Sunday, September 12, 2010

Monthly Geeky Vol 11: Foursquare

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Today we are over viewing on of the most rapid-ascend trends of social-networking based on geo-location tagging.

About Foursquare

Foursquare_logo.svg

Foursquare is a social network using geo-location tagging technology with the purpose of sharing your actual location. Originally know by the time of 2003 in developing as “DodgeBall” which was bought by Google in 2005 and in 2009 was evolved to Google Latitude. The concept was  created by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai on New York City. is a friend-finder, a social city guide and a game that challenges users to experience new things, and rewards them for doing so. Foursquare lets users "check in" to a place when they're there, tell friends where they are and track the history of where they've been and who they've been there with. In February 2010, the company entered into new commercial partnerships with Zagat, Bravo, Conde Nast, The New York Times and several other firms to offer tips, specials and new badges to followers. Also, some venues offers special products or services if you can prove that you have a valid account and have “check-in” in the venue.

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Badges and User’s status

Badges are earned by checking in many palces. Some cities have city-specific badges that can only be earned in a specific city. When a user gains a badge, the user has the same badges across all cities. Once a badge is earned by a player, it will remain on that user's profile indefinitely. Foursquare has announced recently that user will have the chance on getting custom-made badges coming soon. The User status are normal status and Super-Users.

Super User:

  1. Super User level 1: Enabled to edit venue info (address, cross street, phone, Twitter names, map pin location), mark places as "closed", and let Foursquare know about duplicate venues.
  2. Super User level 2: Enable  to merge duplicate venue listings, adjust the latitude and longitude of a venue, remove tags, and add venue categories for any venue with level 1 privileges.
  3. Super User level 3: 1 & 2 privileges and also enabled to nickname the venues.

 

Quick View

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Using my account as example. Creating my account was not that difficult, because the real purpose is that you download any version of the foursquare mobile client currently available for BlackBerry, Android, iPhone and selected mobile devices. After my profile was created, I could have foursquare to post on both my Facebook and Twitter accounts to make more easy sharing the “wanted” information (of course not always sharing where I am, even I want some privacy…).

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Unfortunately, at least in Puerto Rico, there are still venues to have some offers by having yourself check-in on foursquare, helping the advertising on social-networks but that doesn’t mean the fun should stop.

You should try it!

Register at Foursquare and download the client for:

Gee-Zus

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Guess Nothing Last Forever

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In a hot Thursday morning reporting in. God I DO really hate summer, I want the good breeze of Fall and the sweetness of Winter…

About to fix some of the academics

As you know this trimester is my second hiatus from university due to financial reasons. But that doesn’t mean that I should miss any opportunity for my academics. I am pending on one exam of Electronics I class and approx next week or the next of that, it will be my reposition to finally take the exam on amps topic exam.

 

An overview of my future

I just had this little discussion with Jessica about out future. Of course I am foreseeing us getting married. I am bring in this because, I think that she somehow doesn’t understand some ugliness of life. Mainly because (I do not wish that her experience it) she had not the necessity of having some of the “troubles” you have to get to have thing set up. Maybe I have to do my best for here as obviously I will. I just hope that patience will be at her side. I will be good!

 

On Mike Portnoy 

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Mainly, the title of this posting is about Mike Portnoy’s surprising announcement about leaving Dream Theater.

Mike Portnoy announcement:

Wednesday September 8th 2010

I am about to write something I never imagined I'd ever write:

After 25 years, I have decided to leave Dream Theater....the band I founded, led and truly loved for a quarter of a century.

To many people this will come as a complete shock, and will also likely be misunderstood by some, but please believe me that it is not a hasty decision...it is something I have struggled with for the last year or so....

After having had such amazing experiences playing with Hail, Transatlantic and Avenged Sevenfold this past year, I have sadly come to the conclusion that I have recently had more fun and better personal relations with these other projects than I have for a while now in Dream Theater...

Please don't misinterpret me, I love the DT guys dearly and have a long history, friendship and bond that runs incredibly deep with them...it's just that I think we are in serious need of a little break...

Dream Theater was always my baby...and I nurtured that baby every single day and waking moment of my life since 1985...24/7, 365...never taking time off from DT's never-ending responsibilites (even when the band was "off" between cycles)...working overtime and way beyond the call of duty that most sane people ever would do for a band...

But I've come to the conclusion that the DT machine was starting to burn me out...and I really needed a break from the band in order to save my relationship with the other members and keep my DT spirit hungry and inspired.

We have been on an endless write/record/tour cycle for almost 20 years now (of which I have overseen EVERY aspect without a break) and while a few months apart from each other here & there over the years has been much needed and helpful, I honestly hoped the band could simply agree with me to taking a bit of a "hiatus" to recharge our batteries and "save me from ourselves"...

Sadly, in discussing this with the guys, they determined they do not share my feelings and have decided to continue without me rather than take a breather...I even offered to do some occasional work throughout 2011 against my initial wishes, but it was not to be...

While it truly hurts for me to even think of a Dream Theater without Mike Portnoy (hell, my father named the band!!), I do not want to stand in their way...so I have decided to sacrifice myself and simply leave the band so as to not hold them back against their wishes....

Strangely enough, I just read an interview that I recently did that asked me about the future of DT and I talked about "always following your heart and being true to yourself"...sadly I must say that at this particular moment, my heart is not with Dream Theater...and I would simply be "going through the motions", and would honestly NOT be true to myself if I stayed for the sake of obligation without taking the break I felt I needed.

I wish the guys the best and hope the music and legacy we created together is enjoyed by fans for decades to come...I am proud of every album we made, every song we wrote and every show we played....

I'm sorry to all the disappointed DT fans around the world...I really tried to salvage the situation and make it work...I honestly just wanted a break (not a split)...but happiness cannot be forced, it needs to come from within....

You DT fans are the greatest fans in the world and as you all know, I have always busted my ass for you guys and I hope that you will stay with me on my future musical journey, wherever it may lead me....(and as you all know my work ethic, there will surely be no shortage of future MP projects!)

Sadly...

Your fearless ex-leader and drummer,

MP

"Move on be brave, don't weep at my grave, because I am no longer here...

But please never let your memory of me disappear...."

The Spirit Carries On

He later added:

I BEG of the fans to please NOT hold A7X (Avenged Sevenfold) responsible for MY decision...they are just as shocked as you guys..I had been contemplating this and desiring a "break" (not split) as long ago as last year...everything else is fully explained in the press release...thank you all for your support and understanding...this is th...e hardest thing I've ever done... : (

Dream Theater Press Release:

To all of our loyal fans and friends: It is with profound sadness -- regret -- we announce that Mike Portnoy, our lifelong drummer and friend, has decided to leave Dream Theater. Mike's stature in the band has meant the world to all of us professionally, musically, and personally over the years. There is no dispute: Mike has been a major force within this band.
While it is true that Mike is choosing to pursue other ventures and challenges, we can assure you that Dream Theater will continue to move forward with the same intensity -- and in the same musical tradition -- that you have all helped make so successful, and which is truly gratifying to us.
Fans and friends: File this episode under "Black Clouds and Silver Linings." As planned, we begin recording our newest album in January 2011, and we'll follow that with a full-on world tour. "The Spirit Carries On."
All of us in Dream Theater wholeheartedly wish Mike the best on his musical journey. We have had a long and meaningful career together. It is our true hope that he finds all he is looking for, and that he achieves the happiness he deserves. He will be missed.

I was just returning from Jessica’s house and just discovered that my car’s starter was malfunctioning again, man I was so pissed…And later after that, I found that my friend Gaby posted something about Mike. I overview the post a little bit before leaving Ceiba, I though “Cool another news about Mike”, which was becoming quite common this day as he had a huge agenda participating almost 4 band’s tour the same year. When I finally gave up trying to repair the car, I just sit down and began reading…Yesh my mood just got worst.

I am a faithful Dream Theater fan. But I must agree with most people thinking that DT is having a tough one replacing Mike. My theory of what could happened is that Mike is getting more homesick than ever or judging by the recent boom of tweets of him having fun with none of DT’s members recently, Mike was feeling a different environment and could have having “more” fun than he naturally had with Dream Theater. Al this theory is based on Mike’s press release but I do think it was kinda rushed, even if it was since a year that have been on mind. Well see what left for us in the future. Wishing farewell and good thing for both part and hoping a reunion is not too far away.

 

My 25 Cents

Gee-Zus

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ethics Biggest Taboo - Euthanasia

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I had been thinking about this topic and really had me to revolve in my brain how much controversy can this simple word can make

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Meaning…(From Wikipedia)

Euthanasia (from the Greek εὐθανασία meaning "good death": εὖ, eu (well or good) + θάνατος, thanatos (death)) refers to the practice of ending a life in a manner which relieves pain and suffering. According to the House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics, the precise definition of euthanasia is "a deliberate intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to relieve intractable suffering."

Euthanasia is categorized in different ways, which include voluntary, non-voluntary, or involuntary and active or passive. Euthanasia is usually used to refer to active euthanasia, and in this sense, euthanasia is usually considered to be criminal homicide, but voluntary, passive euthanasia is widely non-criminal.

The controversy surrounding euthanasia centers around a two-pronged argument by opponents which characterizes euthanasia as either voluntary "suicides", or as involuntary murders. (Hence, opponents argue that a broad policy of "euthanasia" is tantamount to eugenics). Much hinges on whether a particular death was considered an "easy," "painless," or "happy" one, or whether it was a "wrongful death". Proponents typically consider a death that increased suffering to be "wrongful," while opponents typically consider any deliberate death as "wrongful." "Euthanasia's" original meaning introduced the idea of a "rightful death" beyond that only found in natural deaths.

Euthanasia is the most active area of research in contemporary bioethics.

 

Types Of Euthanasia

Voluntary euthanasia

Euthanasia conducted with the consent of the patient is termed voluntary euthanasia. Voluntary euthanasia is legal in Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the U.S. states of Oregon and Washington. When the patient brings about his or her own death with the assistance of a physician, the term assisted suicide is often used instead.

Non-voluntary euthanasia

Euthanasia conducted where the consent of the patient is unavailable is termed non-voluntary euthanasia. Examples include child euthanasia, which is illegal worldwide but decriminalised under certain specific circumstances in the Netherlands under the Groningen Protocol.

Involuntary euthanasia

Euthanasia conducted against the will of the patient is termed involuntary euthanasia.

 

Leading to…The so-called “Right To Die”

As ugly as it sounds, technically some country, including United States of America let patiences to have some degree in overruling a doctors or even a administrative panel of a hospital if the patience feels that there is nothing left to do and he is verified and certified that he is completely awareness of his decision. Make no mistake, the right to death is not completely attached but in 90% leads to it. Now why it is controversial? Let see some famous examples:

 

Terri Schiavo 

Terri_Schiavo

Terri Schiavo entered a vegetative state in 1990 after adopting an "iced tea diet" (related to her bulimia), resulting in a disastrous potassium deficiency that caused irreversible brain damage. In this persistent vegetative state she remained the last fifteen years of her life. Both Schiavo's doctors and her court-appointed doctors expressed the opinion that there existed no hope of rehabilitation. Her husband, Michael Schiavo, contended that it was his wife's wish that she not be kept alive through unnatural, mechanical means. Michael Schiavo wanted her feeding tube removed, after which Terri would slowly die of malnutrition and dehydration. By this time Michael had taken a new lover, but refused to divorce Terri, as doing so would have forfeited his right to determine her care.

More than twenty times the Schiavo case was heard in Florida courts. Every time, the court ruled that the decision was her husband's to make, upholding the sanctity of marriage long respected by legal precedent. Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, refused to accept this verdict, feeling in their hearts that their daughter would somehow recover. Of this struggle, Schiavo's attorney, George Felos told the Associated Press, "The real grievance is not they [the Schindlers] did not have a day in court, that they did not have due process. The real grievance is they disagree with the result."

The Schindler family videotaped Schiavo for extended periods of time, discarding nearly all of the footage, and prepared a short but disingenuous "highlight" video featuring only the occasional moments when her facial expression looked vaguely like a smile, or when family members were posing where Schiavo seemed to be staring, giving the illusion of "eye contact."

In 2003, a court-appointed guardian for Schiavo wrote that during the protracted legal struggle, her parents had "voiced the disturbing belief that they would keep Terri alive at any and all costs", even if that required amputation of her limbs. "As part of the hypothetical presented", the guardian's report stated, "Schindler family members stated that even if Terri had told them of her intention to have artificial nutrition withdrawn, they would not do it."

Politicians inserted themselves into the fray. The case was the catalyst for Florida's controversial "Terri's Law", which gave Gov. Jeb Bush the authority to have Schiavo's feeding tube re-inserted when a court ruled that her husband could have it removed.

Terri's doctors opinion was that Schiavo's coma had been caused by a potassium imbalance triggered by her bulimia. Nutball "save Terri" activists knew better, and claimed she suffered a violent beating at her husband's hand. Her parents eventually agreed, and said that her husband often beat Schiavo when she was healthy -- but Schiavo never called the police, apparently never mentioned it to anyone, and her parents never mentioned it either until years after Schiavo was hospitalized. There is no evidence to support such claims.

The U.S. Congress quickly passed legislation allowing federal courts to intervene, and President George W. Bush flew back to Washington to sign the bill into law. It should be noticed that this is the same George W. Bush who, as Governor of Texas, signed into state law the power of hospitals to remove a patient (in identical situations as Terri's) from life support -- a critical factor being the family's ability to pay the hospital bills -- even if such removal was against the family's objections.

As the insanity moved to the federal level, Schiavo's feeding tube was finally removed on March 18, 2005, and her heart stopped beating 13 days later.

In a final postscript to Schiavo's short life, the autopsy conducted after her death established that her brain damage was even worse than experts had said while she was alive, and that virtually everything the "save Terri" activists had said was incorrect. Schiavo's brain weighed about half what a healthy human brain weighs, damage that left her unable to think, feel, see, or interact in any way with her environment. There was no chance she could have recovered, and no evidence she had ever been abused.

 

George & Betty Coumbias

Betty_George

George and Betty Coumbias were a Canadian married couple who sought to become the first husband and wife to complete simultaneous suicides with legal authorization. They were featured in John Zaritsky's 2007 documentary, The Suicide Tourist. Although assisted suicide is illegal in Canada, they hoped to end their lives with the approval of the government of Switzerland.

The couple's request was unusual in that, while George Coumbias suffers from heart disease, Betty Coumbias was reported to be in excellent health.

Ludwig Minelli, director of Swiss assisted-suicide group Dignitas, petitioned the Canton of Zurich to grant doctors the authority to issue lethal drugs to healthy people, after they have been counseled by his organization, hoping to facilitate the Coumbias' suicide pact.

In 2009, Betty Coumbias developed cancer and died, while George continues to live with his heart condition.

 

Eluana Englaro

Eluana_Englaro

Eluana Englaro was an Italian woman from Lecco, who entered a persistent vegetative state on January 18, 1992, following a car accident, and subsequently became the focus of a court battle between supporters and opponents of euthanasia. Shortly after Englaro had been fed with a probe, her father requested to have her feeding tube removed and to allow her to die "naturally". The authorities initially refused his request, but this decision was later reversed after seventeen years.

Beppino Englaro, as he stated in one of his several public appearances, waited until all appeals were concluded before he suspended the feeding of his daughter. On 2 February 2009 she was moved to a private nursing home in Udine, Friuli, and feeding was discontinued.On February 6, 2009, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi issued a decree that would have forced the continuation of the treatment of Eluana, and thrust Italy into a constitutional crisis when the President of the Republic refused to sign the decree.

She died at 19:35 (local time) on 9 February 2009. The autopsy in the private nursing house certified the death was caused by the last days' abstention from food.

 

My view on the dilemma

Is not easy to judge any of this cases. First of all, Terry Schiavo has the disadvantage that she didn’t see this coming and couldn't tell her husband or her parents what she wanted to do. Although in some way Michael have some appearance that he was just looking to move on, why make such a wuzz to made her die and just lend her parents her guardianship? However, it is understandable that this was no life for Terry which almost hit 20 years of no progress. Her parents in the other hand, why waiting until Michael finally “gave” up? It is a fine job that they did, fighting to the end, but why no since day 1?

I believe that the Right To Die, although not legally, should not get banned as we are not the one suffering, in the case if it is a friend or a love one. I know it might sound awfully and not easy. But I see that the George and Betty example are just the way that people can do whatever they want with their lives if they have nothing to regret. You might think that “easy for you to say since you have not face any situation like this.” True, but why regret the end of suffering if a loved one just say. “I can’t stand this, no more medical crap that already failed”. Of course I am not saying that Euthanasia or applying the Right To Die happily trigger, there have to be parameters as if the patience requesting have really awareness and just saying it just for say it and just an easy exit. As neutral as I can be.

 

My 25 Cents

Gee-Zus