Thanking the pirates

 

If you’re thinking that I just turned coat because of the need to save and having no choice but to patronize illegal softwares, we’ll I’m not. It’s just that the feeling of being free and having so much time to kill got me into trying how to create a facebook quiz last night. Pathetic isn’t it?

What I find funny though is that this time I feel like making a quiz with pure Filipino words which I haven’t done since then. I rarely use tagalog because I feel I’d more prone to grammar errors than composing something in English. In fact I kept on asking my wife for the correct spelling of some of the Filipino words. So last night’s experiment was quite entertaining and somehow I was able to release my Bob Ong alter ego. Hahaha.

Unfortunately, the quiz didn’t run as I expected it to be. I don’t know if I missed it, but I saw several issues with facebook’s create quiz application. I tried looking for a button that would let me preview and test my own quiz first without having to publish it prematurely; I also wondered how I can put just two choices even if I have four outcomes; and as much as I’d like to keep and fine tune it first, sleepiness crept in and consequently, my judgment and perfectionism gave up – I shamelessly published the half-baked quiz with me being the only person enjoying the result…as if I don’t know it yet. Ti abi.

I’m not sure if I can resolve the problem with the application, but I’m sure that I’ll be asking a lot of newbie questions in the developers forum…and most likely, will later feel bad how stupid of me to miss such simple things. Anyway, before I forget (and receive hate emails for not doing so), I’d like to give credit to the following Flickr Creative Commons users who shared their nice photos which I used in the Anong klaseng pirata ka (What kind of pirate are you?) quiz:

Capn Madd Matt

Phoney Nickel/Tiffany

Deep Shot

Extra Medium/John Mueller

Orangegeek – I can’t find this user anymore but I’m quite sure I grabbed this pic from him but wasn’t able to use it immediately. So if you know this Flickr user, please try to inform him about this.

 

Mood: 3/10 Honks!

Practicality = Piracy

 

I couldnt say any better. Photo by: vikrameb

I couldn't say it any better. Photo by: vikrameb

Yesterday while I was on my way to work, the discussion over the radio got me so immersed into it that I had to maintain the minimum focus required to drive safely. And how can I not, the condition was perfect: there’s nice summer sun outside, I was tuned to Magic 89.9 FM’s morning show with Mo, Mojo and Grace Lee and they’re talking about my favorite topic – piracy.

I have a love-hate relationship with this show. But more often than not, I’m tuned in to this station as I find this lively trio very great companion especially when driving alone…and sleepy. Some people call or classify such show as talk radio because most the time there’s incessant blabbing about almost everything under the sun. And when I say everything, it really does mean almost everything. Thus, making the show as one of, if not the only, the most controversial morning shows.

Among the trio, the most dominant character is Mo who’s not only a fast talker but who is likewise full of ideas that some of it are out of this world, downright offending (at least to me) and some are just not even fit to be discussed during a morning show wherein every mom, dad, uncle, aunt and other mature individuals may be listening and may be with kids at the same time. I’ve heard him discuss about premarital sex, religion, politics, lesbianism and other taboo stuffs, and of course, piracy.

So yesterday was no exemption. The moment I heard him mention the word piracy, I slowed down and I listened – the discussion among the group and their exchanges with the callers were interesting albeit I find some of it just irritating.

Mo was once again defending and reiterating his stand that although he doesn’t directly promote piracy on his (their) radio show, he sees a lot of advantage and benefit out of it – other than the obvious difference in price between the licensed and the bootleg. One of the things he pointed out is about the movie industry. According to him, because of piracy which started several years ago, the original films have become available in the Philippines almost at the same time when it is released from its country of origin.

Mo said that years ago, it would take one film to reach the Philippines almost a couple of months after Hollywood, for example, releases it to cinemas in the US. And this is where piracy comes in handy. Most probably while the film is rolling somewhere in the US, some unscrupulous cinema insider (or viewer) is recording an illicit copy of the film and immediately distributes it to their contacts from the other country. Now these contacts sell the film’s copy to people who are so eager to watch it. So when the time comes for the original film to be shown in theaters, the revenue flops. Of course, who wants to pay and watch a re-run? – Simple reasoning, yet rude and yet practical. And this, according to Mo, is when producers eventually learned and realized that they need to compete or they’ll lose their market share to those illegal distributors. At this point of the argument, I caught myself nodding in conformity.

Another case that Mo presented or re-presented (as I heard about it a couple of times already) is about computer software piracy. He believes that it is the only way for poor nations, like ours, and its people to compete and put them at par with the rest of the world when it comes to computer literacy. Although, I agree with the need to compete, I don’t however agree with how it is achieved by piracy.

As much as I hated it, Mo’s point got me thinking. Quite frankly, I’ve been pondering lately if I’m cursed for knowing that piracy is stealing. Often times some people, like most of my friends, see it as plain practicality and the need to learn about one software is one good justification to get hold of its bootleg counterpart. I’m not saying that these people are bad – or thieves for this matter. I might say though that they are misinformed or has chosen to keep a blind eye about it.

As I end my driving until I got out of Intel’s parking lot, my mind was occupied with so many questions just from the 20 minutes I spent listening to the radio.

So am I not being practical then?

Am I stupid to believe that I shouldn’t be buying any of these bootleg stuffs? Or am I now alone with this belief or advocacy?

Will my next employer reject me because I did not learn as much software as I can because I don’t have the guts to buy a pirated copy?

Am I going to be left behind then in the end?

Do I have to steal to learn?

Is it a good thing that while I teach my boy about good manners and right conduct, he’s watching a pirated educational DVD?

Do I need to seek professional advice to get over with my firm stand against it?

Maybe I’ll think all about it. Although I’m still hoping that in the end all of my answers will still be a big NO – unless they change the law against it. And hopefully whatever the reasons are why most people patronize pirated products, I still hope (or is wish a correct term?) that soon enough the fight against piracy will win because I really believe that behind those cheap illegal goods that some of us enjoy others are suffering just because of it.

 

 

Photo credit: vikrameb

 

 

 

Mood: 3/10 Honks!

Fair-Weather Values

The welcoming bright morning sun today seems to have little or no help at all to keep the bleak news from coming out of The Philippine Star newspaper into our breakfast table.

“US recession looms” is today’s headline. And what follows on the next articles and pages are just as frustrating if not scary. “Layoffs spreading across corporate America”,”RP flunks US think tank’s corruption indicator, loses new funds”. Switching to CNN didn’t help fan out the negativity either. It just brought more stories about people expected to be jobless and horrible stories of starvation and hopelessness in Zimbabwe.

These somehow gave me a guilty feeling while we eat breakfast in front of the TV and with me silently counting off another Sunday of being employed. How self-centered can I get when other people faces far more serious problem than I currently have.

Just after several minutes of scanning the papers and watching the news, I realize how still lucky I am to have brewed coffee, fresh hot pan de sal and another perfect omelet courtesy of wifey. That moment someone from the USA is being evicted out of his hard-earned home for not being able to pay it. And much worse, a lot of people in Zimbabwe are thinking where they’re going to get potable water in the next few hours. Others might even just die trying to find one. Literally.

Well that’s just how sad the reality is nowadays. Being jobless is the “IN” thing. Starvation is inevitable. Bankruptcy is as frequent as before. In short, let’s face it, the world is in crisis.

And being in crisis, I can’t help but wonder if the values I personally believe would remain as is. The dilemma roaming inside my head just can’t be ignored.

Will I still have the same morals in which I’ve come to practice?

Will I still continue with my advocacies such as anti-piracy and environmentalism?

Will I still strive to do my best to drive with courtesy in mind?

Will I still continue to use the pedestrian lane?

Will I still refuse to bribe cops and government employees?

 

These are just actually few of the questions that have lately come into consideration. Someone said before that during the worse situations our true character comes out. And so with this I will commit that I’m standing by with what I value the most. The answer therefore to some of the questions I have will be, Yes.

Yes, I will continue…

…To respect my parents and elders. I will still be around to look after them. I will call them as often as I can even if that means that I have to stop sending nonsense SMS to friends to save on prepaid load.

…To respect and be courteous and rational in treating cashiers, janitors, saleslady, waiters, drivers and other blue-collared employees who offer their services to me. Who knows, I might be working with them soon.

…To say no to piracy no matter how hard the urge to buy these things in the name of saving (at the expense of other people).

…To be courteous in the road. And avoid…or at least try not to honk my horn unnecessarily. (This is another topic deserving another blog entry. I can see wifey smiling.)

…To cross the road using the pedestrian lane even if I’m in a hurry for a job interview.

…To reject the temptation to deal with any form of fixers even if this means delaying the start up of my small business.

 

Right now it may be easier said than done. But also right now, I’m saying it out loud as my commitment. As much as I hate fair-weather friends, I hate having fair-weather values.

 

How about you?

 

dilemma...

dilemma...

Spending Wisely

They say there are only two things in life that’s certain – these are death and taxes. But come to think of it spending may be added as well. Besides, it is where taxes will come from.

Since the dawn of civilization or at least when people started using money, spending by people for things they both need and want has been as predictable as clock work. Of course with the infamous wealth distribution pyramid, the outflow of money differs from one social class order to another. Fairly, everyone (i.e., rich, middle or lower class) has their own set of financial worries – The Ayalas may worry what Cadillac color to get, The average Juan Dela Cruzes worry which one is a good bang for the buck – Vios or City, while the less privilege worry when the next jeepney fair price hike will happen. All are worries nevertheless. Parang patas, pero hindi (Looks fair yet not).

But before I fully transform (though I truly wish) my blog into something like Francis Kong’s business article, I’d like to share some of my tips with regards to spending wisely – at least I believe so.

·         Obsolete items have to go. The unstoppable electricity bill made me decide to sell (another of my online selling adventure) our old air conditioner and replace it with a new one that has a timer so it can switch the electric fan at a specified time without me having to perform a half-sleepwalk just to reach and turn the air con off.

·         Be on the lookout for best 2nd hand (used) deals. My wife showed her haggling talent and got a 5-month old Canon IXUS 70 at 25 percent less than the original price – Not bad. But I banned her on my ebay’s buyers list – I can’t handle such hagglers.

·         Drive as if you’re participating in Petron’s Extra Mile challenge. Been doing it lately and I’m seeing an improvement both to my sanity and fuel economy. It’s also one way to discourage your friends from riding with you – who wants to be in a new car without an air conditioning on? Hahaha. Just kidding.

·         Watch only good movies (Catch the bad ones in HBO). Last week we watched “What Happens in Vegas” and we quite had a good laugh at it. Cinema: P240, Watching Aston Kutcher and Cameron Diaz: Priceless.  

·         Read restaurant reviews before dining in. This is what we learned with Fish & Co. where I read in some forums that even those known rich people find it overpriced. Too bad I read about it late enough. Last week was a different story; we had our sweet revenge in Bollywood. I enjoyed our dinner (but my wife didn’t) in this Indian cuisine restaurant and that made me dream of going to India to savor more of their foods. I’m wondering if there’s any other way we can commute there other than their trains – I have some “issues” with it. If there is, Bombay, count me in.

·         Pay and download only the music you like.  When I heard about it from my wife, I immediately agree with the idea; rather than buying a full CD (single artist) and feeling shortchanged later on after learning that your favorite artist himself has actually only one favorite song in his own album. Ti abi. But then again, I’d like to emphasize that this is not a reason to patronize pirated music. Buying pirated materials is not spending wisely. It is stealing. Period.

·         Grab every chance to join a raffle or contest. My wife got her pair of limited edition Havaianas 7 Waves for free after being included in the first 70 entries for their contest.  That will keep her from buying another Spartan enemy…for now. I’m thinking if I can sell this pair in ebay. Shhh.

 

There’s a rule to having a successful diet – do not deny yourself of your cravings as doing so will just make you binge in the end. Instead, eat everything (those obviously not hazardous) in moderation. Spending is no different. Cutting every expense out at once will have its repercussion. It is better to moderate it at first and depending on the availability of resources – i.e., money – try eliminating the unnecessary ones one at a time. Good luck.

 

 

2008: Year of Changes?

I’m currently hooked to Dan Brown’s books. During my December vacation I borrowed a book from a colleague and brought it with me in Bacolod. On my rest times I tried reading “The Da Vinci Code” – and under some sort of scrutiny from my pious mother. Answering, “it’s just a book” still somehow raised an eyebrow.

On our way back home to Dasma after the holidays, we rented an airport taxi service and that made me finish the book while inside the cozy Toyota Innova (it cost us only Php 1.3K. Very cheap compared to availing Park n Fly’s service). That was at least a week of reading it. Not bad considering the other yuletide activities I have to attend.

Now I borrowed another, “Angels & Demons” and I’m almost halfway since I started it just this Wednesday. Other than the conspiracy theories that seem to have captured my attention and that got me to ask a lot of questions regarding its possibility, one line in one of its pages made me reflect of what has been happening around us since then.

Olivetti looked the camerlengo dead in the eye. “The prayer of St. Francis, signore. Do you recall it?”

The young priest spoke the single line with pain in his voice “God, grant me strength to accept those things I cannot change.” – pp. 169.

This prayer made me pause and reflect on the changes I’ve seen and observed since last month. Some I might expand but others would remain as a one-liner for others who knew about it to explain.

Dec (3rd week). Our company’s shuttle bus provider for more than ten years was changed.

Dec 31. Just as the year ends come also the closure of our favorite restaurant – Saisaki ATC. No more sashimi. No more sukiyaki. I went back to the place on Jan 10 and to see it silent with doors locked and tables turned was a bit sad. I’m wondering where its crews have gone.

Jan. Video City, a video rental store near our place closed. Most likely it’s another victim of the proliferation of pirated cds. I’ve seen ACA video Dasma closed before during the peak of piracy and seeing a second one close is just disappointing.

Jan 18. Now the state of the old Bacolod airport is uncertain with the opening of Silay Airport.  I don’t know if Bacolod City’s officials are still considering retaining the old one or if they will totally phase it out. With the recent experience I had both during arrival and departure – mostly due to deceitful porters and taxi drivers – I couldn’t agree more if they pick the latter option. But then the innocent & honest employees’ jobs are at stake. Hopefully they’ll be re-assigned.

We are just starting the year and I hate to think about the things to come. I’m still trying to keep a positive attitude about what the future holds and whatever it will be, I’m hoping that we will be ready by then.

Que sera sera, as my mother used to say.

   

Man of Steal

(this one is originally intended for my alma mater’s blog site.)

I was thinking of a better title for this blog and I remember a high school classmate, name withheld (hahaha), that we tagged as “Man of Steal” not that he’s a professional thief, but it’s just that he had this annoying habit of not returning things he borrowed or worse keeping small petty stuff that our classmates possessed and valued, such as David Pomeranz tapes (yes tapes!), books, etc.

I’m quite sure we’ve had our share of petty thievery way, way back, or so I hope. We’ve sneaked into our nanay’s wallet to fund our Masskara escapades, we’ve kept extra resistors from the lab to support our home-made audio amplifiers and boosters, we’ve raided the stock room to pick extra welding rods for our bike’s frame. Or we’ve intentionally or unintentionally grabbed one lumpia or burger from Claire without shedding a single centavo.

Those who are guilty, please raise your hands? Wait, I can’t type one-handed.

Mr. Genito’s reminder prior to our last OJT still stays fresh in my mind, “INDI pagkuhaon maski bato sa inyo ulobrahan (DO NOT take even a single rock from your company)”. I would always remember that briefing every time I’d see gravel in the parking lot, “Maski ini? (Even this?)”, I’d ask myself, “Oo, maski ina! (Yes, even that!)”, my good side will respond immediately.

As the technology around us gets more advance and affordable to almost everyone, another form of stealing gets so rampant and so common; one wouldn’t know that he has actually participated in it. Even those with the best of intentions, regardless of social status, religion, or profession are victims (or in cahoots?). Even friends.

This is piracy.

Once again I’m guilty as charged. But that was more than 8 years ago. I remember the last one I bought was a bootleg copy of Tom Hank’s Cast Away. I bought it from one of the malls in Alabang. I grabbed some beer, pulutan and then went home so eager to watch it but almost crushed our VCD player in disgust when in the middle of the story it started pixelating and ruined our night altogether. That was it. I had enough.

I guess it was one of my wake up calls to end the illicit practice once and for all. And as if trying to justify that life changing decision, I read the papers, watched the news and attended company supported training sessions related to this. Then things such as Intellectual Property & Copyright laws came into my awareness too.

Of course everyone knew how costly (some may find it even ridiculous and stupid) it is to stop buying pirated products nowadays. It’s the reason why my Core 2 Duo still has the genuine Windows ’98 OS in it and until now the dual core processor is concentrating its power on XP’s solitaire game. Dasig gid eh (very quick), if you may ask. And since then, my wife and I also started saving to buy the audio CDs and DVDs that we like. If the budget isn’t available we’d content ourselves to listening over the radio, watch the cable channels, or getting in the cinemas.

Although feeling good about doing the right thing, I’ve kept mum about this though. Pushing this advocacy in front of most people I know would either get me booted out of my circle of friends or get raised eyebrows at the very least. I even discovered that one high position expat got a whole shelf of “Quiapo” DVDs in his home. It’s just plainly disappointing and frustrating.

Until now I’m still wondering if there will come a time that the government and other concerned organization will eradicate or at least lessen this illegal trade that’s been killing almost the whole industry – even food, toys, books, textile and any other merchandise present in the market are affected. Wishful thinking, huh? If and when that time comes, I’ll be one proud man.

And by the way, if after reading this one might wonder if I’m OMB chairman Edu Manzano? I wish. But I’m not. I’m just one concerned individual hoping to influence at least one. Yes, at least one who might influence another one.

Now, are you the Man of Steal?

Are you the Man of Steal?

(Blog originally intended for my alma mater’s blog site.)

I was thinking of a better title for this blog and I remember a high school classmate whom we tagged as “Man of Steal.” Not that he’s a professional thief, but it’s just that he had this annoying habit of not returning things he borrowed or worse, keeping small petty stuff that our classmates possessed and valued—such as David Pomeranz cassette tapes (yes tapes!), books, etc.

I’m quite sure we’ve had our share of petty thievery way, way back in the past. We’ve sneaked into our nanay‘s wallet to fund our Masskara escapades. We’ve kept extra resistors from the lab to support our home-made audio amplifiers and boosters. We’ve raided the stock room to pick extra welding rods for our bike’s frame. And we’ve, intentionally or unintentionally, grabbed one lumpia or burger from Claire without shedding a single centavo.

Those who are guilty, please raise your hands. Wait, I can’t type one-handed.

Mr. Genito’s reminder prior to our last OJT still stays fresh in my mind, ”INDI pagkuhaon maski bato sa inyo ulobrahan (DO NOT take even a single rock from within your company).” I will always remember that briefing every time I’d see gravel in the parking lot and would ask myself, ”Maski ini? (Even this?)”, ”Oo, maski ina! (Yes, even that!)”, my good side will respond immediately.

As the technology around us gets more advanced than it was before—and becomes affordable to almost everyone—another form of stealing gets so rampant and so common that one wouldn’t know that he has actually participated in it. Even those with the best of intentions, regardless of social status, religion, or profession are victims. Even friends.

This is film piracy. Once again I’m guilty as charged. But that was more than eight years ago. I remember the last bootleg copy I bought was Tom Hank’s Cast Away which I got from one of the malls in Alabang. That day, I also grabbed some beer, pulutan, and then went home so eager to watch it with my wife. Sadly, I almost crushed our VCD player in disgust when in the middle of the movie it started pixelating and ruined our night altogether. And that was it, I had enough.

I guess it was one of my wake-up calls to end the illicit practice once and for all. And as if trying to justify my life-changing decision, I read the papers, watched the news and attended company-supported training sessions related to this. It was then when I became more aware of things such as Intellectual Property and Copyright laws.

Of course, everyone knew how costly (some may find it even ridiculous and stupid) it is to stop buying pirated products nowadays. It’s the reason my Core 2 Duo still has the genuine Windows ‘98 OS in it and until now the dual core processor is concentrating its power on the free solitaire game—dasig gid eh (very quick), if you will ask.

Since then, my wife and I also started saving to buy the CDs and DVDs that we like. If the budget isn’t available we’d content ourselves to listening to our favorite music over the radio and watching movies on the cable channels or in the cinemas.

Although feeling good about doing the right thing, I’ve kept mum about it. Pushing this anti-piracy advocacy in front of most people I know would either get me booted out of my circle of friends or get raised eyebrows at the very least. (I even discovered that one high position expat got a whole shelf of “Quiapo” DVDs in his home. It’s disappointing and frustrating.)

Until now I still wonder if there will come a time when the government and other concerned organization will eradicate or significantly lessen this illegal trade that’s been killing almost the whole industry—even food, toys, books, textiles and other consumer products in the market are affected. Wishful thinking? If and when that time comes, I’ll be one proud man.

And by the way, if after reading this one might wonder if I’m the OMB chairman, Edu Manzano, I wish but I’m definitely not. I’m just one concerned individual hoping to influence at least one. Yes, at least one who might influence another.

So are you the Man of Steal or not?