So you want to download Pope Benedict XVI into your iPod?

You might think the Vatican as old fashioned. Think again. It is actually one of the first global institutions that took advantage of podcasting. Chances are, you’ve probably heard about podcasting only a few days ago, but Vatican Radio has been utilizing this relatively new technology since early this year. And yes, the Holy Father has his own podcast. Well, sort of.

Podcasting is basically the process of producing audio and making it available through websites so listeners may download the audio content into their audio player. Papal messages, especially those the Pontiff delivers during his customary weekly general audience at the Vatican, are available for download from the Vatican Radio website. You have a choice of formats. You can download his minutes-long speeches and reflections either as .ram or mp3.

And if you find it hard to understand his German-flavored English, you can read the full text of his messages in the Pope Page. Call it the Holy Father’s show notes or his papal blog. If you have spare time to send him comments and feedbacks you can actually do so by emailing him. His email address is benedictxvi@vatican.va. I am not joking. Try it for yourself. Plus you can subscribe to the Vatican Radio’s podcast feed using this url: http://feeds.feedburner.com/vaticanradio105live.

My hope is that the Pope will be able to touch the hearts of people all over the world and strengthen their faith through his downloadable teachings, pronouncements, and reflections. And I too hope that podcasters around the world may use the technology to communicate sound moral values and to advance a culture of love, peace, and solidarity.

Teens blog to “stay tuned into friendship networks”

A survey of by the Pew Internet and American Life Project showed that one in five 12- to 17-year-olds in the United States have their own blogs.

The Associated Press reported that “the survey also found that older school-age girls with online access were most likely to keep a blog.”

“Blogging for teens is about staying tuned into their friendship networks, not about politics or people getting in trouble at school, which are two of the main narratives that journalists have covered in recent months,” says Amanda Lenhart, a senior researcher at Pew who helped compile the report.

Click here for the full story.


Subject: re: Lessons in Spanish

A Spanish teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine.

“House,” for instance, is feminine: ”la casa.”

”Pencil,” however, is masculine: “el lapiz.”

A student asked, ”What gender is ‘computer’?”

Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether ‘computer” should be a masculine or a feminine noun.

Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.

The men’s group decided that ”computer” should definitely be of the feminine gender (”la computadora”) because:

1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic;
2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;
3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and
4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.


The women’s group, however, concluded that computers should be masculine (”el computador”) because:

1 In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;
2. They have a lot of data but still can’t think for themselves;
3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem; and
4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.

The women won.

Teacher Sol is a proactive blogger. She’s now blogging at www.teachersol.blogspot.com.

Best blog search engine

With blogs estimated at over 10 million and growing, there certainly is need for a search engine.

Poynter, an online journalism resource, reviews the best blog tools on the web and says the google blog search is the “fastest of any of the blog searches…and does the best job of returning posts that are right on topic.”

Technorati is the most established and popular but could be slow and its results list cluttered with unrelated and unreadable posts, said Jonathan Dube, Cyberjournalist.net publisher, in his article published at the Poynter website.

Yahoo!’s blog search falls short of the others, added Dube.

Forbes attacks blogs, bloggers

Forbes has written a scathing attack on the blogosphere, calling web logs as the “prized platform of an online lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies, libel and invective.”

The article by Dan Lyons said blogs started as online diaries but later became the “ultimate vehicle for brand-bashing, personal attacks, political extremism and smear campaigns.”

Lyons added in his article:

It’s not easy to fight back: Often a bashing victim can’t even figure out who his attacker is. No target is too mighty, or too obscure, for this new and virulent strain of oratory.

Here’s what top bloggers think of the Forbes article.

Pinoys text petitions, prayers

Filipinos pray for love, money via text messages.

Salvation is now just a text message away for Filipinos.

Prayers for lotto wins, jobs in Canada and even boyfriends have been flooding a Philippine Catholic Church project allowing Filipinos to send their petitions via text messages from their cellular phones.

The petitions sent to the “Text Mary” project are forwarded for inclusion in the intention of daily Masses held in churches in Manila and in prayers of Carmelite nuns, the INQ7 reported.

Filipinos have also been downloading novenas and daily prayers from the Text Mary server by simply texting a keyword.
Continue reading “Pinoys text petitions, prayers”

Don’t fall victim to online fraud

Phishing is a type of online fraud where the perpetrators attempt to acquire personal, financial, and/or other account information (such as user IDs, passwords, credit card numbers, PINs, etc.) from unsuspecting victims. This type of fraud is typically initiated by sending an unsolicited but official-looking email claiming to be from a reputable company, such as a bank, a credit card firm, or an online establishment. The fraudulent email usually contains an urgent message that tries to lure the recipient into providing sensitive information.
Continue reading “Don’t fall victim to online fraud”

E-mail etiquette: Mind your P’s and Q’s

Sloppy messages that are riddled with spelling errors and are irrelevant and difficult to read are major source of lost productivity as employees struggle to decipher cryptic online requests and disorganized sales pitches.

“Email should contain the same attention to detail as a letter with signature on corporate letterheard. It’s a direct reflection of your professionalism,” said Sue Jacques, president of Calgary’s Influence Etiquette & Protocol.

“Unfortunately, we tend to just fire off our thoughts and there’s no filter system between our brains and our fingers.”

A recent US study suggests the problem is getting worse. Some 80% of workers surveyed consider strong email skills “extremely important”, but 40% say they waste 30 minutes to three hours a day reading ineffective messages.
Continue reading “E-mail etiquette: Mind your P’s and Q’s”

Chitika releases sample keywords for ads

If you display Chitika ads in your site, check this link for a catalogue on keywords you can use. The keywords will help you target the type of ads that will be displayed in your blog. If you’re still not using Chitika, apply for an account in their home page. If you still haven’t heard of Chitika, here’s a review from someone who earns more than $700 a day from the program.

US workers wasting millions of hours on blogs?

From Agence France Presse: Trade paper AdAge.com reported this week that US workers would waste the equivalent of 551,000 years during 2005 reading blogs, online web diaries and gossip sheets, which have exploded in numbers in recent years.

Further on in the article, AFP said: But some blog and Internet experts argue that reading a blog in itself does not necessarily equate to wasted time – and may replace time when workers could be idling away their boss’s time doing something else. Click here to read the full story.

Automating publication of author profiles in WordPress

In group blogs, author profiles are important so that readers can have additional information on the contributor of the article. In WordPress, the publication of the author’s profile can be automated through the <?php the_author_description(); ?> tag. Just include the tag in your post template, preferably after the body content, and the contributor’s profile will be automatically published. You can then style the text using CSS.

To Sun.Star Blog Chronicles contributors, fill up your profile information. To do so, just log into the site and click on Users, the profile table is near the bottom of the page.

Added: And I forgot to add, you can use HTML in your profiles data to link to your personal blogs.