Friday, November 26, 2010

DevCon in ICEAN Congress

The 2nd ICEAN Congress (University of Southeastern Philippines - Institute of Computing) was worth the break. Yes, break from the academic pressures of project completions (i know you guys-my colleagues know what are those ^_^). It is this ICEAN Congress that I can say I enjoyed attending the event.

The program started a little late because the event speakers were not able to arrive on time. Yet Information Technology and Computer Science students gathered at the university social hall are invigorated for the upcoming talks and activities for the day (not to mention the freebies!). Well as usual, there were distinguished speakers from various organizations in the IT industry, some of them had actually delivered talks from the previous congress. The first speaker who was Eric Su from PicLyf shared about certain points in getting jobs the awesome way. Basically it made students realize how significant it is to aim high and stand out to help build an awesome career in the future. The second speaker who was Milvene Mineses of Simply Gray Studio amazed the audience with the video presentation of wedding photography which focused on incorporating the effects of Adobe Photoshop to enhance photo shots. This impressed me since I aspired to have my own camera (how I wish it would be a DSLR one) and try my own shots someday. That involved a real big investment anyway. Before the morning session ended, the third speakers (they were two from the same company, Edmund Lee and Rojenn Ortiz from Offsourcing Inc.) discussed about important tips and strategies on how to write a resume that would stand out from the rest of the crowd when applying for jobs. I participated in the group collaborations of resume writing and I got a movie ticket as a freebie. Woohoo!

The best thing that made this ICEAN Congress memorable is that the DevCon people did not just send speakers from their team, but slipped in and made real DevCon a part of the event. That's enjoyment level-up! DevCon has its established sessions of lightning talks, birds of a feather, and hackathon. Mark Maglana perked up the audience with the intro to DevCon, explaining the organization's role and its offers to the community of developers. Keynote speaker Edmund Lee, president of Offsourcing Inc., once again awed the pipz with another discussion on the topic "After Graduation, What?" which is helpful especially for fourth year students and those who are doubtful of their careers after graduation, and the movie tickets as freebies of course! The succeeding discussions were lightning talks from CS evening student Veniza Joy Macaraeg who talked about IC students' experience in "IC on Tour" field trip/seminar, registered nurse-turned-animation graphics animator Tina Ortiz who not only dazzled the audience with her appeal but with her meaningful expression of turning a passion into a career, Jong Jison with his demonstration on Umbraco, an open source ASP.NET CMS, Eric Su once again from PicLyf who showed off the features of PicLyf and gave away T-shirts as freebies, and two more speakers who exhibited HTML 5/CSS 3 features and Windows Phone 7 awesome attibutes.

The next part was the Birds of a Feather (BoF) session side-by-side with Hackathon activity which were participated by groups of students. I was part of one team standing up for Google Chrome in the BoF which focused on Battle of Internet Browsers: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome. It was actually a friendly debate and although I have prepared and searched some facts about the good side of Chrome, I was sort of not able to voice them out since my teammates were dashing their way to bring down the opponents. Nevertheless the audience had judged the winner - team Google Chrome. A DevCon T-shirt prize for me! Weeeh! All the pipz joined in the countdown to the hackathon, a timed coding activity for groups of students executing a programming or web activity with a desired output to be judged.

The event ended up with lots of cheers and picture takings. Everybody enjoyed the activities, not to mention the witty speakers who are very casual with speaking English, and the freebies and the raffle. Hopefully, the next ICEAN Congress will surpass the vigor and learnings that we, students, had on this event. And one more thing, I hope there would be real drinks and pizza for everyone to enjoy. ^_^

Free movie pass and T-shirt from DevCon (with autograph from Diane Suico,
Mark Maglana, and Randy S. Gamboa)- freebies that I got from participating.
I don't have all the pictures taken during the event yet. I guess I'll upload it later.  Thanks to my classmates for the photo shots at the social hall. And to Sir RSG. :-)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Back to Basics: Komiks

A short feature on the news telecast last night caught my 'reflective' mood and made me recall my childhood. The news features a comic book created by JB Gamboa, an artist who previously made a successful first attempt of publishing the comic book "Laban", a true love story of former Senator Ninoy and former President Cory Aquino, and now launched his latest masterpiece - a comic biography of the world renowned pound-for-pound Filipino boxing champ, Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao.

I salute Pacman for his valuable contribution to the country and I have no doubts of his boxing skill. But my 'reflections' were not directly related to him. I also don't have anything against the comic artist who made him the subject of his self-published project entitled "Pacquiao: Winning In and Out of the Ring", I think he made a good thing to feature the champ's life though his work of art. I just thought about the perspective of the craft instead. Comic books are becoming less popular in bookstores nowadays, right?

Comic books, or mostly known as "komiks" by the Filipinos, became widespread in the country as early as World War II when American GIs left behind comic strips and books which originally inspire Pinoy comic artists to run the medium in magazine series. Today, more comic artist produce Pinoy manga inspired by the Japanese anime and manga. Its popularity somewhat subsided due to competition with other forms of media particularly the telenovelas.

As I noticed, there are fewer komiks being displayed for sale in bookstores or even in newstands where they are commonly found. Bystanders and people few years back who mereley pass by the sidewalk would stop by newstands to buy from an array of komiks with various titles, series or editions. They are printed versions of short scripted stories of drama or comedy which we follow through in telenovelas and radios. They entertain people during short breaks, available in the locality, and comes in handy since they can just be folded in pockets and readers will just take it off anytime.

What JB Gamboa said about komiks left a valuable note to the viewers. He hopes to address the problem of illiteracy in the future through this craft. And I agree for that fact. Comics not only provide entertainment for readers, but they also help young children and even adults to learn how to read and improve reading. That's when I remember a moment in my childhood year that I thought I would never mind to recall. I almost forgot, I learned to read my first story from the comics.

As a child, my mother taught me the basics of  A E I O U and ABAKADA, and from that I learned to utter syllables from the letters. I recalled I was never introduced how to read a whole sentence or a paragraph excerpt from a short story. And now I remember, I realized to read and understand the written conversations from the komiks that I just appreciated because of its drawings! It happened one late evening before going to sleep that I happen to pick up a comic book and slowly uttered the syllables which came from letters forming the words in the callouts of the drawings. I think I remembered myself grinning happily announcing to my mom that I (finally) was able to understand what the drawings say. Days after that I volunteered in our 'komiks for rent' outside the house just to be able to read my father's comic collections. Haha.

There were a bunch of komiks left in the house but I guess they were included when a part of our house was caught on fire. Too sad, they were the ones still left and they could be treated as old collections of craft. I could not find local komiks series being sold now, just pocketbooks which continues to be a sensation among ladies who are fond of reading tagalog romance novels.

If not because of Pacman's victorious feats that made him famous, that inspired one comic artist to draw his comic biography, that caught the attention of the national TV and feature it, I could have forgotten to realize one significant thing in my life - that I learned how to read and understand a story that is portrayed through the komiks. I credit my ability of high reading and comprehension rate in my elementary years to my interest in reading short stories and komiks experience.

I understand why the popularity of komiks is declining. As an IT student, I understand how technology changed the way life is, and even reading and habits of people has been affected. Change is inevitable, as they say. Nevertheless it would never be the reason to totally forget the significance of print articles as reading materials over portable document formats (PDFs) and digital soft copies. Komiks now comes in electronic formats. Yet the natural essence of talents in drawing and creativity of potential Filipino comic artists really shines through the paper and pencil, where it all originated. I hope we Filipinos would find a way to revive it. Or if some things are difficult to regain its originality, I just hoped this post would be an appreciation of a craft which has once been a part of our culture, and my contribution to it, a reminder of a valuable nothing, a significant something - that komiks had once played a role in my childhood years, and continues to be, as long as I live, as long as I can read. :-)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Modification 101: My Blog's New Look

I was aware of Blogger's one-of-the-latest template designer feature but I never had the ample time to edit my blog settings. In fact, it was quite some time now since I last posted an entry here. As always, I've been in 'busy mode' all this time. And although I enjoy blogging up all those stuff in my head, well, thing is, I always tend to forget even making drafts about them. I did this modification hoping it would give me some spark of interest now that this blog has a new look. I'm not saying that I'll be up-to-date in my blog post this time. Hahaha. Hmm but I also thank those guys who still manage to visit and drop me messages, I appreciate it. :) Keep it up! Lolz.

Anyway, having this new template designer idea by the Blogger team is good. Two-thumbs up for that. It lets bloggers instantly change their designs and modify them directly in the user interface allowing sneak previews. Much better (it's more convenient, I should say) than editing the hard code. Hehe.

So cheers to my new blog look! Hopefully I'll be able to drop by some short posts over here, and I wish they'll be sensible enough to read by everyone. :-)