Philippines Celebrates Blog Awards: Shaking Complacency

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The Philippines celebrated its first leg of the third Philippine Blog Awards last year. As the country is physically divided due to the nature of its terrain (7,000+ islands) the awards was split into three regions to give context to cultural influences of every region. Radio host and an advocate for youth volunteer efforts, Gang Badoy was invited to deliver the keynote for this year. The past two months in Manila have been emotional for most, with murders, epic floods and typhoons and the upcoming elections turning bloggers more and more vigilant.

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What an honor and a frustration to be given ten minutes to address, perhaps (arguably) the most eloquent group of people ever gathered in 2009. But here I am, so here I go.

I cannot discuss any other ‘angle on blogging’ tonight except my gratitude to bloggers. During a crisis- you have kept many of us informed, during darker times – you, blogger have inspired, during births – you spread the joy and during death – many of you have rendered those who have gone before us immortal. There is no single phenomenon that has done all those in such a level.

Your personal thoughts, observations, factual research even urgent yet seemingly trivial emotions have contributed greatly to us who read you. Imagine how wide the understanding of the next generation will be of us who have gone before them -because of your blogs. Mas maiintindihan nila kung saan tayo nanggaling (They will be able to better understand where we came from). For me the best description of one who loves his country is someone who is interested in where we came from, where we are today – and where we want the country to go. Imagine the advantage the next generation has because they have our blogs to refer to. [Read more…]

FTC: Bloggers must disclose paid reviews or be fined USD $11,000

The FTC has finally dropped the hammer on paid reviews. This finally settles the long debate about blogging and ethics. Whereas before it was all about your moral code, today it is now a legal mandate. Bloggers, according to the Federal Trade Commission should have full disclosure for doing paid reviews, or suffer consequences.

Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service. Likewise, if a company refers in an advertisement to the findings of a research organization that conducted research sponsored by the company, the advertisement must disclose the connection between the advertiser and the research organization. And a paid endorsement – like any other advertisement – is deceptive if it makes false or misleading claims.

Interestingly enough, the “consequences” may actually be paid by the advertiser:

To placate such fears, Cleland said the FTC will more likely go after an advertiser instead of a blogger for violations. The exception would be a blogger who runs a “substantial” operation that violates FTC rules and already received a warning, he said.

So what this really means: there’s nothing to be worried about if you’ve been a good boy.

9rules opens up a new round; submit your blog now!

After a month of transition, the new 9rules network has announced a new round of blog submissions. They will be accepting blogs for the next 24 hours. If your blog philosophy falls meets the criteria of the 9 Rules, by all means, submit.

1. Love what you do.
2. Never stop learning.
3. Form works with function.
4. Simple is beautiful.
5. Work hard, play hard.
6. You get what you pay for.
7. When you talk, we listen.
8. Must constantly improve.
9. Respect your inspiration.

This is the first round of submissions under the helm of Splashpress Media. The Blog Herald is a member of the Splashpress Media network.

Filipino Bloggers Vigilant with Typhoon Ondoy Floods

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UPDATE IV: Splashpress Media is conducting a network-wide fund drive to help the Philippine National Red Cross. We have badges and banners which you can embed into your blogs.

UPDATE III: This video will help give perspective on how ‘Ondoy’ affected the Philippines. Thanks to Carlos Celdran. Here is some information on the International donation efforts.

UPDATE II: Google Philippines has joined the efforts by helping large TV networks contextualize the disaster areas. The link to the team and the maps can be found here. If there are others missing, please contribute to this page.

UPDATE: You can proceed to Philippine Aid for donations and more information about the Ondoy aftermath. So far, the site has raised USD $6,000.00 in donations from the International community. Thank you very much!

Hi, this is Jayvee Fernandez, chief editor of Splashpress Media. As you may have witnessed in mainstream media, the blogs, and Twitter (we are trending), the Philippines (where I’m from) has been hit by the worst flood in recent history because of typhoon ‘Ketsana’ / ‘Ondoy.’ The media has labeled this an epic flood since 1967. One month’s worth of rainfall in the span of 6 hours. It is so epic, it has its own Tumblr account.

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As I write this entry from a safe refuge, I cannot say the same for many other citizens and blogger friends who have had their material possessions, including cars, washed away. A detailed account can be read here, courtesy of Manolo Quezon.

The local blogging community has been adamant and vigilant disseminating information about relief centers, hotline numbers, donations and other such efforts through Facebook, Twitter, and our other local social networks (we’re glad that most still have Internet, despite cellular networks conking out). it is during times like these when we realize how powerful social media can be in the absence of conventional networks.

Details on how to help after the jump.
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WordPress Under Attack: Reason to Upgrade to 2.8.4

If you haven’t yet upgraded to the latest version of WordPress 2.8.4, then it is bout time you did. Self-hosted WordPress installs prior to this version is under attack and the potential damage to its users is high. Matt writes,

Right now there is a worm making its way around old, unpatched versions of WordPress. This particular worm, like many before it, is clever: it registers a user, uses a security bug (fixed earlier in the year) to allow evaluated code to be executed through the permalink structure, makes itself an admin, then uses JavaScript to hide itself when you look at users page, attempts to clean up after itself, then goes quiet so you never notice while it inserts hidden spam and malware into your old posts. [source]

Lorelle enumerates some symptoms to know if your site has been affected by the worm:

There are two clues that your WordPress site has been attacked.

There are strange additions to the pretty permalinks, such as example.com/category/post-title/%&(%7B$%7Beval(base64_decode($_SERVER%5BHTTP_REFERER%5D))%7D%7D|.+)&%/. The keywords are “eval” and “base64_decode.”

The second clue is that a “back door” was created by a “hidden” Administrator. Check your site users for “Administrator (2)” or a name you do not recognize. You will probably be unable to access that account, but Journey Etc. has a possible solution.

WordPress.com blogs are not impacted as they are up-to-date. Only versions prior to WordPress 2.8.4 are impacted.

Upgrade now!

Single mom documents her 5 year old son’s battle against Cancer

A single mother from Manila has put up a blog documenting her 5 year old son’s brave fight against cancer, specifically Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL). The entries document conversations between her and her son Mio, and how he has been reacting to the treatments.

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Theoretical ‘Le Cirque’ tab born from blogs, makes rounds to papers

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Two weekends ago, the New York Post disclosed a rather lavish USD $20,000 dinner by Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in ‘Le Cirque’ as part of her state visit to the United States. The bill was escalated due to the purchase of an assortment of fine wines. A series of events quickly unfolded, maiming the head of state for her rather lavish choice in dining, given the context of the global economic recession.
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Pirate Bay SOLD, goes the social media route

News as it is, the blogosphere has reported the sale of Pirate Bay, controversial for being a haven for multimedia torrents shared by the world. In a blog post written today, the founders expressed how thoughts about bringing new people into the “organization” was something they’d been hoping to do for some time. More importantly, they are pretty much aware of the ramifications of going into this partnership:

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Google Philippines: Happy Independence Day

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These don’t come often in the archilepago in South East Asia. June 12 2009 (GMT +8 so they’re advanced) is Independence Day in the Philippines. And Google is first to greet. The logo today represents the colors of the Philippine flag, three stars and the sun. The sun’s design is quite reminiscent as well of the tees made for WordCamp Philippines ’08 (video).
Very nice.

You can see this by going to www.google.com.ph today.