2019 Post

So, this is just a little post I coughed up after updating my wordpress to the latest version. Nothing special.

Just a few surprises here. I found that wordpress has come a long way since my last sortie in it. New features. Faster? Ummm… I can’t decide yet. Gotta do some exploring first.

Right now, I’m trying to update to PHP 7. First attempts at cpanel seem to break my site. So, I tried to make a backup so I could test it on XAMPP. UpdraftPlus plugin didn’t work as I expected, so I had to uninstall it.

Think, I’ll go back to cpanel and do the backup there.

Meanwhile, enjoy some Ed Sheeran!

Smule Sing! System Gaming Rant

It only takes a wee bit of listening to at least three random collaborations that made it to the killer karaoke section before you realize that these were actually not judged by some skilled expert or at least by a qualified singer. The judge actually is an algorithm set in by Smule coders which most probably relies heavily on the collaboration’s number of ‘loves’.

And precisely because of this, a lot of very industrious smulers have found ways to game the system. Thus, you’ll find crap mixed in with a few excellent collaborations comprising the killer karaoke section.

There could be more shady methods out there, but one of these is done through organizing groups. These groups have no other purpose but to provide ‘love’ to all collaborations of its members. You don’t even need to listen to the song. As soon as the love button shows up, you hit it, then move on to the next song.

Smule codes, you’ll find, have flaws in it. Because, I’ve seen, on several occasions where the number of ‘loves’ outnumber the number of ‘plays’! How the heck it can happen I have no freaking idea.
smule sing system gaming
If you’re a Smuler, you’ll know exactly exactly what I’m ranting about.


For a few weeks, smule seems to act on this quirk by putting a cap on the number of loves a smuler can give per day. And I saw the gamers’ crappy songs, which normally rake in 3 digit ‘loves’, take a dive with 2 digit ‘loves’.

But the KK section’s algo judges did not change. Now, since all the gamers can only reach a particular number of loves, say, 75, well, that’s the number that gets to hit kk. Now, the gamers can relax. They only need this much loves to get there.

The Agony of Waiting for Board Exam Results

Just this month, I re-experienced the agony of waiting for the results of the board exam I took a few days ago. In total, I had taken three (3) national board exams that really tortured my mind, and maybe my soul too, as I waited for its results.

exam-resultsFirst was the Civil Engineering licensure exam several decades ago. Then there was the Real Estate Appraiser Exam 10 years ago. And, because of some unforgivable lapses ( I was inactive then as an appraiser ), I forgot to renew my REA license for 2 consecutive years! To top it all, it was the exact period when the government changed a few rules and transferred the governing body from the Department of Trade & Industry to the Professional Regulations Commission

Long story short, I had to take the licensure exam again. This means I had to shell out almost $500 for a 120-hour refresher course and force myself to bury my head on REA books and materials for the next 3 months. Can you imagine foregoing youtube and facebook and all other online addictive activities?

So, we were told after the exams that the results will come in 3 days, although the PRC site says 10 days. Thus, the agony begins.

What made things worse this time is that just before submitting my papers I had ticked off and counted my answers that I was sure were correct in the exam. Something I have never done in previous exams. And my count tells me I will not make it. It says I will have to get at least 7 more correct answers from out of the rest of the answers that I was unsure of to make it.

The same inner conflict as I had felt previously re-occurred. Though I was able to sleep most nights, I almost always have to go through a few hours of restless tossing and turning in bed. And my pessimist nature shows its worst during these times.

In the office, I dread mornings because some office mates would be there, earlier than me, reading the newspaper. As I enter, I would try to decipher the faces. Have the results come out? Have they read it? Are they trying to avoid eye-to-eye contact with me because my name wasn’t in there? Paranoia.

The REA exam results can be accessed online the very hour it comes out. So, I had to wait for it, check my iphone every hour. I stayed away from facebook because I would hate to see others begin congratulating each other there.

I even entertained the idea of practicing how I would act calmly and smile non-chalantly in the event I failed. And studying to prepare for a re-exam next year.

I woke up one day and as I reached for my phone a message was already there saying ‘Congratulations, you made it!’ The sender’s number is unregistered in my phone so it showed only a number. Is this a joke? I scrambled to get online to check the results. Whew! I did make it.

Should I go through another experience like this in the future, I probably would go through the same routine again. But after having gone through this enough number of times, I realized that my pessimism is really a little too unrealistic. And that fretting and worrying really doesn’t make things any better.

Update: I did go through another experience and in the same field. This time it’s the Real Estate Brokerage exams which was held last February 28, 2016. As expected, and in spite of the supposed alleviation of my pessimism, I still felt the same way from preparation (study phase), to the exam proper, and the waiting for results phase.

Again, I passed the exam, with just 0.75 points short of being included in the top ten.

Drawing and Taking Notes with the Adonit Jot Pro Stylus (and it’s DIY version)

A couple of months ago, I made my DIY Jot capacitive stylus with the help of some YouTube videos (click here to watch) detailing how it works and how to make one’s own using only materials readily available at home. With that DIY Jot, I came up with these ‘masterpieces’ on Sketch Pro. I’ve actually already posted these images in a previous post.

my sketch pro artworks

Then just today, I found out that it’s now available in my city at Digital Walker. There are 3 models available: the Jot Classic, the Jot Mini, and the Jot Pro. Of course, I could not resist getting the Pro, though I had to shell out a few bucks more for it.

my adonit jot pro capacitive stylus

Function-wise, my DIY and the real Jot are at par with each other. Aesthetically, the real Jot Pro leaves the DIY in the dust, of course. As you can see in the comparative images below, my DIY looks like your wife today, while the Jot Pro looks like her when she was still your girlfriend 10 years ago. Ladies, no offense meant. Just trying to be as realistic as possible. 🙂

jot pro and DIY

If I can come out with something I would consider ‘cool’ with my wife, err, my DIY jot pen, I’m pretty sure I could make something ‘cooler’ with the Jot Pro capacitive touch stylus. Uh oh, I guess I just pushed expectations a notch higher. No pressure.

jot pro dampening feature
In the area of note taking, the Jot Pro will definitely be very useful as it’s slimmer and thus a lot more handy and easier to carry around. The transparent circular plate makes me see exactly where the lines and curves begin and end. And it’s magnetic cling feature allows me to just attach it to the iPad. Unfortunately, only the Pro has this feature.

Regarding its ‘dampening tip’ feature, it does eliminate the sound of the pen brushing with the surface of the ipad or iPhone like the one you hear when you use one of those rounded rubber tipped pens. Then again, with the scotch tape I put on my DIY’s under-surface, it was also as silent as the pro.

magnetic stylus jot pro

DIY Jot Stylus (Adonit Jot Pro AVAILABLE ONLINE)

Unable to Update or Install iPad/iPhone Apps Because of Problem with Billing or Card

I ran into this problem about a week ago where I can’t update my apps, whether they be paid or free ones. I also can’t install new ones. Now, that is definitely unacceptable. I had such fun with Sketch Pro and had made a couple of artworks (see below) during my free time, and I wanted to explore other graphics apps too.

artwork using iPad by Noel Moralde

At first, I thought there might be a problem with my iPad but when the same thing happened to my iPhone too, no doubt, it must have something to do with my itunes account. A little digging revealed that I have some problem with my billing card. At least that’s what iTunes was telling me.

I can’t seem to fix the problem in the ipad or iphone, so I finally signed in using the itunes app in my PC and accessed my account data.

I went to ‘Purchase History’ and clicked on the ‘See All’ link. There I saw that my last purchased app, the Sketch Pro, was not paid, although I’ve downloaded and had used it. ITunes said it was denied by my card; or there was a problem with my card, or something to that effect.

My account page had some red text in there that suggested I re-enter the last digits of my card. So, seeing that there’s nothing wrong with re-typing what I’ve already typed before, (and praying that this be not some hacker’s replica of the iTunes legitimate program) I did.

ITunes then reflected that the last app was now paid. Then I went back to my iPad and checked it out. Sure enough I was able to update my apps, both paid and free.

I guess that it must either be a glitch in iTunes’ system (which was announced by this guy’s article here), or that my card’s bank happened to go offline during my purchase.

The Dancer art by Noel Moralde

Productivity Apps I Like: GoodNotes and InkFlow

productivity apps goodnotes
There are these 2 productivity iPad apps I downloaded and explored just this weekend. I have always wanted some app with which I could doodle when ‘doodle time’ comes. And doodling, I found, is not necessarily something you just do when you want to make waiting in line at the bank or at any queue line seem not, like, forever. It actually is helpful in more ways than one. Maybe we can discuss that in a separate post about doodles.


Besides doodling, most iPad apps that allow you to doodle actually feature more useful functions. InkFlow’s basic edition (free), for instance, gives you the following awesome features:

  • freehand writing (black only fountain pen)
  • text input through virtual keypad
  • unlimited undo
  • picture importing
  • selection tool

The fountain pen tool is remarkably responsive and smooth when I use my fingers to write freehand with it. It however doesn’t allow any other pen thickness option. But, with the help of the selection tool, you can still get around this limitation.

With the selection tool, you can select any element on the page, e.g. Picture, text, doodles, etc., and then choose the ‘resize’ option to shrink or enlarge it. Thus, your freehand can be shrunk and the pen’s thickness would be adjusted correspondingly to a fine thinness. Your friends will wonder how you were able to write that thin and small.

One thing I like best about the free version of InkFlow is that the imported images remain selectable (and thus editable e.g. resizable, movable) even if it overlaps or is overlapped by some other element, e.g. text. There’s also the ‘Noteworthy’ font that its creators were so kind to include in the free version.

With Inkflow, you could do brainstorming, on the spot or initial graphic design, mind maps, sketches, doodling, and everything else you can do with pen and paper. One thing you can’t do is crumple the paper and throw it at someone’s top.

With the free version, you can create an unlimited number of books, though each book is limited to only 20 pages. You can break these limitations by buying the pro version which offers additional features like eraser, pencil, paint brush, color palette, cut, copy, paste, rotate, more cool fonts, etc.

Here’s a quick note I drafted up just to make a visual of what the free version of inkflow can do.
inkflow image


The latest productivity app I stumbled upon is the GoodNotes app. It’s a lot like InkFlow especially since they both have the same selection tool with almost similar functions.

Between the free versions of both InkFlow and GoodNotes, I found the latter a lot more flexible and for my purposes, more complete.

While Inkflow’s free version offers a fixed black pen thickness, GoodNotes allows you to select your desired pen thickness and color. And the selection tool also allows shrinking or enlarging of elements. This is how I get to make super thin freehand pen writing.

You could also add text through the virtual keypad. I wish though that they’d add some freehand-like fonts like Inkflow’s ‘Noteworthy’.

Another feature that sets GoodNotes above Inkflow and a lot of other apps of this kind is the polygon tool. With it, you can draw perfect squares, circles, ovals, rectangles, perfect straight lines, etc. Even the paid version of Inkflow doesn’t have this. And these elements are selectable even when they’re overlapped by other elements. And I praised Inkflow earlier for its re-editable pictures. Turns out GoodNotes has that feature too. Now, all I need to wait is for GoodNotes to include the ‘Noteworthy’ font!

For me, GoodNotes is obviously the hands down winner. And its paid version is even cheaper than Inkflow’s.

And here’s a Goodnotes version of the first example I made above.
goodnotes image

Note: The two apps mentioned are not necessarily the best apps there is in the App Store. They just happen to be the first ones that got my attention so far. So, if you have used some apps that are better than these two, please let me know as I’m seriously contemplating buying the paid version of at least one of these cool apps.

GoodNotes VIDEO

I Woke Up From a Nap 40 Years in the Future!

I woke up a little groggily. I have awakened from a nap several times this way in the past but I noticed that it requires a little more will and effort to really get up from my bed this time.
writing prompts
I remembered having worked a sweat a couple of hours ago when I weeded out the thickening grasses in the vacant neighbor’s front yard. That probably accounted for the muscle and back aches I’m feeling.

After pushing the water closet’s flush button I proceeded to turn on the lavatory faucet to wash my hands and that’s when I almost jumped with a start. Any remaining drowsiness I previously felt went poof in an instant.

I felt like being in one of those horror movies as I stared at the strange much much older face in the mirror who stared back at me with the same surprised and horrified look.

Am I presently in a nightmare? Have I taken a nap too soon after the workout I did earlier that my body is reacting rather strangely by giving me this weird dreams?

Convinced that it’s just a dream, I felt some sort of eerie elation as I thought about finally being able to experience lucid dreaming.

I hurried outside and immediately decided to enjoy the much hyped joys of conscious dreaming. Like flying a la superman. I willed myself to be attired in Superman clothing – the kind of material and design used in the latest Man of Steel movie. And of course I have to blow up my pecs a bit to make my look more credible.

Oops, what’s wrong? Why is it not working? Why am I still looking down at very elderly wrinkled hands and loose clothing usually worn by old folks? And the painful joints and pains in almost every part of my body — what is happening?

I tried to think of other ways of checking whether I’m dreaming or not? Pinching! So, I pinched the fleshy part between my wrist and elbow.

Ouch! That hurts! And it wasn’t even a really strong pinch.

I’m not dreaming then? I hurriedly ambled back to the bathroom mirror to check again. Nothing’s changed. There’s still that old guy. On closer inspection, I recognized that he’s actually me. But why is he so old? I know I’m presently forty-something. What’s with the 80-something guy in the mirror?

I thought of the other people in the house. Oh, just my luck! I remembered they had gone to the mall to buy some school supplies.

Confusion and the scary feeling of being hopelessly lost threatened to overwhelm me. This just can’t be. If this isn’t a dream, I can think of only two other possible explanation for this. Either I’m a victim of some evil spell, or I have lost my mind. Whatever the case, I can only see myself facing hopelessness and an inability to find a way out of this quandary. If I haven’t lost my mind yet, I’m sure I will within the next few minutes if this goes on any further.

Oh my God, even thinking about it and writing it down makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.

I had to blink twice and get myself out of the trance to stop the thread in my head. Whew! I think this ‘writing prompts’ technique may work according to the intentions of their originators.

I just happened to stumble today upon this writing prompt generator page and got this first prompt:

”You awake from a nap only to discover you are 80 years old. Describe what happens next.”

I had earlier plotted to stretch this into a dream within a dream instance. But I soon realized that singers and storytellers probably share a common trait. That they both emote and thus feel the emotions of the characters in the song/story.

I almost got to the point of being overwhelmed and thus had to cut the story short. And I’m not even that good a writer.

Writing prompts, they say, are great tools to overcome what they call writers’ block. I also think it’s one cool tool to practice one’s writing skills and thus improve in this area. Aside from the site I mentioned earlier, there are other sites that offer this tool for writers and would-be writers.

Click here for Writing Prompts Resources.

I also searched for an iPhone app for this and found 17, of which only 3 are free. Of the 3 free apps, 2 are probably cool enough for this exercise.

Flash Fiction Prompter – is a free iPhone app that can provide random plots for a short story. It even suggests the characters as well as the setting for the story. Perfect especially if you want to improve your imagination and story writing skills.

The other app is called WordDot, a random name and phrase generator. The phrase actually consists of two random words which are most often unrelated.

What do you think of writing prompts?

Body Language Confidence: Fake It Till You Become It

From ‘Fake it till you make it’ to ‘Fake It Till You Become It’

Do you know that you can begin changing your future in as little as 2 minutes each day or 2 minutes each time you feel the need for a positive change?

It’s all about posture. But before you shrug off and call this as another one of those self-help suggestions that never work, listen up and know that this is not another sensible-looking theory that has yet to be proven. The author, Prof. Amy Cuddy, is a living testament and evidence of its efficacy.

Amy Cuddy, as a young woman, suffered a severe head injury due to a car accident which left her with a much lowered IQ and lesser body flexibility. As expected, the people around her immediately concluded that she’d never amount to anything after that.

If I remember right, someone called Albert Einstein was also ‘sentenced’ the same way during his childhood. And like Einstein, Amy Cuddy proved them all wrong.

She’s now a professor and research scientist at the Harvard Business School. She dissects people’s non-verbal behavior and snap judgments from the classroom to the boardroom. Original post: http://moralde.com/fake-it-till-you-become-it/

Body Language Power

fake it become it power poseIn terms of confidence, body language is one dependable gauge to measure it on a person. A person who is in total control and is sure of himself transmits body language confidence with ease and without even knowing it. Of this, I’m sure we all agree. I’ve seen far too many real life instances where people, specially leaders, are ablaze with this body language of power as to have doubts about this concept.

Thing is, we forget that body language is not only something we see in other people. It is also seen by our own selves with regard to our own body language. Our ‘inner’ selves also judge us based on how we ourselves express body language.

Cuddy speaks about how she felt like she doesn’t belong anywhere. At school and at her workplace early on, she felt so small and so out of place. It was one of her teachers who convinced her that she does belong. That, feeling so low and out as she was, she should go out there and face everything with a confident face and body. That being not confident, there’s no other way but to fake it like hell.

Long story short, she finally got to where she is now having made ‘fake it till you make it’ as one of her initial stepping stones. She also helped a lot of others make it by paying it forward.

She then looked back and dedicated her life to studying in depth what makes ‘fake it till you make it’ tick. She started asking questions like:

Do our nonverbals govern how we think and feel about ourselves?
Do our bodies change our minds?

She of course eventually proved that while it’s true that our minds dictate what our bodies do, it is likewise true that our bodies can shape the mind.

Scientific proof of her work is not limited to observations of human behaviour but, most importantly, quantified by measurable levels of testosterone and cortisol. Testosterone is related to power, and cortisol to stress.

She reports that ‘power posing’ does raise testosterone levels and lowers cortisol levels.

And the great thing about it is that she found that 2 minutes is enough to raise testosterone and lower cortisol levels to a usable and affective level. Thus, prior to an interview, you can get inside a comfort room cubicle and do some power poses for at least 2 minutes.

“Tiny tweaks to your body configuration can lead to big changes”

Cuddy adds that usually, it’s how the message is expressed or delivered that makes it happen rather than the message itself.

So what are some of these Power Poses?

The spread out arms: Studies revealed that even born-blind folks who have never seen how people react when they feel powerful (e.g. winning at games, elections, being promoted) automatically spread their arms the same way our champions spread theirs in the finish line.

fake it become it power pose-2



Note: All images above were taken from Amy Cuddy’s talk-video on ted.com featured below.

On the other side of the fence are the powerless poses. Just about any pose where you contract your body as if you want to take as little space as you can.

Research Data

fake it till you make it research

Note: The above data were based on observations of 2-minute sessions of power posing and powerless/withdrawn/dejected posing. If 2 minutes can affect one’s behaviour and esteem that much, imagine the outcome if we stretch it out to say, 5 minutes, or more. And on a regular basis e.g. everyday. I’m sure that high levels of testosterone and minimized cortisol is not limited to effectively making you look good during job interviews only. Where else can we use more testosterone and less stress? I’m sure you have ideas.

Don’t just fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it.

Here’s one additional interesting video about body language, this time, particularly focusing on the ones used by the opposite sexes in a bar or a party.

Getting Back Missing Images on My Websites After Enabling htaccess Hotlink Protection

Enabling hotlinking protection via cpanel or htaccess may not only protect your images from external sites but also from your other sites which you shared on the same host as well. This means you may find images which you yourself uploaded to your other sites missing.

This post was first & originally published at moralde.com.

I discovered this firsthand when I experimented with hotlinking protection a few weeks ago. All of my sites except this (my primary site) lost all their images.

I, at first, did not know it was due to the hotlinking protection but when I found out that all the sites’ htaccess files got modified at the same time that I enabled hotlinking protection, there’s no doubt about its cause. Each site sharing my hosting got their htaccess modified, except for the primary site’s.

How the Images Got Missing

Turns out the cPanel automatically created or modified the htaccess file in all sites sharing my hosting account. If you have your primary site called, say, ironmandomain.com, and you have other domain names sharing the same host, say –

  • 2tee.net
  • noelmoralde.com
  • greenlanterndomain.com
  • i-am.ironmandomain.com

– lunarpages, or your webhost actually sees all these as follows:

  • ironmandomain.com (your primary domain)
  • 2tee.ironmandomain.com
  • noelmoralde.ironmadomain.com
  • greenlanterndomain.ironmandomain.com
  • i-am.ironmandomain.com
That is, whether it’s actually a subdomain or an independent domain name, they’re all seen as subdomains to your primary site as far as lunarpages (or your hosting provider) is concerned.

Part of the htaccess entries generated, thus, would look like so:

htaccess hotlink missing images

Thus, all the above sites except for ironmandomain.com and the legitimate subdomain, i-am.ironmandomain.com, will experience missing images.

The actual URL which the browsers recognize as http://2tee.net, for instance, is not included in the list; so, it is seen as an external site and is denied hotlinking rights.

How to Bring the Images Back

There are 2 obvious ways to remedy this glitch.

  • Deactivate hotlinking protection

If you’re the kind who gives up immediately and think that hotlinking protection is more of a headache than a benefit, then just dramatically and with flourish say “To hell with hotlinking protection!”, and then disable it from your cpanel.

  • Edit the htaccess files

Obviously, all you need to do is change the lines like

change htaccess hotlink from


change htaccess hotlink to

Sure enough, after I edited each site’s htaccess files right on the cpanel’s file manager, the sites images came back like nothing unusual happened to them.

One thing I noted when I checked the htaccess for each site is that they all have the same htaccess file content except that all wordpress sites has this at the beginning

wordpress htaccess

while non wp sites just have

non-wordpress htaccess

So, you shouldn’t panic the next time you find your images vanishing from your sites after you enabled hotlink protection in your sites now that you know how to bring the images back with a few tweaks in the htaccess file.