Friday, September 26, 2008

Hello, Mac

I'm a new Mac user. In my years handling computers, from early highschool to present, I was strictly Windows. Partly has something to do with the mentality that Mac = expensive, and that it wasn't particularly user friendly. Plus, I didn't know anyone who had an Apple machine that I could tinker around with. Those were somewhat rendered obsolete in my country way before I was born (or at least, that was my impression).

Years ago, when I first started doing digital drawings, I came across the debate of PC vs. Mac. A lot of people said that Mac was a better choice, however, I never really knew why. It wasn't until I attended a workshop on Adobe Illustrator that someone gave me a reason why that was so. It had something to do with how a Mac calibrates the colors, he said, but that was way before. Now, I don't really know.

Though I think I digress.

I never really thought I'd go over to the Mac-side, but here I am. The decision was backed by testimonials of people I really know who have switched and loved it. Somehow, reading it online is different from hearing it from people whose opinions I trusted. With that, plus the bargain I got from a local Apple dealer, I took the plunge.

The image
Hanging out with the new iPod Nano 4th gen.

Besides, I figured with my mom and my sister having their own new Windows based laptops, two desktops and one old but still very functional Compaq Armada, it's only fitting to bring in something different. As my Spanish professor said, "Variety delights."

The initial reaction of opening up the Mac would be similar to me opening up a new Windows laptop. I'm sorry if that sounds like heresy, but having no point of comparison with an older Mac OS, I didn't know what to expect. My excitement stemmed more from the though of having a new toy to play with; from finally having a laptop of my own.

The transition wasn't so bad as I thought. Of all the things I've read, many have expressed fear of having trouble using the keys, what with Windows on the Alt+Control sige, Mac with Opt+Command. In my opinion, if you're mouse dependent and don't really use the key shortcuts at all, it doesn't really matter. So far the only "trouble" I had was getting used to the fact that when I need to use "control" on the Mac, it's nearer the spacebar.

I'm still a heavy Windows user, as it's my machine at work and I spend eight hours on it, five days a week. Most of the programs I use at work are in the Windows machine at home (there are Mac counterparts for them but I haven't gotten them yet) too, so when I need to bring home any office related stuff, I end up using the PC. The Mac, for now, is strictly a leisure tool.

Obviously, I haven't fully explored the Mac OS X yet. My "reading list" is full of guides on using the OS X and making the most out of it. There's still so much to explore, and I'm looking forward to that. I have my gripes about the Mac, but so far, it seems trivial. I'm missing the full screen function, especially when I'm typing a document (though I wonder if this is just with the TextEditor and if it'll work fine on Office for Mac?). The trackpad seems too sensitive at times and I kept opening browsers that I know I didn't click on. I hate how all the white seems to attract all the dirt and I have to be forever wiping the wrist area just to be sure there's not a smidgen of dust.

I also miss some of the functions that Windows and it's related peripherals have, like the "page up" and "page down" keys that come in handy when reading. I also found it initially confusing that the "delete" on Mac functions more of like a backspace. I can't find the Equalizer on iTunes, and I can't seem to keep the color changes I make on the fonts of YM. Well, probably that isn't a worry but it bothers me a bit.

I chalk this all up to a typical behaviour from being a longtime Windows user to a newbie Mac user. I think that there'll be a time when switching from one OS to another would be second nature. Until then, I'll going to enjoy this journey of discovering Mac.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

WQ#18: Weird Culinary Delights

This is a sequel to the WQ #17 Ugh. about whether to continue eating or to abandon eating lasagna with pig’s brain in it.

So the WQ#18 is related to this and here it goes:


What were the worst or weird food (for you) that you have ever eaten? What were your reactions?
I never got to answer last week's question, though my answer is I'd probably eat one last bite then say, "I'm full." I probably won't eat pig's brain willingly, but since I already did, let's just chalk it up to experience.

Worst or weird food that I've eaten? Hmm. Geez, that's a bit tough for some reason. I haven't really eaten anything that made me throw up. I've eaten snails, frogs, snakes and even (and I am very sorry to say this), a turtle. They don't taste bad, but then I guess it was how they were cooked.

I don't willingly eat liver, but I do eat pig and chicken intestines (isaw for the win!). I don't eat barbequed pig's blood, but occassionally, I will eat dinuguann, especially if there's nothing else to eat. Oh, the first time I ate chicken legs and pigs feet was odd, and between the two, I'd go for the chicken.

Balut? Well, I like the soup, and the yellow part, but when it comes to the chick, you can have it. Cheers!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Montessori education

Months ago, I was browsing Booksale when a lady asked me if I saw a book about the Montessori method in any of the stacks. I asked why and she said that she wanted to read up about it for her son, who was a special child. It was quite an interesting conversation because out of all the people she asked, it had to be me.

I studied in a Montessori school (that as far as I know is the first of the system in the Philippines) from pre-school (called Casa) up to high school. My Casa life seemed more like one huge playtime for me, and it wasn't until I was older did I realize why.

Maria Montessori was born in Italy, as far as I can remember, to an upper middle class family. She was the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome La Sapienza Medical School, and was especially interested in trying to educate what many would consider the "mentally retarded" children of her hometown. Her methods were very successful, and she established a school for children called "Casa de Bambini," hence, why my pre-school life was known as my Casa years.

Maria Montessori believed that a child's brain from age 0-4 can absord anything and everything. She also believed that a child learns best when "work" is incorporated to play, and that children learn best when it is set to their own pace. My memories of my Casa years are still very vivid, and recall them with much fondness and amusement.

One of the more interesting things that I remember, this time from my elementary years, was that many of our lessons made use of visual aids. I suppose my knowledge about the parts of speech has something to do with memorizing their "symbols", and learning how to identify them in a sentence by drawing them above their corresponding word. Even math was fun, especially during the Casa years.

My school had two years in Casa: Junior and Senior. Elementary school had seven years (or at least, when I was studying), while High School had four. Most Montessori schools are usually just for early childhood education, but many branch out to high education. O.B. Montessori also has a college level, established shortly after I entered highschool.

If you want to learn more about the Montessori method and about Maria Montessori herself, you can check out these links:

Maria Montessori at Wikipedia
The Association Montessori Internationale
The International Montessori Index
American Montessori Society
And my school: O.B. Montessori Center, Inc.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Testing... :)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Moving to a new platform?

Sharing a computer among three people at home, all of whom, I might add, need the computer at diffrent levels, can br frustrating. Not only you can get kicked off just when you were starting to have fun on the Internet, you have to share hard disk space. Not to mention that your files aren't exactly private (though props to my brothers for minding their own on that haha).

I've wanted a laptop for so long, back since high school when Windows was just at the 3.1 version. Firstly because, hey, that looks cool! Then in college, because it was convenient rather than going to the shop and renting a computer (yay for boyfriends and friends who had their own computers I can borrow haha). Nowadays, it's more for me, plus the fact that I have an online writing gig that I need to work on for hours at a time and cannot be bothered by someone wanting to use the computer.

Now that the time has come that I can finally get one, I am filled with questions and "first time" jitters. What should I get? What specs would be good for someone like me who not only uses the computer to surf the net and write documents, but also draw and edit graphics? Will it be a good investment if I get this or that?

I'm a PC/Windows user, and even had a brief stint as a tech support. I've used Linux Ubuntu when I attended a seminar last year, but I can still remember the days when the aforementioned boyfriend (now ex) had an old, old, not so GUI friendly version on his computer (yes, he's a geek). The only time I ever touched a Mac was when I play with it at Power Mac Center or as of late, my uncle's MacBook.

So I visited forums (Philmug is good. I got a lot of great info on using a Mac as well as where to find the best bargains for one), read blogs and reviews, even posted a question at Plurk about it. Suffice to say, the positive feedback was overwhelming. Many (especially at the forums) were gracious enough to answer questions on the MacBook's reaction to certain functions.

Moving to a new platform can be daunting, but based on the stories of PC to Mac switchers, it wasn't that hard to get used to it. Pretty soon, they said, you'll even wonder why you had your old system in the first place.

I'm still scared of what may happen, but I'm quite ready to take the plunge on moving to Mac. If things work out great as I hope they would, maybe by this time next week, I'll be updating from my new baby. Cheers!

P.S. No, I don't plan on getting the black one. That's just the most decent photo I could find haha.

Interesting reads related to the Mac
Official MacBook site/page
More Mac users? Let’s embrace them
Miss Choi on her Mac

Monday, September 08, 2008

Speak English


Really, don't we all get tired of 'txt spk' on blogs and forums? I'm a big advocate of boycotting text speak except on my cellphone, because it's so hard to read and understand. I've been ranting about that for a long time now, and to my dismay, it's gotten worse.

I even made a comment about it on Yahoo Answers, and to my surprise, my answer was picked as the best one!

Is it ok to use smileys and text lingo like "tnx" in a thank you letter after an interview?

Despite the evolution of text speak and it's adaptation to our daily conversations, I'd say it's much better to stick with what's the traditional and formal format of writing. Many of those who'll be doing the hiring may come from the old school of thought, and may be sticklers for correct grammar and usage. Personally, when I come across anything that's written in text speak (be it a blog or a letter sent by a friend), I usually pass it over. It's actually a pain to read. Plus, getting used to this kind of writing may even deteriorate your skills, and in the long run, that won't be good for you. Bottom line, when it comes to writing, stick with what was taught to you in school and what is generally accepted. Leave the text speak to your cellphones.

We're proud of the fact that our country considers English as a second language, but with the way a lot of people use text lingo to write, I'm beginning to wonder if it still holds true. Ten years ago, when text messaging wasn't even around, my grandfather was already deploring the way a lot of his students speak and write English. I wonder now what is he going to say?


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Being a piece of Peace (repost)

This was posted by my cousin Miel. It's a letter sent to her by Dee Mills, a GX volunteer currently assigned to Iligan for volunteer work. Hope you could pass it along to, in the words of my cousin, "inspire others to help in their own small ways."

As you may or may not know I have been doing volunteer work here in the Philippines for the past 3 months-working in the southern island of Mindanao, Lanao Del Norte in one of the main cities called Iligan.

It have been staying with the most amazingly loving and extremely hospitable family whilst working in Iligan and the experience has been life changing!

But since the weekend a very drastic change has occurred- 3 bombs went off on Sunday afternoon in Iligan City centre, was an awful scene to have experienced people running through the streets screaming and panic everywhere, and I was one of the unlucky few, out of the volunteers I’m working with, to have been in the centre at the time so I could see the effect it had on others as well as myself.

We were evacuated out of Iligan early Monday morning to a city 2 hours away from Iligan where we were much safer, as it was rumored to get much worse and it did get a lot worse the 2 days after we left.

We are staying here for 2 more weeks and have been told we are not allowed to enter back into Iligan as we are potential targets if we go back and will endanger our host families more by returning. This was devastating news to us as we have made such close friends and family and with all the work we have achieved there its so upsetting to know we can’t go back and say our proper farewells to the people we have grown to love and also to the city that I am now so attached to.

We are trying to do as much as we can for Iligan even if we cant go back, people are having to evacuate there homes as the rebel troops move closer and a lot of people have been seriously injured in result to the explosions. They are setting up emergency evacuation centers in Iligan and the Red Cross is sending more food supplies as are other disaster response groups within Iligan. My host mum and sister are also working in these evacuation centres, even though they themselves are under threat all the time.

I wanted to ask if you could consider donating even just £ 5 to the Red Cross Philippines, as at least £ 5 when its converted in the Filipino currency, peso’s, is about 450 peso’s.

The money would go towards food, medication for the wounded, supplies and emotional recovery for the people of Iligan.

A 1 kilo sack of rice feeds 4 to 5 people and it’s about 40 peso’s- that is about 50p to us! You can see how big the difference is there and how useful even a few pounds would be! (Obviously if you could give more that would be great!)

You can read more about the situation and information on the group that is attacking Lanao Del Norte on the BBC World website

I wouldn’t be sending this plea is it hadn’t become so important to me, as Iligan was my home and the people there are amazing and it’s terrible what has happened and I want to try and help them out however I can, and hope and pray that the war will end soon.

If you can donate then please see the attached VSO ( Voluntary Services Overseas) website and it will take you 5 mins to do it- it’s that easy!- any money given will be put straight towards the crisis in Iligan.




Guideline for donations:

£1 = 86 peso’s

So the amounts you can give are-

500 peso (£5.80)
1000 peso (£11.60)
2000 peso (£23.25)
2500 peso (£29.00)
Or more!

Please pass it along, via your blog or through email... every little bit helps!

Crossposted at my Multiply, Strangely Out of Place, and my LJ.