POSTSCRIPT / December 24, 2009 / Thursday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Giving gifts that you yourself want to keep

SANTO NINO: A warm Happy Christmas! to all of you dropping in on this page. Postscript reaches out to you in fraternal spirit, whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever your views or political color may be.

It bears repeating on Christmas Day and every day thereafter that at the core of our existence is the Infant Jesus, our Brother.

For unto us a Child is born, a Child is given. El Santo Nino comes to us, to be one of us. Being the fount and fulfillment of our hopes and yearnings, He will console us and lighten our burden. All we need to do is talk to Him on His birthday.

When caught up in the stress and strain of this materialistic world and we feel like giving up, let us look up to the light and pray for guidance to retrace our way back to Him. We can take the first homecoming step this Christmas.

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TRUE SPIRIT: Many friends have commented that based on the comparatively sparse crowds of shoppers in the last few days, this Christmas seems to be lean and, impliedly, not as merry as desired.

Honestly, I see no sense in equating shopping sprees and rushing about with regulation gifts to our imbibing the true spirit of Christmas.

In fact, the scramble for gifts and the round of partying often detract from the peace and serenity that we all seek during the Yuletide.

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ALL IN THE MIND: To victims of advertising and the keeping-up syndrome, Christmas has become very stressful because of the cravings that the merchants behind the shopping shelves have created in our minds.

Looking hard at it, we see that many of our desires, expectations and frustrations are just in the mind. Like we do fantasies, we create our own worldly needs. And the advertising and promotions beguile us into thinking that these imagined needs are real.

We can resist the mind-conditioning if we want. We can have inner peace and joy, less stress and more tranquility — this Christmas and any other day — if we so decree to ourselves.

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VALUE-MULTIPLIER: Sometimes we hesitate to give away a gift item that we ourselves want very dearly. The value of such a special gift is multiplied when we still share it despite our wanting to keep it for ourselves.

The selflessness is a small approximation of Christ’s having been born among us and His supreme sacrifice of giving himself totally to us.

Another gift value-multiplier is for the giver not to remind the recipient of the gift or favor. Never attach a string to your gift. Let it go completely — and feel good. A more precious gift will come back to you in some other way.

But while the gift-giver must never recall it to the recipient, the receiver must never forget to remember and to be grateful.

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MICROSOFT REBUFFED: You have Microsoft Word in your computer and are happy with it? Hold on to it. The other day, a US federal appeals court upheld a lower court’s $290-million patent infringement ruling against Microsoft.

Aside from indemnifying the Toronto-based firm i4i, holder of the 1998 patent that Microsoft violated, the court ordered the world’s largest software maker to stop selling its current version of Word starting Jan. 11.

Quick to rebound, Microsoft announced that sales of Word will not be affected since it will roll out before that date Word 2010 that will not carry the questioned feature.

“We have been preparing for this possibility,” a Microsoft spokesman said. “We expect to have copies of Microsoft Word 2007 and Office 2007, with this feature removed, available for US sale and distribution by the injunction date.”

An alternative for those bothered by the dispute, costs and those looking for reliable and less bulky software is OpenOffice, which has everything that Microsoft Office has. It can be downloaded from the Internet for free.

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FIX READY: The ban does not affect copies of Word already sold. Promising a “fix” for older versions, Microsoft has been allowed to support copies already sold.

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed an August 2009 ruling by a Texas jury that Microsoft violated a patent held by the Canadian document collaboration firm i4i.

After the jury ruling, a US District Court judge fined Microsoft $290 million and prohibited it from selling Word 2003 and Word 2007, which allow users to edit XML — a computer code that instructs the computer how to display content in a document.

Appealing the Appealing the lower court’s ruling, Microsoft said the i4i patent was invalid. The appeals court rejected this argument last Tuesday, upholding the validity of i4i’s patent and the lower court’s ruling that Microsoft had violated it.

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CAMI ELECTIONS: The election of officers of the Capampangan in Media Inc. will start at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 29, at the China Place restaurant, Pan Pacific building, Gen. Malvar corner M. Adriatico sts., Malate.

The election will be followed by CAMI’s anniversary party and raffle. Interested journalists may contact Secretary General Joe Cortez, 09392207358. Prospective members must be sponsored by a member and pay the P1,000 one-time membership fee.

Registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2005 as an organization of Capampangan media practitioners, CAMI aims for fraternal networking; promotion of Pampanga art and literature; and the raising of the standards of Philippine journalism.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of December 24, 2009)

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