Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tagging Contacts In Address Book

There is no native support for tagging in OSX and iOS Address Book but there is a way to actually do some tagging so you can get rid of folders completely.

Note: Though the screen shots are in iOS, you can also do the same thing in OSX Address Book

Step 1: Add a new field to the contact 

Step 2: Select Job Title

Step 3: Fill in the Job Title with the tags you need. 

START THE TAG WITH DASHES. The dash is not needed but it will help with searching short tags like "CS" which could be contained within names. This will aid in searching. 

Job Title is chosen because it's one of the few fields where indexing is done but is likely to be less bothersome if filled with tags instead of the actual thing. It'd be very annoying if this was done in the Nickname field. 


Step 4: Test the search function

There you have it. Tagging in OSX/iOS Address Book. You are still free to add a proper Job Title if you want. You can just append the tags at the end.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Defending The Offending

With all the hoopla with RA 10175, I am inclined to share my views here.
Disclaimer: I am not a political person but this are just my thoughts.

Cyber-crime bill

There were a lot of things in this bill that seemed debatable to me and that's fine. I'll leave the debates as to what is lawful and unlawful to the politicians who are supposed to be doing this for us (let's assume for a moment that they actually do this). However, the libel section to me seems undebatable and just plain wrong. Offense is not something that should be criminally punishable because offense or the perception of malice or defamation of character is a characteristic that has nothing to do with objectivity and everything to do with subjectivity.

One might think that I'm confusing libel with being offensive but to me, it's just a hair's width to cross that line. Freedom of expression entails that even the most vile of statements should not be silenced because in it is the hope that all the other voices shall drown out the offensive to most people.

The Case Of Ms. Cheong

Take the case of Ms. Cheong here. Last Sunday, she posted this on her Facebook wall.

By Monday, the post went viral and by Monday afternoon, just over 24 hours after posting, she has lost her job (purportedly not because of the public clamor for it but because of the post itself). Is it offensive? Of course. Without a doubt, it's a portrayal of how ugly human behavior can be. But did she really deserve to lose her job over it? That's questionable to me. She has since apologized and has left the country

It also is apparently a crime in this country to incite enmity through spreading racially or religiously offensive materials. It is yet to be concluded whether or not this constitutes this.  

On the Defense Of The Offensive (People)

It's not about that. The thing about communication is that it's potentially empowering and hurtful at the same time. Like a good knife, when used correctly, it allows you to slice up a nice piece of meat. When used incorrectly, it allows some people to treat other people like pieces of meat. But unlike a knife, you don't need to be stitched up when hurtful words are directed at you. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

How To Polish Silver Jewelry

I've purchased some dangly earrings while I was in Toledo, Spain. They have since developed tarnish. Tarnish is a chemical reaction of certain metals with oxygen in the air. You can't stop this from happening but you can clean it.

Things You Need

  1. The tarnished silver.
  2. Some clean cloth.
  3. Dip style tarnish remover.


Wash your silver jewelry and remove oils then pat dry.

Originally bought as a gift, it ended back in my hands for cleaning. Yay!

Dip the silver for 3-5 seconds.

Yes, I know. It's blurry. Go away.

Wipe dry.

Polished on the left. Tarnished on the right.


Don't ever get this in your eyes. I don't know what happens but I don't want to find out.

If you are in the area and need some silver polished, I still have that entire bottle. You can borrow it. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Phuket Trip Travel Gear

Travel Gear

Old Gear

I've decided to change the way we travel. Specifically the way we do luggage. Our previous setup was usually a duffel bag and 2 backpacks. We also usually end up carrying a single messenger bag to carry stuff and new trinkets while exploring. This was extremely cumbersome and not to mention, inefficient. I've decided to ditch the entire setup. Despite the duffel bag being extremely voluminous, it usually ends up hurting my shoulders or my back. It was just hard to carry. 

New Bag

The new gear is focused on weight and carrying capacity. First on the list is replacing the bags. The first gear is Deuter Spectro AC 36. Originally meant for hiking, I've decided to adopt this as a main travel gear since it's very lightweight at just over a kilo when empty and very airy at the back. I've got a bad back and I've always thought that I'll never be able to carry a hiker's pack. I was wrong. With clever use of physics, the weight doesn't all end up on your shoulders but get efficiently distributed to both shoulders and hips. It's like magic. Hiker packs have probably always been like this and I just didn't know. Also, it's just under the limit for cabin size which means no more check-in luggage. This saves a lot of time.

It opens from both the top and the bottom. That means you can lie the thing on it's back and open it like a normal luggage. No need to dig from the top to get stuff in the bottom. Nice.

This is the first backpack I've had that didn't leave sweat stains at the back. The only thing in contact with your back is a mesh. The entire bag is lifted away from your back using 2 tensioned aluminum wires.

New Camera

In addition to the bag, I've decided to upgrade my camera. I decided that this new camera has to survive everything. Image quality needed to take a back seat to durability and survivability. After days of research, the purchase went to my first Olympus camera, the Olympus TG-1.

For the most part, it functioned perfectly. Autofocus was quick and low-light shooting was great. Beach sand wasn't a problem with this camera. Being fast and durable fits the bill. Unfortunately, mid-way through the Phuket trip, it hung while trying to focus. It's like the shutter button was stuck being half-pressed even if it wasn't. It was very annoying. It started functioning properly again a whole day later. I spent an afternoon trying to fix the thing. No firmware update was available and there was no way to reset even after removing the battery. I've since sent the thing to the service center. They've replaced the lens (thinking it has something to do with the focus problems) but claims to not be able to reproduce the problem. At least the service was commendable.

Things I took to the beach

Extra Surprises At Changi Airport

Despite having been to Changi Airport multiple times, we still managed to see some stuff that piqued my interest.
Each cell is for a different brand. You lock the charging phone inside the cell. Just remember to come back for it later.

A sunflower garden at the top of the airport.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Phuket Trip 2012

Destination: Phuket

We decided that this time around, we'll spend this vacation focusing on relaxation rather than spending most of the time moving from one place to another seeking to cover as much tourist places as possible.

The ultimate destination.

First Stop: Phuket Fantasea

Our first stop Phuket Fantasea (WARNING: Link has loud blaring music. Disable music through link at upper right). This place is something that a tourist should visit AT MOST once. The theatre show was most enjoyable but since photography was not allowed, I won't be able to show you some pictures. There were plenty of idiots taking pictures which ruined some moments though. The show itself featured a lot of animals, mostly elephants. The elephants looked like they were in good health and didn't show scarring from mahout's hooks. This matters to me. 

The fish were killing each other for food.

This is the theatre entrance.

This looked like the villain from Saw.

The main buffet hall.

One of the toilets was interesting. Those bulls will watch you while you pee.

This is the sink and yes, the water comes out of the buffalo's nose.

The rest of the theme park was mostly focused on selling you stuff. So it's not too important to me. The show and buffet does make up for the price so it was well worth it.

Second Stop: Patong Beach

There were plenty of shops and bars lining Patong Beach that would probably strike your fancy, whether you be a guy, a gal or somewhere in between. However, this day was scheduled as a "do whatever day" and we figured that the best way to spend a "whatever day" was to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. It was awesome.

A lot of dogs doing what humans would do. Frolicking on the beach or just lounging around.

"I demand that you lessen these waves, ocean!"

Slept a whole lot on this cot.

It's a beach. So dinner was seafood of course. I'm slightly allergic to crustaceans but since I was in a good mood, I thought "what the hell" and ate half a lobster. I ate fish for the rest of the meal... because. 


Third Stop: Island Hopping and Snorkeling

This was one of those trips that were memorable but not quite enjoyable. Halfway during the boat ride, my girlfriend started feeling dizzy and wanted a bit of water. It wasn't your normal mineral water in a bottle. It came in a cup (pay attention, this is important). 

She started throwing up at one of the islands and a lot more WHILE snorkeling. The fish found this very amusing and entertaining and they crowded all around her. The other people swimming with us weren't entertained as much. Certainly, my girlfriend seemed to agree that it wasn't entertaining. I wasn't too sure. 

Leaving one of the islands.

Before throwing up.

After throwing up. (Fish were still following her).

At dinner, I decided to drink the same water she was drinking (a different cup but still the same brand). This was a costly mistake. 

I hardly knew ye.


Fantasea show is recommended if you are here for the first time. This was an enjoyable trip overall and if I ever did visit Phuket again, I'd most likely skip Fantasea and go right to relaxing on a beach, preferably Khai beach. It was undoubtedly the prettiest little island I've been to so far (not saying much since I haven't been to a lot of places). Nonetheless, I wouldn't disagree to just lounging around on Patong beach. This might not be the prettiest out there but it's certainly convenient and quite relaxing. 

Also, stay away from this.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

CSS for Safari 6

It's been a while since Safari 6 went out. If you've recently upgraded to Safari 6 and was wondering where the "Appearance" tab went, well, it's no longer there. And since it's gone, I can't take a screenshot. You could look at other photos online. I'm not a fan of this preference pane disappearing since I don't like the font sizes on lower resolution screens like this Macbook Pro I'm currently using. The default fonts and sizes are much better on the Air. To fix this problem, make a css file like so:

You could, of course, change the font-family and size to anything else you prefer. "Octicon Regular is for Github (which also happens to host the above snippet). Then under the "Advanced" preference pane of Safari, load up that file. If you are clever, you can place the file in your Dropbox folder and have it accessible everywhere.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Many Firsts

I've created this blog that, from hereon forward, will document my future so-called accomplishments and evident failures on the road to them.

First Real Web Application

My first real web application is Eliza. She's one of the first natural language processors. Tell her your troubles and she will try to respond like a Rogerian psychotherapist. This is her Wikipedia entry: ELIZA.

I Learned Many Things

I've long labored to create my first real web app. I am an enterprise C++ and Java developer by profession and although I have tried servlets before, it's not quite what I wanted to do this time around. It's been a long journey reading and learning about HTML,CSS, Javascript and the whole server-side development. I've learned many things and discarded many things as well.

Things I've learned (and some discarded) in order:

  1. HTML, CSS, Javascript - Javascript is probably the weirdest behaving language I have ever learned but I kept knowledge of most of these.
  2. Ruby - dropped for the next item
  3. Python: A wonderful language but sadly, not one I ended up using. Eventually dropped.
    1. Google App Engine
    2. Web2Py - can be used with GAE but turned out to be too complicated for my needs.
    3. CherryPy - can be used with GAE but turned out to be too simple.
      1. I eventually found out that GAE's mechanism for channels is too complicated to wrap my head around. Specially for a beginner web developer. So I dropped both Python and Google App Engine for something else entirely.
  4. Bootstrap - I don't have to worry too much about CSS anymore! I can just code and it will look nice! Thank you to Twitter for this one.
  5. Opa - Looked interesting but the seemingly complete documentation gives rise to documentation like these.
  6. Meteor - This to me is the BEST out there. Sure. It's Javascript on the front as well as the back-end but that means, I have to worry less about language and just think about what it is I'm trying to accomplish. Bootstrap is a built-in plugin which means I can still use it and I did. 

First Repository

Now that everything has been done and mostly finished, I have uploaded the code to Github. Github is a server for Git much like the old Sourceforge was for CVS.  If you read the code carefully, you will see that it does something very different from what it's advertised to do. :D