Tuesday, April 23, 2019


Ever since Microsoft rolled out the very first edition of their Windows operating system for personal computers in 1985, they have made provisions for having even the most rudimentary graphics editor as part of its package of applications. First they licensed the PC Paintbrush program from ZSoft Corporation. When Windows 3.0 came out in 1990, Microsoft took things in their own hands with Paintbrush which supported PCX and BMP image file formats. Come Windows 95 the application became MS Paint, remaining part of the Windows suite over succeeding versions until Windows 10 announced that future updates might relegate it to a Microsoft Store downloadable only.
At the latest however, The Verge has it that Microsoft may have abandoned plans to remove the venerable MS Paint graphic editor from the default app load-out for Windows 10. This action was hinted at since 2017, when the Creators’ Update for that year introduced Paint 3D. The new application carried over certain 2D graphic editing features from MS Paint but placed more emphasis on the 3D designing function. Microsoft then announced that no further development will be done on MS Paint, and will move it to the Microsoft Store as an optional free download.
But when Microsoft began promoting the upcoming Windows 10 Update 1903 scheduled this coming May, they revealed that again, the patch that would make MS Paint a Store downloadable was not part of the update package. Microsoft Windows senior program manager Brandon LeBlanc candidly remarked when asked, “Yes, MSPaint will be included in 1903. It’ll remain included in Windows 10 for now.” The previous Win-10 updates had flagged Paint with a “Product alert” button on the user interface denoting its impending move to the Store. From what has been revealed about Update 1903, the Product alert warning has been removed.
No reason has been given for Microsoft keeping MS Paint as part of its default app lineup alongside Paint 3D, its intended replacement. Thus far, the 2D Paint app has been considered “deprecated”: by Microsoft; that is, nobody is developing further versions of the program. Its last major overhaul had been in the Microsoft 8 OS, and even then it was a mere bug fix compared to the introduction of “artistic” brush tools in the Windows 7 edition. Microsoft had already done its marketing push to encourage graphic creators to use Paint 3D and Windows 10 more, but have made no reports on its effectiveness.
If MS Paint will remain on Windows 10, the path forward could alternatively be the deprecation of Paint 3D instead. Or Microsoft will deign to keep both graphic design apps on their operating system, specializing each for 2D and 3D. The story is not over.
Image courtesy of PureInfoTech


Mother Nature can turn from benevolent to destructive so quickly. On the afternoon of Monday, Luzon was rocked by an earthquake that measured 6.1 in magnitude. The brunt of the tremors was felt in the Central Luzon region, with an epicenter in Zambales and a greater portion of damage in Pampanga. No less than fifty aftershocks arrived following the main quake. But the country’s seismic troubles did not end there. The following Tuesday, another earthquake struck to the south. This time it was recorded in Eastern Visayas, and the magnitude of 6.5 was even stronger than the one in Luzon.
CNN Philippines reports that the Philippines received a double whammy of earthquakes in two of its major geographical divisions on April 22 and 23. The Monday quake in Luzon had its epicenter located at Castillejos, Zambales by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS). Initially registered at magnitude 5.7, it was upgraded to 6.1 as the extent of damage was calculated. And indeed, the province of Pampanga saw significant devastation following the tremors despite not being the epicenter. PHIVOLCS on Tuesday attributes this to most of the area sitting on soft sediment that is easily disturbed by seismic activities.
“The actual location of the epicenter is in the mountains in between the provinces of Pampanga and Zambales,” explains PHIVOLCS head Renato Solidum Jr. “Unfortunately, there are several towns in both provinces that are underlain by soft sediment.” Case in point, a four-story shopping center in Porac, Pampanga was collapsed by the quake last Monday. The soft sediments are mostly the result of the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption, which blanketed the area with lahar that was later rebuilt over by the various communities it covered. In Zambales, Subic and Olongapo were similarly affected, this time because of either closeness to the sea or being floodplain.
Sixteen people have been reported killed in the Monday quake. In addition, Clark International Airport was temporarily closed to all flights until Wednesday, to allow investigation of possible dangerous damage to its runways and facilities.
Complicating matters on taking stock after the Luzon quake is a follow-up tremor on April 23, this time in the Visayas. The epicenter this time was San Julian in Eastern Samar, with the 6.5 earthquake happening 1:37 PM. In the intricacies of seismology mechanics, Director Solidum notes that despite the higher magnitude the Visayas quake yesterday was not classified as “major.” Roadways and bridges showed damage following the shaking, and parts of Eastern Samar had lost power. PHIVOLCS also assured the public that this quake and the Luzon tremor were not related to one another.
As part of emergency procedures, institutes such as schools and public places like malls in Samar were evacuated during the tremors. Social media was also flooded with images of earthquake damages to landmarks like the Catbalogan City Hall and a San Julian Church, the crucifix of which had fallen down.
Images from ABS-CBN News, Inquirer

“GoT” LAST SEASON, EPISODE 2 Shows Calm Before Undead STORM

Seeing as it only has one more than a handful of episodes for its final, conclusive season, we can afford to reserve the start of the week for musing on the new Sunday’s chapter of “Game of Thrones” on HBO. Battle lines are soon to be drawn as the world-ending army of White Walkers and undead wights, led by the Night King, are soon to meet their first determined resistance south of the broken Wall. That battle does not actually happen in season 8 episode 2, titled “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.” But what does transpire solidifies fan reception to the characters at Winterfell before they risk dying soon.
Indeed, the climax of the previous episode and final season premiere for “Game of Thrones” saw some of the last of those who chose to fight for Westeros arriving in Winterfell on the North. Among them is Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) who arrives in time to meet the boy he tried to kill in the series premiere (Bran Stark – Isaac Hempstead Wright). He is then seized an put on trial by Queen Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) for having killed her grandfather in Robert’s Rebellion years ago, only for his companion Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) to speak on his behalf, thus sparing him.
From there, the narrative moves to the resigned defense of Winterfell by its occupants. Jaime had revealed that no help was coming since his sister wants them to be slaughtered by the White Walkers first. Daenerys blames this lack of oversight on her Hand, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) who tried to forge an alliance of convenience between her and Cersei (Lena Headey) on the Iron Throne, only to be taken in by another falsehood. The consequence of the treachery is magnified when Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) arrives with his party to announce the fall of House Umber, meaning the Walkers might arrive in the middle of evening.
In signature “Game of Thrones” style, this fragile alliance seems on the verge of collapsing even in the face of common annihilation. A major factor is Dany’s now-pathological obsession over the Iron Throne and her rule over the Seven Kingdoms. Because of this she fails to instill further trust in Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) by remaining mum on the fate of the North, should they win. And when she finally learns the truth about Jon Snow (Kit Harington) in one of the episode’s climaxes, she looks about ready to kin-slay.
Another climax of “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” happens when many of the principal warriors gather to muse on their chances of survival. It is brought up that Brienne, for all her prowess and armored look, is not actually a knight. Jaime lays the matter to rest by knighting her, fulfilling Brienne’s impossible dream. (And cementing their relationship perhaps?) One more point of interest has Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) badgering Gendry (Joe Dempsie) to make her a new weapon, and then sleeping with him later so as not to die in battle a virgin.
This part can be off-putting especially for those who have followed “Game of Thrones” since the beginning in 2011. Maisie was a kid then; so was Arya. But in the eight years the show aired (and the 1-2 years of hardship and assassin training her character endured in-universe) both have grown up. If any longtime viewers felt icky, that is understandable. Williams is 22 now.
Meanwhile, Bran has proposed a strategy in the coming battle. As he was cursed by the Night King in past seasons so as to always know where he is, he plans to bait his location in the forest outside Winterfell. Presenting himself to help guard Bran is the returning Theon Grejoy (Alfie Allen) who pledges to fight for his second home. The arrival of the White Walkers outside finally spurs the defenders into action, and delays what drastic reaction Danerys might have had over Jon Snow, that is, Aegon Targaryen.
With the personal-focus story threads out of the way, Episode 3 next Sunday will provide the epic battle as well as the heartstring torture as some of these characters run the chance of being killed off. The character interactions done here have done their job in making audiences care for them anew, and hurt when they start dropping like flies. “Game of Thrones” season 8 airs Sundays only on HBO.
Image courtesy of YouTube (screenshot)