You Give Blog a Bad Name

Like any ordinary Sunday in the social media world, yesterday’s Twitter was abuzz with a lot of different things from the lamest what-I-am-eating-right-now tweet to the more serious stuffs. One that caught my attention though is the discussion about a big bad blogger. Tweeps from all corners of the Philippines fired their 140-character long views on this intriguing issue and it went on from morning until night.

So who is this big bad blogger, anyway? What has her done to deserve a column in the Inquirer’s Sunday issue? As a blogger myself, I tried to see the news today while everyone on Twitter seems to have gotten their cool back—and have found other interesting topics worth their 140-character opinions.

After reading ”Please Don’t Give Blogging A Bad Name Name,” I was in disbelief. The article is absurd if not a total waste and it does not even qualify as good satire. Unbelievably, the column written by a seasoned writer doesn’t even have links to the review (blog) among other facts that could establish that such event has actually taken place. Had I read this somewhere in a tabloid, I would have understood. Had I read this in a book review, I would have thought that this is actually a part of a fictional story. But then again, it’s not.

At this point I also wonder what was going on inside the mind of the writer as she types away the first few lines of her article. No catchy topics? Running on a deadline? Was it about the amount of money that a fictitious PR firm has been trying to extort from the equally fictitious restaurateur? Or was she thinking that bloggers are all alike and that a bad food (no pun intended) review will actually taint all bloggers in the world? Your guess is just as good as mine. If this article is a prelude to more exposes then fine.

Until then, in my opinion, this article is anything but worthwhile. Whatever the reasons are for the article is unknown. However, one thing is certain: the article “Please Don’t Give Blogging a Bad Name” has in fact given blogging a good name. It is through this that those unfamiliar with it will read and soonr realize that bloggers aren’t slave to anyone. Some bloggers may be bad, but definitely it shows that bloggers (most) are free. Bloggers will blog anything under the sun, with or without money, and whether we like it or not. That’s blogging madam, just in case you forgot.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Anxiety sucks

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Of Dead Batteries And Good Samaritans

Ever had one of those problems wherein you search the internet and the only solution you’ll find is one that seems absurd? Well, I got one lately. This is about the mysterious case of our Honda City which happened right after its battery got totally drained at the NAIA 3′s parking lot. Inexplicably, the car’s driver side window stopped its automatic function even after the battery has been fully charged. I tried moving it up and down thinking that it has gotten stuck due to being left idle for more than half a month but the futile exercise didn’t solve the problem. The following day, I also opened the door panel in an attempt to see the window mechanism but I was prevented by the Honda’s complicated door design plus the thought that I’d do more harm than good.

Frustrated, defeated, and embarrassed by the fact that this is supposed to be one simple problem normally solved by a WD40, I googled for an answer before going to bed. As expected, Google presented me with various answers but only one caught my attention. About.com’s Honda Power Window and Locks Fix Fix was the most brief–it only suggests 3 quick steps:

  1. Switch off Ignition
  2. Set intermittent wiper set to middle position
  3. Switch ignition back on

Even if the website mentions that this process is meant to reset the MCU, I was doubtful that it will work so I slept that night with just one question, “How can an intermittent wiper be connected to the window?” Even so, the solution proved its worth the very next day. Just after doing the abovementioned procedure, I was shaking my head in disbelief when the automatic window came back to life like some mechanical Lazarus. I tested and then re-tested the window and yes, the ridiculous solution does work.

***

My recent experience at the NAIA 3 parking, although I expected the battery being drain after leaving the car at the parking lot for weeks, gave me some important lessons:

  1. Park the car in a position wherein jumpstarting would be easier. For example, do not park facing the wall since this will require you to push it all the way back so it faces the “battery source” car especially if the jumpstart cable is short. Good thing I parked mine this way, else it would have been a longer night for the three of us.
  2. After jumpstarting the car, it is best to leave it idling or drive for an hour before totally shutting off the engine. I learned about this the hard way, when I turned the engine off just more than ten minutes since Albert Sebastian (who I soon learned is a reporter of Radyo ng Bayan DZRB) assisted me at the airport’s parking lot. Good thing, the crew of McDonald’s where I stopped pushed my car to a nearby Total gas station where another total stranger by the name of Jet didn’t hesitate to help me jumpstart my car again.
  3. Take note of Motolite’s 24-hour delivery number just in case you need further help – like a completely dead battery. Motolite’s Anytime, Anywhere Delivery number is (02)3706686.
  4. Last but not the least, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Some may reject you but others ever willing to help will be there soon.

 ***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (I will need to find a helmet for Marcus. He had his first fall from his new bike this afternoon.)

You Become a Father When…

…you start caring for a small bundle of joy.

…you gladly forego your own sleeping time in order to watch the new occupant of your bed slowly settle to dreamland.

…you hate leaving home because there’s now another hand waving you goodbye.

…you visit playgrounds with just a slight yank from fragile yet convincing hands.

…you realize how hard it was then for your own father to raise you.

…you stop being the king of the remote control and that the winner is one who does not even have to speak…and it’s not even your wife.

…you shamelessly sing a nursery hymn on short notice…anytime, anywhere.

…you watch what you’re saying because a pair of tiny ears listens.

…you watch what you’re doing because little eyes are intently watching.

…you enthusiastically mount a basketball hoop in your yard…and you don’t even play the game.

…Barney, Mickey and Baby Einstein just pushed your Braveheart, Top Gun, and Saving Private Ryan DVDs deeper into the back of CD shelf.

…your Last Song Syndrome is not the latest rock music but the Alphabet song.

…you stopped hating noisy kids in the church because you’re now constantly running after one.

…you shift to buying the smaller Happy Meals…not because you’re on a diet but just because you want a toy to come with it.

…you have now mastered dealing with a formula…and it’s not math.

…you wake up at 3 AM just to blog how it is like to become a father. Happy Father’s Day to everyone!

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Grabbed another oatmeal cookie to keep me company.)

Why I Now Care More About Plagiarism

What a surprising way to welcome myself back to the online world after my self-imposed (trying to still be a good Catholic somehow) 3-day internet hiatus. As I slowly back-read tweets I began to see the a pattern of striking news from several tweeps I follow—tycoon Manuel V. Pangilinan has offered to retire as ADMU’s chairman of the board of trustees after someone exposed his recent speech to the school’s graduates as having been copied from celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Conan O’Brien and J. K. Rowling. In short MVP was guilty of plagiarism. So what really is plagiarism?

Basically, plagiarism is a word commonly defined as copying someone else’s literary work and trying to pass it off as one’s own. Literary works among other things like movies, technical drawings and music become copyrighted as soon as its original author makes it; which means that the author assumes immediate ownership and thus when his writings (or any other work) are plagiarized by another person, makes the act alone technically, a form of stealing. The topic of plagiarism has been actually a topic of discussion and argument among authors and scholars for a very long time, and as a matter of fact, according to Answers.com plagiarism dates back from the 17th century. The site’s definition states that the word plagiarism has its roots from the Greek word plagion which means to ‘kidnap.’ Furthermore, Plagiarism.org has a list of things that constitutes plagiarism. Here are some of them: 

Changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit.” This may occur when someone paraphrases, or reword, a thought but still ending up with almost the same as what the original document contains. This is either a product of poor reconstruction OR a purposeful intent to deceive its readers.

Copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not.” This instance would normally arise if one comes to a point when he wrongly decides to get as much facts as he can in order to support an argument, an analysis or a conclusion.

Failing to put a quotation in quotation marks.” Many of today’s technology applications probably make everyone guilty of this no matter how well the intent. Case in point, one can easily find in social networking sites, such as Facebook, sharing of inspiring stories or quotes which without the mere quotation marks (and worse, the quote’s author) may make someone who is not aware of the quote think that it actually is his/her friend’s own thought. There’s also Twitter (and SMS) where limits in the allowable characters makes it easy for one to plagiarize.

So is plagiarism bad? Yes. But like any other wrongdoing, it would be ethical to listen and know why someone did it in the first place. Again, Plagiarism.org sums up two general reasons why the act.

Intentional

According to plagiarism.org, those considered to be intentional are reasons like ”everyone’s doing it”—so why can’t I? ”But there words are better”—and why the need to waste time thinking about when in fact there’s already one that has been done by one who’s an expert. And there’s of course, the need to ”make the grade” which may be arise from cramming after realizing that schedules cannot be met. 

Unintentional

There are of course who despite their best effort to avoid plagiarism still fall to the trap of making the mistake of plagiarizing someone else’s work.

And also listed on Plagiarism.org are the following reasons students plagiarize:

There is “citation confusion.” According to this site, this is perhaps the most common reason students are caught plagiarizing. The question now is, “How should one make a citation?” Wikipedia.org has the answer. It says, ”While you should try to write citations correctly, what matters is that you add your source—provide enough information to identify the source, and others will improve the formatting if needed.” This simply implies that there is really no rule on how to cite a source as long as what is written to acknowledge it is correct and updated. Such rule may prove useful if a document or presentation will be for an informal setting (or if one is just preparing a draft) or if one is citing an online source as copying exactly the URL (or link) may be enough. Of course such isn’t always the case. Wikipedia.org explains further, ”Each article should use the same citation method throughout. If an article already has citations, adopt the method in use or seek consensus before changing it.” These statements refer to formal research, like in the Academe, where appropriate formats of citation are to be observed. Examples of recognized formats are the APA style, MLA style and The Chicago Manual of Style. For students and some individuals picking the choice of which citation format should be followed is just as confusing as the research itself. But at the end of the day, what counts the most is whether he recognized and acknowledged where he got his reference and giving credit to whom credit is due is very important to avoid or repeat such mistake.

Belief that “facts shouldn’t be quoted.” The availability of the internet and the thinking that what is being presented is common knowledge is one of the reasons  many think that it is not necessary to cite what they have extracted. In order to avoid plagiarizing, the website suggests a short yet foolproof tip, ”when in doubt, cite sources.”

The existence of “cultural relativism.” It is quite noteworthy that not every culture actually recognizes the need to acknowledge literary works. It is not therefore surprising if expat students who come from different cultural backgrounds commit plagiarism as their awareness to giving credit to literary works may be different compared with the other local students.

Interestingly another site, Irving Hexham’s Homepage discusses specifically about Academic Plagiarism and defines it as ”the deliberate attempt to deceive the reader through the appropriation and representation as one’s own the work and words of others. Academic plagiarism occurs when a writer repeatedly uses more than four words from a printed source without the use of quotation marks and a precise reference to the original source in a work presented as the author’s own research and scholarship. Continuous paraphrasing without serious interaction with another person’s views, by way or argument or the addition of new material and insights is a form of plagiarism in academic work.

“Deliberate attempt.” These two words from Irving Hexham’s definition is probably the best summary on how to identify whether one is really guilty of plagiarism or not. This definition complements the “unintentional” classification of plagiarism according to plagiarism.org.

After knowing why someone might commit plagiarism despite the best of intentions, the question that lingers is: How can we avoid plagiarism?

Personally, here are my 2 cents:

  1. Follow the ”when in doubt, cite the sources” rule.
  2. Check and re-check research paper if it follows proper citation.
  3. Consult an expert or someone more knowledgeable, if needed.
  4. Be more aware about how others expect their works to be cited.
  5. If possible, as permission directly from the original owner of the material.
  6. Understand Fair Use.
  7. Make use of CC or CreativeCommons.org.

Now, after this lengthy blog, you readers might wonder why I waste precious Easter Sunday time explaining what plagiarism is all about. That’s because just months ago I was into this same embarrassing situation of being accused as plagiarizing a school paper. It was one unbelievable experience because for years after I presented my college thesis–and more especially when I started blogging–I always make sure that I never copy anyone’s work without proper citation. Unfortunately, due to technicalities of this complex subject matter, my stock knowledge of it eventually caught up on me. Since then, I learned from the hard lesson and became more sensitive of how to properly attribute back someone else’s work than before.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks (F1 Sepang about to start)

Run Barefoot, Anyone?

I’m taking a break from a whole day of typing in my desperate (yet educational) dash to finish a research paper which is due for presentation this Thursday. So while checking my Twitter for updates, I stumbled upon this @TIME ‘s post: “Is running barefoot better for you?”

Out of curiosity if I’ll see the same post that was about how the Africans can run effectively and fast without any footwear, the one I saw was different but just as interesting. It is barefoot alright, but technically it’s not.

I don’t know when this Five-Finger will become a trend and make the current Nike shoes obsolete and cheap (to my delight), but right now I have mixed feelings about it. One part of me is excited to see it upfront while another part of me doubts that this is just another marketing ploy. It is just one of those things like when they’d like to sell green tea, they say that coffee is bad; when they’d like to sell a new coffee bean brand, they’d say that drinking coffee is good for one’s health. Well, make up your mind folks.

Anyway, my rant is a hopeless rant. It has worked time and again, despite having a poor product, businesses usually become better than ever. And so I know that this Vibram FiveFingers shoe will also pick up soon. It’s just all about good marketing and identifying gullible consumers who will get hooked to it like persistent leeches.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Last stretch of my research paper and I’ll be running the treadmill soon…using my Nike shoes. Not barefoot. Yet)

RockEd’s DJ Joint Session

Is it possible for a radio show intended to basically talk about nothing to end up being interesting? And more so, is it possible to cram six or more DJ’s coming from different stations in one booth at the same time? The answer is a big yes.

The show was conceptualized by one of the tweeps I follow, @gangbadoy, who herself is a DJ from NU107. Gang is one the most active tweeps who became one of the most recognizable aliases on Twitter during the typhoon Ondoy days. Since then, I’ve seen her become outspoken in politics and more especially after the infamous Ampatuan massacre in Maguindano (although I don’t necessarily agree with some of her opinions). The ruthless killing which included a number of press people became the inspiration for this year’s Rock The Riles (RTR) which also happens to be one of the projects by this very passionate DJ.

I don’t know when RTR actually started, but I was awed by the idea of holding a rock concert in different MRT stations and to think it got an approval considering the schedule was set during the peak hour of its operation. What made it even better and appropriate to this year’s theme of demanding for justice for those press people slain in the massacre is that @gangbadoy was able to get support from DJ’s from other radio stations to host in separate train stations. This I assume was when another light bulb moment came to Gang’s mind: get all those DJ’s who participated to have a joint session at NU107′s booth with an interesting agenda – talk about nothing.

Today is that day and I was so anxious of getting out of class, not that I hate it, just so I can fill my curiosity of what it’s like to have one radio show with different DJ’s at one time. Well, luck must be on my side, when 30 minutes before my alarm sets off to listen to the said show our professor concluded our session ahead of schedule.

I soon heard while starting to drive back home that RockEd’s joint session is indeed all-star cast. As I manage my way out of EDSA’s traffic coming from Rockwell, voices of personalities like Gang, CJ (89.9), Suzie (89.9), Jiggy Cruz (nephew of Noynoy), and KC Montero (MTV) fills void in the car. To my surprise and delight, I also heard the voice of the very opinionated and talkative DJ Mo Twister of the Good Times Show (89.9) fame. Mo expectedly dominated the discussions and was as articulate as if he was in his own 6-9 morning show. Just as planned the show was indeed all about nothing—i.e., anything goes. The topics ranged from the genitals, DJ’s vs. DJ’s confrontations, product endorsement wishlist, presidential candidate choices, ABS-CBN vs. GMA7, failed celebrity interviews and so on and so forth. It’s a shame I got home early and had to get out of the car with the show’s remaining 30 minutes. I’d say this is the most awesome radio show I’ve listened to, and I really wish for an encore. Good job Gang and team.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks (One of those times I’d wish I got stuck in traffic.)