Friday, April 30, 2010

Island of Panay (Iloilo) 4.5 earthquake, 4/30/2010

An intensity IV earthquake (light) was recorded in the island of Panay, Philippines on 4/30/2010, 10:49pm local time. According to the US Geological Survey, the small quake was felt 65km away at another nearby island of Negros.

Friday, April 23, 2010

How to Use Google's DNS Servers to Surf Faster on the Web

My Internet service provider (ISP) was having issues with its DNS servers today and I was not able to surf the web. A quick ping test revealed my Internet connection was fine. I was able to send and receive packets.

Using my cell phone to look for public DNS servers, I found Google's free public DNS services and changed my settings to and and I was surfing in no time. This quick article will hopefully give you some tips on how I did it, in case you ever want to fix the problem yourself OR you want to have a faster web experience by not waiting on your ISP.

What in the world does your ISP's DNS servers have to do with Internet surfing?

DNS servers in layman's terms are like phone directories or front desk secretaries, or for my U.S. friends, it's like dialing 411 for information. Anytime you want to "call up" a web site, the DNS servers maps out your Internet request to the correct location. By doing so, when you type in your favorite web site, the DNS servers "connect" you and that web site.

Simple enough concept right? No front desk secretary means your visitors are going to be being lost. No switchboard or phone directory means you can't connect to the person you are trying to reach.

The Google solution

I used my cell phone to look for safe, and free public DNS servers. There's a few options out there, and are good examples. However, I saw an interesting trustworthy name that popped up in my search results: Google.

What in the world? Google is offering free DNS services? Why would they carry this expense?

Well, their Google DNS site explained their strategy. DNS lookup is part of the browsing experience. Anytime the ISP's DNS servers are slow or out, it hurts their business.

To alleviate the problem, they are going to help by providing free, fast, and scalable DNS services.


Setting it up

Google's DNS servers are easy to setup on your computer. The IP addresses that you need to input are: and

Since I'm using Windows 7, my screenshots and configuration path below might be different from your setup. They should be relatively close though to previous versions of Windows (XP and Vista). All you need to find are your TCP/IP settings.

Configuration path:
1. Click on Control Panel -> Network and Sharing Center
2. Click on "Change adapter settings"
3. Right-click on the network you're connected on. Click on properties. In my case, I right clicked on Local Area Network.
4. Find TCP/IP (IPv4).
5. Change the domain name servers.

Want to learn more about this topic? I recommend this book.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Corinth Canal

Corinth Canal
Originally uploaded by Don Sausa

The Corinth Canal is a canal that connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. It cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth and separates the Peloponnesian peninsula from the Greek mainland, thus effectively making the former an island.

The canal is 6.3 kilometres in length and was built between 1881 and 1893.

The original idea to cut through this area was proposed in the 7th century BC by the Greek ruler Periander.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pacquiao vs Clottey -- Clottey Precision

Pacquiao vs Clottey -- Clottey Precision
Originally uploaded by Don Sausa

What's one of the rarest occurrences in the world? Not diamonds. It's Joshua Clottey throwing a punch! I caught it on this photograph. Pacquiao gets hit by one of the few punches Clottey gave on this bout.

Manny Pacquiao vs. Joshua Clottey, billed as The Event, was a boxing welterweight fight for the WBO World welterweight championship. The bout was held on March 13, 2010, at Cowboys Stadium, in Arlington, Texas, United States. This match was put together after the long awaited "superfight" between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. had fallen through.

Over 50,944 fans were there, the biggest boxing audience in nearly two decades.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Taste the Rainbow (Avatar in real life)

Taste the Rainbow
Originally uploaded by Don Sausa

Skittles should hire me as their official photographer. This picture, cropped a little bit wide, was taken with a Canon Rebel XT (350D) and a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L glass. I found this recently on my old hard drives and was delighted to find this once in a lifetime shot.

There's no added detail to this picture, the rainbow, the ship, the waterfalls on the left hand side -- are all real and a testament to Norway's hidden worlds. If you loved Avatar's 3D fantasy world -- you need to visit Norway.

Shot at one of Bergen's fjords.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bacolod International Airport (BAC) Cebu Pacific Plane

Bacolod International Airport (BAC) Cebu Pacific Plane
Originally uploaded by Don Sausa

Jan 2010: I arrived in Bacolod early evening around 6pm (MNL timezone) after a short meeting in Manila. When it gets a bit dark here, funky colors start coming out like a slight purple tint to the sky.

While I was watching my luggage being loaded in the van, I saw a Cebu Pacific Airbus plane being unloaded. I went towards the fence and took a quick shot.

After reducing the noise a bit (shot at ISO 3200), it almost looks like they're toy models.

Canon EOS 7D camera
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0L
1/50 secs, f/6, ISO 3200 (noisy!)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Canon 7D firmware v1.2.1 released

The much anticipated v1.2.1 released today but without certain features such as audio controls that indie filmmakers have wanted, or auto ISO or other similar features that you'd find in the cheaper 550D version.

More details here:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Close to Extinction - Negros Bleeding Heart - Gallicolumba keayi

Close to Extinction - Negros Bleeding Heart - Gallicolumba keayi
Originally uploaded by Don Sausa

This beautiful bird, the Negros Bleeding-heart (Gallicolumba keayi), is unfortunately close to extinction due to over hunting and habitat lost. It is mainly found in the islands of Panay and Negros. It is estimated that there are only a hundred of these birds left in the Negros island. The local name for this species is punalada. Like all bleeding-heart doves, they can only be found in the Philippines.

This species has an extremely small, severely fragmented population. Continuing rates of forest loss on the two islands where it occurs suggest that it will continue to decline, thereby qualifying it as critically endangered with the possibility of being extinct in the wild within years time.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Gallicolumba Luzonica - The Luzon Bleeding-heart

Gallicolumba Luzonica - The Luzon Bleeding-heart
Originally uploaded by Don Sausa

What a gorgeous bird this is!

The Luzon Bleeding-heart (Gallicolumba luzonica) is a number of species of ground dove in the genus Gallicolumba that are called "bleeding-hearts". They get this name from a splash of vivid red color at the centre of their white breasts. The Philippines' Luzon Bleeding-heart is the species in which this feature is most pronounced.

The species is endemic to the central and southern parts of the large island of Luzon, and the neighbouring small Polillo Islands, in the Philippines.

In The Field

Don In The Field
Originally uploaded by Don Sausa

Somewhere on an island in the middle of the Philippines is a faint sound of 8 frames per second. That's me with wearing a Canon camera vest, with a Canon EOS 7D DSLR, a Canon 70-200mm f4L and Manfrotto 682B Self Standing Monopod.

Coleto (Sarcops calvus)

Coleto (Sarcops calvus)
Originally uploaded by Don Sausa

This awkward looking bird with a pink featherless head isn't the Philippines' most attractive endemic creature. Nonetheless, its strange features make an interesting photograph.

The Coleto bird (Sarcops calvus) is a starling species (family Sturnidae) in the monotypic genus Sarcops. It is endemic to the Philippines.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

IRS address for international expatriates (expats)

It's tax season! It's pretty simple to file online if you live in the United States, but if you live abroad, you have to print your tax forms and mail it to this following address:

Regular postmail
Internal Revenue Service Center
Austin, Texas 73301-0215

Courier mail like DHL/FedEx
Internal Revenue Service
3651 South Interregional Hwy 35
Austin, Texas 78741
Telephone: +1 (512) 460 7944
Toll-free: +1-800-829-1040

Source: U.S. Embassy, London.

Finale: Bacolod Weekend Photo Expedition

Bacolod Shoreline
Originally uploaded by Don Sausa

It was one of the final closing shots.

The sun was closing down on me really quickly and the colors started shifting. I moved a little bit off the rocks and started focusing on where the sun's final rays broke through the clouds.

It was nature's "grand finale". Until tomorrow.

Canon EOS 7D
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L
Tv: 1/160 secs, Av: 5.6, ISO 160
Focal length: 70mm

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Irony at the Rice Farm

Irony at the Rice Farm
Originally uploaded by Don Sausa

A photographic irony: A domesticated water buffalo (called a "carabao") supervises the humans as they tend to the rice field. Location: Balasan, Iloilo, the island of Panay, Philippines

Dry Fish Market

Dry Fish Market
Originally uploaded by Don Sausa

Estancia, Panay island, Philippines. A public fish market that specializes in dried fish. If DSLR cameras could only record how badly it smelled.

Reclamation Area

Reclamation Area
Originally uploaded by Don Sausa

Bacolod's 124 hectare reclamation area now hosts one of the busiest ports in the Philippines.

The BREDCO Port has daily access to Iloilo, with different shipping lines such as Supercat, Weesam Express, Ocean Jet, and Aleson Shipping. There are also access routes to Puerto Princesa City, Cagayan de Oro City, General Santos City. Dipolog City, Zamboanga City, Butuan City, Iligan City, Ozamiz City, and Surigao City served by different shipping lines such as Negros Navigation and SuperFerry. By boat, Bacolod City is 18 hours from the Port of Manila and 45 minutes from the Port of Iloilo.

Canon 35mm f/1.4L Lens

Sea House

Sea House
Originally uploaded by Don Sausa

As you move away from the urban jungles of Manila and Cebu and move closer to provincial areas of the Philippines, you will be delighted to find man-made bamboo structures just off the shore.

These structures can sometimes be very elaborate, but most of them are small and are designed as holding areas for fish or mussels. Some structures have makeshift beds for fishermen that want to take a nap.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L lens

Pope John Paul II Tower

Pope John Paul Tower
Originally uploaded by Don Sausa

I wanted to take some new pictures of Bacolod this weekend. I had a general idea of where I wanted to go and what I wanted to portray. While I'm not Catholic, I couldn't help but appreciate the lovely Pope John Paul II Tower that was recently built by Simplicio Palanca as a gift of love to the Roman Catholic Church. On this exact same spot, the pope gave a speech to thousands of Negrenses on Feb 20, 1981.

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L lens

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Windows 7 Blue Screen of Death -- BSOD Minidump Files and How to Analyze It

My brand spanking new Dell laptop gave me a blue screen of death the other day with the usual jibberish that disappears within seconds.

At the very least, you would think Microsoft has changed this known color of death.  Looks like they kept the tradition even in Windows 7.  The first blue screen of death started with the first version of Windows and yes, OS/2.  (If you're reading this and you actually know what OS/2 is, I'm impressed.)

Using my trusty Googling skills, I found two solutions to help me debug these funky symbols on the screen.

The first solution is downloading Debugging Tools for Windows. Debugging Tools for Windows includes the following debuggers: WinDbg, A user-mode and kernel-mode debugger with a graphical interface. KD.exe, a kernel-mode debugger with a console interface. Cdb.exe, a user-mode debugger with a console interface. Ntsd.exe, a user-mode debugger with a console interface. Lots of command line options and manual tasks.

The second (preferred and easy) solution is downloading a freeware utility called BlueScreenView. It scans all your minidump files created during 'blue screen of death' crashes, and displays the information about all crashes in one table. For each crash, BlueScreenView displays the minidump filename, the date/time of the crash, the basic crash information displayed in the blue screen (Bug Check Code and 4 parameters), and the details of the driver or module that possibly caused the crash (filename, product name, file description, and file version).

While I'm still searching through what exactly I need to fix and what drivers caused the crash, I would recommend BlueScreeView to anyone that's going through the same experience.  Makes life a lot easier.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

XBox Live vs. PS3's PlayStation Network (PSN) Review


I recently received Microsoft's XBox Live Gold Membership renewal e-mail (see below). I haven't had the time to play it for quite some time due to my travels, and having another baby in my life, but I intend to play sometime again when I finally get settled and have some free weekends.  

For folks that are looking to make their first membership purchase, I highly recommend XBox Live.  

I've been part of the XBox and PS3/PSN community since its inception.  Comparing the two, there's no contest.  I truly love the clean XBox Live interface and the high participation rate.  Just to give you an example, simple card games like Uno can be purchased online with ease and within a few minutes you can be playing with hundreds of players around the world.  Sadly, in the PS3/PSN world, it is a hit or miss.  Most of the participation comes from the most popular games and the age groups/interests are not as distributed as XBox Live.

Pros of XBox Live:

  1. Wide age groups from the young punks to the adults that actually like to play family games.
  2. More controlled environment; subscribers pay annual fees, verified identities, more trustworthy.
  3. Feature set includes streaming, Unbox videos (HD!), social media apps, etc.

Pros of PSN/PS3:

  1. It's free.

What are your thoughts and experiences?  

Your subscription to Xbox Live 12 mo. Gold Membership is scheduled to be automatically renewed on Tuesday, April 27, 2010. Here is a description of the service:

For only $49.99 plus applicable taxes per year, your 12-month Xbox Live Gold Membership brings you the best in gaming and entertainment. You can invite friends from all over to connect and play along with online multiplayer and watch thousands of HD movies streamed instantly from Netflix – even connect with friends on Facebook®, follow and post Tweets on Twitter, and stream personalized radio from Plus, as a Gold member, you enjoy exclusive Deals of the Week, and special sneak-peak content. Xbox LIVE Gold Membership is your connection to more games, more entertainment, more fun. Your membership will automatically renew to an annual membership at the then current price, unless you change your renewal or cancel before your membership ends. Pricing details can be viewed in the Account Management area of your gamer profile. For information about changing or canceling your membership and your membership refund policy, go to

Please confirm that your account and payment information is up to date.

To check pricing details, and to confirm your account information and payment options, go to:
If your account information is still accurate, there's no need to do a thing. Sit back, relax, your membership will automatically renew and we'll see you on Xbox LIVE! For more info, go to or call Xbox Customer Support at 1 (800) 4MY-XBOX.

Thank you for using Microsoft Online Services.

Xbox LIVE Team