Egyptian Government Closed Down the Internet

In Egypt, people are clamoring for government to bring the down the prices of basic commodities like food. The Egyptians are protesting in the streets of Egyptian cities and the protesters are gaining their number via the Internet, specifically through social networking sites like Facebook.

Is answering the people's demands the answer of the Egyptian government? No. The Egyptian government decided to shut down the Internet in their country in the hope that people will calm down and the number of protesters will stop growing.

As the year progresses, governments around the world are seeing the power of the Internet, especially social media sites like Twitter and Facebook in mustering people to action. It is the Internet crowd that is the noisiest of US President Obama supporters and their noise helped him to win the White House. Also, Facebook and Twitter became instrumental in the 2010 Presidential Election and helped Noynoy Aquino win the Malacanang. Blogs, Facebook and Twitter were used to construct and destroy images of presidential candidates.

The power of the Internet is reaching the developing countries around the world and the events in Egypt shows that the Internet can be used by the people to empower themselves against their corrupt governments. The answer of authocratic and corrupt government against this new found power of the people? "Total shut down of the Internet."


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Thanks Technorati for informing me about this event.

Bad Bloggers

I read an article from Inquirer Sunday Magazine about a gang of bloggers who takes advantage of blogging and their online influence to get perks from establishments, specifically restaurant.

The writer of the article interviewed a restaurant owner/manager and revealed the modus operandi of these bad bloggers. According to the restaurant owner/manager: bad blogger came in to their restaurant, ate like a regular customer and left. After some days, a positive review of their restaurant was posted on bad blogger's site. Then someone called the owner/manager on the phone and asked for payment for the positive review of their restaurant. The owner/manager refused to give in to the caller's demands. On the following day, bad blogger returned to the restaurant, ate like a regular customer and left. After that, a negative review about the restaurant was posted on bad blogger's site. At the end of the Inquirer article, the owner/manager admitted that the incident made him afraid of all blogger.

Though I sympathize with the restaurant owner/manager, I disagree to his fear of bloggers. Not all bloggers are like that extorting bad blogger. There are many bloggers out there who write about the restaurants they had dined in and they write honestly without asking for any reward. I, for instance, write about the food I tasted and restaurant I dined in. I write based on what I experienced and without malice and I know that there many bloggers like me who write without malice.

However, bloggers like Bad Blogger should not be tolerated because they destroy the image of good and honest bloggers. Blogging's prominence is rising in the Philippines and it seems like evil persons are using their new found influence to extort money and other things.


Visit Before the Eastern Sunset and read about my first dine at the Filipino buffet restaurant Kamayan.

Visit Ahab Reviews and Tips and read about some tips about PUPCET.

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NetworkedBlogs Has a Problem

I just posted my recent article for this blog and as a part of my normal routine, I go to my Facebook account and visit my NetworkedBlogs profile. I always go to NetworkedBlogs profile so as to publish my new post on Facebook using the NetworkedBlogs Application.

Unfortunately, my usual routine suddenly ended when this window appeared.
As of the moment, NetworkedBlogs is encountering some problems. I will just post the link of my blog post on my Facebook wall to post my new article in Facebook.

Does any of you encountered the same problem as mine? How did you solve it?

Create Your Blog's Disclosure Policy

I use my blog to generate income. I placed advertisements from Google Ads and Nuffnang. However, the one that give me the most income is by writing a paid article that I post on my blog. Paid articles are articles that are paid for by a person or company so that a blogger will post a review or a blog post on his blog. Usually, paid articles contain links that go directly to the advertiser’s website. Opps, which is the term used for prospective paid post article from an advertiser, is easy to write and can be obtained from InPostLinks, Blogsvertise, SocialSpark and similar websites.

However, there are Paid Article websites that requires a blog to have a Disclosure Policy before they accept any blog to receive opps from them. SocialSpark and InPostLink are few of those websites that require a disclosure policy.

What’s a disclosure policy? Well, it is just a written article, posted on your blog disclosing that you accept paid articles on your blog or that your articles may be biased to the advertisers that bought an article from you.

It is not hard to create a disclosure policy for your blog. All you need to do is to go to website and follow the simple instructions there.

For a better insight, read the Disclosure Policy of my personal/travel blog.

What's Good with Riffing?

I received an e-mail update from Friday Traffic Report a few days ago and on the e-mail he talked about a way to solve two problems that are common with bloggers. The problems that he talked about is the problem of creating fresh content daily and the problem of getting backlink for blogs.

The solution that will hit the birds with just one stone is the technique that they call as RIFFING. Basically, in riffing you will just quote other blogger’s post on your blog and hope that the blogger that you quoted will quote your blog too.

According to Antone Roundy, riffing will help you generate new contents for your blog because all you have to do is to quote the blog, with the topic you are interested in, and expound on the quote or the topic of that other blogger.

Riffing is also good in getting backlinks because other bloggers will quote on your blog.

However, riffing is a voluntary process. This means that the blogger that you quoted from is not obliged to quote you back. This is the weakness of riffing. What if you are just a simple blogger with a low pagerank blog? I am sure that other bloggers with blogs with higher pagerank will not quote your blog. The low-pagerank blogger will be waiting a backlink that will never come.

Antone Roundy says that the solution for this is for the blogger to create a compelling and quote worthy content. Also, those who would want to participate in riffing should place this badge:

The badge shows that you are participating in riffing and that if they quote your blog, then you will quote them back.

However, having this badge still does not guarantee that other riffing participants will quote your blog post. Riffing all boils down to quality content and that what you should keep in mind before participating in riffing.

Visit the riffers' page to know more about riffing.

How to Defeat Writer's Block

There are times when I can’t accomplish anything when it comes to my blog. I just stare in front of my computer but my mind can’t give me any thought that can jumpstart my writing. No matter how much I squeeze my mind, nothing seems to come out of it.

Yes, sometimes I experience “writer’s block” and this is the common enemy of bloggers. So, what can I do to avoid having “writer’s block?” Here are some of the things that I do:

1. Take a Break and Let Your Mind Wander

Sometimes, our mind is just too exhausted that it can’t give you any idea or motivation to start you writing. Maybe, you are just tired from work or you did not slept well. The best solution for this is to take a break. You can sleep, or just play a simple game with your PSP or Nintendo DS.

All you need is to take a break from writing and let your mind wander off. According to an article I read from “Wired Science,” many “eureka” moments of scientists occur when they let their mind wander for a little bit. Maybe, all your mind need is a little bit of daydreaming to give you that “eureka” moment to jumpstart your writing.

2. Read about the Topic

Writer’s block may also stem from the fact that you don’t have any idea on what you are writing about. This problem happens to me every time when I was assigned to write about a topic that I remotely know about.

The solution for this is to read about the topic that you need to write about. This will give you ideas and will surely help you in writing your article.

3. Take Notes of Your Ideas

Sometimes, ideas suddenly pop-out in inconvenient places. This usually happens to me when I ride a bus home.

Previously, whenever ideas pop-out of my mind, I just let it stay in my mind because I believed that I will be able to remember it when I am at home. However, I was wrong, because after a few minutes, the idea fades away from my mind and I totally forgot about it when I reached home.

So as not to lose those ideas, I make sure that I type it in my cellphone so that I will be able to retrieve it when I am at home. Taking notes helped me create a list of topics that I will post on my blogs. Because of this, I always have something to write about.


These are some of the things that I do to avoid “writer’s block.” How about you? What are the things that you do?

Facebook Will End on March 15th!?

False news spread like wildfire last weekend when a website published a false article quoting Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, saying that he will be shutting Facebook down on March 15.

I totally missed this news and wouldn’t have known about it if not a friend of mine posted a blog about it.

The hoax started from Weekly World News, wherein they alleged that Zuckerberg said:

“Facebook has gotten out of control,” said Zuckerberg in a press conference outside his Palo Alto office, “and the stress of managing this company has ruined my life. I need to put an end to all the madness.”

The article continued by saying that Zuckerberg will start shutting Facebook down by March 15.

The article would largely be ignored if people, alarmed by the hoax, did not post the false news on Facebook and Twitter.  People became so alarmed that some of them posted questions at
Yahoo Answers.

No, Facebook will not shut down in March 15. If Zuckerberg is tired of Facebook, then he could just sell it. Facebook is a multi-billion business and many people are aching to purchase it from the Facebook founder. If he wants, then he could allow me to manage it. :-D

How to Improve Your Writing Skills

As bloggers, our main weapon is our writing skills because text articles are still the meat of blogs. Thus, developing good writing skills is very important in blogging.

Many people are afraid to start a blog because they are afraid to be criticized for their poor writing skills. This should not be the case since writing is not an inborn talent. Even great writers and authors start from stupid or uninteresting piece of work. Great writers developed their skills through perseverance and hard work.

You could be a good writer too and here are some tips to help you develop your writing skills:

1. Write Regularly

“Practice makes things perfect.” That saying is also true in developing your writing skills. The best way to improve your writing skill is to write regularly. Compare one of my first blog posts and one of the latest blog posts on my personal/travel blog.

As you could see, the first blog post is terrible. The grammar is terrible and the topic is very personal. The second post, on the other hand, is better and lengthy as compared to the first blog post. The topic is also less focused on the self and more focused on the facts that my blog visitors will like to read.

Writing regularly on your blog will surely hone your skill. You can practice your grammar and make you write confidently. The more you write confidently, the more you can relate yourself with your readers.

2. Start with Topics that You Know Intimately

When I started blogging, I write mostly about my self and my “romantic struggle.” As time pass by, I learn to write about other topics that I know well. From writing about my self, I progress to writing about the things that surround me and then writing about my travels and other things that I know of, personally.

Writing on a topic that you know intimately is very helpful because your knowledge on that topic will give you confidence. You will not fumble around the things that you write on your blog because you are confident that what you are writing is correct.

You can expand to other topics as you develop your writing skills. You can include topics that you are not that knowledgeable of as you improve. However, to be able to write good on those topics, you will need to focus on the next.

3. Read to Write

Ideas in our mind can be exhausted. There are days that writers are stump and can't produce ideas. This experience is called "writer's block." You can avoid this if you are a fervent reader. Yes, reading!

A goood writer does not only have time for writing, but also has time for reading. Reading is like recharging your minds with good ideas that you could use when you write a blog post. Reading will also help you in broadening your horizon and in adding new knowledge to topics that you don't know well. Also, reading other people's work could help you in choosing what writing style to use because you will be exposed to different writing style.

4. Be engaged in a discussion

For several times, I got involved in heated debates on Facebook. Debating with other people online, were arguments were thrown almost real time, will help you build an articulate mind.You will learn to look for the weakness of your opponents arguments and you will learn to use logic in making your counterarguments.

Also, by discussing with other people, you will learn the value of doing research, which is valuable when you are writing an article even if it is just a blog post. It is a plus for a blogger like you to develop an articulate and logical mind so as to make you capable to write a better blog post, especially if you are a political blogger.


Of course there are other tips that will help you in becoming a better writer. However, the tips I enumerated here are the vital tips that you will need in creating better blog posts or articles.

Internet Wars on NTC's Bandwidth Cap

Of the subscribers of Internet service providers (ISP) in the Philippines, who can claim that they never experienced any delay in their Internet connection? I bet that majority of Filipino Internet users experienced delays or hassles when they connect to the Internet.

As of this moment, while I type this article, I am experiencing intermittent signal on my Smart Broadband. When I managed to connect to the Internet, the loading time is agonizingly slow that I decided to stay off line for a while. Many Filipino subscribers are experiencing the same fate as I am. When you do a Google search on the local ISPs, you will encounter, more likely than not, a blog post or forum that is full of angst against the faulty service of ISPs like Smart Broadband and Globe Broadband.

As a response to the many complaints regarding the local ISPs, the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) drafted a memorandum. Based on the draft memorandum, NTC wants the ISPs to issue a minimum guaranteed speed for their service. Currently, the ISPs only publicize the maximum speed (like in Smart Broadband, which is up to 1Mbps). However, during my one year subscription, it is very rare for me to see a 1 Mbps speed for my Internet connection.

I welcome this move by the NTC, because this will force the ISPs in making sure that their subscribers will get the Internet speed that is close to the maximum speed that they advertised. This will reduce the number of angry posts on forums and blogs. This will be a big help for many Filipino Internet users who rely on the Internet to get extra income like bloggers and viewers of pay-to-click ads.

However, the point of contention of those against the NTC's draft memorandum is the proposed bandwidth cap for every user. This means that a user will be capped for their bandwidth usage. Thus, if the NTC says that all residential users should be capped up to 1 GB of bandwidth usage, then users will be not allowed to go beyond the 1 GB limit. Thus, if you are bit torrent addict and you already downloaded 1 GB of data, then your ISP will not allow you to download more torrents, unless you pay an additional fee for the exceeded bandwidth.

Yugatech is in support of the draft memorandum, while other bloggers like Cocoy of POC denounced the bandwidth cap. I suggest that you read their articles to decide on which side are you on.

As for me, I just want the local ISPs, specifically Smart Broadband, to improve their system and to build better infrastructures for their Internet services. I really hate it when I had to wait for a long time for a plain HTML page to load. I hate it when I have to wait for a long time for the pictures on my blogs to be uploaded. I hate it when the broadband signal is so intermittent that I had to stay offline, lest I punch my PC monitor.

In the NTC's draft memorandum, I would like them to implement the minimum guaranteed speed so as to make the ISPs improve their infrastructures. I have qualms about the bandwidth cap because it might limit my activities in the Internet. However, Yugatech mentioned about the abuse of the current system and why the cap is needed.

Further study is needed and (like Cocoy had said) we must look at South Korea to see how their system can be applied in the Philippines. However, as of the moment, while the issue is not yet resolved, I want to see my Smart Bro connection live up to its claim of up to 1 Mps speed, as advertised.

Problem Resolved and a Cash-Out from SocialSpark

SocialSpark is one of the website that I joined to monetize my blogs. SocialSpark is a good website and they are reliable when they are paying your approved paid posts.

Anyways, for those who do not know, SocialSpark is a website that offer bloggers great way of monetizing their blogs. Bloggers that are using SocialSpark are assigned to various opportunities (opps) that are available on their site. Opps are posted by advertisers and bloggers can only take those opps based on the blog’s pagerank and the requirements of the advertiser. For blogs will low pagerank, it is hard to get paid post from advertisers on SocialSpark.

Also, SocialSpark only allows to cash-out their earnings when they reached 50 dollars.

Last year, SocialSpark upgraded to new version. Before the upgrade, I already accomplished a few opps and earned some money. But because of the 50 dollar minimum cash-out, I was not able to get my money from SocialSpark.

Last December 4, I logged in to my SocialSpark account and noticed that my earnings were gone (0 dollars). This prompted me to contact the SocialSpark customer service. I sent them this message.

What happened to my previous earnings in the old Social Spark? Is the old Social Spark still existing?
I have a certain amount in the old Social Spark but when I look at my earning balance it shows that I have 0 balance. What happened to my money in the old SocialSpark? Please clarify this.

By January 3, I received this reply from them:

Hi Ishmael,
Per your request we have manually cashed out your v1.0 account. You should see the $xx.xx balance reflected in your PayPal account shortly.
All the Best,


I am glad for their prompt reply. And I am also glad that I got my earnings from the old version of SocialSpark. Great work SocialSpark and I will continue working with you.

If you have similar problem like mine, the best way you could do is to contact SocialSpark and then they give your money that was not cashed-out in the old version of SocialSpark.