes Alfred Yuson with his novel The Music Child; Ian Rosales Casocot, with Sugar Land; Miguel Syjuco, with Ilustrado; and Lakambini A. Sitoy, nominated for Sweet Haven.

The Man Asian Literary Prize is an annual literary award for Asian novels unpublished in English. The first award given was to Chinese writer Jiang Rong for his novel Wolf Totem in November 2007.

Filipinos dominate Asian literary awards long list
Man Asian favours the Phillipines
Man Asian Literary Prize

Digg my article

Work at home: Stress?

I have subscribed to Dumb Little Man for life tips and hacks, and general fun reading. Today, they have a post about beating stress when working from home. It is true that many office workers are of the impression that working from home should be relatively stress free, but there are those (pro-bloggers, freelancers, etc) who say that it really isn't.

In that same article at DLM, there's a link to a New York Times article called "In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop". Here, the writer talks about the lifestyle of several at home workers, specifically bloggers. He also talks to Micheal Arrington, founder and co-editor of TechCrunch, and Matt Buchanan of Gizmodo.

Take note that the Philippine lifestyle is different from that of the United States. Still, the article is a good read for those who work (and wish to work) at home. One's health and well being is very important, and no amount of money earned can ever compete with that.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Adsense alternatives?

Recently, I received a letter from Google saying that my Adsense account has been disabled. I haven't really checked my account in days, and I often do so only when I remember that I have one.

Like anyone who has experienced a cancellation of this service, I was told that in a recent review of their subscribers, my account had some invalid click activity that was a threat to their advertisers, hence the cancellation. According to the FAQ, I have a chance to appeal my case, but many blogs say that the chance of that is slim. But I did submit a request for re-activation anyway.

Still, it's a shame to see it deactivated. Last I checked, I was nearing the $60 mark. That took me nearly a year to accumulate, given that my blog is a personal one and I don't really have much readers except my friends and other online contacts.

So I decided to look for Adsense alternatives. I found a few sites (that's four links, people) that gave a list of their top ten choices. Being outside the U.S., I need one that is valid in my country. So far, my choices are limited. I also decided to check out local pro-bloggers for suggestions. I'm more successful in that search.

Hopefully, I can get those ads up and running.

Edit: An hour after I submitted a request for reactivation, I received a note saying that my request was denied. I wonder if they actually took a look at it or they just have an auto response for that? Oh well, on to the alternatives.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Updating in progress

That's right! I'm planning to upgrade this blog. Hopefully I can get it up and running before the month ends. I'm pretty excited. :D