Only if you were greedy

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One thing I hate about all of these unlimited SMS promo is that it has increased the amount of spam text messages that I receive in my mobile. It is not uncommon for me to receive at least one per week as the barrier for spamming has been greatly reduced.

Here is the most recent 319ish spam message that I got split into logical sentences to ease the English and human-speak translation.

E2 bago # ko. / Here is my new number.
musta na kau? / How are you?
ok lang naman ako dito. / I am alright here.
may ipapadala ako sa inyo mga gmit! / I have some stuff to send you!
mer0n ka d0n.. / You have a reserved item there..
pakiloadn mo nga muna ng 300.. / Can you please load 300 (credits) to this number…
imp0rtante lang. thanx. / It’s just important. Thanks,.

The Filipino language is very intimate and respectful so the things that might not be readily discernible that the sender was always using the plural form of you to denote that (s)he is talking about the recipient’s family.

My alarm bells got tripped mainly by the fact that I don’t know the sender’s number and there is no mention of any name that will tell me that I really know the person who sent the message. It just banked on two things: getting on the Filipino’s family-oriented nature to get credibility and respect, and the human nature’s penchant for greed.

As with all spam operations, the rate of “biters” is very little so if every text message sent is equal to one peso then the ROI for SMS spamming is a very steep curve. The telco promotions cured that financial barrier as one night of unlimited SMS sending capabilities can cost as little as Php25. A crafty spammer only needs to hook up a phone to a computer and begin blasting these messages in the hope of catching one or two gullible greedy souls.

For those who did bite, I can’t say I empathize with you as you only have your greed to blame.


Post Event: The Eraserheads final set concert


Yesterday we went to the Eheads concert held at Mall of Asia concert grounds. Looking back I am torn between liking and hating the event based on various personal reason.

    The Positive

  • The ticket was free. Technically my wife bought the silver tickets but I didn’t spend a single cent for them. πŸ™‚
  • The energy of a concert crowd, much more a very passionate one, cannot be matched by viewing a recorded video.
  • It was nice to see the ‘heads back again. They already grew old but some of the antics that endeared them are still there.
  • Most of the songs in the set were from the Circus and Cutterpillow albums which IMHO are the best albums they have ever released.
  • The crowd was singing to every song so the fact that the band keeps on changing the lyrics of their songs adds a refreshing twist to the performances. Marcus’ reggae rendition of “Huwag mong itanong” was very entertaining.
  • Since the venue was a reclaimed area, there was a slight breeze that occassionally blows into the crowd area, which alleviates the heat and humidity.

    The Negative

  • The traffic going to MOA was horrible. The traffic when we went home was even worse. Typical of Manila traffic I can’t figure out the cause of such a traffic jam when every vehicle is driving along the same direction.
  • The venue (specifically the silver and bronze sections) was literally filled to capacity. This triggered my utter dislike for places where there are too many people. It is not really agoraphobia but I really, really hate crowded spaces which is why I don’t go to sale events if I can help it.
  • Some people are downright inconsiderate. Two notable examples are the people who smoke with disregard that not all people in the concert are smokers, and those ladies who sit on top of their boyfriend’s shoulders and effectively block the view of those behind them.
  • The stage was too far from where we were that the people in the stage were like an inch tall. We viewed the concert mostly from the large screens placed strategically around the venue. The effect is like viewing everything from a large TV screen.
  • Only the VIP section have seats (or so I thought until Paeng corrected it in the comments πŸ™‚ ). Which effectively killed all the feeling I have on my legs and lower back. The lucky few were able to indian-sit but when I tried that my ankles hurt more.
  • We forgot to buy drinks when we entered the venue and it was neigh impossible to move from our location during the set break. My thirst was already killing me that I found it very hard to enjoy the concert when it resumed.
  • The event was too heavy with advertisements. Streamers and banners are one thing, viral multimedia on the wide screens and speakers are another. There is only so much repetition of ads can the audience take.
  • As a whole, we spent 11 hours for a 2.5 hour concert.

    Personal Notables

  • Organizers and sponsors should really think twice about feeding hosts to a bored mob that has been bombarded by the same set of advertisements for hours. MTV fielded 4 VJs (Anne Curtis, Kat, another female VJ that I don’t know and a guy) and the mob was killing them. Anne was relatively unscathe but the guy bore the brunt of it. I can’t even understand what the guy was reading off his advertisement clipboard due to the boo and hoots coming from the audience. A couple of hecklers on the silver area have even started a chant for him: “Wag kang iiyak” (“Don’t cry”). I almost pitied him but for the fact that my feet are already killing me from waiting 3 hours standing up for the concert to start.
  • Ely Buendia is not the best vocalist when it comes to live perfomances but still an E’heads concert is an E’heads concert.
  • The strain between Ely and Raimund is pretty obvious. Near the end, they had a misunderstanding that was pretty evident especially since there are screens that are devoted to tracking the movement of each band member. Buddy was evidently the mediator of the group.
  • Never ever fight the mob. The woman who sat on her boyfriend’s shoulders learned that the hard way when she tried fighting the jeers of the people whose view she blocked. She made the mistake of rationalizing that she cannot see anything because of her height and she paid for her ticket. Those same reasons applies to the people she is blocking.
  • I was disappointed that Marcus didn’t smash his Hello Kitty guitar. πŸ™‚

All in all, I don’t think I will be going to another standing slot only concert any time soon. But I will always be an Eraserheads fan.


The percent fallacy

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How many times have you heard the phrase “I will give my 101%” or “You can count on a 120% effort for this project” and think its a good thing? It is becoming one of my pet peeves because people are getting more stupid each time that escape their mouths.

The word percent comes from the root word “per centum” which literally translates to “by the hundred”. Nowadays it is taken as “a portion of the whole” where whole is pegged at 100. When it comes to effort, there is no such thing as going over the top. It is just plain impossible. Some might argue that they just mean going the extra mile but in that case that person was squandering because they were not giving it their all during the other times that they are giving their 100%. They were lying when they said that they were giving their all during all those times so what makes you think they are not lying to you now?

In the fields that require physical exertion like blue-collar work or sports, it is not uncommon to hear that somebody has died because they went past their limits. These are the people who gave their 100%. These are the people who really gave their all and paid for it dearly. Keep that in mind the next time you hear somebody spouting a figure over 100%.


The ultimate solution for company data loss…

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Or your money back!

Sounds like a pitch for snake oil medicines. πŸ˜€

Tonight I opened my company mail and I found a curious memo about a new guideline about backing up data on company owned machines. The first though that entered my mind was “WTF, another roadblock for doing backups?”

Reading the memo, it made some sense if you apply some common sense. And then I tried reading it from a “Security Expert slash Manager extraordinaire” perspective who follows everything by the book and then my world shrunk by a magnitude of ten. The phrasing combined with current practices is enough to give me the shivers if I think about embarking in a simple task of performing backups.

In line with the company’s commitment to protecting client data, effective immediately we are implementing the following process for backing up data on company-owned machines (desktops or laptops):

You may not back up any sensitive data residing on a company-owned computer (Laptop or Desktop) without permission of the IT Support team and obtaining a signed form. Only encrypted back ups are allowed, including copying files to flash media or CD.

Not bad eh? Not until you read that you need a very high approver before you can even think of performing a backup. If you need an analogy then think of the company as ruled by a god and you need the approval of the high priests. That approval is now on top of soaking one’s self in gasoline, rolling in live coals, and dancing a cha-cha number on top of broken blades and glasses.

To top it all, the last sentence was like adding insult to injury:

Further details will be released this week, as the IT Support team mobilizes to handle this task.

Yeah, I am brimming with confidence that the over-worked and ticket-closing trigger happy support team is able to take on this new task while spreading cheer and world peace. I am saying goodbye to backups then. I think it is easier to just slaughter some chicken and offer it to my anito to protect the company data that I am working on from sudden glitches and electronic crashes.


Water leak == security leak?

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Today I received a peculiar office memo; it gave five steps on what to do when a water/sprinkler leak occurs. The contents are pretty much in the realm of common sense

  • cover and shut down electrical equipment.
  • contact the company facilities department
  • don’t power up equipment until conditions have been verified.
  • if evacuation is required, follow proper evac procedures.

I merged two items since they are basically the same thing. What made this peculiar is that the memo was from the company’s information security department. I would expect this to come from the facilities department as it is a basic operational reminder but from the security team?

The only reason I can surmise is found in the last item. They are considering it as a localized disaster if it would require an evacuation. Nevertheless, this information should have come from the correct source as I am seeing a blurring of the distinction of the boundaries of the IT security team’s area of responsibility.

I am wondering though which office sprung the leak to prompt the memo. And how many employees actually tried to work while a leak or flooding is in progress. πŸ™‚


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