Saturday, June 24, 2006

Command & Conquer: The Generals Are In

- Aean "The General" Sevilla

The first expansion pack for the critically acclaimed Command & Conquer Generals challenges players to square off against the world's most elite commanders for battlefield domination.
For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, Command & Conquer Generals is a strategically based game developed by EA Games Westwood, the same company that brought us RED ALERT 2, YURI'S REVENGE and the NBA Series on PC, Playstation and XBox.

The CCG allows you to build, create and control armies; upgrade vehicles, tanks, people nukes and all the kinds of attacks you can think of. You can move from one-star general, three-star general, to even the ultimate five-star. Let’s not forget also the super weapons that in fact have evolved to measly nukes to the dropping of tomahawks missiles to suicide bombers and my favorite a giant laser pointing down that puts out massive attacks. All the maps are now much more detailed and are to die for. Losing has not been much fun for me. You can literally see and feel the excitement, action and the rush that some of us look for in a game. It’s awesome.

How do you play this, you say?

Well first you start with one base and one tank building. From there you must expand and build defensive positions and combinations of attacks that you see fit. If you're familiar with
Red Alert, Command and Conquer isn't much any different. But the effects are more detailed and well-developed. It puts you where the action is, almost like in a simulation game.
Well now you know what I do after school. The graphics are stunning; the sounds are breathtaking; gameplay is amazing.

A Different "Calling"

- Rene "Pixel" Ong

"We can't make you look like Brad Pitt.
But we can make you talk like him."

With a nice big heading like this, who would not want to enter into the call-center business? Teasing adverts, but not at all inappropriate.

We all know the score here. The call-center industry is still booming with over 50,000 agents needed by call-center companies in the next two years. Plenty of opportunity but what are the odds? Statistics say only 3 out 100 applicants gets the job.


Well, communication skills play a big part. Its the biggest determining factor that'll snag the job for you. Second, you need to have confidence when you speak. Your boss won't thank you for stuttering your way into a frantic customer. Last is your ability to think and, if you're applying for technical-support, your overall technical know-how. You may have Brad Pitt's voice, and all the confidence in the world, but if you cant tell which one's the plug and which one's the mouse, you're lacking in some serious education.

This is where a training program come in useful.
The school is currently running its own training program to interested applicants. Special summer classes will be offered to the students as well. When I say 'special', I meant that we, that is to say, the students, are given 50% off on the total fee. So there's no room to excuse any students wanting to try it out.

But what exactly is there to try, you say?
Well, the classes themselves are straightforward enough. They teach you mostly about proper English grammar, correct pronunciations and usage of words, or, case in point, common grammatical errors typical of the native Filipino tongue. (An even more specific example is the confusion between pronouncing 'th' and a 'd', 'f' and 'p', so on and so forth...)

A year back when I first entered into an exact same program as this, I heard many, and believed many testimonials from the instructors and applicants saying how programs like these can invoke dramatic changes in your communication skills. This as much, I say is true. But if and only if, you took the matter seriously. Shyness goes out of the window, as is withdrawals.

To sum things up, the call-center industry is wide open to all people. Whether you're twenty or forty, fresh-from-college or an undergraduate hopeful, looks doesn't even matter (like I said, its all in the voice). If you've understood most of the things that I wrote in this column, then you're a keeper. The application forms are right at the front desk. You can't miss it. I'm sure Ma'am Sweet and Ma'am Anne will be happy to accommodate you.

Otherwise. There is no otherwise. Like I've said, unless you've managed to reach through the bottom of this column, there will be no point putting in an 'otherwise' statement.

Whether You Like It Or Not

- Mariel 'yie Abendan

“I am not capable of doing it, because I am not used to it.” This was his excuse as I encouraged him to grab the opportunity of the fifty percent discount in Call Center Training.

So I turned my back and began to walk along the hallway. Mulling, asking: “Was it all about that?” As soon as I left the school premises alone and went to the mall for a cup of cappuccino in a coffee shop located inside, two young men dressed in corporate attires ordered their café Americano and sited their place behind me. “If not just for my kids then, I would not be staying in this job.” He sighed. It was my last zip to my coffee when I heard him say that. A couple of minutes when I took my wallet inside the bag for check out and leave the shop then.

Confusingly, I walked just to stroll and somehow unwind. The guitar that has been displayed for bargain catches my attention not just because of its discounted price, but the thought of the guitar in me… Miko, my brother that is pretty much cool in playing that instrument. One tough man, rugged and almost all my friends admire him. Planning to put himself in a business off the ground. But amazingly, he wants to enterprise in a Salon Industry. So, I laughed and asked him giggling, “Why he came up to that idea?” He replied with another question, “You want money, right?...of course you want money since it’s a prime necessity to live. “You see, it’s either men or women, spend 300 bucks or more just to look great. Blah, blah, blah…”. And in the end he said, “Don’t just do what you want but do what you have to”.

Suddenly my laughter turned out to a simple smile, remembering the man in the coffee shop who was grieving about his job.

It was already four and I have to go back in school for my last subject when I realized the thought.

As a student, as often times we gave lame excuses on our low or failed remarks, saying that the subject is not our eminency… that is why. But in the real world, as a student or any individual, the most valuable result of education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done… WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT.

Well, I think it’s the first lesson to be learned, perhaps. Not just to do and fulfill our natural interest but making our interest to do what can fulfill us. And from every new assignment, it can help our ability to reveal and develop ourselves increasingly.

Team Manifesto

Go to school
Learn something new
Know your limits

Everybody has one
Speak your mind
But do it wisely

Exercise the right

Know your power

SEE the need
Fill the need


Sports Fest: Full Throttle

- Rene "Pixel" Ong


It’s basketball time. So what does either team have in their line-up? Well size does make an obvious contrast. Though one can argue that both have their fair share of talent and power, there’s no point denying that Team B’s got the bigger meat here; a fact that perhaps Team A took upon as a challenge. They fought with equal talent and power, and they never let their guard down.


So Team B’s bagged the basketball arena. They won fair and clean, but now it’s time to play somebody else’s strength. Its volley-time folks, and Team A’s got their spirits high up for this heckuva payback.


Anybody up for a little off-track game of Sack Race? Or, as I’d like to call it, a ‘FROGGY-DO-WHOOPSY’? There are some credits involved too, like in a normal game, but everybody seems to be enjoying it rather than taking it too seriously. However, seeing as it’s a mere ‘for-fun’ game only, you’d think that both teams would lay off each other’s throats and just goof around with the game. Turns out, they really do mean business, whether it’s an intense fight of Basketball or a child’s remake of a ‘FROGGY-DO-WHOOPSY’. Relax teams! It’s just a game. If you want to win, then fight for it, don’t nag. You’re giving the facilitators enough pressure as it is.


Gimme a ‘C’…Gimme an ‘H’…Gimme a double ‘E’…Gimme an ‘R’…People, what have we got? It’s a cheer alright! And it’s team A versus Team B again. Bring it on, teams. But what’s this? No pompoms?! No skimpy shorts and ponytails? Oh, it’s a dance-cheer kind of thing. Sorry Team A, but Team B’s flattened you out big time. They’ve got better moves, better choreography and better execution. Yours could’ve been better. But as the commentator rightly says, ‘kulang lang kayo sa vitamins’.

Study Habits: A No-No for the Common Student?

- Rene "Pixel" Ong

Okay, let's face it. There are some things we just couldn't change no matter how hard we try. I guess this goes out to all the teachers in the world, eh? To the students, this is for you too, I hope you wouldn't mind if I take away your hall pass this time.

Every new semester, we begin each class with a little useful reminder about the grading system. To me I call this a hint of what's about to come. To the rest it becomes a reference for which they can weigh in their chances. But whichever way we see it, it all bores down to two, that is, we either make it or break it. A pass or a fail...

Hopefully we will get closure after two months, but until then, let's talk about the now and what you can do to avoid that next fail mark.

By the time you read this, you probably have a good plan about what you’re going to do with your grades. If not, you better do it now. And if that’s not good enough still, boy you’ve got some nerve going into school. You’re wasting money and precious time, kiddo!

If you’ve managed to reach through this paragraph, consider yourself a good listener and give yourself a nice pat in the back. You’re showing signs of interest and that’s always a good place to start.

Okay, down to business. Here’s a brief list on how to pass all your subjects with flying colors, courtesy of yours-truly:

::: Go to school and attend every class as much as you can. A nice chunk of your grade is taken from this, and this is something that only requires your presence…should be easy, right?

::: When in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask. There are a few students who would only be too willing to help you in your lessons. Go ahead and ask them if you’re afraid to ask the teachers, which you probably are. I’m sure they won’t bite.

::: Pass all your quizzes. This is important, kids. Trust me. If you do this, you’ll get a decent chance at making that pass. Why? That’s because most of the things that come up in quizzes usually come up in the exams. They’re bound to be. Plus, you’ll find it rather easy to study for the exams since you already studied them in all your quizzes. That should beak down the burden of having to “bit-by-bit” study during your prelim or finals.

Once you do this, you’d be surprised at what a little useful thinking can do for your future. Who knows? Maybe you can even hit the top list of your class this time around.

Student Council in Perspective

- Rene "Pixel" Ong

Making a mark is no mean feat. Introducing a new student body, the highest ever, is no exception to the rule. You need to have a strong foothold of practically almost anything that goes around the school: The students, the work, keeping up with your own academics (Yes, council members need to study too!). Not to mention the sheer pressure that comes with the job.

It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.

The Student Council began its first few projects as early as last December; starting off with the Christmas Year-End Party held at the Santiago Resort. It was quite a reasonable feat considering they’ve been elected into position barely two weeks before the said event.

And then the new semester began.

First day of classes and they already had big plans ahead of the. They really do mean business. Let’s just hope they remain consistent about it.

Of course, hardly any school groups around have come by their business without having a bit of a drama fit into the story. The recently concluded Sports Fest, for example, went through a little controversy midway into the event. But that is neither too big of an issue nor remotely unexpected. That’s just how it goes. That’s how it is with sports, there’s always a winner & a loser.

The Student Council can hardly be called a game, least of all a gamble. There are no rebounds, no free throws, no fouls…just progress, and plenty of room for discovery and improvement.

Perhaps no other person can stand true to these last words better than council president Johnny Paragas.

He confesses:

“Being the leader in this body has taught me to become more resourceful and responsible than I was before. And it has certainly given me a good insight of my own limitations and strengths. It’s funny what a week’s worth of pressure can do to your thinking. Funny, but not entertainingly pleasant.”

Then again, even a strong and resourceful leader can’t handle all the challenges alone.

The rest of the council members need to do their respective duties. But whether or not they arise to the challenge is entirely up to them.

One good trait of a good leader is his ability to motivate. But Johnny seems to have a different way around motivating people. He doesn’t merely just come up to his fellow council members and share a few modest words of wisdom, he acts.

Finally, the Student Council has been elected not only to represent the students, but also to guide them.

It does take a good leader to make any institution grow. But a great leader is only as good as its followers.

Like I said, it’s a tough job. But if we all become good followers in our own rights, we can help make their jobs a lot easier. We owe them that.

The Simple Joys In Life

- Benjamin Ngo
( OIC - Dean, Informatics Valenzuela )

I had a chance to watch the WWE Raw Tour last Feb. 24 at the Araneta Coliseum. For those who remember, that day’s EDSA celebration brought all sorts of chaos. At first I wasn't going to go because of what was happening with the country, and in retrospect am I glad I did go.

The whole stadium was packed. The experience was totally surreal. Wrestlers whom you wouldn't bother watching on TV suddenly turn into superstars you shout and cheer for. There are really no words that could describe the experience, especially for people like me who grew up watching the WWE.

It feels incredibly wonderful to shout with the entire crowd trademark chants. There was no heel (bad guy) or face (good guy) that night. Each wrestler got the loudest applause the crowd could give.

I saw all sorts of people, from little toddlers to lolas with walking sticks who looked very much out of place with the crowd, but all were having a blast. And why shouldn't they? The WWE has been part of our lives since most of us were children. For me it was one of the things I really looked forward to each week, watching wrestling matches while having my snack of turon and sprite.

For the people who wonder how such a seemingly trivial thing as an entertainment organization or event can elicit such a response, I can only say that if they weren't at Araneta Coliseum that night, they wouldn't understand. If they hadn't spent their childhood saturday afternoons watching Hulk Hogan, they wouldn't understand. Those 3 hours have been one of the most memorable moments in my life. And I suspect that most of the crowd in the Coliseum would agree with me.

Perhaps a most fitting ending was when Mick Foley mentioned that Manila was John Cena's town. Cena replied that Manila wasn't his town, Manila belonged to all the people who went there and cheered for their superstars. This drew a reaction like no other. It seemed as if the chaos of the EDSA anniversary celebration never happened. Well in fact, for those of us watching, it never did. For those 3 hours people forgot about all the problems engulfing the country that day. For those 3 hours there was a joy that nothing else could provide.

To the students reading this, let us not forget about the little things that make us happy. As we go about our daily tasks, we should take time to cherish every fleeting moment that life deals us. Living a fruitful life is all about balance, balancing your mind and heart, your responsibilities and your desires.

He is Pretty in Pink?

- Mariel ‘yie Abendan

“Being held captive by the
Gender crap wardrobe is over…
Today’s man’s fashion makes
a rebellion of their limitations.

In the pink of things… bags, sandals, watches, accessories and a lot more to divulge the real essence of a woman. This psychedelic color unleashes the surreal in you… But hey! We’re not going to talk about any femme issue here. Let’s prompt to all the guys out there!

Pink a masculine color? Why not? Late 2005, this hue emerged and basically, affected all apparel up to this moment. Shirts, polo, caps and even rubber shoes and belts are now mixed up with pink. Up heaving their sturdy, bullyboy image… this color became one tough but snug shade for man.

However a lot of our romeos say they’re getting into it because it’s kinda different, out of naiveté, even stupid. But how could it be so prominent when it started, going from a favorite to now becoming the uniform of most students.

Rugged jeans dressed up with pink shirt plus their sneakers would be one of the genre nowadays. Eventually this adam is now ready to thug along to smoggy Manila!

For women, it would be so attractive for a lad to get up and carry his pink medium eminently, and still be macho about it. Seems so cool, clean, and neat; even sweaty, unshaven with jeans due for washing two months ago. Pink is one of the remedies for the unkempt.

On the contrary, it’s neither to uplift man’s virility nor deteriorate their yahoo image perhaps… by wearing pink. But remarkably, this pink shade is now one of man’s forte.

It’s just another fad, people, plain and simple. The come and go season, so to speak. Wearing luridly pink shirts or shoes is no different nowadays as wearing a head band for the boys. It’s in style. Hopefully you’ll catch it before the next season arrives.

Celebrating with a Bang

The Informatics FOUNDATION Week Coverage

Fully Loaded

Sporting two major events, the Informatics 3-day celebration of its 2nd year run kicked off last February 16, 2006!

As in last year’s celebration, the event was formally opened around ten in the morning with a motorcade around central Valenzuela. Sir Benj was of course leading the convoy in his spotting new wheels. After a quick run over the McArthur Highway, those who were on the motorcade joined the rest of the students back at school, where a certain number of guests and visitors were expected to come.


STUDENTS WERE DIVIDED INTO THREE TEAMS: TWO FOR MULTIMEDIA, ONE FOR NETWORKS. The exhibit, which would take in the majority of three days, started right after the motorcade. Students hitherto seem to have leaked in a certain amount of “other” talent during the redecoration of each assigned rooms, which took in some interesting makeover overnight, starting with the sci-fi attitude of the Networks arena to the Valentine-inspired Multimedia love-booth.
ON the multimedia corner, students from classes 156 and 258 compose the two teams, each with their own brand of displays. Class 156 compiled mostly FLASH Animations and Presentations, including those that were created on Authorware, ranging from music videos to vector-drawn animation clips created by the students themselves. Class 258 also gave in some presentations, web-integrated flash clips, and a few Authorware programs as well.

On the other hand, representing the Networks Department is the humanoid K-STAR Model101 (Batteries not included); fully functional and customized with retractable appendages, built-in voice box, and an almost human-like behavioral pattern programmed right at its central processing unit. Unfortunately, the silver-spangled humanoid was only a trial-version, and he had had to go home after some of its body paints started peeling away. Apparently, strange new technologies like the K-STAR need to take baths too.

On a more serious note, the networks presentation is basically about introducing the basic concepts of Networking. Miniature models depicting several concepts such as an Internet Firewall and LAN generally help convey these concepts.

Several important guests arrived at school within the day. Representatives from call-center companies and schools took some time on each department, and the collective responses have been generally good.

The world is indeed yet to discover the school’s true potential. Perhaps the many smiles and praises from each guest that came to the school is an indication that we are competitive and wise to what we are doing.