Thursday, June 28, 2007

Moon picture

I came home late tonight and when I got home, I noticed the moon shining brightly with hardly any cloud cover. I took out my camera and tripod to see if I could capture the moon. The moon was still pretty far off, but I was able to get a shot of the surface and the craters of the moon. It would have probably been better if I used automatic settings, but I thought I'd go manual mode and see if I could capture the image. Six mosquito bites later and about four bad images, I was able to pull off the right manual settings to get this shot. Enough to see the craters. My settings are below.

Date: June 29, 2007
Time: 12:02 AM EST
Location: Southwest Florida
Settings: 1/800 shutter speed, 4.0 aperture, ISO 100
Camera: Canon Rebel 350D XT
Lens: Canon EF 70-200mm L f/4
Notes: Decrease in shutter speed caused a flare effect, and ISO above 100 resulted in a white out. Higher apperture may be able to get you darker contrast.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Gadget geeks excited about the new iPhone

Gadget geeks across the world are excited about the new iPhone. It is a revolutionary phone -- it surfs, it dials, plays video, and plays music. Plus, your smudgey, oily hands have the ability to touch it over and over again, creating this cloudy aura on your screen. But that's not all, it can offer traffic reports via Google Maps. So you can get turn by turn directions and be able to tell whether you're stepping into a traffic-lagged road.

Coming in roughly about half the cost of Blackberry call plans on AT&T, iPhone is going to be a must-have toy this Christmas.

But despite the hype, am I buying one? The answer: no. I certainly wouldn't mind if someone bought one for me, but the practicality of this cell phone is lacking. You would think for the expense, there would be expansion slots...nope! Plus, if you are not in a WiFi area, the phone's speed is totally dependent on Cingular/AT&T's EDGE network. I've had experience with this network, I traveled 16 states by land and attempted to use it. At best, I was able to get the average speed of a dial-up user. That's not the type of speed I want to experience with a revolutionary product. The keyboard's accuracy is also left wanting, since it is a touch screen, productivity and speed isn't part of the equation when it comes to text messaging.

Suggestions for improvement

  • An expansion slot.
  • Be able to use other networks (ie: Verizon and Sprint)
  • Small keyboard that can be pulled out?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Amanda Ripley, TIME, considers terrorist wannabes

Recently, Amanda Ripley of TIME Magazine criticized federal prosecutors for having a press conference announcing the capture of NY terrorist wannabes wanting to blow up JFK Airport. In her view, they were not much of a threat and the government shouldn't have 'overhyped' the news because it only makes us 'less safe'.

This is by far the dumbest thing I have ever heard of. Just because terrorist wannabes weren't 'smart enough' or their plans weren't going to work, that doesn't mean they should be taken lightly. Given enough resolve, people will amount to something, whether it be for bad or for good. I mean, who knew that a failed architect/painter named Adolf would someday run Germany and eventually takeover Europe and kill millions of Jews?

We should never underestimate people and their ability to hold on to a cause. To do so would be stupid, as stupid as those whacky plans made by Abdul Hakim Murad in 1996. Filipino intelligent agents found terrorist plans to use planes to hit the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon. The Clinton administration, at the time, having the same mindset as Ms. Ripley now, thought those plans were too crazy to be fulfilled.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

FSBPT scores released for Filipino PT graduates!

FSBPT scores have been released, verified by three independent sources and also through me looking at FSBPT's online case status. Congratulations to those who passed! The investigation is still not over; however, FSBPT, upon review of the hundreds of letters and calls, has submitted to reason. Thanks to all that helped!

While the investigation is not over, the FSBPT has decided to lift
the restriction on the reporting of NPTE scores. Thus, effective
immediately, the FSBPT will resume releasing and reporting NPTE
scores of all candidates to the jurisdictions, including those
graduating from physical therapy education programs in the

Thank you,

Christine Sousa
Managing Director of Exam Services
Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy
509 Wythe Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703)739-9420, ext. 201

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

How to choose the best digital SLR camera

I went to a photo studio today to get some pictures for a new project and I was kinda surprised how much they charged. I looked at the equipment and what they were doing, it didn't really look all that hard.

By the end of the session, I was charged about $470 for 11 shots (full 8x11 prints). The lady at the counter asked me if I wanted to buy a "pearl" version of the prints, meaning a different photo paper for an extra $10 per sheet. Wow. "Pearl" paper aka glossy is about .14 cents per sheet. She's trying to sell it to me for $10. No wonder these guys stay in business. They even showed me how they could smooth out edges with PhotoShop using a filter. While I nodded my head, pretending to be impressed, in the back of my mind, I was asking myself: why am I paying these guys so much?

Thought process...
Everytime I have to do a marketing shot, whether it be myself, clients, or products, I don't want to keep shelling out $40+/per picture. But I also want to avoid non-professional shots that come from point and shoot cameras. While point and shoot cameras are fine, they don't have the same resolution or image clarity as these professional cameras have.

The inquiry
I started asking the photographer what type of camera she was using. I also poke my head at the software she was using, lenses, etc. The equipment all in all was pretty standard.

What I bought tonight
After some careful review online, getting info from the photographer, and calling up some experts at Ritz Camera, I have decided to buy a semi-professional digital SLR for my business. Not only will it save money, but it'll sure be a lot of fun playing with a new toy.

My choice? Canon Digital Rebel XT 8MP Digital SLR Camera. It seems Amazon has the best price on it compared to any other retailer.

I'll follow-up with subsequent posts on how this new adventure will plan out.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Gun-wielding teen robbers repelled by store manager

House of the alleged gunmen.

We know in this world, criminals will always have guns. There's no going around that. I originally came from a country that had the strictest gun laws in the planet, but criminals still had guns. My first childhood memories were civilians being shot by criminal gangs -- how's that for childhood trauma.

That's why I'm always happy to hear when civilians fight back because the state government allows them to. Such was the case with an armed robbery in Fort Myers, Florida today. According to NBC-2, and NewsPress, two gunmen, wielding a shotgun and a handgun came into a discount supermarket and tried to shoot at the store manager.

But the store manager fired back, killing 16-year old gunman, Damione Massey of 5047 Centennial Blvd, Lehigh Acres, FL. The second suspect, 14-year old Devon Gallagher, was shot in the stomach as he also tried to shoot at the manager. He quickly ran to a getaway car and drove off to Lehigh Medical Center where he was treated and captured.

Some food for thought
1. The alleged gunmen are young teens. Police say they see an increase spike in juvenille crime during the summer months since school is out, but it is rare for juvenilles to be this violent. From experience, these types of incidents are usually drug or gang-related.

2. My condolences to the friends and family of these kids. It is hard to be a working parent and being able to closely watch your kids. But this doesn't lessen the responsibility, the burden we bear as parents is hard, but we need to continue to educate our children about the friends they choose and the choices they make.

3. Criminals will always have guns. In fact, if you shutdown all of the gun factories and gun stores in the country, guns would still exist (plus an increase in stabbings). In fact, when I was young I met a person that made his own revolvers. So let's stop thinking that violent crime will disappear when guns are taken off the market. Guns will always exist.

The only way to deter these type of issues is to create a deterrant. In Florida, you are allowed to have a gun in your car (glove box), a gun in your house, and a gun in your place of business for self-defense purposes. While we pray that we never have to use these guns against another human being, especially kids, we need to be prepared to be able to not only save our lives but save the lives of others: your family members, your friends, or in this case, your customers.

A new law school in Southwest Florida

Recently I had a brief discussion with Florida Gulf Coast University's legal studies program coordinator about the feasability of a law school in southwest Florida. Fort Myers, Port Charlotte, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs, Estero, San Carlos, Sanibel, Marco Island, Lehigh Acres, and Naples would all benefit from a law school in this area. We're one of the fastest growing areas in the country! But, the response I got was rather gloomy: "A law school at FGCU at this time is just not feasible. It would take years of money, planning and building."

SWFL law students no choice but to leave area
Let's pretend that I want to study law, the closest law school for me would be located in the Tampa/Orlando region or in the Miami/Ft Lauderdale area. The best option from my own research shows that Florida International University is the best choice not only because they had one of the highest pass rates in Florida history, but also because their tuition costs are very affordable (roughly $8k/year). The next affordable law school is Florida A&M University, a historically black/minority school. They are plagued by some issues (ie: faculty retention), but they are nonetheless, an institution that needs a break: they have struggled to gain a foothold after their struggle to survive in the 1960s. You see in 1966, during the troubled times when blacks and minorities tried to achieve equality, Florida Board of Control shut the law school down.

So I have two primary choices, one is FIU and my secondary is FAMU.

New hope
But then I accidentally bumped on a press release dated February 2007. Ave Maria School of Law, a fully ABA-accredited law school is moving from Michigan to the Naples area in 2009!

This is great news especially for students that really don't want to give up on Southwest Florida. Aside from historically good weather (Hurricane Charlie/Wilma notwithstanding), this area of Florida offers a relaxed lifestyle with no metropolitan headaches.

Finally! A law school in the area.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Minister Killer Gets 60 Days, Paris Hilton Gets 45 Days

Ahh yes, the justice system we have in the United States sometimes is quirky. Mary Winkler, the wife that killed his minister husband is estimated to serve about 60 days. Paris Hilton, driving under a suspended driver's license due to a DUI, was sentenced to 45 days.

But despite its quirkiness, I still believe it is the best in the world. I mean, just look at Iran's legal system, try to share your faith and you go to jail!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

FSBPT, NPTE update and rumors

JULY 2010 UPDATE: ENOUGH ALREADY FSBPT!  We're sick and tired of your abuse of power.  Visit here to fight back against FSBPT legally!

News about FSBPT and their actions to temporarily ban all Filipinos from physical therapy licensure has already hit the Philippines and other countries such as India. I just wanted to give a brief update on here.

  • On Friendster and physical therapy forums, there is a rumor of a New York physical therapist that was asked to retake the NPTE, supposedly because her name was on the SLRC list. So is this fact or fiction? And who started this rumor? It took me a while to trace this rumor (the Internet is big), but I found the following post online that seemed to have started it all:

    charmaj_14 wrote:

    Hello to everyone. I just want to share this. I receive a call from a friend in New York & she's been working there as a PT for almost two years. Last week she received an email from FSBPT requesting her to RE-TAKE the stateboards. I think she was also enrolled at slrc So, in-short even if you're already in the U.S , you are still affected by the fsbpt's investigation. This is so unfair. We passed the exam because we study hard & all of us deserves it.

  • I can tell you that charmaj_14's account has not been recently created. For instance, if someone just wanted to joke around, they could create a fake account and post a rumor. The account has been active for at least 2 years, giving some credibility that this person is not a spoof or a joke.
  • The New York state board does not publish their disciplinary actions instantly and we don't have a name on the PT, so at the moment, we have to label this rumor as speculative with some credible elements. I will attempt to contact the original poster to verify the story.
  • bingbong from the PT forum called the NY state board and said, "i was very surprised when i heard this from a friend and when i read it here. i called nysed office of the professions and they clarified that the rumor is not true. they are not revoking any license unless a therapist commited and was proven guilty of anything that would jeopardize his/her license".
Double standards As you may, or may not know, FSBPT temporarily banned all Filipino PT graduates because they believe review centers encouraged students to cheat. If "cheating" is the standard for this type of policy, shouldn't it be applied to every country? Let me explain with some facts below:
  • APTA's PT Bulletin, September 13, 2002, Volume 3 Issue 38 reported that FSBPT was investigating cheaters, presumably in the U.S.A.
  • FSBPT Vol 19 No 3 reported during a meeting in Utah that cheating was prevalent in the United States (Professor Hogan was quoted).
  • Ann Tyminski, Executive Director of the Maryland Board of Physical Therapy Advisors and a member of the FSBPT Board of Directors gave an update in 2004 that FSBPT was pursuing four candidates that had committed copyright violations of NPTE.
  • So why didn't FSBPT withhold test scores from all U.S. students when they found U.S. cheaters?
  • Once you have double standards, the policy, in my eyes, moves away from being fair and balanced to discrimination.
Other updates
  • Most people recognize that FSBPT has the right to investigate cheaters. This is fair and just if they follow the evidence.
  • But their actions against an entire country is incorrect and it is excessive. They do not have evidence that the entire country cheated, so why do they temporarily ban all Filipino-educated PTs from licensure?
  • The only people that seem to disagree with me are people that are already in the United States or Canada and are already licensed. Or people that are in the Philippines that aren't in the situation because they don't want to come over to the U.S. to work. My only words to these critics: Don't criticize people that are suffering from this. If you have nothing constructive to say, don't say it at all.
  • To people that do not like FSBPT's actions, you need to start writing letters. Yes, letters to newspapers, media outlets, TV, government officials, and to FSBPT. Without the public on your side, nobody will know. Click here for some additional actions you can take.
  • Look at FSBPT's web site, they have entirely been silent on the issue. Why? Because they know what they are doing is controversial: banning an entire nation's PT graduates without due process is un-American (I'm a Filipino-American, so I can say that).
  • In America's legal system, due process protects an individual from being punished for a crime before there is evidence against him. For instance, if a murder occurred in the state of New Jersey, should we jail the entire population of New Jersey and then figure out who the murderer is? Due process protects you from that type of unfair, knee jerk reaction.
  • If FSBPT claims to "protect the health, safety and welfare of the [American] public", they must at least follow the principles of the country's legal establishment. If not, they are hypocrites.

I invite discussion and if you have any updates, please click on the comment link below.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The health care debate: an angle not mentioned

The United States, no doubt, is the most powerful country in the world. But when it comes to managing our health care costs and ensuring health care access to citizens, we are one of the worst. Did you know that our health care spending is 4.3 times the amount spent on national defense? (source: NCHC)

As I'm watching presidential hopefuls debate over health care costs on national television, I'm astounded that there is a lack of effort, a lack of recognition on why our health care costs are so high.

Let me introduce a new catch phrase on this debate: personal responsibility.

Ah, yes, that word that seems to strike at the very core of our society. This is where we take responsibility of our own actions rather than blame it on others. We are all guilty of straying away from this principle because it tends to hurt the ego. But the truth is, a lot of our health care costs are due to the lack of personal responsibility, specifically the personal lifestyles we choose that hurts the entire nation.

Here's some examples:

  • In a 1998 analysis by health economists of the University of California, cigarette smoking costs about $72.7 billion a year.
  • According to a CDC report, being overweight and being obese costs us roughly $92.6 billion in 2002 dollars.
  • According to the Marin Institute, total cost of alcohol problems is $175.9 billion a year.
  • According to the same site, $114.2 billion a year is spent for drug abuse problems.

What I just posted are just some glaring examples of how the lack of personal responsibility equates to higher health care costs. In short, one of the main reasons health insurance costs are so high is that we abuse our own bodies. We don't sleep right, we don't eat right, we drink too much alcohol and not enough water,, we don't exercise, and we abuse substances that we know are bad for our bodies. We then turn around to our politicians and say, when we get sick because of these actions, I want you to pay for it.

So now that we understand the lack of personal responsibility as a major cause of rising health care costs: how do we fix this problem?