Saturday, February 26, 2011

Do you lack passion? Are you going through the motions?

I wanted to share this song with you because it's very encouraging and I hope it gives you a reminder or a new perspective today about being passionate about your personal life, your work life, and your spiritual life.

In my tiny sliver of existence of three decades, I've learned that often times I can feel that life is stale.

  • Personal. For instance, in our personal lives, we might find after years of spending time with a love one, we "feel" that we are too distant.

  • Business. Or it could be in our workplace, after months or years in a job, we "feel" that we're no longer passionate about it.

  • Spiritual. Or in our spiritual life, we may say that we believe in God, say the right words, go to church services every weekend, yet outside of that, we don't really talk to Him. Only when we are in deep trouble do we even think of reaching out to Him.

  • If this sounds too familiar, then you have been to a place that all of us go through: a wilderness. It's a place where there's a lack of feeling, a lack of passion, it eats at us slowly. Typically it isn't an instant ride there, it takes one compromise after another, a feeling after another, one turn after the next until we find ourselves at a dead end.

    I learned the hard way on September 1998 that I can't afford to be in the wilderness with my life. (Ask me later what happened.) I can't afford to have regrets, I can't afford to ask, "what if?". I was taught that my life on earth, in a very real way, could be gone in seconds, in minutes. It was the greatest life lesson that one could ask for. I was forced to stare at death and it stared back at me.

    Make the best of life, choose to be happy, choose not to be numb to the world around you. Make a difference, look at your love ones, look at the people around you, and look to God even for the smallest needs.

    Life is too short for this junk. Don't go through the motions, put passion behind your work, your loved ones, and be real with God. Wake up with energy, eat a full meal at the beginning of your day, then drive the rest of the day with passion because this life is a gift, and it's too short to waste. Before you take a full rest of sleep, check yourself in the mirror, did you try your best in your personal, work, and spiritual life? If you did, smile, pray, then sleep well. If you didn't, smile, pray, then sleep well. :-)

    So without further ado, here's the song by Matthew West, called "The Motions". I have included the lyrics below and the YouTube song clip. You can buy it on Amazon for $0.99 cents.

    This might hurt
    It’s not safe
    But I know that I’ve gotta make a change
    I don’t care
    If I break
    At least I’ll be feeling something
    ‘Cause just ok
    Is not enough
    Help me fight through the nothingness of life

    I don’t wanna go through the motions
    I don’t wanna go one more day
    Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
    I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
    What if I had given everything?
    Instead of going through the motions

    No regrets
    Not this time
    I’m gonna let my heart defeat my mind
    Let Your love
    Make me whole
    I think I’m finally feeling something

    Take me all the way
    Take me all the way
    Take me all the way

    Also here's another important principle: ask someone to pray for you!

    Friday, February 25, 2011

    Practical Review: Apple iPad (iOS) vs. Motorola XOOM vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab


    I've been lucky enough to be able to play with the three tablets and I wanted to get my two cents out there to see which one is "better".


    Speed. Motorola XOOM beats out the Galaxy Tab and the iPad. The CPU that the Tab and iPad uses are essentially the same, with the iPad having less components. The XOOM on my benchmark tests were 3x as fast. XOOM wins hands down.

    Video chat.  XOOM and Galaxy Tab can do it.  I must admit it was kinda cool at first video chatting with my wife the other day.  Then we had a tiny argument about something and I think the facial expressions just further aggravated it.  So I'm not going to score this yet.  But just know, iPad is a loser here and in the camera category.

    Internet surfing/browsing. Galaxy Tab wins for Flash support. XOOM is a faster experience, but no native Flash support yet. iPad's smooth browsing experience is good, but scores less overall against the two since it's slower, and there's no Flash support at all. Galaxy Tab wins, with XOOM a close second.

    Applications/development. For sure iPad would have won this...until the revolution. No, not the Libyan revolution. The app developer revolution. Apple has ticked off big publishers and the little guys all at once with a 30% tax on in-subscription sales. Most of the top Apple apps have already been ported in the Android Market -- so yes you Angry Bird lovers, I've played it both on the Galaxy Tab and the XOOM. But boy those pigs are hard to bust after level 20! And for the "oh one inch of my screen is left empty because developers haven't fitted to the screen size" -- well kids, either use the Spare Parts app to do that, or just wait. Stop being a weemer. Galaxy and XOOM tie. Apple loses for being greedier.

    Portability. Steve Jobs I think made a huge mistake by saying 7" tablets have no future. He could have helped define two markets, one for the 10" stay at home/office/couch/toilet types and the 7" go anywhere because it's portable and fits in my jacket types. I belong to the latter camp. I like to move, I like to go to places and take photos, I like to travel. I'm also the type that surfs on the Internet in the middle of nowhere, whether I'm climbing the slippery slopes of Mt. Kanlaon or I'm in a hot air balloon show, I want to be able to take pictures on a tripod plus my other hand looking at emails. If I'm in an airplane bunched up like a sardine, I want to fit healthy plane food on my tray, plus have a taste of Philippine Airlines' world renown wide assortment of beverages (water) and still have room on my tray to watch a movie with my tablet. The iPad and the XOOM sadly will not address this. Galaxy Tab wins hands down.

    Hackability, customization. Have you seen the flying robot Kinect hack? The one that uses the sensors of XBOX's Kinect to be able to have better 3D depth perception? I'm not going to use my tablets for any Skynet hacks anytime soon less I want to be the Terminator's next target, but I do like the fact that you can modify Android tablets and hack 'em to do what you want. Motorola announced on Twitter that XOOM would have an unlocked bootloader. NICE. First thing that popped up in my mind was interlinking XOOMs in building architecture, using it like StarTrek touch/display consoles. But in all seriousness, Motorola gets street credit for being the first to unlock their premium Android tablet bootloader. XOOM wins.

    Storage. Galaxy Tab and XOOM (in the future) takes in extra storage capacity. Extremely helpful when I have little kids competing for movies to watch on road trips or plane trips. I hookup my Galaxy Tab to the TV using its proprietary AV cable or hook it up to my car DVD player that has USB hookups. From Bible stories to Dora to Spongebob, I have an unlimited virtual home entertainment collection for the kiddos in these tiny little miniSD cards that probably should carry a choking hazard label. Tab and XOOM wins.

    Snob aura. Apple wins hands down. "I just buy it cause it's Apple." Yep... You know who I'm talking about.  Apple wins.

    Price. I bought Samsung Galaxy Tab in the Philippines for less than $85 USD, with a two year unlimited data plan (+voice) contract of $45/month USD. It's cheaper than the XOOM ($599+ w/ VZ contract) and the iPad ($499+).  And in an era when bottled water cost more than gas, every penny counts. Galaxy wins.


    If you are like me where pricing, and portability is important to you, Galaxy Tab edges out from the rest of the pack despite the fact that it has less CPU power.  It offers "more bang for the buck".  XOOM though is a close second.

    If you are the couch potato, or office/home user that want raw power and multitasking supremacy, XOOM would be the next choice. The XOOM can probably run Skynet, thanks to Motorola's unlocked bootloader and powerful CPU. And the SuperBowl commercial? Epic. And yes, XOOM would win this fight once it is 100% complete -- LTE speeds, Flash support, SD support. It's all coming in subsequent updates.

    If you want the extra snob effect or just have a general need for Big Apple to watch over you, taking and sucking money out of your margins when you make a subscription-based app, iPad is still there.

    Saturday, February 19, 2011

    I built my first Android app for my kiddos

    I love Android!

    One of the main reasons I like Android vs. the iPad/iPhone's iOS operating system is the freedom of choice. You can customize your Android phone above and beyond the original factory settings.

    You can install custom ROMs, improve on the software, natively watch Flash videos and animations, and generally just have the ability to use the hardware that you bought anyway you want to...but you can also create your own apps!

    How to create your own Android apps!

    It doesn't take that much know how, and I wanted to entertain my kids a little bit with some of their favorite cartoon characters.

    So in this app you can poke several characters from Cars, Barbie, Dora, and Veggie Tales. It plays small snippets of video that I just pulled out of YouTube and created a local copy so it doesn't even need any data connection (also why it's 9mb in size!).

    This took me one morning to build and most of that time was setting up Java SDK and downloading Samsung Galaxy Tab's driver to make my PC work in USB debugging mode for Windows 7 (64-bit). After all of that was done, I was able to easily build the app using Google's Block Builder and App Inventor platform.

    This type of stuff is encouraging -- because it basically allows novices like me to be able to create very easy apps. If one had the time to study and do reference work, you could really do some amazing apps for your Android phone or tablet...

    At any rate, if you want to see this app, check it out here:

    Friday, February 18, 2011

    Why Filipino drug mules should be punished!

    There's been a lot of media attention and press lately about saving Filipino criminals abroad for drug trafficking.  Am I the only one that disagrees with this?

    A drug mule is someone who smuggles drugs into a country or area for a smuggling organization.

    China was about to execute three Filipino drug mules, Ramon Credo, 42, Sally Villanueva, 32, and Elizabeth Batain, 38, for carrying 4,000 to 6,800 grams of heroin. They were arrested in three separate incidents in 2008.

    Philippine vice president, Jejomar Binay, personally came to China this week to plead for clemency on their behalf.

    China's Supreme Court apparently postponed the executions in response to the Philippines government's request, and to show gratitude in response to the Philippines' decision to skip out last December's Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.  As some of you may know, the first Chinese citizen to be recognized for the Prize is a convicted criminal in China for pushing democratic reforms in the country.

    Aquino: What message are you sending?
    While this show of Asian diplomatic love is heart warming, I have to pose a moral question to the Philippine government.

    What message are you sending? We will bow down and throw away the principles of democracy and celebration of free speech (Nobel Peace Prize) so that we can save drug traffickers that kill and injure our children?

    "Oh, how did that get there?"
    These criminals can't exactly claim innocence when they are transporting ~9 to ~15 pounds of drugs! I highly doubt they are "victims" as Binay claims they are. A single gram of heroin in the United States is $300 USD, so one of these mules was carrying an equivalent of over $2.04 million worth of drugs!

    These type of drugs kill. From what I understand, these criminals chose to be part of the killing spree. If they are guilty, they should face the consequences and not be treated as heroes.

    This is not a diplomatic triumph for the Philippines, but an embarrassment.

    Stand on principles Pinoys, or we stand on nothing at all.

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Delta SkyMiles says no to mileage expiration

    J.W. Robertson, Vice President of SkyMiles division sent a mass mailer this morning stating that Delta will no longer expire miles! Great news! Since I came from Northwest WorldPerk's program, where there was no expiration in the first place, it was distressing to hear that because of the merger with Delta, I would lose that privilege. Now I can retain my miles and "save up" for bigger and better things.