Back to Free

Finally this blog is back to free hosting. I didn’t expect the migration to happen this fast but around Tuesday last week I got the email from WordPress.com that they have already transferred the domain mapping to marcuscanblog.wordpress.com. Then today I was able to finalize the migration after changing the nameservers on Godaddy. So welcome to the new look and feel of our website. I’m excited to start writing without the worry of having to renew something that would need my credit card.

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Why Our Son Will Soon Be on Facebook

Do you know that creating a Facebook account for your young child is actually a good thing? Yes, that is what I have realized after reading the article 10 Ways to Future Proof Your Child. According to this Wired Magazine’s online article, opening a Facebook account as early as now prevents someone from creating a fraudulent account with your child’s name which could be used for malicious purposes. And by signing up on behalf of their child also gives parents a head start to place the appropriate filters and security settings, making the account safe and clean and ready to be used when their child starts to beg for his (or her) first Facebook access. All these with the assumption that good parenting has been established and that Zuckerberg’s site is still preferred over Google+ 5-10 years from now.

But the tip I like the most from this article is about getting a child his own domain name. It made me feel maintaining and paying a minimal fee for this blog site justified despite not being able to update it as often as I wished to. Although our son’s online activities nowadays involve frequenting iTune’s App Store in his hunt for games, his recent interest in writing/typing his own name with which his current favorite hero’s name is also attached is encouraging enough. I would love to see the day when our son becomes a contributor to the content of this blog and if ever that happens, watch out for the blog post author named Marcusben10. Oh before I forget, please like his own updates on facebook, just in case.

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Mood: 5/10 Honks! (Trying hard to get rid of writer’s block.)

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

I’m all mixed up once again. It’s just more than 24 hours and I’ve already done several things not so related to each other but has nevertheless kept myself busy, frustrated, confused, and excited – may not be in proper order but may apply all at one point. Yes. I’m once again having that chopsuey day. Well, just to remain optimistic there’s always a good thing about bad things.  At least it doesn’t make my day SSDD.

***

After a meeting with the rest of our village’s board of directors yesterday and with our treasurer walking out of the meeting, I finally filed my formal resignation this morning as well. It’s not because I’m fed up with any of them but it’s because of the troubling effect that goes along with the treasurer walking out and her probable termination.

So this morning while trying to decide between eating proper breakfast or leaving on time for one of the most important things I’ll be doing in the next few months to come, with fingers tightly crossed, I hurriedly typed what has been going on inside my mind for weeks, my resignation letter. It’s about time.

Emerald court
I miss the days when this is a common sight.

I really hate doing it but I did the best that I could to explain why I’m leaving this time. I got several compelling reasons and one of which is living a quiet life away from the baseless accusations, gossips and intrigues which are sadly done by elders who are supposed act as well-meaning advisers in the community. Although these may not be directly addressed to me I can’t bear hearing it anymore and this isn’t the environment that I want our baby boy to witness – this is one major reason.

Now I’m back, hopefully, to living as a private individual. Next time, I’ll share some of the homeowners association woos and woes.

***

Other than filing my resignation which I just realize was actually my first as I never had the chance to make one since I joined a team, organization or even a company, I started the first step to another milestone in my life. (Incidentally, I’ll be leaving my current job without it again)

This morning I went to Ateneo Rockwell to register for their MBA Regis program course entrance exam. Although, their building wasn’t exactly as vivid as what they have on their website’s header, I was still thrilled and excited the moment I saw it from afar and it got even more intense when I came inside. The place itself had this professional feel and the surrounding appears to be a very conducive place to learn. What especially caught my attention though was the solemn chapel inside the campus. I’m wondering now if this is filled to its capacity during exams with most of the students asking for divine intervention. Anyway, just in case it is, I’ll just bear kneeling outside.

Ateneo Rockwell's chapel
Law students do pray here. Photo by: Michael Gomez

The whole registration process went very orderly. I don’t know if this is always the case but when I arrived at the registrar’s counter, there were only four other people transacting and even if I had to go down to the cashier’s office to pay for the exam fee everything was still a breeze. When I left home this morning, I was prepared to be in a long line of students and have asked myself for extra patience. But then Ateneo’s automated system changed my perception of a traditional registration flow – it took me just about 10 minutes to finish the whole transaction and I was happily on my way home just in time for a late lunch and a well-deserved siesta – considering that it’s from Cavite to and from Makati being completed all in the morning wasn’t bad at all.

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My blogging addiction has stepped up. In my desire to monetize my blog, I’ve been searching for days already on how to do it properly. I’ve also researched on what free or paid blog providers will cater monetization. Somehow, I discovered that in this case the best things aren’t free. And this led me back to Typepad.com.

I made the first steps in signing up with Typepad a couple of weeks ago but I was taken aback when I saw that its 14-day trial period would require me to enter my credit card number. Yesterday, as I ran out of choices and with my eagerness to sign back, I read and re-read the trial period conditions which to my relief say that I won’t be charge if I cancel before the 14-day period. And so I proceeded.

Sadly, my first impression about this paid blogging site isn’t good. For one, my expectation of Typepad being better than WordPress faded soon enough as I had a hard time using its dashboard. I find its features falling short of WordPress’ and just a bit better than Blogger.com. I still have 13 days to exploit it, but as of now I’m already revisiting my Blogger account and have done some re-layouts and modifications. I can see that it’s starting to look a lot like Typepad now. It’s a shame. But of course, I’m not quitting on Typepad yet. In the next days to come, I’ll spend some time using it and will give it another chance to prove its worth. Hopefully, at the end of the trial period is a win-win situation.

Here’s Typepad’s dash.

typepad

Here’s WordPress’.

WP dash.jpg

Now take your pick. I’ll bet a day’s worth of transport fare.

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Chapel photo credit: Michael Gomez

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Mood: 4/10 Honks!

Review: Free Blog Providers

One of my goals this year, other than driving better than the last year, is to monetize my blog. To achieve that, I realized that getting more traffic or subscribers to my site should be on top of the to-do list. It’s a no-brainer that no one pays for a deserted blog site.

Of course, traffic doesn’t come that easy. Some finger-tapping, networking and a lot of thinking on how to improve the content of the blog site are just some factors that will dictate if who and how many get to be attracted to check the blog out. And after all the countless moments composing posts that at times seem to even interfere with my daily driving, I learned that more factors still have to be considered. Among these are the services from free blog providers.

Free blog providers are to bloggers as point-and-shoot cameras are to photographers. Simply put, both the free blog provider and the point-and-shoot camera are tools that offer beginners of each field the opportunity to experiment and learn the ins and outs of the process. And since I’m still trying to get rid of the urge to dig deeper into the world of photography, I decided that it would be best if I stick to my trusty keyboard, alcohol-enchanced thinking, and try reviewing other free blog providers to see which one fits for me to achieve getting payments thru PayPal once I pursue monetizing my blog.

I first got this idea when I revisited my often-ignored multiply.com account. While checking it out some time in December, I saw that cross-posting blogs is allowed. I learned that multiply blog allows feed from different blog providers which I really find convenient if I want to stay updated with both blogs and photos coming from my contacts without having to leave the multiply network. And these providers are what I have actually reviewed since the start of this year.

Note: I rated these free blog providers by comparing it to WordPress, my current provider. Likewise, I did my best (just within my kill-time periods) to test these blog sites and I’d appreciate comments if I did the right review or not.

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Yahoo 360! 

Basics:

Appearance. Not so catchy. If you love text this is your dream site, but if you’re a graphics guy forget getting serious with this service.

Dashboard. WordPress need not worry. This service will need more bright minds to even match half of WordPress’ features.

New post. Fair.

Image uploading. Remember, text yes, graphics no — that is, there’s no point loading images here. Though I wonder if I missed the feature that would enable it to load directly from flickr.com.

Categories. Yahoo! does not categorize post. It only has Tags.

Tags. Yes.

Widget. Get WordPress. Period.

Ads. No. period.

Others: Poll. No.

Blogroll. Yes.

URL easy to remember? No.

Members. There could be a lot mainly due to its connection with Yahoo! but I haven’t seen any serious blogger here.

Recommendation: Does saying “Go get WordPress” deliver the message?

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Blogger Basics

Appearance. I find this somewhere near WordPress’ depending on the capability of the user to design his own theme.  However, if the available themes are to be selected and applied to blogs, I’d be very biased to word- press’ appearance.

Dashboard. Blogger is affiliated to Google but it appears that they copied dashboard features from Yahoo!

New post. Fair enough.

Image uploading. 1 GB maximum space. Can be done thru direct uploading or by linking to a URL.

Categories. No categories, only tags.

Widget. I’ve read that there are available widgets, but I find it hard to use it on mine.

Ads.  If there’s one thing that will make me leave WordPress, this is it. Blogger.com allows one blogger to get paid thru Adsense.

Others:

Blogroll. Yes, it is available. Your contacts will love you for this.

URL easy to remember? Yes. Just the same with WordPress, except for the domain (duh!).

Members. There’s a lot of good bloggers here.

Recommendation: If you want to monetize your blog then this is the place to be. And if you can come up with better themes than the available ones, then WordPress might be a thing of the past.

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WordPress Basics

Appearance. There’s a lot of great themes to choose from and most of it appears quite cool enough. Graphic-illiterate bloggers like me need not worry about having a boring blog site as there’s almost one theme that will match everyone’s taste.

Dashboard. Constantly getting better than the previous one.

New post. With the dashboard improving, posting a new blog has gotten easier every time (Although, I publish drafts and post thru MS Word 2007′s publish blog feature).

Image uploading. 3 GB maximum space. Images may be uploaded directly, by using a URL or by getting it thru the media library.

Categories. The parent category feature made blogging more organized. WordPress also has a converter from categories to tags and vice-versa.

Widget. Lots of cool widgets available.

Ads. Unfortunately, no. WordPress doesn’t allow its members to get paid.

Others:

Poll. Yes, thru polldaddy.com. I find this a very cool feature.

Blogroll. Yes.

URL easy to remember? Yes.

Members. Most of its members are prolific bloggers. And there was once a WordPress group for Filipinos. Unfortunately, it went out of service for reasons that I still don’t know.

Recommendation: I’m biased, but I think most will agree that this is among the best if not the only best free blog provider. Sign up to word- press if you don’t care about being paid at all.

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Windows Live Space Basics

Appearance. Yahoo! people can smile now. This is the least of my fa- vorites.

Dashboard. The appearance is a reflection of the dashboard. Need I say more?

New post. Fair.

Image uploading.  Direct uploading only.  I even cannot edit the image once I have my blog posted (I could be wrong, though).

Categories. Yes.

Tags. No? Widget. No. Ads. No.

Others:

URL easy to remember? I have so much hate with this blog provider and one reason for that is because I can’t even remember my own URL after I’ve subscribed and posted my first blog.

Members. Most likely many, but that’s because each one is probably sign- ing up for a new blog name after forgetting what their first URL was.

Recommendation: Good for spammers and bloggers with multiple personality.

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LiveJournal Basics

Appearance and Dashboard. A bit closer to WordPress.

New post. Fair. There’s also a feature to insert mood options right below the blog. Hopefully, they can come up with a honk-mood rating just like I use in my blogs.

Image uploading.  This one has the most options.  It can upload image directly or coming from a URL, scrapbook or photobucket.

Categories. No.

Tags. Yes. Ads. No. Others:

URL easy to remember? Yes.

Members. There’s also a lot.

Recommendation: As the name implies, most of the users here post articles in a manner like most journals are written. And upon browsing/lurking thru most of the post, I saw that this is the site if you want to let lose some rants and hot air. Paging all bosses, you might find your names here right after you have delivered some tough messages. Hahaha.

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Mood: 3/10 Honks!

Let’s Kill

Watching the movie Untraceable just a couple of days ago made me realize that my blog site’s title may appear threatening to potential visitors. The words killing time may be taken as a pun of some sort. I could have had visitors ranging from innocent bloggers to eager killers or disturbed individuals who get their high by watching someone die, live via the internet. Morbidly, Untraceable depicts such characters.

The villain in the movie is portrayed as a young man who maintains a site named KillWithMe which is basically a YouTube.com from hell. For the first time I seem to make connection to the disclaimer at the end of every movie: …any similarity…is purely coincidental. So just to make things clear, that’s not me, not inspired by my blog site, folks. FYI.

I don’t know but I picked the blog title Kill Time out of thin air during my registration on blogger.com. It is just because I relate blogging as a good way to kill time–no pun intended whatsoever. Promise. Hehe. (Play Psycho theme here).

Since I’m into giving some sort of very brief review for this movie, I’ll finish it off with my rating. I rate this movie 4 out of 5 stars. It has the scary factor of Disturbia, but with the oldie yet goodie Diane Lane this time in the basement. Needless to say this gives me another reason not to think of living in a typical American home at least for now.

Anyone  wants  to  kill  with  me? Please  just  do  blog.  No  more, no  less  (Psycho  music  keeps  on  playing   in   the   background). Visit Killtimedoblog.blogspot.com.  I  swear  I  killed  time  with  it and murdered some English (again, no pun intended) in the process.

(This reminds me of a friend who loves to say Kill All Violence, the most ironic and funny statement I’ve heard next to Alf ’s “I Kill Me.” Ti abi.)