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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Memories of the Digital Past (Part V)

14.4 kbps, it was dark gray, small, and it had a clip on it… unfortunately I can’t remember what brand it was.

I don’t know what got into my cousin when, some time in 1995, he offered to lend me a modem—yes THAT modem (together with a phone number, username, and password which he got somewhere). After setting the whole thing up, telling me when and when not to logon, and giving me some other instructions, he left. The modem would stay with me for about 2 days before my cousin would come to our house again to get the modem back.

And it would take several months after that before my brother and I would have our very own paid two-hours-per-month 14.4 kbps dial-up internet access which at that time cost a lot.

TWO HOURS A MONTH! And that’s not the worst of it! Since I was sharing it with my brother, I only got to use it for an hour each month! Ridiculous isn’t it? I remember logging on and crashing into some (browser-based) chat site and sending private messages to people, hurriedly telling them of my predicament, and asking them for their email addresses just so that I’d have someone to exchange emails with.

There were some who were kind (or naïve) enough to give me theirs. For so many months I spent my hour of internet access just for sending and receiving emails to and from those few kind souls (all of whom I have lost contact with now… except for one).

During that time, I got to learn HTML which, naturally, had me building a few personal homepages soon after. The first one was on (which does not exist anymore, I mean both my homepage and The second one was on fortunecity which is still online, however, due to fortunecity’s reformatting over the years, my homepage there is now all messed up. The third one was on geocities (which at that time was not yet part of Yahoo), it is also still online, but it’s pretty messed up also. And the fourth one… well, let’s just forget about that.

Along with learning HTML, I was able to expand my vocabulary: LOL, ASL, CTC, BRB, ROFLMAO, GTG… and, like many others, at first I thought the first two were abbreviations of curse words.

I used to access the net, or more particularly the world wide web, just to pass the time… chatting, downloading all sorts of useless stuff, and website hopping. Now, 13 years after I got my first taste of life online, I’m able to earn some money from it (US$30 so far), learn new things from it, and a whole lot more.

I wonder what I’ll be saying 13 years from now.

Read Part I
Read Part II
Read Part III
Read Part IV

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Browsing the Web with clumsy fingers may lead to the discovery of some inconspicuous/obscure websites.

How many times have you mistyped a website’s URL and ended up viewing a website other than the website you originally intended to visit?

Being clumsy with the keyboard, that has happened to me rather quite often would result to any one of these:
  1. a browser error saying that the URL cannot be found;
  2. getting redirected to a search engine/site of some sort, sometimes telling me that the URL I have entered is still “available”; or
  3. ending up on some website, the URL of which is entirely different from what I have (mis)typed which often have left me wondering how I got there (considering that the URL I have entered is non-existent).
Anyway, yesterday I had a slightly different experience. I was intending to go to, but my clumsy pinky dived for the “Enter” key before I was able to type in anything after the second “g”.

So, there I was, staring at my browser with on the browser’s URL/Address field.

I don’t know why, but I decided to let the browser finish loading whatever it was going to load with what I have entered. And to my surprise, after just a few seconds, something appeared. It was a website that had only three things, a Google search field, a button, and a joke. No links, no whatsoever. About the Google search field, the only indication that it is Google’s is that the button below it is labeled “Search Google”, and that’s it. I tried to check if it is really Google’s so I entered “goog” on the search field and clicked on the “Search Google” button, and sure enough, the page that came up on my browser screen was the first page of Google results for my search on “goog”.

I wondered what would happen if I clicked on the refresh button, so, I did just that… and every time I did a new joke appeared.

Check it out.

*Update* Just found out that there are only 31 jokes on and they are displayed in a fixed sequential order. Just thought I'd let you know. How I wish it had more.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Memories of the Digital Past (Part IV)

15-inch ViewSonic Monitor, 486, SVGA, Creative Labs SoundBlaster, CD-Rom Drive, 250 Mb Hard Drive. That was our first PC. The year was 1994. It came with Windows 3.11. And every time you want to use Windows, you needed to enter “win” or “windows” on the DOS command prompt.

Windows 3.11

Most games at that time ran outside of windows, like Civilization, Sim City, and Need for Speed. To run Civilization, you needed to enter “civ” on the command prompt (after you have installed the game of course). For Need for Speed, it was “nfs”. I forgot what it was for Sim City. These were the games that kept me up many a night for more than a year! Well, actually, NFS came much later compared to Civilization and Sim City and, as such, it already came in CD form.

First Version of Sid Meyer's Civilization

Sim City Classic

Need for Speed (1)

Prior to CD-Roms, installers of complex games came in floppy disks which number anywhere form 2 to 14 per game. The same goes for all other non-game programs by the way. And to install something on your computer would mean that you’d have to sit in front of your computer and insert the floppy disks one-by-one when prompted. During the installation process, you’d see a lot of “Please insert disk 1”, “Please wait…”, “Please insert disk 2”, “Please wait…” and so on until you reach the last floppy disk. Again, you do all these in DOS. I have had numerous experiences wherein I’m on the last few disks and suddenly I get a disk error on one of them which more often than not had sent me to a cursing frenzy.

For word processing, it was WordStar which also ran outside of Windows. Likewise, there was Lotus 1-2-3 for spreadsheets. Come to think of it, I can’t really remember what I used Windows for at that time except for running/using Encarta.

That time, you would say “directory” instead of “folder”, and when you want to view the files of a directory, you needed to enter “dir” or “dir /p” or “dir /w” on the command prompt. If you want to browse a certain file type only, say .txt file, you’d do a “dir *.txt”. To go into a directory, it’s “cd directoryname”, to get out of a directory it’s “cd..”. To go to the root directory from any directory/subdirectory it’s “cd\”. To go to a particular drive letter it’s “driveletter:” (ex. d:). To rename a filename it’s “ren oldfilename.ext new filename.ext”. To delete a file it’s “del filename.ext”. And, to delete a directory it’s “deltree directoryname”. You can do just about all of the basic Windows functions in DOS except you do them without using the mouse. I’m not all that sure about videos, but there was already the animated GIF and for sounds there were .wav and .mid which survives until now. bmp, gif, and jpg were the most recognizable image formats. And I believe Mac users at that time needed to install some kind of plugin for them to be able to view bmp images on their Macs. I’m saying this because I had one email-pal who complained to me after I sent him an illustration I did on MSPaint in the .bmp format. He asked me if it was a virus since all he could see filling up his screen was a long string of unrecognizable characters. HOW I LOVE and MISS THOSE DAYS!

Having mentioned of deleting files, whenever I would go to a cousin’s place and use his computer (that is before I had a computer of my own), my cousin would always warn/tell me to call him if I wanted to do anything on the computer so that I will not accidentally delete anything. At that time I thought deleting something from the computer was as easy as pressing on the delete key! NOT! I would not even be able format/reformat that thing if I wanted to since the word “format” was not yet part of my vocabulary!

A year later, in 1995, Windows 95 came out. I can’t forget the excitement I felt when that version of Windows was being installed on my computer by my cousin. At that time, I still did not have enough knowledge about computers to enable me to do it myself. But aside from seeing my monitor sporting a new and smoother look whenever the computer was on with Windows running, everything was basically the same as far as my computer usage was concerned (which was mainly to play games). I didn’t yet understand anything about processing speeds, user interfaces, and all that computer talk. As long as I had games to play with, I was happy.

Windows 95

UNTIL my cousin lent me a modem… 14.4 kbps. Sweeeet…

Read Part I
Read Part II
Read Part III

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Memories of the Digital Past (Part III)

Some time, still, in the mid 80s…

A classmate of mine, who’s an only child, invited me and my brother to their house one Saturday afternoon to play. Everything that had happened during our visit is all but a blur to me now, except for one thing… my first taste of console gaming.

I think it was after we finished playing several rounds of tag and hide-and-seek when my classmate took out his Atari. At that time (and quite still so at this very moment) I thought it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

Atari 2600
In no time, there we were, seated on the floor just about a feet away from the TV, taking turns in beating each other in PONG and Breakout He had several other game cartridges scattered on the floor, one of which was “Land, Air, Sea Battle” (I think). I can’t really remember if I was able to try out each and every game he had, but for sure, I played Breakout the most. Quite unfortunately, I don’t have anymore the means to find out which Atari model it was.

Breakout game
About two years or so later, I think, my brother and I got the fortune of owning and getting to play with a new machine. The Family Computer (or Nintendo Entertainment System). It was bought for us by another cousin when she went to Japan. It got to us with two game cartridges, one was Tranformers (yes THAT Transformers) and the other was “The Monkey King” (I don’t know what its exact title was).

Nintendo Family Computer or Nintendo Entertainment System or NES
Transformers Video Game for the Nintendo Family Computer
As for the subject of the first game I played on the Family Computer, well, I can’t really quite tell although I have three choices for that. The reason behind this is that two of my cousins got their Family Computers at around the same time we did. So, if we were the first to get ours, then my first game would be Transformers. If not, it would have been either Pro Wrestling or Super Mario Bros.

Pro Wrestling video game for the Nintendo Family Computer
Anyway, over time our games collection grew to over 20, or 30 even. Let’s see… we had (not in chronological order) Transformers, “The Monkey King”, Madmax, Macross, King Kong, Elevator Action, Double Dribble, Terminator 2, Karateka, a Magic Johnson basketball game, another basketball game, F1 Race, Highway Star, another “racing” game where superman appears if you don’t crash, a bowling game, Mike Tyson’s Punch Out… that’s all I can remember now, unfortunately.

Mike Tyson's Punch Out for the Nintendo Family Computer
Funny thing I remember about buying game cartridges. Whenever we would buy one, the usual line we would hear from the salesperson was “This game is really good, look, the cartridge is heavy!” The prices WERE somewhat related to the weight of the cartridges (the heavier the cartridge, the more expensive it was). But quality? I don’t think so.

Anyway, we were allowed to play with the Family Computer only on weekends (starting from the time we get home from school on Fridays).

The original GameBoy came out not very long after we got our Family Computer. We never had one of those, and the only opportunity we had to play with one is when another classmate of my brother’s would let us borrow his.

The Original Game Boy
As my brother and I were still very much glued to the Family Computer, the SEGA MegaDrive came out. Several of my classmates got to own one, we never did. I only got to play with the SEGA console every time I would go to my classmate’s place (the games I’ve played being Ecco and Sonic), and only for short periods at a time since there were other more “exciting” things for us to do at that time (when we were in the stage of puberty).

Sega Mega Drive 16-bit
The SNES followed, and as with SEGA, we never got to own one of those. My brother’s classmate had one and he would lend it to us for a couple of nights with a game or two.

Super Nintendo Entertainment System
The Sega GameGear would follow, and the only time we got to play with one is when a cousin of ours got back from the States and let us play with it. With that one, I had to wait very long before I could get my turn since there were 6 of us in queue. The same story goes for the SEGA Saturn.

Sega Game Gear Handheld Gaming Device

Sega Saturn
I don’t think there was anybody I know who got to own a Neo Geo, so, I have never got my hands on one of those.

Neo Geo Game Console
We never got to own anything new after the Family Computer, not until my mother bought us our very first PC… the year was 1994.

Read Part I
Read Part II

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Memories of the Digital Past (Part II)

Mid 80s. Enter the Nintendo Game and Watch!

For those of you who have no idea what Game and Watches are, here’s a brief backgrounder from Wikipedia:

“The Game & Watch (G&W) series were handheld electronic games made by Nintendo and created by its game designer Gunpei Yokoi from 1980 to 1991. Most featured a single game that could be played on an LCD screen, in addition to a clock and an alarm. Most titles had a 'GAME A' and a 'GAME B' button. Game B is usually a faster, more difficult version of game A. The game Squish is a notable exception; here game B is very different from game A. Judge is another exception in that game B is a 2 player version of game A, rather than it being noticeably faster or more difficult. The games Climber and Super Mario Bros. do not have a 'GAME B' option.

The units used LR4x/SR4x "button-cell" batteries, the same type used in most laser pointers or watches. There are variations in height for button cell batteries, and the G&W units used the shorter height variety. Specifically, they were packaged with Maxell LR43 batteries.”

For more on this, head on to: Wikipedia.

I think the first G&W that we had was “Manhole”. In that game, you control the guy (or is it a gorilla?) who’s holding the manhole cover. The object of the game is to simply prevent people from falling down the hole. Just like in most, if not all, other G&W games, the “variety” in the game comes in the form of game speed changes as you hit certain scores.

Our next G&W was “Snoopy Tennis”. The game went like this: Good ol’ Charlie Brown (who is standing on the lower left corner of the screen) would start the game by making the first swing at the ball. Snoopy (whom you control) is on the right part on the screen, you then move him up or down the three levels of the tree and try to hit the ball. If you hit the ball and it flies towards the upper left portion of the screen, Lucy would then appear to hit the ball back to Snoopy. You get three misses after which it’s game over.

The game starts out very slow, and (as I have previously mentioned) as you reach certain scores, the game’s speed changes. And, I believe, there were some score levels which, when reached, would initiate the “bonus round” (which only lasts for a few seconds) wherein you get more points for your hits.

It’s an endless game (aren’t they all?) except until you run out of misses. And, if I remember it right, your opponents (Chuck and Lucy) never miss! Nevertheless, I got very much addicted to it and got very good at it that I would have scores beyond the 1000 points mark.

Personally, I only know of five Game & Watch types/variations. But after reading the Wikipedia article, I am very much surprised that there were more! Anyway, the ones known to me are the “standard” ones which came with small screens; the “widescreen” which, obviously had wider screens (along with wider bodies); the “multiscreen” which were very much like the Nintendo DS of today; the “Micro vs System” which were designed for two players, it had two wired game pads which can be hidden inside the clamshell-designed main unit; and the “colored” ones which had a colored LCD attached to the “lid” and had a translucent “backing”, the image displayed on the LCD screen would then be reflected to the user via a mirror of the base of the unit. All G&Ws had no built in backlighting, and for the “colored” variety, you need some light passing through the translucent material to see the display.

The aims of all the games of G&Ws were basically the same, get high scores and try not to “miss”. But, simple as they may be, those small wonders have made a big and strong impression on me and have become an undeniable part of my “digital memories”.

Being a sentimental person as I am, I still have all of the G&Ws we have ever had with some of them still working.

Read "Part I".

Monday, July 14, 2008

Memories of the Digital Past (Part I)

I can still remember (although vaguely) my first personal encounter with computers in which the “encounter” involved personally influencing/manipulating the things I see on the computer screen. As I remember things, I believe it happened some time between 1980 and 1983.

During those years, most likely during Christmas season, my parents would take my brother and I to the shopping center and let us play a round or two of arcade games before going shopping. Unfortunately, I can’t remember any of the titles of the games I had been able to play that time. The only thing I can remember is that I have played on one which had a steering wheel on it and the words “GAME OVER” would appear on the screen within 5 seconds after dropping the coins into the machine… I was still too young at that time to make any sense of what I was supposed to do or not do in the game.

Also happening at around the same time was my first encounter with a portable digital device… the Casio VL-Tone.

Casio VL Tone
Very often, I would just sit in one corner and randomly press on the various keys of the VL-Tone and think I was playing real music. And when I’m not feeling musical, I would just play with its calculator function.

Well, nothing else memorable (in the area of digital devices) happened after that until my first encounter with a home computer which happened at my cousin’s place in Cagayan de Oro in the mid- or late-80s while spending a several-weeks-long summer vacation at his/their place.

I can’t remember with complete certainty what his computer was, but after seeing countless pictures of early personal/home computers, however unsure I still am about it, I strongly believe that it was an Apple II or, more likely, a clone of some sort of it.

Apple II
It looked very much like the one pictured in this image I found on Google, except that I don’t remember ever seeing the Apple brand anywhere on it (therefore my strong belief that it was indeed a clone). Furthermore, it was colored mint green with brown wooden side panels. And the “monitor” he had attached to it was a small colored television set. He also had a heavy joystick unit attached to it that had two white square buttons right below the directional stick control.

That experience was particularly memorable because it was the only other opportunity I had at that time to play video games aside from the arcades which happened quite rarely.

I can only remember two of the games that I have played on that computer, one was a pinball game and the other was a driving one. Every time I would play the driving game, I always imagined I was D.A.R.Y.L. If you know the movie, you probably remember the scene where D.A.R.Y.L. was playing a video game and he was driving so fast and was not colliding with anything. Well, what I would do was I would drive very slowly which allowed me not to collide into the track’s barriers.

After that, as more and more of my cousins got to own computers, I got more and more opportunities of using one… until my mother bought us one… in 1993, all that had happened prior suddenly became fun and sweet digital memories. But then, I’m getting ahead of myself.

The 80s for me was filled with a lot of fond “digital memories”, and I hope I will be able to write more about it in the coming days.

Read "Part II"

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Vanishing Photoshop Tutorial

Those of you who’s been here before may notice that the “LCD HDTV Photoshop Tutorial” is not available here anymore.

Well, a few weeks back, I discovered this fun website Just to give you a quick idea on what that website is all about, the site holds weekly Photoshop (chopping) contests and gives away prices (money and software) to the winners. In addition to the contests, the website accepts tutorial submissions and it pays a certain amount for every tutorial it accepts.

Anyway, going back to the tutorial in question, I took it off here and submitted it to And guess what, it got accepted, and I got paid US$15 for it! Actually, as of this moment, I already got two tutorials there.

If you want to see those tutorials, they are at:

How to Make a Realistic HD LCD TV in Photoshop from Scratch


Create and Aging Road Sign in Photoshop from Scratch


Warning: This may contain materials not suited for minors, parental guidance is advised.

thong t-back g-string underwear pantiesA couple of months back, after seeing someone who was (quite obviously) wearing a thong underwear, my friend and I had a little discussion about women who wear those barely-there-garments. I’m pretty sure that some people would think of our conversation as “prejudistic”, so I won’t go into details with that. But, then, that conversation is what led me to write this. I hope that, with this, I can get a sizeable amount of comments/opinions and finally put this matter to rest. By the way, all mention of thongs from here on end are of the underwear variety and not the beachwear/swimwear ones.

Just to be sure that I don’t write anything really stupid, I tried digging for information on thongs on the World Wide Web. I wanted to know when it was “invented”, who it was that came up with the brilliant idea, and for what purpose it was originally created. By the way, I am pertaining to the thong in the form as we know and see it nowadays. If you’ve been watching a lot of Discovery and National Geographic channels’ programs, you must be aware that thong-like genital coverings are worn by both male and female members of many tribes in many remote regions of the world. And I think those “primitive” forms of genital coverings have a definite and practical purpose, which is simply to hide the genitals from plain view, period.

Anyway, in my digging, I found this:

“Many fashion historians believe that the thong first appeared in the 1939 World's Fair. New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia ordered the city's nude dancers to cover themselves and the thong was invented to just barely do the job.

Fashion designer, Rudi Gernreich has been credited with introducing the first thong bikini in 1974. Another reference states that thongs, originally called tangas, first hit the beaches of Brazil in 1977. (Source:”

Unfortunately, after reading that, I ended up having more questions than answers.

Some women claim that they wear thong underwear so that they won’t have panty seam lines showing through whatever they’re wearing. Some say that they wear thong underwear to give out the impression that they’re not wearing anything underneath.

I somewhat understand the first “reason”, however, I have heard a few women say that thongs are uncomfortable and it makes me wonder who would trade comfort for smoother and jiggly butt cheeks. Furthermore, I wonder, what is the main purpose/motive behind eliminating those seam lines anyway? To me, personally, seam lines are not a bit unsightly as others claim them to be, they can at times look really sexy, actually. Though it is pretty much dependent on who’s having four cheeks bulging out behind her.

The second one is much much easier to understand.

To avoid mentioning anything that may offend somebody out there, let me just end this here by asking all you women about the whys of wearing those minute pieces of undergarment. Feel free to enligten me! =)

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