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Monday, October 10, 2016

The Invisible Force: A book review

I am not really into book reviews... first off, because someone (or a bunch) out there has already placed it in better words and perspective more than I could ever attempt, got the right platform or fund to promote, and back it up for a specific period of time. And I'd just be another second-third-rate ranter with nothing new to offer.

But I'll honestly review this out of a need and personal commitment, as objectively as possible.

The e-book is quite brief at just 112 pages, packed with lots of quirky quotes such as that of the opener from Why the LuckyStiff, some others, and pop-rock lyrics from the Boss, The Doors, Nirvana, to Lenka! There are allusions to Robert Ludlum beginning from the main character Alex Howell (combo of Alexander Conklin from the Bourne Trilogy and Peter Howell from the Covert One series) to the giant business greed, a secret agency within a secret agency and global hopping off of the agent/s. It was notable, too, that two of the leading characters were rockstar-wannabes, indicative of an era when every gasoline boy (who graduated in college), and office staff were into alternative rock band thing.
It also hit on the most active third world facebook users. Probably based on its clown senators that plagiarize.

The presentation of some of the main characters seem wanting - could be because succeeding parts will provide a deeper exploration of these characters? We can only speculate. But after a couple of chuckles, and the temporary satisfaction of good winning over evil in  the reality-based fiction (by the way, it presents factual natural calamities as a manipulation of MNCs), we hope with fingers crossed that it is just fiction and ask, when's that next series coming out?

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Woe Smart!

So, I have an ongoing love-hate relationship with Smart Communications. For the longest period, I have used several of its services - longest mobile phone service, longest internet service, smart money card, and - here I am testing its capabilities again...

I have a Smart prepaid pocket wifi that I use in emergencies. Like during travel and I need to work or keep in touch for work reasons.

And now, I want to load my pocket wifi using online payment system (hey, the Smart money beats the rest of the communication companies on this!) - but BPI was the first to offer this.

And I get this error message. 

Take  closer look:
So, I click on the Help / Support.
Does not work either.

Product development is good and fast at Smart. But development does not sync with their web developers' capabilities...

Smart, you've been dumbed....

Monday, September 5, 2016

P#%^ng!na, OMG! and the other Exclamations

The "news" quoting the seemingly barbaric Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte as saying "son of a bitch" to Obama is one of the biggest lies and a literal "out of context" reporting ever done most recently, this time by Associated Press writer Teresa Cerojano in Manila, Philippines.
I have never been a fan of PDut as the stand of this blog has always been the same - personal, and what is fair and just on the beholder. But there is a high probability that the reporter is a half-breed, non-Filipino in a sense that she cannot distinguish a so-called Pinoy expression from a true-blue cuss word. This is sad. We have for a time since the latest presidential campaigns of this country been hearing a lot of invectives, most of the time senseless, and foul words from Duterte, and we should be immune by the time he won. Sometimes, we give to a man because he won in an election fair and square (a rarity in this country managed by oligarchs and their minions at COMELEC), and this should be one of those times.

The bigger faults that I can see about the President or his leadership at the moment are:
1. the lack of simultaneous tracking of corruption in government (what's up with Napoles and her senators/congressmen minions?). And Napoles is only a choco chip at the top of the icing!
2. the lack of intensive training provided for the police and armed forces if they are expected to win the war against drugs (like I already pointed out in social media, they are not even aware of the Miranda warning).  We have nincompoops in the armed forces and they are NOT reliable enough to wage war against crime when the majority of Filipinos believe they - the police from top to bottom - are 90% involved in all those crimes from drugs to jueteng, illegal gambling, carnapping, robbery, and many others!
3. the lack of fair chance for better-qualified individuals to take a post in critical government jobs.

For the meantime , the media should stop altogether covering PDut if they cannot distinguish a mere side comment from official policy.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Dear Asus, Please hire a human common sense, thank you!

This Asus "In Search of the Incredible" K555L is my third Asus laptop. It was probably in 2006 when I first bought an Asus. I left it in my office, and was wet the following day as storm water splashed through the glass windows left partially open. I worried it would be the end of the gadget, but the office IT suggested I leave it under sun shine to dry. After a few hours, it is up and running. You've won a loyal customer.

I was even able to sell it 4 years later, still in good condition, as I bought another model at that time: Asus Power Gear 4.
It worked until it blacked out in February this year. When I went to the Metro (as I have become a rural resident since 2010), I was contemplating between a Macbook, and - yes - an Asus. The saleslady (this time I believe I did not use half of my common sense) vetoed my apple choice, and suggested Asus is better, with its 2-year parts and service warranty. I also saw a previous Asus advertisement - or I am not sure anymore but it was my son who showed the video to me- of how sturdy it is and all, the one which was thrown down from up above.

To make it short, I bought another Asus at Market Market!'s Abenson store. In the 31st of January, 2016.
By late May, the rotator portion (the middle bend) started misbehaving - it will not close properly. By June, it cracked. Then, it fell off eventually. With screws falling off also. I travelled 12 hours (daytime) by bus from Vigan to have it checked at Abenson's after they told me to bring it to their store as it was still covered with warranty. Then, when I brought it there, the sales person in-charge said I would need to bring it to MSI-ECS which was 2-commute-rides away from Market! Market!

I called the MSI number they gave and the staff who answered told me that indeed, the flex / rotator problem was still covered and will be repaired for free. In fact, he added that it was a common complaint from Asus K55L customers.

After I logged in the details of my product complaint and was talking to the MSI staff, I was informed by the male staff that it would take 3-4 days to diagnose the unit. I told them it does not need diagnosing, as the only problem I had was its rotator / flex cap, and showed them it was broken. It cannot be done without the total diagnosis, he replied. Then, he told me that it will probably take 3 weeks to have the material replaced.

I tried to absorb the information and told them, it was fine with me, I will just return when the replacement is already sent by Asus main. Then, they said I would need to leave to them my notebook... I explained my predicament, that my laptop is the gadget of my entire livelihood, and that I cannot do without it.

They said it was SOP. Standard operational procedure.

I suggested that they expplain it to their human counterparts at Asus. "I am sure you are dealing with humans."

"It cannot be," the female staff said. "They require that the unit be here when the replacement is requested."

"You can make the request now, that the unit is here," I said.

"No, the unit has to be here when the replacement is delivered," she replied.

"Are you trying to discourage me to avail of the free warranty?" I asked.

The lady just kept repeating it was the standard procedure.

"When I called, your staff said that this is already a common problem, I am sure that since you are dealing with digital technology, you have an idea of how many Asus K555L you were able to sell, and with the knowledge that this rotator cap is problematic, you should have at least made an estimate and requested for stock of that rotator cap in order to streamline your service. And now, you are telling me you have to detain my source of livelihood for 3 weeks? What am I supposed to do then during that 3 weeks? SUggest this to your boss, or the humans you deal with at Aus," I said.

She only gave me the Asus number. No human contacts, just a phone number. 

Ergo, will I have to repeat the same stories again and again? Humans - well, the ones with common sense intelligence, will know how to shorten and make things a lot easier than this. It's like calling any other customer service hotline of main brands. You get passed on to different robotic humans because AFTER they get your personal details, they'll only tell you the person in-charge is in another local number or different department, or any other different station in life that I need to be passed on, and on, and on.

I hate digital. We start to act like robots are our bosses. I hope I am wrong that the Asus manpower lacks human brains and human common sense. Otherwise, I would need to reconsider my laptop brand, very badly. Maybe, we need a NEW human relations, and customer service system.

Update: September 12, 2016

After contacting Asus through their website via email, I was able to present my case, and the CSR told me to go ahead and negotiate with the service center branch. The service center confirmed that instead of the 3 weeks time of detaining the unit, they now can "rush" diagnosis of the unit within one day, and they can now process ordering replacement of parts even if the unit will be brought out by the customer. I am then asked to simply return the unit once a replacement part has arrived. 
This is a lot of improvement.

Thank you, Asus for returning humans in your system.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

For the Pro-Responsible Mining Students of the Philippines

This referes to the article that blasts the DENR Secretary.
My dears, there is the so-called Cost-benefit analysis, and globalisation. To buy yourself a metal pot, why, we have an over-supply in Chinese stores! But I'd prefer the Camel brand, for durability. I do not know what's wrong with you or where under the rocks in Bikini Bottom have you been hiding?

I am ashamed of you children. You make your grandma want to to swallow those herbal pills, for once.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Most Dangerous Place is NOT the Philippines

I really do not know where "journalists" get their data but to call Philippines the "most dangerous place in the world" is a lie.

The Yahoo version even used a pic of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte to further add provocation to an already damaged media-presidency relations. And I'd say it's the media ego at play again. Because let's face it, major and mainstream media are business entities that have their own interests to protect, so, they are - most of the time - biased. And in times that they are not, they are ego-tripping, if not working. The third, of course, is the last resort for being in the media at all.

In this age of social media and comedy, we  seem to be just poking fun at things, including - reporting, and the presidency, or elections and the COMELEC. We cannot help it. Truth and objectivity has become so rare, they can hardly be found in major news outlets.

For Linette Lopez and Amanda Macias of Business Insider, let me give you a list of the most dangerous places in the world as of press time (my press time, of course):
1. Most Dangerous Cities 
This list does not even have Caloocan or Pasay in its top 50, dears. So, get on with it and please, if you can, STOP being so damned stupid.
2. 15 Most Dangerous Places
Lists Sana'a, Yemen, Cape Town, South Africa; Grand Canyon, Arizona; Danakil Desert, Ehiopia; Naples, Italy; Maceio, Brazinl; Baghdad, Iraq; Huntington Ravine Headwall – New Hampshire; Southern Tunisia;  Guatemala; Mogadishu – Somalia; Istanbul – Turkey;   Chihuahua – Mexico; Java and Sumatra – Indonesia, and San Pedro Sula – Honduras for various natural and political reasons. Once again, Manila or Pasay were not included. Or even Davao for that matter.

So, ladies, become the ladies that you should be, and go shopping instead.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Setting Up a Small Business in the Philippines

Philippines is a very small country of more than seven thousand islands. It's government is considered one of the most corrupt in Asia and the people just queue and complain...  Everywhere, including the processing of small - as in $500 worth of - business' permits.

There are at least a thousand and three requirements in order to legally set up and operate a $500 worth of small business. That above is an actual checklist in a small municipality for registering a new or renewing a business permit. And you get to this list after obtaining a business name. At least, registering no longer requires having an interview with all-knowing clerks (they will decide how much is your capital in setting up the business, and some other things like your projected income.)

If you happen to register a business name and will not immediately pursue your business permit and Bureau of Internal Revenue within a month (you have to complete all those forms and their agencies' requirements before getting to BIR, no different from a madman's obstacle race), then you become an instant delinquent! But BIR will not give you any idea how to get out of the delinquent stage except to pay, pay, and pay for abstracted violations and monetized penalties.

To the BIR Commissioner, All Mayors, and the Legislative Branch of the Philippines,

Do you know that we, small business owners and taxpayers, often start up small, with about a capital of P2,000 or up to P20,000 only? Buildings or shops and establishments cannot be rented out, borrowed, or which rent was only loaned. (to be continued)...