Thursday, October 19, 2006

Internet Explorer 7 Officially Released

Finally, after Beta releases and RC (release candidate) releases, Microsoft Infternet Explorer 7 is here. Go to Microsoft and get it.

If you dont like Microsoft, try Firefox. They have been using tabbed browsing way ahead of IE7. A download link can be found on the right sidebar of this page.They even have a portable version that runs directly from a USB flash memory drive without the need for an installation. Very handy. You can keep all your favorite links no matter where you go.

This is the interface of Firefox with colored tabs for browsing multiple pages. This is old school for Firefox.

This is the interface of IE7. Notice the similarity with Firefox.

Here are some key features of "Internet Explorer 7":

ActiveX Opt-in - Disables nearly all pre-installed ActiveX controls to prevent potentially vulnerable controls from being exposed to attack. You can easily enable or disable ActiveX controls as needed through the Information Bar and the Add-on Manager.

Simplified User Experience - The Internet Explorer 7 frame is reorganized to make it noticeably simpler, more streamlined, and less cluttered with unnecessary items. This maximizes the area of the screen devoted to the webpages that you want to see and makes performing the most common browsing tasks easy.

CSS Improvements - Addresses many of the major inconsistencies that can cause web developers problems when producing visually rich, interactive webpages. Improved support for CSS2.1, including selectors and fixed positioning, allow web developers to create more powerful effects without the use of script.

Security Status Bar - Enhances awareness of website security and privacy settings by displaying color-coded notifications next to the address bar. Internet Explorer 7 changes the Address Bar green for websites bearing new High Assurance certificates, indicating the site owner has completed extensive identity verification checks. Phishing Filter notifications, certificate names, and the gold padlock icon are now also adjacent to the address bar for better visibility. Certificate and privacy detail information can easily be displayed with a single click on the Security Status Bar.

Advanced Printing - Automatically scales a printed webpage so that it's not wider than the paper it will be printed on. Internet Explorer 7 also includes a multi-page print preview with live margins, resizing text to avoid document clipping, and an option to print only selected text.

Application Compatibility Toolkit - An application compatibility kit will be available for Internet Explorer 7, allowing IT pros and developers to understand any incompatibilities with their existing websites, applications, and deployments.

Phishing Filter - Proactively warns and helps protect you against potential or known fraudulent sites and blocks the site if appropriate. The opt-in filter is updated several times per hour using the latest security information from Microsoft and several industry partners about fraudulent websites.

Toolbar Search Box - Web searches using your favorite search provider can now be entered into a search box within the toolbar, eliminating the clutter of separate toolbars. You can easily choose a provider from the dropdown list or add more providers.

Alpha Channel in PNG - Supports transparency within the PNG image format, resulting in better-looking websites that are simpler to build.

Cross-Domain Barriers - Limits script on webpages from interacting with content from other domains or windows. This enhanced safeguard will further protect against malware by limiting the potential for malicious websites to manipulate flaws in other websites or cause you to download undesired content or software.

Favorites Center - Offers easy and fast access to Favorites, Tab Groups, Browsing History, and RSS Feed subscriptions. Expands out when needed, and can be pinned in place for even easier access.

Group Policy Improvements - Provides support for all aspects of Internet Explorer settings through Group Policy, greatly easing management across an enterprise.

Delete Browsing History - Allows you to clean up cached pages, passwords, form data, cookies, and history, all from a single window.

RSS Feeds - Automatically detects RSS feeds on sites by illuminating an icon on the toolbar. A single click on the icon allows you to preview and optionally subscribe to the site's RSS feed, and then be automatically notified as content is updated. Read RSS feeds directly in the browser, scan for important stories, and filter your view with search terms or site-specific categories.

Internet Explorer Administration Kit - OEMs and deployment specialists can pre-package Internet Explorer with customized settings or additional programs for their users. Address Bar Protection · Every window, regardless of whether it's a pop-up or standard window, will present an address bar to the user, helping to block malicious sites from emulating trusted sites.

Tabbed Browsing - View multiple sites in a single browser window. Easily switch from one site to another through tabs at the top of the browser frame.

Improved AJAX Support - Improves the implementation of the XMLHTTP Request as a native Javascript object for rich AJAX-style applications. While Internet Explorer 6 handled XMLHTTP requests with an ActiveX control, Internet Explorer 7 exposes XMLHTTP natively. This improves syntactical compatibility across different browsers and allows clients to configure and customize a security policy of their choice without compromising key AJAX scenarios.

International Domain Name Anti-spoofing - In addition to adding support for International Domain Names in URLs, Internet Explorer also notifies you when visually similar characters in the URL are not expressed in the same language, thus protecting you against sites that could otherwise appear as known, trustworthy sites.

Quick Tabs - Provides easy tab selection and navigation by displaying thumbnails of all open tabs in a single window.

Open Search Extensions - In conjunction with, a set of RSS Simple List Extensions were submitted to the RSS community, and released under the Creative Commons license. Among other features, these extensions greatly simplify development of applications that interact with Open Search-compatible search providers.

URL Handling Security - Redesigned URL parsing ensures consistent processing and minimizes possible exploits. The new URL handler helps centralize critical data parsing and increases data consistency throughout the application.

Tab Groups - Tabs can be grouped and saved into logical categories, allowing you to open multiple tabs with a single click. A Tab Group can easily be set as the Home Page Group so the entire Tab Group opens every time Internet Explorer is launched from the Start menu.

RSS Platform - Provides rich functionality for downloading, storing, and accessing RSS feeds across the entire operating system, and enables more users than ever before to embrace RSS. Once a feed is subscribed to in one application, that subscription, and all the associated content, will be made available across the operating system for any application that wishes to consume it.

Fix My Settings - To keep you protected from browsing with unsafe settings, Internet Explorer 7 warns you with an Information Bar when current security settings may put you at risk. Within the Internet Control Panel, you will see certain critical items highlighted in red when they are unsafely configured. In addition to dialog alerts warning you about unsafe settings, you will be reminded by the Information Bar as long as the settings remain unsafe. You can instantly reset Internet security settings to the 'Medium-High' default level by clicking the 'Fix My Settings' option in the Information Bar.

Page Zoom - Enlarge or zoom in on individual webpages, including both text and graphics, to either focus on specific content or to make content more accessible to those with vision limitations.

Add-ons Disabled Mode - To help troubleshoot difficulties launching Internet Explorer or reaching specific websites, you have the ability to start in "No Add-ons" mode, where only critical system Add-ons are enabled.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


My wife Lilia is from Iligan, the city of majestic water falls (around 20). The most famous of which is the 320-foot hight Maria Cristina Falls. Water comes from Lake Lanao whose only outlet to Iligan Bay is the Agus River that flows though Maria Cristina Falls and Linamon Falls. The Agus hydroelectric power plants along the river system is the primary source of power for the whole Mindanao region.

The big box is Maria Cristina Falls and the small box is Agus 6 hydroelectric power plant.

One time during a recent family visit to Iligan, we ate in the home of Hannah's cousins Corrine, Chester, Nico and El-el (kids of my wife's brother Nick). It was the first time I ate baboy sulop (wild boar) and it was delicious. I have no pic of it so let Pumbaa of Disney's Lion King show you how delicious he is. Oink! Oink!

The baboy sulop matched perfectly to another first for me, the suka Pinakurat. A great Filipino dip from Iligan City. It is produced by Greengold Gourmet by blending fermented coconut nectar (tuba), salt, special spices, hot chillies and sweet chillies.

I'm not that fond of hot dips but this is an exception. It smells good, tastes good and gives you a memorable bite while eating what you dipped in it. The bite lasts just enough for you to enjoy and swallow your food and then realize that you want another Pinakurat dip for your next mouthful. Pinakurat is roughly translated as "to startle" or "to surprise."

It comes in different bottle sizes. Only two bottles left at home... huhu.


Pinakurat before and after:

  • Left: the secret yummy ingredients settling at the bottom.
  • Right: Shaken, but not stirred.

Written sideways on the bottle's label: "Good things come in glass." I agree.

If you want to try it but don't have the time to visit Iligan, go to Market Market at The Fort. It is sold somewhere there. I hope you like it. Happy eating!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Shakoy Level Up

Do you know what shakoy is?
It is not one of those Massively-Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG). I don't know what others call it but it's a kind of pastry that you usually see in neighborhood provincial bakeries that are either long or shaped like a donut then covered with sugar. When I was a kid, this is the only donut that I knew.


Years before I knew about Dunkin' Donuts, Mister Donut, Krispy Kreme and Go Nuts Donuts. Then when you bite it, its all air, and lots of sugar granules. I love it. This is one of my favorite pasalubong when I was small. And I still like it now.

When we went to a mall last month, we saw a food stall named Bicho Bicho Brothers.

The products they have in their shelves caught my attention and I almost shouted with joy to Lilia when I announced "Dear, may shakoy oh!" It looked like shakoy but with flavors like cinnamon and buttermilk. We tried some. Its warm, super soft and had a crunchy thin outer crust. The different coating flavors they offer placed the humble shakoy to a higher level. Yummy!
I was curious how they made the Bicho Bicho. To my surprise, what they used to make Bicho Bicho looks just like your ordinary off-the-shelf hotdog bun which they then deep fry in hot oil for a few minutes then rolled on a pan of sugar or other powdered flavoring. This is one simple baked goodie I can try at home. But maybe they are using their own brand of hotdog buns just to make their yummy treats. It costs PhP 10 each and comes in a box if you buy a dozen. A word of caution though, "If it tastes good, its bad." Eat moderately. It's a bit oily.

Krispy Kreme have their own version of our humble shakoy. They call it "Sugar."

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Surviving Milenyo

PAGASA predicted that typhoon Milenyo (Xangsane) will hit Luzon on September 28, 2006 (Thu) at around noon. Well, PAGASA hit the jackpot this time and the government did a good job by cancelling school that day. HICAP also suspended work and with Mat (my car’s name) already 500 Km overdue for his periodic maintenance (PM), the following thoughts took shape in my head:

“I have my work cancelled, Milenyo will come by noon, 5000 Km PM takes three hours max, I’ll be back home before lunch and let the storm pass while playing with my daughter.”

I left home and reached the dealership service center at 8:15AM. The job was finished by 10:30am but Milenyo came early and by that time he was already all out in pouring all the water that he had and was blowing all the wind he can blow – sign posts were falling, things were flying, mobile phones signals were cut and electric supply stopped. All the cars in the showroom were moved because the building’s glass building façade was vibrating back and forth as the wind hits it. I was stuck and can’t call home.

At around 11:00am it stopped. It was probably the calm while the eye of the storm passed by. I started driving home. Traffic was bad because there were uprooted trees and concrete posts blocking the road. A lot of employees were walking to get home due to scarcity of jeepneys. Part of the road between GMA and Pala-Pala was waist high in water so traffic was not moving. Milenyo caught up with me as the eye passed and the strong rain and wind continued. The strong winds rocked the car and I was busy looking all around worried that a tree or concrete post will fall. I had to turn back and seek shelter in Jollibee GMA to have lunch and some rest. With the road to Pala-Pala still flooded, I headed back to Carmona exit planning to take the long way home through Tagaytay. Traffic was horrible and I patiently drove to Carmona exit only to find the road also flooded. I turned back and took the Southwoods route. Wow! It was like driving inside a rainforest with all the trees blocking a full kilometer of the road where you need to sharply zig-zag through them while driving in shallow water and under a dark and thick canopy of dead trees. If there were monkeys around, it would have been complete (well, I was the only monkey out there, hoo-hoo-ha-ha!). After passing it all, the Southwoods entrance gate was closed. Waaah! It will be dark soon and taking the Tagaytay route without street lights, expected heavy traffic and with many road blocks a bit dangerous. I gave up and just waited an hour in Walter Mart Carmona. I got home at 5:00 PM. What a day.

Many trees lining the main road of our subdivision were uprooted and damaged.

The next day after the storm, we took rare photos with the fallen trees.



All pigs of a family piggery along a nearby creek were washed away as the water level rose suddenly. Thank God nobody died.

Electricity was restored only on September 30 at 9:30 PM. There was no electricity and water for two and a half days. During that time our drinking, bathing and dish washing water were bought from the few remaining water refilling stations left open. Many of the other water refilling stations were closed. For toilet flushing needs our family and a lot of home owners made a pilgrimage to the subdivision’s club house and scooped water from the swimming pool. Others lined up in the one and only manual pump inside our subdivision. The swimming pool trip is faster because many people can scoop water at the same time. It was also a lot more fun seeing your neighbors do the same. Our rechargeable lamp with radio and electric fan really came handy at night. Good thing I also bought an additional battery for its available slot to extend the operating time.

There were long queues in gasoline stations and ATMs everywhere. No ice can be bought to keep frozen goods from spoiling. Again, Jollibee helped because it was open during those two and a half days without water and electricity. To conserve water when dining at home, my wife wrapped our plates with food grade cellophane bags so we don’t have to wash our plates. This is the same technique used during birthdays and fiestas.

Super dad and super daughter doing their share to remove an unstable tree that was about to fall down anytime. Super mom was holding the camera.

"Hannah, on three... One, two, three, push!..."

With nothing else to do without water and electricity, we escaped to MOA on September 30 (Saturday) to have free cool air and restrooms with lots of water. For the 7:00 PM fireworks, we headed for the al fresco area of Café Breton, a good spot to view the fireworks.

Their Breton Mozzarella Burger (PhP165) was messy to eat but was so very delicious and juicy – excellent burger! It has a thick and awesomely juicy beef patty that is bigger than the burger bun then topped with mushrooms, lettuce and mozzarella cheese that extends like rubber bands after you take a big delicious burger bite. Mmm. Your finesse will be gone while eating but it’s worth it. The side salad is a good match.


Café Breton is famous for their French crepes so we ordered a crepe called La Pinay (PhP135). It is filled with mango then topped with a scoop of ice cream and chocolate sauce. Yumyum.


I ordered espresso long (PhP50), cappuccino (PhP60) for my wife, and fresh mango shake for our daughter (PhP75)

Jammin’ Jamaica serves pasta, pizza and patties. Their best sellers are their patties but these were not available when we went there so we ordered pasta and pizza. Port Royal (PhP120) is baked pasta with ground beef, cheese and cream sauce. Normal. Reggae pizza (PhP155) is their version of a thin crust Hawaiian pizza. The crust is crisp, powdery but lacks taste. Greenwich Hawaiian pizza is better.

Before going home, we passed by Shepherd Staff which is an inspirational books and gift specialty shop. But aside from being a book and gift shop, they also have a dessert and beverage bar in the center which is called Revive. Sebastians ice cream is available here. We had a single serving of the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (PhP68). It is made of pure vanilla ice cream with a blend of buttery cookie dough chunks, walnut bits and sweet fudge chips. Delicious.

When we reached home, electricity and water was already restored. I immediately took a long, relaxing, and well deserved bath before bedtime.

We survived Milenyo.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Tagaytay Highlands! Yehey!

September 23, 2006. We had a chance to be guests in Tagaytay Highlands. Part of the road going there have tight turns that are as steep (or steeper) than Kennon Road near the Lion's Head. When leaving Highlands and after you see the sign to drive in 1st gear, follow the sign, I tell you. If your car stalls... scary. The road going to the Country Clubhouse is similarly challenging. Or take the cable car instead and enjoy the scenery.
This is The Highlander Steakhouse. Their one and only branch outside Tagaytay Highlands opened last July 2006 in SM Mall of Asia - near IMAX. It imitates the log cabin interiors of its older brother inside Tagaytay Highlands.
The Highlands Golf Clubhouse as seen from the Highlander Steakhouse.
Dito kinasal si Raymart Santiago at Claudine Barretto.
Entrance to the Woodlands log homes. A two-storey, single detached property, 230 sq.m. floor area, with 3 bedrooms + maid's room, 3 toilet and bath, roof made of asphalt shingles, red cedar logs as exterior walls, pinewood interior panelling and a fireplace in the living room, costs around 34M PhP.

A ride in the cable car to the Country Clubhouse gives you a bird's eye view of the Woodlands log homes, the golf course and the clubhouse. Hannah calls it "nakasabit na train" (the hanging train) hehe.
The Country Clubhouse looks great. There are ponds, fishing areas, gardens, gazebos, kid's playground, library, swimming pools and food.
The Spa and Lodge.
Dinner at Santis. This is their 6th branch and the only branch located outside of Metro Manila - 52 kilometers away from Rizal's monument in Luneta. Santis have been in the Philippines for almost 20 years and now has 8 branches. They are very well stocked with wines, European beers, juice, cold cuts, cheeses, herbs, spices, freshly baked bread, nuts, biscuits, and more.
Special pork spare ribs, Louisiana style with fried rice and Santis side salad (PhP 360). Part of Santis' menu called "BBQ @ Km 52"



Provencal marinated lamb skewer with oriental fried rice and Tomato Mozzarella Salad With Basil (PhP 490).



Lilia concocted banana-mango shake as our drinks (PhP 135 each)