Sunday, September 19, 2010

How to be a Super Google Searcher

Ahhh, kids nowadays are so lucky! The internet and search engines only came into being towards the end of my college life. Doing research back then made me browse through several encyclopedias, sift through the card catalogue in the library, made me sneeze through old newspapers and made me go physically to the resource and even other libraries.

Things were much easier though during the time I was taking my MBA. Google was new back then and I immediately started using it. For a nerd like me, Google was heaven sent and I can say that I've been using Google for 12 years now! Wow!

Last week, Google Asia Pacific's regional product marketing manager for consumer products Jay Trinidad came to Manila to demo some new stuff on Google's search product. The following makes Google search faster, fresher and more intuitive:

Google Instant. Search results show as you type keywords. This saves you 2 to 5 seconds per query.

Caffeine. Caffeine is a new search index that provides 50 percent fresher results for web searches compared to its previous index. It is also the largest collection of web content Google has ever offered and will be the foundation in building a faster and more comprehensive search engine. (This is good news for bloggers too!)

Real-time search. Get highly relevant and freshest content from across the web. Shows results from micro blogs, news sites, blogs, web pages and public pages of social networks. This is great especially if you want to see fresh content about ongoing events because it provides information that is happening now.

Re-designed image search. I just tried this awhile ago and it's awesome. Try this: (1) search for "jeepney" on Google Image Search; (2) click on the color red at the lower left side of the page and notice that the results would page would show red jeepneys! (3) now try the other colors. Jay (my hubby) and I tried searching for celebrity photos too!

You can also use other "operators" to make searching on Google easier. The operators I use more often are "define" and "site:" (for searching only a specific website), and I use Google often as a calculator. Check out the Google Cheat Sheet to become a super Google searcher like me!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

100 Days Before Christmas

Midnight of September 1 I promptly greeted my online friends through Twitter and Plurk a Merry Christmas. My friends from other countries find it hard to believe that we have the longest Christmas celebration. It is not unusual for radio stations to play Christmas jingles as soon as the ber months set in. Some malls and shops also start decorating for Christmas. Halloween and Thanksgiving is usually just another day locally and not many celebrate it.

At home we usually put up our Christmas tree on Bonifacio Day (November 30) since it's usually a holiday, but there were times when we set things up as early as All Souls Day. Our street was usually the most lighted and decorated in our village - well until cost of electricity went up. Now that I have my own little family and home I have started to think about Christmas and I think I'd like to enjoy it this year (last year was a mad dash to finish everything for the wedding!).

Christmas Dishes. What got me started thinking about Christmas was the event hosted by Kraft Foods I attended two weeks ago. I have only been cooking for 9 months now and Eden's 100 Days, 100 Towns, 100 Unique Cheese Dishes is overwhelming. That's 100 towns vying for the 2 million pesos support fund through votes for the best dish (more info at Whew! My personal goal would be to learn to make at least 2 of our family Christmas recipes (my Mom's Chicken Galantina and special ham).

Christmas Decors. Whatever Christmas decor I had before is all gone because of Typhoon Ondoy so I'm starting from scratch. I'm planning to get a small tree and make my own decor! I'll probably leave the outside decorating to Sweetie and Miguel.

Christmas Gifts. I always end up cramming for gifts! Things to do within the week: update my Christmas list and check my inventory of gifts (yes, I do keep a stash for emergencies). I used to make gifts when I had the time. Hopefully I'll find some time and make some stuff!

And to kick-off a 100-day countdown to Christmas, here's the Las Pinas Boys Choir singing their Filipino Christmas songs repertoire:

Friday, September 10, 2010

Movie Review: Sa `Yo Lamang

I like watching Filipino movies, so when the trailer for "Sa `Yo Lamang" showed on TV I told Sweetie that I wanted to watch it (that was last July). We finally got the chance to watch it today with my parents, my Tita and Miguel because of the holiday.

At the end of the movie, amidst tears I was trying to hide, I asked Sweetie, "Why does Star Cinema only make these types of movies once a decade?" Anyway, this movie couldn't have come at a better time and I applaud the producers of this movie for going around schools to reinforce the value of family togetherness.

No Family is Perfect. We all have our weird quirks. We all fight - may it be in a noisy or silent mannger. We all have problems. We all go through periods of being distant, being together. Trials always come in one form or another. One of the characters summed it up pretty well when she said, "No family is perfect. You either accept them as they are and make the best out of it. Or pity yourself and be miserable for the rest of your life."

Togetherness. The many trials the family faced in the movie seem quite unbelievable, but it is probable. The movie showed how mothers play a major role in keeping a family together.

Forgiveness. There can be no love if there is no forgiveness. The movie showed the importance of opening one's heart to forgive, no matter how huge the sin may be.

These are just some of the things that the movie tried to reinforce about how a family should cope with trials. Watching it with my family made me remember all of the trials we've been through in the past. My Mom's just like Amanda (Lorna Tolentino). Strong, prayerful, forgiving, loving and the ilaw ng tahanan. Something that I should be like now that I have my own little family.

Watch the movie and be prepared to cry.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Convection Oven that Blogging Bought

Once in a blue moon I earn some money from blogging and usually the pay-out comes in time for my birthday. Last year I got myself a nice executive chair from 2 years worth of blogging. It was something that I really missed from my previous job, a nice executive chair that dwarfs me (mababaw lang kaligayahan ko). It was one of the two things that we managed to save during Typhoon Ondoy (whew! The other one was my desktop PC).

I love to bake, but I haven't been able to do so in the past few years because I didn't have a working oven and I've become allergic to LPG so I can't use my Mom's oven anymore. I wanted to get one last summer but I didn't have the budget for it. I started to scout around for the one my best friend in Singapore recommended, but found out that local appliance stores/department stores don't carry that many brands.

I settled for the Imarflex 3-in-1 convection and rotisserie.

I was so excited to bake again I bought 2 new baking pans and some ingredients the next day and immediately worked on baking some peanut butter cookies.

It didn't turn out the way I expected it to be (pan was too small), 
but the 2 dozen cookies I baked were gone in less than 24 hours. 

And then last weekend I baked some yummy chocolate crinkles!

Hopefully, I can get my online cooking tutors to teach me how to bake some yummy dinner dishes. Also have to get recipes from my Ate.