Older blog entries for fallenlord (starting at number 49)

20 Aug 2011 (updated 21 Aug 2011 at 21:08 UTC) »

Fasting during the Great Lent

Below is an excerpt from St. John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople during the 5th century and one of the early Church fathers, about the noble Christian tradition of fasting and abstinence during the Great Lent.

The value of fasting consists not only in avoiding certain
foods, but in giving up of sinful practices. The person who
limits his fast only to abstaining from meat is the one who
especially lowers the value of it.

Do you fast? Prove it by doing good works. If you see
someone in need, take pity on them. If you see a friend being
honored, don’t get jealous of him. For a true fast, you cannot
fast only with your mouth. You must fast with your eye, your ear,
your feet, your hands, and all parts of your body.

You fast with your hands by keeping them pure from doing
greedy things. You fast with your feet by not going to see
forbidden shows or plays. You fast with your eyes by not
letting them look upon impure pictures. Because if this is
forbidden or unlawful, it mars your fast and threatens the safety
of your soul. But if you look at things which are lawful and
save you increase your fast, for what you see with your eye
influences your conduct. It would be very stupid to eliminate or
give up meat and other foods because of the fast but feed with
your eyes upon other things which are forbidden.

You don’t eat meat, you say. But you allow yourself to lis-
ten to lewd things. You must fast with your ears, too. Another
way of fasting with your ears is not to listen to those who speak
evil or untrue things about others. “Thou shalt not receive an
idle report. “This is especially true of rumors, gossip,
untruths which are spoken to harm another.

Besides fasting with your mouth by not eating certain foods,
your mouth should also fast from foul language or telling lies
about others. For what good is it if you don’t eat meat or
poultry, and yet you bite and devour your fellow man?


Seems like I have much to learn, do and undo. I must say I've been guilty of observing the bare minimum for the fasting practice - since 1537 the Filipino faithful have been exempted from much of the laws of the fast and abstinence, reducing the requirements of the fast to Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. By contrast, the early Christians fasted a lot!


Syndicated 2009-03-08 22:27:00 (Updated 2011-08-20 17:30:59) from Living Core Dumps

20 Aug 2011 (updated 21 Aug 2011 at 21:08 UTC) »

Debian Lenny on the Dell Vostro 1310

In my quest to run the web application project I am working on in a saner environment (read: 64-bit, modern versions of software and libraries, and faster execution time in native mode vs virtualized mode), I attempted to install Debian Lenny 64-bit on the Dell Vostro 1310 issued by my employer

What works:

  • 802.11b/g wireless LAN (via compiling the 64-bit Broadcom STA driver). All this time I thought my current Vostro is capable of draft 802.11N. Boy I was so wrong!

  • Sound. I thought sound support was hopeless as I really couldn't hear a thing coming out of the audio port (after installing Pulseaudio and even upgrading the kernel to Linux 2.6.28) ... until I messed around with the mixer controls and found out that the sound card of this laptop have differing controls for the front and headset channels!

  • 64-bit Flash player plugin for Firefox. The alpha-release for Adobe Flash 10 has native support for 64-bit Linux. It's about time you've released this, Adobe. We've had 64-bit Linux since 2003!

  • Sun Java 64-bit plugin for Firefox. Finally.


What doesn't work:
  • Bluetooth. After some time searching via Google, I found out that Windows Vista upgraded the firmware driver for the Bluetooth module. Great. The only solution is to go back to Windows XP, download and install the Windows XP driver for the Dell Wireless 360 Bluetooth module. To think I already had XP wiped out... This is trouble (as I won't be able to tether to my Nokia E71's HSDPA network without Bluetooth) that I must resolve soon.

  • Compiz. Seems my Vostro has a blacklisted PCI ID (8086:2a02). That means no 3D desktop for me.

  • Global Address List for Evolution 2.22. Too bad the OpenExchange plugin isn't code complete... I'll have to wait for 4 more release cycles before I can even test this! Right now Evolution is just way too buggy to use as an Exchange client.


My list of TODO's:
  • Make the entire web application project run on Debian Lenny, with new versions of software. Freaking tall order, but I believe I can do it.

  • Configure PPPOE support for my DSL line at home (in the event that my wireless router craps out)

  • Fix the Bluetooth mess!

  • Configure tethering to my Nokia E71 via Bluetooth or data cable.

  • Install and configure Eclipse 3.4 Ganymede as a development environment.

  • Get an IM client that supports the Yahoo! Messenger webcam streaming protocol.


Syndicated 2009-03-08 22:05:00 (Updated 2011-08-20 17:30:59) from Living Core Dumps

20 Aug 2011 (updated 21 Aug 2011 at 21:08 UTC) »

Is ALP dead?

Is ALP really dead in the water?

CES 2009 featured the debut of Palm's new phone, the Pre, running Palm's own Linux-based mobile OS, the Palm webOS.  This, however, doesn't bode well for the Access Linux Platform - the supposed successor of the PalmOS.

As we do all know, PalmSource was acquired by the Japanese company Access a few years ago, and they have developed their own evolution to the old PalmOS. With Palm going their own way with webOS, what's the future of ALP? Samsung has already buried their plans of releasing an ALP-powered phone, no mention of other ALP-powered phones released (note - all that has been seen are just announcements), Orange cancelling its adoption of ALP in their smartphone offerings, no other telco or mobile phone manufacturer announcing adoption of ALP , and with other manufacturers like HTC that has pledged to make more Android-powered phones - this doesn't bode well for ALP's future.

Sayonara ALP. I was kinda have been waiting for an ALP powered phone for a very long time.


Syndicated 2009-01-11 12:35:00 (Updated 2011-08-20 17:30:59) from Living Core Dumps

20 Aug 2011 (updated 7 Sep 2011 at 18:10 UTC) »

Food Shortage Facts vs Population Control

One of the most common claims of RH Advocates is that the Philippines is facing a food shortage because of the size of our population. “There are too many Filipinos and there is too little food and rice available” is a common refrain from anti-life advocates.


One of the real reasons for the food shortage in the Philippines is not the population, but the unbelievably massive losses of food supplies in our country.  According to DA Secretary Arthur Yap in his speech “The Challenge of Sustained Agriculture Growth in the Philippines”, given at the Manila Overseas Press Club “Farmers’ Night” at the Intercontinental Manila (May 18, 2007), spoke of:
    “..the need for a program that will address the post-harvest losses of our grain crops, vegetables, livestock and fisheries products. In grains, we are losing 10-15%, and in vegetables and fisheries, close to 50%..The losses in terms of spoilage and reduction in volumes translate to billions of pesos and impact directly on farm incomes and consumer prices.”
In the same speech, Sec. Arthur Yap mentions that “in the 70’s, our thrust was to produce at least 99 cavans of rice per hectare… today, we are a boisterous and democratic nation pushing beyond 86 million Filipinos, working with shrinking areas for lands and watersheds. And yet, we have the technology and the testimony of farmers from all over the country, which make it possible to harvest an average of 200 cavans of rice per hectare of irrigated rice lands.”


Instead of investing billions of pesos in pills and condoms, we should invest this money instead in warehouses and rural development in order to prevent more senseless waste of our food resources and in order to produce more rice with better technology. This is a more sensible and long-term way of addressing poverty and hunger. It will also leave a more lasting impact on the lives of congressional constituencies.


Syndicated 2008-09-29 08:56:00 (Updated 2011-09-07 17:56:32) from Living Core Dumps

20 Aug 2011 (updated 7 Sep 2011 at 18:10 UTC) »

Separation of Church and State: What does "Separation" Really Mean and Why RH Bill Supporters Don't Understand what it Really Means

The supporters of the RH Bill in the media and in Congress often cite “Separation of Church and State” in order to muzzle the opposition of the Catholic Church. But do they really believe in their own propaganda? Apparently, they are using this principle only for their own ends. This only shows that the supporters of the RH Bill are cynical and manipulative.


While defending the RH Bill, Rep. Janette Garin said that the opinion and support of the Iglesia ni Cristo is important for the Bill. This admission was recorded in many newspapers and can easily be found in the Internet.


One of the Philippine media’s most rabid supporters of the RH Bill and one of its harshest critics of the Catholic Church, Anne Marie Pamintuan of the Philippine Star, said in her column for September 22, 2008, Monday, that:


“Maybe women should join the Iglesia Ni Cristo, which is supporting the bill. And will someone ever file a case questioning violations of the constitutionally enshrined principle of separation of church and state?”


In two sentences, this vociferous critic of the Catholic Church calls upon women to join the Iglesia Ni Cristo because it supports the RH Bill. At the same time, she calls on people to drag the Catholic Church to court.


Wait a minute! We thought that these people are against any Church “meddling” in legislative and state matters? Obviously, this meddling is “bad” only when it goes against the preferences of certain politicians and of certain media people. The Iglesia Ni Cristo is praised because it supports the RH Bill while the Roman Catholic Church is condemned and spat upon by these pro-RH people because it opposes the Bill.


It is clear that these people do not really care about the so-called principle of “Separation of Church and State.” What they simply want is to terrorize the Catholic Church and make it comply with their beliefs. To this end, they will support a church that does what they themselves will consider as “meddling” if that church supports them. Thus, they praise the INC, with its legendary viciousness against Catholicism and its reliable support for artificial contraception.






In their fight for the passage of the RH Bill, not a few of this Bill’s supporters have, once more, invoked the “Separation of Church and State” in order to muzzle the Catholic Church’s opposition to the RH bill. According to these people, the Catholic Church is violating the principle of the Separation of Church and State by daring to speak out against the Bill.


As we shall see, the supporters of the RH Bill are, in fact, very ignorant of what the “Separation Clause” really means.
  • What Separation of Church and State really means is that the State does not have any State or “Established Church”, it does not subsidize the Church or pay the salary of its clergy, and that no Church has any official access to the instruments of State power (e.g. it cannot use the armed forces to fight other churches or to enforce its beliefs and practices on citizens).
  • Furthermore, in the Philippine legal and constitutional context, the Separation clause has its origins in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, which states that:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”


(Take note: the phrase “Separation of Church and State” can never be found anywhere in the US Constitution)


As a US Congressional Report noted in 1854, “What is an establishment of religion? It must have a creed, defining what a man must believe; it must have rites and ordinances, which believers must observe; it must have ministers of defined qualifications, to teach doctrines and administer the rites; it must have tests for the submissive and penalties for the non-conformist…” (cited in p. 31 of David Barton’s “The Myth of Separation”; Aledo, Texas, Wallbuilder Press, 1992). In short, in a true situation of Union of Church and State, the State will force its citizens to adhere to a particular Church, with punishments for those who do not want to conform. Where there are no such penalties, there is no question of an “Established Church”


In modern times, the Establishment clause has been broadened to include the non-use of government property or funds in order to promote the beliefs of a particular Church or religion. Nevertheless, the principle that no Church must be established by the state has never been understood to mean that no one has the right to speak out in public in accordance with his or her religious beliefs.


In short, the Separation of Church and State was established in order to prevent the government from forcing a particular church down the throats of its citizens, and from encroaching upon the rights of the Church. It was established in order to protect the Churches, not the State.


All of these conditions continue to apply to the Philippines, which has no “state religion”, which does not subsidize the Catholic Church or pay the salaries of its priests, which does not require classes in Catholic beliefs in public schools, and which has no provision for forcing non-Catholics to follow Catholic beliefs and practices at gunpoint. Indeed, non-Catholics churches and religions also have a strong voice in the affairs of state and have considerable public influence in the Philippines. Therefore there is true separation of Church and State in the Philippines.


  • Separation of Church and State does NOT mean that Church officials cannot speak or try to influence state policy. In a democratic republic, any citizen has the right and duty to use his influence and moral suasion in order to persuade the government to take a particular course of action. Since Church officials are citizens, they continue to have the right to speak out in favor of their beliefs, as long as they use purely moral, non-violent and legal means of expressing these beliefs. This is what the CBCP does. Its members are only exercising their rights under the Constitution, and they have certainly not resorted to violent means.
  • Separation of Church and State does not mean that Catholics are required to leave their religious beliefs in their private life, and that they should act like they have no Catholic beliefs at all in the public square. To force Catholics to think and act like they are not Catholics, outside the confines of their private lives, is plain and simple discrimination. In the final analysis, to require Catholics to abandon their religious and moral beliefs in matters of public policy is the same as requiring these Catholics to believe that their religious beliefs are not really true. After all, if you believe that something is true, you will stick to it anywhere and everywhere and in all things, and not just in your private life. The supporters of the RH Bill, in attacking the defenders of the pro-life position for upholding their Catholic beliefs, are in effect attacking the congressional defenders of the pro-life position for having the guts to stick to their moral and religious convictions. This is absurd! In any democracy, it should be expected that people will stick to their moral convictions and make decisions according to their conscience!

  • Furthermore, if we are going to condemn the Catholic Church for violating the separation of Church and State by speaking out against the Bill, then why should Islam and the INC not be accused of committing the same violation when these support the Bill? After all, if speaking out on a proposed Bill in Congress is a form of interference in State matters, then it does not matter whether a church speaks out FOR or AGAINST the Bill; what matters is that the said church spoke ABOUT the Bill. If the Catholic Church is to be condemned for violating the separation of Church and State, then Islam and the INC should be charged guilty of the same violation.


Syndicated 2008-09-29 08:49:00 (Updated 2011-09-07 17:54:46) from Living Core Dumps

20 Aug 2011 (updated 7 Sep 2011 at 18:10 UTC) »

The Reproductive Health Bill: A Biased and Contradictory Bill

The Reproductive Health Bill has a glaring self-contradiction.


In Section 3, where the “Guiding Principles” of the RH Bill are listed, it is stated that:
  1. In the promotion of reproductive health there should be no bias for either modern or natural methods of family planning;


However, the text of the Bill itself clearly prefers and encourages the use of artificial contraceptives, thus violating one of its own “Guiding Principles”


  • In Section 5-f-(1), it is said that the proposed Reproductive Health Care Program will be implemented with the following components:
  1. Reproductive and sexual health education including but not limited to counseling on the full range of legal and medically-safe family planning methods including surgical methods;
    It bears asking: if the Bill claims to establish equality between artificial and natural family planning, then why does it give special mention to “surgical methods”? Nowhere in the bill will we find NFP being given the same kind of special mention. It is obvious that the Bill has a bias for artificial methods (such as surgical ones).
  • There is an entire Section – Section 9 – which requires all national and local government hospitals to make tubal ligation and vasectomy services available, with such services even qualifying for PhilHealth benefits. Why is there no similar proviso making natural family planning services required in all hospitals? Why are there no provisions for benefits for those who want to avail of NFP?
  • In Section 10, contraceptives (in short, artificial – not natural – “family planning”) are declared to be “essential medicines”.  All national and local hospital and other government health units are required to regularly purchase supplies of contraceptives. In contrast, there is no requirement for the same units to invest in purchasing educational and other materials necessary for the dissemination of information on Natural Family Planning (NFP).


Recently, more proof has come out that the supporters of the RH Bill are biased against Natural Family Planning.


The Iglesia Ni Cristo has, in recent days, upheld artificial contraception while condemning natural family planning. This, in effect, requires any member of the INC who wishes to practice family planning to use contraceptives.


If the supporters of the RH Bill are, as they say, not biased against NFP, then they should denounce the Iglesia Ni Cristo with equal fervor for condemning NFP, as they are now condemning the Roman Catholic Church for not accepting artificial contraception.


In fact, the supporters of the RH Bill are praising the INC to the high heavens for being so “enlightened” as to support artificial contraceptives while saying nothing about the INC’s condemnation of natural family planning. In the same way, the supporters of the RH Bill are crucifying the Catholic Church with their malicious propaganda even as they are giving no attention to its support for NFP.


THE FACTS ARE CLEAR:


The RH Bill is BIASED IN FAVOR OF ARTIFICIAL CONTRACEPTION.


The RH Bill’s supporters are BIASED IN FAVOR OR ARTIFICIAL CONTRACEPTION and AGAINST NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING.


All of these sections of the bill, and the behavior of this bill’s proponents, prove that this “Reproductive Health Bill” is dangerously full of lies and proposals that contradict its own principles.


A law as shabbily and deviously written as this does not deserve to pass.


Syndicated 2008-09-29 08:40:00 (Updated 2011-09-07 17:55:21) from Living Core Dumps

20 Aug 2011 (updated 21 Aug 2011 at 21:08 UTC) »

Trying out the new Friendster Blogs

I recently gave the new Friendster Blogs a test drive here in DLSU-CSB during the Wordcamp Philippines 2008 conference, and so far, I'm really impressed. There's a lot of clean-looking themes, and the functionality of blogging has really gone a long way since I started writing blogs in Advogato way back in 2002 (yeah I know I'm a dinosaur in the blogging world - back then we didn't call blogs as blogs, but as journals). 

My only wish though is that Friendster would allow me to import all my journal... err blog entries in Advogato that I started in July 2002. The RSS feed for Advogato only has the 10 most recent entries. I recently found that there's a WordPress plugin for importing Advogato entries, but as of now, Friendster does not allow plugin installation. It's one thing I understand - being a former information security practitioner in a past life tells me that allowing random third-party code in your site is generally a BAD IDEA.


Syndicated 2008-09-06 12:07:00 (Updated 2011-08-20 17:30:59) from Living Core Dumps

20 Aug 2011 (updated 21 Aug 2011 at 21:08 UTC) »

A Mockery of Standardization

I thought it was only an April Fool's joke that ECMA 376, also known as the Office Open XML "standard" was ratified as an ISO standard. Guess what - after hundreds of millions of dollars of lobbying, political maneuvering, the old boys at ISO ratified OOXML as a document standard. The weird part here is that the entire process in the national BRMs were noted to be tainted with intense lobbying and very sharp contrasting stands, rather than the expected unanimous decision that USUALLY happens when a standard gets ratified.

Shame on you Microsoft and ISO, shame on you. To ratify a 6000+ page plus paper stack that even MS hasn't even implemented fully, not to discount that it still has so many bugs that SHOULDN'T EVEN BE IN A STANDARD, is such an amazing feat, not of engineering, but on how corrupt and how low will this company go just to keep earning its dough. No offense, I've got no qualms with business earning their daily living decently, but with this kind of corruption of subverting and making a mockery of proper procedure, this company doesn't even deserve our support.


Syndicated 2008-04-02 22:21:00 (Updated 2011-08-20 17:30:59) from Living Core Dumps

20 Aug 2011 (updated 21 Aug 2011 at 21:08 UTC) »

The long wait for a new Thinkpad

Two years ago I bought the first laptop I really loved and claimed as my own - the Thinkpad T42p. While it wasn't exactly a competitor compared to the Core Duo laptops during that era, that Thinkpad was IT for me, given its size (14" screen with 1400x1050 resolution), weight (2.2kg with the 9 cell battery), ran Linux flawlessly, no Windows keys, and durability (my first laptop, a Dell Latitude C640, was already dead beyond any repair) that's unsurpassed in mainstream brands (no, Toughbooks don't count as "mainstream"). Coupled with a good price of P63,000 back then it was a steal for me to get that mobile workstation.

Fast forward to today. After having sent it for repairs to replace the FireGL graphics card and a new screen, the Thinkpad that I loved is already showing its age. Sure it's still fast, but given the nature of my work, a laptop with a 1.8GHz Pentium M and 1GB of system RAM will not be enough for running multiple VMware images. What I'd want/need is a laptop that would go 4GB, or better yet, beyond, without breaking my back in terms of weight.

I must admit, I've been considering the Macbook Pro - it's sleek, it's got a Unix already preinstalled (Mac OSX), and it will go to 4GB without hiccups. A definite plus is VMware offering their bread and butter app for only $70 on Mac OSX, whereas in Linux and Windows they easily cost $180. The only thing I'm worried though is how much level of abuse will it take. The Thinkpad I'm already familiar with its build quality and ability to last a long time, but not with Apple portables.

There have been reports lately that Lenovo has already revamped their numeration strategy with the advent of the Thinkpad X300. It seems that their numeration system already indicates the the size of the LCD - X300 at 13.3", the rumored X200 at 11", while there's news of T400, T500, W500, W700 Thinkpads. Now if they only have arrived now I would've gotten one.

Looks like it's gonna be a long wait for me. I'm not getting the current X or T-60 series. Besides, I'm still short on cash so it's not really a priority for me.


Syndicated 2008-04-01 11:27:00 (Updated 2011-08-20 17:30:59) from Living Core Dumps

28 Aug 2006 (updated 28 Aug 2006 at 21:13 UTC) »

It's been quite some time since I did an update on this journal... might as well continue it.

Been a very, very busy year for me - as I've been travelling quite a lot, coding quite a lot (Zope,Plone and Archetypes for a legacy ERP project that I'm now rewriting, then Ruby on Rails for the new web apps, XUL and Pythonfor some funky stuff we're doing...) and working a lot more than usual. I guess my friend was right that this would be my busiest year.

Got myself an IBM Thinkpad T42p (2373-N37) after my old Dell Latitude C640 got its system board fried a few weeks ago. That laptop lasted for 2 years and has given me good profits. Ubuntu 6.06 LTS just got the thing running out of the box.

I'm now moving away from using Plone as my web development platform and shifting to Ruby on Rails. It's not due to the hype - rather - I find mixing RDBMS and Plone to be a daunting task (even with Archetype's SQLStorage layer).

LaTeX has been quite a lifesaver for me during document preparation... got nicely-formatted manuals in less time than it would take to have them done via word-processors. I've tried DocBook a long time ago but LaTeX is much easier for me.

Despite having a very busy lifestyle, my girlfriend Sarah has been quite very supportive of me.

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