a meeting of minds

Check out my INQ7 Infotech column piece.

Here's an excerpt:

During the MindShare session, I talked about how big gaming has become in the Philippines. Still think gaming is a fad? Hmm, let’s see: research firm International Data Corp. Philippines says the Philippine online gaming industry generated an estimated $13.4 million in 2005. As of 2005, the country has four million online gamers, and this is estimated to reach 6.9 million by 2009, making the Philippines the biggest Southeast Asian market for online games, according to the IDC report. Oh, and a certain company named ePLDT recently acquired 60 percent of leading Philippine online game publisher Level Up!

And you know what? Gaming, online and offline, is going to get even bigger in the Philippines. It’s going to become even more mainstream, becoming part of the lives of many Filipinos, just as the Internet had a tremendous impact on the way we work and play. 

Read the full story.

iblog2: the 2nd philippine blogging summit

Got this from Janette Toral:

iBlog2: The 2nd Philippine Blogging Summit shall be on Tuesday, April 18 at theU.P. College of Law, U.P. Diliman, Quezon City from 9 am to 5 pm. Same as last year, this event is FREE!


The following are our confirmed topics and speakers to date:

1. Keynote Message by Rebecca MacKinnon, Global Voices (http://www.globalvoices.org)

2. Prospects and Challenges for Filipino Bloggers
by Atty. JJ Disini (http://disini.i.ph)

Political Blogging Panel

Blogs and the battle for ideas: personalities and issues
by Manuel L. Quezon III (http://www.quezon.ph/blog/)

Art and Literary Blogging Panel

Write here, Write now: The Author as a Blogger
by Dean Alfar (http://deanalfar.blogspot.com)

Comics and Blogging
by Jonas Diego (http://jonasdiego.blogspot.com)

Professional Blogging Panel

Problogging: Professional Blogging and Blog Monetization
by Abe Olandres (http://www.yugatech.com/blog/)

Blogging as a Profession: From Full-Time Employee to Full Time Blogger
by J Angelo Racoma (http://jangelo.i.ph/)

Putting search engines to work for your blog
by Marc Hil Macalua (http://www.macalua.com)

Personal Blogging Panel

Making your blog funny and humorous
by Anton De Leon (http://antonisat.blogspot.com)

Shameless Self-Promotion: How to Be Heard in a Referral World
by Mike Abundo (http://www.mikeabundo.com)

Podcasting Panel

Use of Podcasting in Promoting Advocacy and Products
by Pocholo Gonzales (http://www.creativoices.com)


 Check out http://www.iblogph.org for updates.

graduation day

Sam and her nursery class had their graduation rites on Saturday, March 18.

Here's Sam after giving a short speech in one of the presentations that was part of the graduation program. Next to her is her classmate Vijay.

I find it almost hard to believe — didn't I just experience the excitement of Sam's first day of school? Sometimes I find myself wondering where the little baby has gone. She's a big girl now, and I'm so proud of Sam. But part of me can't help but feel wistful.

For the past year or so, I've found myself beginning conversations with Sam with "Remember when you were a baby?" and then we'd reminisce over some of the things she did when she was still little, the little routines we had.

Now, she's the one who sometimes begins these talks. She'd tell me: "Let's talk about when I was a baby." I always treasure these conversations, and feel guilty over all the times when I was too busy to listen to her or my wife Ellen, all those occasions when I was too preoccupied with work and other stuff, and took for granted that they'd always be around, that we'd always have time later to talk and be a family.

But you know what? The years have a way of passing by quickly.

I can't change the past. But I hope I can learn from my mistakes and make the present better. It's the toast Sam and I have been making for the past few years whenever we're drinking something: "To the future!"

pacquiao-morales 3… on the xbox 360

Here’s the first example of the way hackenslash, the gaming portal of INQ7.net, and GAME!, the country’s first purely homegrown gaming mag from Hinge Inquirer Publications, will complement each other.

Check out this article by hackenslash and GAME! contributor Kiven Codamon:

(INSTEAD of the usual game review, we asked hackenslash and GAME! contributor Kiven Codamon to recreate the Manny Pacquiao-Erik Morales rivalry in Fight Night Round 3 — on the Xbox 360 of course so that we could see this epic battle in all its next-gen glory. Here’s Kiven’s blow-by-blow account of Pacquiao-Morales 3–Ed.)

Hello, sports fans… and gamers everywhere. Electronic Arts’ Fight Night Round 3 has hit store shelves and once again it’s time to wear those old gloves for another round of console boxing.

When you first boot up the game, you’ll notice that the Xbox 360 loading screen is virtually the same as the PlayStation 2 version, apart from the 360 showing off its graphical prowess in a short intro movie. After selecting the Play Now option to create a match between two boxers, I naturally chose our very own Manny Pacquiao as my boxer and picked Erik Morales as his opponent.

Read the rest of the story.

Wait till you see what other surprises we have in store. A lot of exciting things are happening in the industry, and it truly is a great time to be a gamer.

meeting luli

I had a great time giving a presentation on “Why gaming makes business sense” yesterday at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati City.

Luli Arroyo had invited me to be the guest speaker at the MindShare networking session. MindShare is a joint project of the Foundation for Information Technology Education and Development (of which Luli is the director for strategic development — her previous title was director for operations, which is what I used in an earlier blog entry), AIM, and the Philippine Venture Capital Investment Group.

The funny thing is that this was the first time we met in person, though we’d known each other for years. I blogged about one of those conversations, and how I’ve always admired her for being so down-to-earth. She’s the daughter of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, but Luli has never sought or expected any preferential treatment. She puts to shame all those people with an inflated sense of self-importance, who demand VIP treatment wherever they go. Luli just quietly does her work in the private sector — in fact, the great thing about MindShare is that it has survived for six years and is still going strong even though it is not sponsored by any big company. She wanted it that way, so that MindShare could be a free-wheeling networking session that would not be beholden to any corporation.

I was touched that when Luli introduced me, she added how happy she was that I accepted the invitation, explaining to the participants that we’ve been online friends for years and was glad that we finally got to meet.

I’ll write about the MindShare session soon. Luli also gamely posed for a pic, holding the copy of the first issue of GAME! magazine (the country’s first purely homegrown gaming magazine — 100% Filipino-made, no syndicated content from foreign mags) that I gave her.

Thanks Luli. It was really great to finally meet you.

cooking up a storm

Whew! This morning, I finished the first draft of Chapters 4 and 5 of the e-business handbook I’m writing for Inquirer Publications Inc.

Afterwards, I was off to the Hinge Inquirer Publications office for an editorial meeting with GAME! EIC Aiza Tancinco, contributing editor Jayvee Fernandez, editorial assistant Mitch Baylosis and creative director Topper Garperio. We had an animated discussion about the direction for the mag, came up with a lot of wacky ideas and interesting new takes on the gaming scene, and had a great time as we refined our strategy for winning the hearts and minds (oh yeah, and pockets, hehe) of Filipino gamers. Issue 1 was a great start, and expect bigger things ahead.

Then I made my way to the INQ7.net office, where I edited two sites and talked to our marketing assistant Claire Chan, who also happens to be the model who portrayed Willow the Assassin when Philippine Ragnarok Online launched the game episode “Amatsu and Kunlun: A Tale of Two Cities” last year — on March 12, in fact.

Hmm, that’s uncanny, since now I’m launching something for hackenslash with the help of Claire, almost exactly a year later.

Joan Ong, our product officer at INQ7.net, will help us pull off this project, just as she has thrown her support for my initiatives for hackenslash and the other sites I handle. Thanks, Joan.

Stay tuned, and see for yourself how this will tie in with GAME! magazine.

e-theme come, e-theme go

(Edited: Woops, my bad… I mixed up the name of my WordPress theme with the new one from the same designer. This theme I’m using is actually WP-Andreas09 1.5, not the new WP-Andreas01 theme designed by Andreas Viklund. Good thing Andreas pointed this out in his comment.

Am also reprinting Andreas’ comment here:

Hey there! Don’t mix up the themes. WP-Andreas01 has never been released, and definitely not been available on WordPress.com. I am just about to release it now, the first public release. And Ainslie has not built it, it is my own. I suspect that you mean WP-Andreas09, which was designed by me and ported to WordPress by Ainslie Johnson, as it is available on WordPress.com since a few weeks ago. It is a stable and well tested theme, soon coming out in version 2.0.

So you have one theme on this site (WP-Andreas09), and the quote taken from my site is another theme (WP-Andreas01). I hope to get 01 added to WordPress.com too, but that is all up to Matt and the keymasters. =) Should I choose a less confusing name?

Here is an example of WP-Andreas01 running live: http://elven.nu

Thanks, Andreas!)

I really like this three-column WordPress template I’m using, the WP-Andreas01 WP-Andreas09 1.5 theme designed by Andreas Viklund and ported to WordPress by Ainslie Johnson.

A few hours ago, however, the theme became unavailable due to technical difficulties and my blog reverted to the default WordPress template, which of course made everything look jumbled up. So please bear with the site if that happens.

This is just to be expected because this is a very new WordPress theme. In fact, Andreas has a new theme, WP-Andreas01. Here’s Andreas’ March 12 post:

After a great response to my last post and a long night of theme coding, it is now time to let you see the WP-Andreas01 WordPress theme live! It is still not 100% ready, I am aware of some errors that I will fix soon. But I would still like to ask for comments and bug reports, as I am hoping to release version 1.0 of this theme tomorrow — after I’ve had a few people try it out on their own servers. The test site is located at dev.andreasviklund.com. If you check it out, please start by reading the latest blog post there.

So, yup, this is hot off the grill. I don’t know about you, but I don’t mind trying out something new and living with the risks of beta testing, as long as I believe it’s a cool product or service. So check out WP-Andreas01.