My Christmas wish list

If you are feeling generous this Christmas season, then my wish list is for you. 😀

1. A 1TB 3.5in hard disk drive
2. An IDE enclosure for laptop optical disk drive
3. A salary increase
4. A gas lift chair
5. A camera bag

1. Some Master Grade Gundam kits
2. A 500GB external portable hard disk drive
3. A condo unit
4. An ergonomic gas lift chair

And of course, peace on earth and good will to all. Thank you.

Have a merry Christmas (for believers) and may the season be bountiful and happy for you.

Much love,


I’m alive!

Just a shout out to say that I am still alive.

What has happened since the last post?

* Changed employers again. Going farther and farther from home. Made the jump from Makati to Taguig. Still calling Caloocan a home.
* Changed phones. From HTC Magic to Motorola Milestone.
* Got a Globe and Sun mobile number.
* Laptop’s showing signs of obsolescence. Sold the netbook to my brother.
* The Philippine Blog Awards 2010 is on! It’s going back to where it all began, at December 12.
* Mom’s cousin who is a Canadian visited and stayed at our house for almost a week.
* A former boss got married. A former officemate is getting married next month.
* My hair is long again, and due for a haircut next month.
* Completed the omnibus version of Rurouni Kenshin.
* The 500GB HDD of the NAS is almost full – of movies and JPop concerts and music. I have to buy a 1TB HDD to expand.
* Bought an Xtreamer media player plus a 320GB Western Digital external HDD.
* Got hit by tax annualization. I am poorer than before, what with those purchases.
* Gained new friends, lost old friends. Online and offline.
* Deleted my Plurk account. Changed my Twitter name.
* Saw a few movies this year.
* Went to Baguio after more than 7 years.
* Blogging went the lazy way.

So now I am back. Of sorts.


I will not vote (again)?

Here we go again. This was a problem last 2007, and it seems it is a problem again. The Comelec must have some beef against me.

Last 2007, I was afraid I won’t be able to vote, because the Comelec’s precint finder always returned negative when I searched for my precint. However, my hopes were raised when I tried searching for my brother’s precint (as we were both registered in the same barangay). And there it was. And yes, I was able to vote that year.

This year is a bit different. We had our election registration records transferred from Manila to Caloocan last September 2009 (my oldest brother was the only one who wasn’t able to transfer). Since this year will be the first time for us to vote in Caloocan, plus the fact that the Comelec had implemented clustering of precints, I am anxious to find out where our precint will be. Just like in 2007, Comelec’s Precint Finder via Web and SMS returned negative.

Just like back in 2007, I tried locating my brother’s precint. The Precint Finder returned positive, only that the results show the 2007 precint.

Yes, come May 10, I will be joining thousands of clueless people in looking for their names at voters lists posted outside the polling precints. And I am hoping that I am on that list; I am afraid to be disenfranchised.

So, don’t blame me if I am skeptical (if not distrustful) of this automated elections. The recent actions and decisions of Comelec do nothing to lift this skepticism of mine.


Battle of proxies

I was fortunately unfortunate to have seen Clash of the Titans twice in a day. Unfortunate, because the first one was enjoyable; seeing it the second time was blah.

Let me start with a warning: if you have to see this film, don’t bother with the 3D version. Let me share a joke. When the end credits were showing (the first time I saw the movie), I told a friend that the credits were designed for 3D. After the second screening, another friend joked that the end credits were the only real 3D scenes in the movie. Yes, you can actually watch the 3D movie without the goggles.

Anyway, on with the movie. The title was a misnomer, as no Titan was harmed in the movie (since by the time of the story, the Titans were long gone). It should have been titled “Battle of the Proxies” since it was Hades vs. Zeus fought by proxies Kraken and Perseus. If they are pertaining to the battle scenes, well, there’s nothing titanic about them. In fact, I found some of the scenes annoying, specially when the Hades critters snatched the Medusa head from Perseus. I felt that the scenes that followed were unnecessary; it did not contribute anything to heighten the tension.

There was no sense of urgency nor distress in the movie. I felt detached from the problems confronting Argos, Andromeda, and Perseus. In fact, I was tempted to shout “Buti nga!” when Argos was about to be destroyed by the Kraken. There was no emotional attachment at all. The story was presented that blandly.

Maybe it was the way the actors presented their characters. For example, that religious lunatic. His character was so annoying, and does not add anything to the story. The one who played Io (Gemma Arterton) was a distraction – she looks so much like Anne Curtis, I was expecting a wardrobe malfunction. (Speaking of wardrobe, a friend said the Io character looked like a labandera.) Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes were disappointing in the movie – bland, blank, emotionless. And the ladies were doubly disappointed by Sam Worthington’s acting and lack of topless scenes.

The effects were inconsistently amazing and lackluster. I am sure a lot were distracted by Zeus’ sparkling armor. And comparing to Hades, Zeus looks like a wimp. As I have said, the Kraken was not scary; it was neither awe-inspiring. And the most disappointing aspect of the movie is in the non-3Dness of its 3D version. I find that some scenes were darker as compared to the non-3D version. It might be the glasses, but those shouldn’t be a factor. I got the feeling that the 3D was an afterthought, to earn more monies.

Overall, it’s a good distraction, but don’t bother watching it the second time around. And don’t waste your money on watching the 3D version.


A note for Android developers

Hi, my name is Arbet, and I own an HTC Magic, which I got from my mobile service provider here in the Philippines. As you may be aware of, the Philippines is not part of the initial Android Market rollout, and we don’t have access to Android Market. As such, if you are only going to release your apps via Android Market, we Filipinos cannot install and use your apps.

Take a page from Fring. When Fring released its Android app, I was excited because I like the product/service, but was disappointed because they released it via Android Market. I sent them a message via Twitter, and they gave me a direct download link. Now I use Fring for IM in my Android phone.

Please, a direct download URL would do wonders for us. That’s all I ask for. Thank you.

Originally posted here. I was trying out Foursquare and Gowalla and both claim they have an Android app. I was frustrated because they only distribute their apps via Android Market. I had to scour the Internet for APKs (these are Android app installers); I found one for Foursquare at their Google Code page (good for them), and a static link for a beta of the Gowalla app. While the Foursquare app works, the Gowalla one does not. So if you notice my Twitter account, you can see me Foursquare checkins, but not Gowalla.

If you want your service to succeed, you would want as many people as possible to use your service. Limiting access to your app through a single source that in turn is limited to certain areas won’t help your service.

And that is why I am ready to ditch my iPod touch. But that is a different story.


The PlayStation Move

[RANT]What’s with companies and their very imaginative product naming conventions? Seriously, Sony? Bloggie, and now, Move? Move on![/RANT]

Anyway, after speculations on what would be the name of Sony’s answer to Nintendo’s Wii Remote (the most common being Arc), Sony has announced in Game Developers Conference 2010 that its motion controller shall be called PlayStation Move.

Expect it to arrive in stores last quarter of this year (in the US, that is) in 3 ways: standalone, a starter kit with 1 PlayStation Move, one EyeToy – which is required, BTW, to use PS Move, and one unnamed game (unnamed so far), and one bundled with a PS3. Only the starter kit has a price – US$100.

Am I excited? I dunno. It depends on the gameplay, I guess. But look-wise? It’s like a scepter or something. That globe on top is the dealbreaker. I hope you can use the Move without that globe.

(Image edited, original at Joystiq.)


I am not voting for Gibo

Too bad for Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro, his “galing at talino” is not apparent during his stint as Secretary of National Defense.

I will not deny the general observation about Gibo during those debates and fora – he is articulate, he gave the best answers to difficult questions, and he has the charisma to charm even members of his own gender (and preference). The overall assessment is that Gibo is quite intelligent, knowledgeable in fields that no ordinary politician will delve into. In short,

In an ideal world (and circumstance), Gibo is the best choice in this year’s candidates for the presidency. But this is reality.

Teodoro was Secretary of National Defense (SecDef) from August 2007 (replacing Avelino Cruz, who resigned allegedly due to policy differences with Gloria Arroyo) till he resigned last year to seek the presidency. As SecDef, he had direct supervision over the Armed Forces of the Philippines. How did he fare as SecDef. Patricia Evangelista answers in her Philippine Daily Inquirer column, The guns of Gibo:

In a testimony by Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, husband and brother of many of the victims from the Nov. 23 Maguindanao massacre, Teodoro had warned him repeatedly to curb his intention to challenge the Ampatuans for Maguindanao’s governorship. The Ampatuans, he said, were prone to violence, and Mangudadatu risked his own life by choosing to throw the electoral gauntlet. This is the same Teodoro, by his own admission, who used the Ampatuans as a buffer against the MILF in his term in national defense. His was a choice to pander to the Ampatuans’ demands, choosing to appeal to the Mangudadatus not to exercise their legal and democratic right to run for public office, asking them not to offend his guard dogs in Maguindanao.

And still, when bodies were being scraped out of the foothills of Sitio Masalay, Teodoro bewailed how the massacre “had laid to waste” all the good he did as defense chief, forgetting that his choices as defense chief permitted the massacre to happen. It is odd that he feels himself exempt from responsibility. When asked why he did not disarm the Ampatuans when he could, he claims it would have been difficult to disarm them “given the circumstance,” with kidnappings and tension over the Bangsamoro treaty. It can also be argued, it would have been difficult to disarm them while they remained allies of his own President.

And so fifty seven lives (at least thirty four were journalists) were gone, snuffed out by people who think they can murder people like they swat house flies. A massacre done by people who could have been disarmed by the security forces who was then headed by someone named Gibo Teodoro. He could have ordered the AFP to dismantle all private armies, but he did not. The Ampatuan massacre will stand as strong testimony on Gibo’s galing at talino.

As SecDef, he also headed the National Disaster Coordinating Council, the lead agency when it comes to disaster management and relief. The Wikipedia article for Teodoro has this curious line on the second paragraph of the entry:

He was also known for his contributions to the people after Typhoon Ondoy hit the Philippines.

Curious, because majority of victims of Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) will dispute that assertion. Curious, because maybe that’s the point of whoever wrote that Wikipedia article – his contributions to the man-made disaster that was NDCC’s actions during Ondoy’s inundation. He was head of DND/NDCC since 2007, and Ondoy visited Luzon last year. The NDCC under better leadership could have prepared for disasters by investing in necessary rescue assets. The flooding had caught NDCC with its pants down, and the general assessment was that the NDCC just did not know what to do. In fact, the NDCC had abdicated from its role and instead contented itself spewing statistics. And the most damning testimony of Teodoro’s galing at talino was the private sector’s massive effort in disaster relief, filling in for a non-existent, Teodoro-led NDCC.

And lastly, his statement that he would not actively push for the prosecution of his patron, Gloria Arroyo, is in itself a reason why I am not voting for him. I believe that Arroyo should be prosecuted for all the crimes that she committed in all those years she spent as president. I will not vote for Teodoro precisely because he has already exonerated her.

He might be intelligent, but I cannot see him using that intelligence for the common good. Not before, not now, and not ever.

(Read Gibbs Cadiz’ take on Manny Villar, Noynoy Aquino, and Gibo Teodoro. Read his comments on Gibo; Gibbs has demolished that “galing at talino” shit much better than I could.)


Krispy Kreme launches Baked Creations

What is interesting about food is that, like an artwork, there is a story behind it.

Take, for example, Krispy Kreme’s Baked Creations. In a jaunt with bloggers, Rick Cavanaugh, Director of Research and Development for Krispy Kreme, shared the impetus behind Baked Creations. Rick said that in the US, donuts are basically breakfast food, and here in the Philippines, donuts are rather treated as desserts or merienda. Krispy Kreme wants to improve on that impression and add the idea that Krispy Kreme is good for breakfast, too.

So Krispy Kreme went to work, experimented with everything, and then came up with two lines of Baked Creations. The Pull Aparts are based on North Carolina’s handrolled balls of dough, also called as monkey bread (because people just pull some piece from the bread, like monkeys LOL). The Pull Aparts come in several variants – Cheese, Bacon & Cheese, Sausage & Cheese and Cinnamon.

Apparently, on its second day of stealth launch, Bacon and Cheese is a hit, and so does Sausage and Cheese. In fact, in yesterday’s launch, all the Bacon and Cheese and Sausage and Cheese Pull Aparts were goners! So I got stuck with the Original Kruffin, which is basically a muffin with a hole in the middle, with cream in the hole. The muffin was soft, slightly sweet, typically Krispy Kreme.

According to Rick, these creations are baked per day, and only enough amount are baked per day, because these only have a shelf life of one day. No wonder those Bacon and Sausage Pull Aparts ran out quickly.

Kruffins are priced Php 65.00 and comes in Double Chocolate, Apple Streussel, Blueberry, and Classic Kruffin. Pull Aparts are priced Php 75.00. These are available are Krispy Kreme Ayala Avenue and Greenhills branches at the moment. Right now, only the Philippines and Australia have these Baked Creations. Press release follows.

Newest Sweet & Savory Creations from Krispy Kreme

Before, Filipinos have only known the doughnut as the sweet, round-shaped dough – and nothing more. However, global doughnut brand Krispy Kreme changed this with the introduction of its infamous confectionary inventions in partnership with popular brands such as Hershey’s, Reese’s, Snickers and Oreos (to name a few). Suddenly, Manila was abuzz with excitement – the welcome arrival of Krispy Kreme has signaled a bright doughy future.

This 2010, Krispy Kreme is back to offer something deliciously different as it launches its Baked Creations. This newest addition to the line of Krispy Kreme offerings comes in two new options: the Kruffins, an American style hand made muffin-with-a-hole filled with rich and delicious fruits, nuts or chocolate with varieties which include Double Chocolate, Apple Streussel, Blueberry and Classic Kruffin; and the Pull Aparts – the North Carolina original hand-rolled balls of dough, pulled apart and laid to form a doughnut like sweet bread, filled with sweet or savory varieties such as Cheese, Bacon & Cheese, Sausage & Cheese and Cinnamon. Like the doughnuts everyone has grown to love, these new Krispy Kreme sensations are the perfect companions to Krispy Kreme’s freshly brewed Signature Coffee.

“Krispy Kreme is a brand for sharing – which makes it a well-loved doughnut chain in the Philippines and the rest of the world,” says Mark Gamboa, Marketing Manager of Krispy Kreme. “The introduction of the Baked Creations of Krispy Kreme here in the country is our way of showing our eagerness to give Filipinos something delightfully new to share and enjoy everyday.”

Since the 1930s until now, Krispy Kreme has continually responded to the growing clamor of the doughnut brand’s loyal fans for their globally-famous delights which include the Original Glazed – made from a secret recipe that has been passed on from generations since the store was first established at Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA. From then on, it has already built a fan base of well-known personalities, which include NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, pop star Beyonce, and even hot Hollywood celebrities like Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise, and Nicole Kidman.

In the Philippines, the popularity of the doughnut chain grew the moment it came in 2006 at its very first branch at Bonifacio High Street in Taguig. And with the fresh, mouthwatering pastries that come out of Krispy Kreme’s conveyor belt, its fame is destined to glaze everyone soon.

Grab the new Krispy Kreme baked creations soon to come in the dougnut chain’s Greenhills and Ayala stores. You may also visit any of the following Krispy Kreme Branches: Bonifacio High Street, Greenhills Shopping Center Drive-Thru, SM Mall of Asia, Trinoma Cinema Level, SM Megamall, SM Mall of Asia Drive-Thru, Ayala Avenue, Robinsons Galleria, Gateway Mall, Glorietta 4, SM City Annex (North EDSA), Annex 2 SM Fairvew, Eastwood, Marquee Mall Pampanga, SM San Lazaro & SM Manila (coming soon) or call 0917-8053000 & (02) 633-2313. Also, be sure to log on to www.krispykreme.com.ph and be a Friend of Krispy Kreme to get updates.


Hitomi no screen

The single that HSJ fangirls (and boys) are waiting for since that cowboy single (errr, Mayonaka no Shadow Yamada, err, Boy).

I dunno, I don’t find it a compelling listen. Even the B-side I find forgettable. This one‘s better, but it’s not a single from HSJ. And come on, these kids had debuted since Chinen’s a kid! These kids deserve an album already!

Shadow Boy is my least favorite HSJ single (I like the B-songs of the single, for the record). Hitomi no screen’s my second least favorite.

Hitomi no Screen [Regular Edition] by Hey! Say! JUMP at CD Japan

Hitomi no Screen [w/ DVD, Limited Edition] by Hey! Say! JUMP at CD Japan

Hitomi No Screen [Regular Edition] by Hey! Say! Jump at Play-Asia.com

Hitomi No Screen [CD+DVD Limited Edition] by Hey! Say! Jump at Play-Asia.com