Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A Package Just Arrived.

It's finally arrived. I ordered this from Hobbyeasy.com and it's finally here! The model was given a great review.

Since Hobbyeasy is based in Hong Kong, the shipping is much cheaper and the shipping time is pretty short - two days.

ADD: I just realized something as I was writing this. I realized that I'm going to have to paint a believable tartan design on the model's kilt and cape. Now, this model's about 4 inches high. I'm going to need really steady hands to paint the design properly. Oh boy...

Ah well, putting the kit together would take a couple of hours. I figure the painting process would probably take a total of ten hours excluding the drying time. So I guess three weeks is probably a safe estimate.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Pissed Off...

Over the past couple of weeks, my area has experienced a number of copper wire thefts. Armed with machetes and steel saws, a group of men would climb up electric posts and proceed to hack away at telephone cables.

So far they have been able to get away with three post lengths worth of cable,probably with a street value of P5,000 for the copper they contain.

Not one has been caught, despite the numerous calls to the local baranggay and police stations. Sure, the authorities arrive within minutes of the first reports, but by then, the cable robbers are long gone.

Our security guard told me that they employ several lookouts. At the slightest hint of danger, they would alert the others and scamper away. Only to return when the coast is once again clear. Since the authorities can't stay in one place to long, the criminals take advantage of the fact.

I can't stomach the fact that these criminals strike close to home, and they are getting away with it. I once had a sick thought of snatching one of the lookouts, a teenager, put a blindfold and gag on him and bringing him all the way to Ilocos Norte. Once there, give him a map of Bicol, drop him off and go back to the Metro. Let's see if he can find his way back.

Maybe use one of those high-grade slingshots with the steel ball bearing ammo and plink at the bastards while they're doing their deed high up in those poles. It would be pretty hard to tell where the shots are coming from, it's dark and the slingshot doesn't make any sound. Besides, it'd be pretty dumb for them to go to the cops and file a complaint.

Ah... Street Justice - Lite. Too bad, Charles Bronson is dead. He'd know what to do.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Visions of the Future...

I woke up with a major headache today. It' not surprising, sitting in front of the computer for twelve hours straight can't be good for my eyes. I sat up and turned on the news.

Great, China just bagged big fat manufacturing contracts from Ford, IKEA and Hershey's. Now, the only hold out is Volvo (they'll come to their senses soon). That would mean more work for my department. At least there'll be a pay increase.

I finally got up and headed to the bathroom. I rifled through the medicine cabinet and found my prescription pain killers. I popped down a couple of tablets and drank straight from the faucet. I've become more and more dependent on these things since I took up my friend's offer to head one of his company's departments.

There's another chemical explosion in Vietnam, three hundred people dead. The waste disposal plant over there has been working overtime since they started accepting computer parts for disposal from Europe. It was bound to happen sooner or later. The other ASEAN nations tried to convince them to pass up on the contract. Too bad.

After a nice shower, I put on my work clothes: a pair of walking shorts and a white shirt and flip-flops. The only time we're required to dress up is when the bigwigs are coming in for a visit, maybe once every couple of months or so.

No time for breakfast. I switched off the TV and hurried out of the house. Traffic's going to be a real ball-biter; the militant left has organized another rally on EDSA while the bible-thumpers scheduled a marathon run along C-5. I hate Mondays.

I looked at my schedule for the day, a doctor's appointment at ten and a lunch with the boss at one; the rest of the day's clear. Mondays, we've got a love/hate thing going on here.

Like the radioman said, traffic was really bad, but I got in on time for the 'start-of-week' briefing. I knew my people were anxious to start so I kept the meeting short. After the meeting, I called up the front desk to arrange for transportation to the doctor's. I took the elevator up to the top floor and, sure enough, the helicopter was waiting for me.

High up in the air, one would expect an awesome sight of the Metro Manila, but I was out of luck. The smog level was at an all time high, and I was surprised the pilot could see anything at all. I was able to get glimpses of large objects on the ground, buildings perhaps.

The medical check-up was fairly quick. All in all, I'd say the battery of tests set me back twenty minutes. If I recall correctly, it took me a couple of hours listening to the 'on-hold' music while the doctor's secretary scheduled my appointment - four months ago.

After returning to the office, I received a call from my counterpart in India. He informed me that half of the new batch of people he had failed their English comprehension test. Seventy thousand out of a hundred and forty thousand isn't all that bad, but I knew I would have to pick up the slack until he gets another batch from their training centers. I told him that there wouldn't be any problems on my side, after all, he'll probably have another batch ready in a couple of weeks anyway.

I put down the phone and looked out a window overlooking the work area. And let me tell you, there's nothing more awe-inspiring than the sight of seven hundred and fifty thousand men and women answering calls from people all across the globe. As long as they keep calling, we'll keep answering - the world keeps spinning.

It's almost one. And I'm getting hungry.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Drive-by

I was able to borrow my brother's laptop for a couple of hours earlier tonight. It has a built-in wireless network adapter (or Wi-Fi) which I needed to satisfy my curiosity.

I wanted to know how many people in my neighborhood have wireless networks in their homes. How did I go about doing that? Simple, I drove around with the laptop set to scan for any wireless routers, otherwise known as wardriving. Surprisingly enough, the laptop was able to detect twenty different wireless routers. And even more surprising, more than half of them didn't have any form of protection turned on. That means anyone can just hook up to their connection without the owner knowing it.

Now, my neighborhood isn't exactly a Class A type, more of a mixture of lower-B to lower-A with quite a generous helping of Class-Cs and Ds. One would have expected a lower number of hotspots in the area, but it probably goes to show that the prices of the hardware needed to set up a home network have dropped to levels that are quite affordable to regular Filipinos. Perhaps these homes have multiple PCs, why set up a wireless network for only one computer? Maybe they share their connections with their neighbors and split the bill amongst themselves?

In any case, the price of broadband is dropping, thanks in part to PLDT's aggressive pricing scheme, which means more people would be able to afford it. And, perhaps, the practice of wardriving will catch on. So, keep your box locked tight and be on the look out for parked cars in front of your homes.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

"I've got the whole world in my hands..."

I recently tried Google Earth and what a ride that was.

I was able to see the oil fields of Kuwait still showing signs of the scorched earth policy ordered by Saddam as his troops left the small country. I was also able to see two SR-71s parked in the open at Edwards AFB, along with several historic X planes. Even Area 51 can't escape the all-seeing-eye of the imaging satellites. (Ed. - Area 51 is due northwest of Las Vegas.)

It is disappointing that in the Philippines, the only high-res satellite images they had were those areas surrounding the former US bases: Clark, Subic and Sangley Point. Google assures its users that more high resolution images of cities around the world are being added everytime, but they have no control over which cities get updated first.

Perhaps the most important feature of Google Earth is the fact that other users can share their discoveries with other users. Their bulletin board has a quite a number of categories ranging from Military interests to Natural formations where other people can post links to their finds.

This would be a great tool for students to use, perhaps as an aid in History and Geography classes. And it's free for personal use.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

TEST

This is my first entry using my new phone. Now to
figure out how to add pictures.

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