Sunday, November 11, 2007

information systems irritating symptom

Doesn’t it seem that there’s a growing disjoint between personal computing and office computing? Because of the cheapening costs of computing, a significant amount of the emerging labor force are now exposed to the internet, online gaming, windows XP & even Vista, and video telephony (by contacting OFW relatives).

Yet when it comes to business systems, it seems that we’re still firmly stuck in the mid 90s, or even 80s. Isn’t it weird when you logon to windows, you see this screen:

Only to be exposed to this text-based system for your regular work?

As late as five years ago, this wouldn’t have mattered, since only a few had exposure to updated operating systems and applications. But now with the democratization of computing, and business systems not catching up, the gap is becoming more pronounced.

Plus, the older generation used to text-based systems don’t handle that directly anymore (being part of management), yet the younger set have to face the older system their superiors faced.

And I wonder how this affects the morale of the knowledge workers who have to face this anachronism day in and day out. It may not be a major factor for quitting, but it may serve as one of Herzberg's hygiene factor which may increase job dissatisfaction (like faulty toilets or poor fringe benefits).

Thursday, November 08, 2007

thinking a tad too much

i'm usually the over-analytical person all-around, but sometimes my significant other beats me to it.

bambi & i were hanging out at her sister's house when bambi's niece brought out this souvenir "snowball" from HK Disneyland. it was an aquarium with fishes swimming around and it looked like this:

i then thought, cool, it looked real enough, but the aquarium was an enclosed globe ball, so the fishes weren't real. i then wondered how the fishes moved around. (it moved through magnets)

bambi on the other hand took the biologist approach: wow, look at the fishes! wait, one's a tiger fish and one's a clown fish and one's a freshwater fish while the earlier two are saltwater fishes, so how could freshwater fishes survive with saltwater fishes? but she still didn't arrive at the conclusion that the fishes weren't real.... hehehe!

what was worse was she tried to justify her reasoning by pointing out the following:

  • there's an opening at the bottom, maybe you could put food in it? => um, it was for replacement water....
  • the opening could be used to pump air in it? => i don't think so; besides, where's the air pump?
  • well, there are fishbowls that don't have air pumps => it was an enclosed globe....

by this point we were both laughing our heads off....

Saturday, September 29, 2007

instrument tampering & information technology

haven't posted in a while, not too pleased with bean-counting...

anyhoo, check these videos out:

1) a guy doesn't know how to play the instruments suddenly wows us all...

2) middle age tech support. i used to be an abacus repairman a few years back and i was laughing my head off since i remembered not a few abacus users who had these issues. i especially like the part where the user was still clinging on to the old technology... hehehe!


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Local Language Legacy

It pains me at times whenever we have to “correct” ourselves when we try to explain certain English terms to non-Filipino speakers. Case in point: Comfort Room=Restroom/Bathroom for American English.

If American English, Australian English, Singaporean English (Singlish) or Indian English is deemed acceptable English, why must we classify Filipino English as “wrong” or “inferior”? Why must we ape American English when certain words we have used evolved to how our country has developed? Why must we make excuses for words that have uniquely suited our Filipino purpose?

For instance, is it any more wrong to take comfort in the comfort room than to take a bath in a bathroom when all you need to do is to take a leak or to take a dump? Which is more apt?

I guess this is indicative of how we Filipinos view ourselves; trying hard to be Americans yet never being good enough. Corollary, our language is never good enough.

Well, enough of that! If a certain term become nouns or verbs, is grammatically correct, fits our context, and is still in English, then let’s use it by all means! If someone needs to take a leak, go to the comfort room! If someone gets delayed, there was traffic! If someone has a problem, help him cope up with it! If someone is very ambitious, then he becomes a presidentiable/senatoriable! (A term which, by the way, is less cumbersome than presidential candidate/senatorial candidate.)

It’s now high time for them to understand us, when we have spent decades trying to understand foreigners’ English nuances! Although, I don’t want to be salvaged for suggesting a radical break from all the traditional English-speakers… Hehehe!

Monday, June 18, 2007

vista voyage

My Lakbayan grade is C-!

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out at Lakbayan!

Created by Eugene Villar.

and i thought i'd get a worse grade... :P

Friday, June 15, 2007

Missing Mike (Not)

With Team Unity losing big time this last election and the media having an easier time reporting (i.e. lesser libel suits being filed or being withdrawn all together), I'm wondering if this has something to do with Big Mike's absence? Is he the greedy one the empress cannot control previously, causing the derailment of her programs? Is he the Madame to her Macoy? (Not that I'm praising Macoy, but he showed less caprices than Madame.)

Now that with Big Mike indefinitely out of the picture (and will take time to rebuild his clout once he reemerges), can this administration be a bit more open-minded and have more political will to get beneficial projects done?

Too bad he wasn't out of the picture earlier, way before the elections or TU wouldn't have had the kicking it received in the polls. Or if he was still active, the TU would've come out better, but at the expense of more Maguindanaos, probably even Cebu.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

City Constituency and Council Chairs

With the increasing urbanization (and globalization) and mobility of the middle-class Pinoy, the traditional method of representation is becoming less significant. A simple case may be an employee going to work at Makati but actually lives in Pasig. In my case, I work in Manila but I’m registered in Batangas. I even have a friend who works in Manila, lives in Alabang (Muntinlupa), but registered in Tuguegarao. And so on, and so forth.

Of course, working where we’re registered is not a currently viable option. Why don’t we just re-register to where we now work/live? Because it’s such a hassle to do so. In an age where it’s a feat just to gather an official birth certificate or to renew a passport, going to the local level on a working day to re-register isn’t worth the day’s work lost. And for what? Councilors & local officials who would have nothing to do with you, since their policies only affect you indirectly through the business owners; more basic things like social security, medical aid, food are taken cared of by your job; infrastructure spans beyond the terms of these local officials. Besides, you really can’t tell the difference between all these candidates with generic photoshopped faces.

In addition, the current political reality is skewed such that the middle class aren’t the target market for local races. Local officials go for the volume vote, which translates to the CDE vote. The candidates would promise filling the needs of these voters, needs that we have somewhat met (with difficulty, but not as difficult as our less-fortunate brethren). These candidates don’t need our support for the numbers or “moral ascendancy”. So they don’t reach out to us. It’s also partly our fault that we don’t try to dig deeper to what they’re saying so that we know what these candidates are promising (forecasting), so we can hold them accountable to their promises (forecasts).

Then we all complain when we say they don’t represent us. And we have an even greater motive to bolt out of the nation.

Hmm. Since I don’t have a net link at work at the moment, I’ll see if Comelec has guidelines on how to re-register at a new locale when I get home.

[at home]

The Comelec website’s taking a while to load… Here's the site where it answers
the FAQ on transferring where you were registered and here's the site where it quotes the relevant law.

Wait a minute... So the Election Registration Board has to approve my request? Then the Election Officer from the original area must know that the approval has been processed? Then I have to wait for the snail mail telling me that I can vote there now? What's the processing time in all of these approval & waiting? What if the Election Officer from the original area doesn't get the approval on time, would someone usurp my right there? And how long does snail mail get around these parts; will it get to me on time, especially since the election's 19 days away?

And all these questions and effort to elect councilors and congressmen who do not address my concerns directly? Of course, if I register where I live now, the councilors & congressmen will have a more direct role in my daily life, but only very, very marginally.

Is it worth all the effort?

irritating initiatives

(another one of my forgotten posts; this was written at the height of the cha-cha initiative)

The House of Representatives is hell-bent on ramming the Con-Ass initiative down our throats. If the Supreme Court (with the new composition) does say that Congress votes as a whole and disregarding the Senate votes as separate, I wonder what will happen next? After the postponement of the vote, the new Constitution would inevitably be ratified, what happens with the ratification?

[as it turned out, the Supreme Court turned it down]

People don’t like being removed of their privileges unless there’s a price involved and it’ll take a lot of convincing for the people not to elect the President. The usual more-jobs-more-food-more-roads-more-education tack is standard and unfulfilled, so what else do these would-be parliamentarians have to offer to ratify the change?

With this scenario, these congressmen may be left with no choice but to advance the initiative further by falsifying the results of a massive disapproval of the plebiscite; or not invite the people all together in deciding for the future.

Either alienation will definitely create a bigger disjoint between the people and the government. We’ll see less involvement in the public sector and more in the OFW sector.

[sadly, I see the disjoint even without this initiative coming through]

security sentinels

(i found this post lying in my flash drive; this was written @ the office while waiting for more tasks as a systems bean counter)

Whenever I needed to find a place in the metro (looking for a restaurant or an office), I invariably turn to the nearest security guard for directions. Or when I’m driving to look for a friend’s house in a subdivision, I turn to the guard at the gate for the location. Everywhere we look, we see guards providing security. And in the barangays, I think the tanod (village enforcer) population is also numerous.

Such proliferation of deputized localized enforcers is an indication of how much distrust we have placed on the nationally-mandated security force, i.e. the AFP and the PNP. We are more willing to place our money and our trust to security guards (by paying security agency fees) or to the tanods (by shouldering their allowances) rather than being convinced that our taxes serve well for our national enforcers.

It also doesn’t help that the military & police have taken a rather patriarchal view of themselves as defenders of the nation, more in the sense of an all-knowing overall lord protector than a co-equal partner in nation-building. They possess the management view that everyone is intrinsically capable of doing wrong and must be restrained to do so. Of course, this thinking permeates throughout government, business, and the clergy. But the military & police are armed.

In the course of implementing the state’s directives, the armed forces inevitably trample upon the rights of others, with the “greatest good for the greatest number” theory. If the people don’t follow them, the protectors force them to do so since the protectors know what’s good for the country. They feel that such collateral damage is only minimal and necessary to achieve peace & order.

Unfortunately, recent events have shown that without consultation with the locals, these actions alienate the armed forces from the rest of the populace. People are wary of their protectors, cringing when they are being summoned for any possible & arbitrary infraction of the law. Even innocent people are fearful because of the arbitrariness of the entrapment process (i.e. the cop doesn’t like how you look at them and decide to pick you up) and the lack of protection in the courts (you’re already in jail and it takes a few bags of money to get bail, a lawyer, and time to process your claim/defense).

Faced with this situation, people flee (as indicated by the numerous OFWs leaving the country) or get someone who they do trust (security guards & tanods).

No, I do not ask cops for directions for going somewhere. I might be picked up and be accused as a subversive, or they may kidnap me and receive my family’s savings in return, or they may beat me up for looking at them the wrong way.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

bambi's beauty blog!

to all my 2-3 readers; please check out java-junkie's new blog (co-written by liee, not me): Baklitaan! it's a beauty, make-up, kikay blog for the asian audience in general, the pinay audience in particular! enjoy!!! :D

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

conrado's charm of circumstance

i really wonder how conrado de quiros gets away with ranting against the empress & big mike almost everyday, like this time. i mean, i do agree with him most of the time, especially his rants against the empress & big mike, not always his desired actions, but i do share his sentiments.

is it because of the miranda connection? that his daughter covers the empress? i doubt that the father exerts undue pressure on the daughter by using his daughter as a protective shield, inasmuch as the daughter requests the father to back down due to her job security. i'm sure the empress also has asked the daughter numerous times for her father to back down, but to no avail.

(i guess the daughter has as much power in stopping her father's ranting as much as the empress has in stopping her consort's actions).

but for how much longer, i wonder (if indeed this is de quiros's agimat)?

Friday, March 16, 2007

results reporting rigamarole

as i mentioned in my previous post, i went for a lateral transfer from my original work as systems bean counter to results bean counter. here's a description of the two:

  • systems bean counter - deriving from the big jar of beans how many each beans are of what kind, whether they be garbanzos, mongo, peas. i have no immediate idea whether these beans are making money or not. and i work with IT primarily with these tasks
  • results bean counter - reporting how much beans the overall company makes to the regional headquarters

yes, i know. i'm not good with folksy analogies.

this was one of the few times i went out, approached the bosses, and expressed my ambition to be a results bean counter. maybe it was the prospect of hitting 30 with still being unsatisfied with my career, or seeing a college classmate becoming the chief bean counter of the same company, or feeling the need to take charge of my career, so i asked.

fortunately, the office needed a results bean counter more urgently than a systems bean counter, so instead of hiring another bean counter to fill in the results position, i got the job. although it is a lateral position, the exposure to information and people would be more critical.

however, i'm still apprehensive of the distinction with the elite & not-so-elite officers status of this company. i'll regale my 2-3 readers on that on a subsequent post.

my rant right now is about turning over the new position. the results position was opened because the current one is resigning out of stress. her concerns are a very task-oriented demanding boss (which i faced to a greater degree in my old job) and a perceived-not-so-competent semi-boss (which i faced to a greater degree in my first job); so these are not really my problems.

my problem now is the way she was handing over the tasks. for her, there is no overriding concept that ties up all the tasks i've been taught. it's just a series of tasks that have to be done before the deadline, there is no chain, no reason, and no encouragement to seek out new ways of working (which i miss with my previous boss). i tried to inject some ways of doing stuff better, but she'd just wave me off as being too trivial, with the focus on submitting the work NOW, not learning how or why we have to submit it. (the fact that she's younger doesn't really help either, plus her self-acknowledged attitude of non-kindness.)

we have this comedian officemate who rewrites tasks using microsoft excel just so he has his own understanding on how this is done (he was assigned to catch some of my tasks and i like his approach on how he absorbs his work). i just wish more people would be that open.

then my not-so-considerate self says, she's leaving, so you can *own* the work, and it can be your diskarte, your own approach.

so by next April, it's my show now.

Shuttling between Stateside Sites

Wow, haven’t updated for a while. Brief updates:

  • Regularized & got a new position in the company that makes soap, shampoo, and soup
  • Presently in the land of milk and honey for a vacation

Yup, an overseas vacation. It’s more of a family thing, since we haven’t gone to the states together in a while.

At any rate, I went ahead first, because I’ll be coming home first. You see, I’m coming home before April starts, so that I’ll be at the office when we close the books. (Memo to self: I have to update my occupation from number cruncher to bean counter.)

Anyway, the first few days have been spent staying at my aunts’ & cousins’ homes, watching DVDs & US cable. In retrospect, those past few days could have been better spent, since I could’ve just watched DVDs and cable at home. But, I didn’t really take care of my schedule before leaving, plus I don’t expect the people here to change their skeds for me on such short notice. Que sera sera.

Still, I’m looking forward to visiting Vegas, watching Penn & Teller, plus going to the East Coast and watching Les Miz on Broadway, plus seeing various DC sites like the Smithsonian or even the White House!

Then it’s back to the circus that is the 2007 elections, where the choices are even vaguer than the 2004 elections…

Hope to update this blog more regularly soon!