November 28, 2007


Facebook has been under fire the last few weeks. The charge: “Invasion of privacy.” To summarize the stick up Mark Zuckerbergs ass, Facebooks’ service Beacon sends information gathered about Facebook subscribers, to other Facebook subscribers automatically. Doesn’t sound so bad? Well, lets imagine that the information was about the leather whip and catwoman suit you bought on Ebay or the Anger Management class you frequent each week. Is that really something you want your friends and family finding out about? Granted the examples used are fictional, but the essence of the service remains the same-: It is information that you may or may not want released to the public, being released to your Facebook contacts (Public enough?). Mark Zuckerberg is in a bit of a bind because he needs to appease his Advertising clientèle, the very same clientèle that has justified his $15 billion valuation by Microsoft. Expect more squirming from him in the coming weeks.

What I am trying to figure out is whether these charges are in fact as bad as they sound? With the Internet in the early 90’s to the growth in technology both mobile and online in the 00’s, what did we expect would happen to our personal information? Perhaps I am being the devils advocate here, but I do not necessarily think that this widespread use of our personal information is as bad a thing as critics will claim. Imagine how personalized our lives would be, if my information could be used to benefit my wants and needs?

Ex. I get an MMS on my phone from the nearest bar that offers Guinness, right during happy hour- reminding me to “Kick back and enjoy a Guinness!” Or I hear RBT advertisements (When making a call out) about the latest sports car from BMW or the Levis jeans I have been checking out. When I use the computer I receive links on the information I am interested in, or Email spam on the goods that I want or services I need. My life is now manifesting itself through the tools I use daily.

Don’t misunderstand what I am saying—this is not a blog post advocating spam or advertising, what I am merely saying is that services of this sort are ALREADY available in the market. Targeted MMS is offered by Virgin Mobile, Subscriber based RBT advertisements by Ad-Phone International, and email/spam by a slew of CP companies. In our haste to adapt to new technology, embrace services that offer us connectivity and personalization, we are also creating a monster, in the form of the advertising and marketing companies that want to have a piece of the new market. Should we be challenging them as they try to penetrate the market or mold and regulate them to suit our needs better? Let us not forget that we are not giving away our privacy for free. As advertisers and brands come in, they bring with them incentives like lowered minute rates, freebies and new and innovative services. Is this not something that we Filipinos can benefit from?


To say that I am a frequent traveler is an understatement. In a year my travel cycle has its peaks and lows, but on average I am on a plane 4 times a month, which makes the quiet time spent on a plane, thinking or reading, a crucial part of my sanity. I landed in Shanghai early morning (1 am), jostled, harassed, and tense—thanks entirely to the wonderful “Making every Juan fly” experience, which started with an extremely inefficient and slow ticketing system at the old NAIA airport. I would compare yesterday’s flight to domestic Chinese flights in the late 90’s, except in place of smelly cages of chickens and produce; we have oversized bags filled with durian, old sandwiches, and dried squid. Where my seatmates used to chew noisily on “butong pakwan” they are now tossing cans of sprite and half eaten oatmeal bars within the cabin. Economically speaking, as the margin on air fares shrink, so does the distance between seats. Some of us like that feeling of circulation in our lower extremities, so we opt to lean to the extreme left or right, so we can steal a part of the aisle. A trick that works well until the trolley or neighboring foot tromps across your Italian shoes. Note to the airline companies: Yes. Passengers DO notice that 1 extra inch you skimped.

I am a hardened traveler. I spent my teens backpacking the darkest armpits of our planet, and my 20’s shuttling between cities for work. My Jedi conditioning can keep me asleep through a bloody volcano eruption. Cebu Pacific can be proud to note that it is one of the few modes of transportation that can keep me on edge the entire length of the trip. It’s a pity really as the planes are all brand new and the $300 round trip ticket to Shanghai, is very attractive when you can spend as much as $490 for a China Southern and $570 for PAL. It may have been a rough night (a Chinese tour group of rowdy guys filled the majority of the plane). Even the cabin attendants looked flustered. Sadly, it will remain one of those “life questions.” As of today, I am returning to the old stalwart of Philippines – China flights, PAL. The planes are not quite as new, the tickets not quite as reasonable, but if it gives me the 4 hours I need to catch up with my reading and thoughts, it’s worth it.


Mobile Advertising was major focus for this years Ad-Congress, as it should be with the burgeoning services that are now being offered as an attempt to break into the new market. Aptly stated by a friend who’s company “AdTag” is one of the many new services being offered: “This next year will be mobile advertising 1.0, companies and services will come and go until we reach a balance—mobile 2.0.” This explains the surge in innovative (AdTag, Ad-Phone, Chikka Messenger) and tried/dull (Mobile Casino, Vanitech) services aimed at shaping the mobile advertising industry. Until the dust settles, expect to be the guinea pigs for the new advertising war. Perhaps that is not such a bad thing so long as the freebies and incentives keep flying our way.

On a side note, I was able to catch the talk of Neil Gaiman. I am now officially hooked to his Sandman series, which I recommend to those of us who enjoy the dark, brooding, philosopher/hero types—just be forgiving on the rather roughly sketched drawings.

November 26, 2007


Hedgehogs make terrific pets. I've had Harley as a house mate for the last 4 months with nothing but growing affection for the little sea urchin. He travels with me on the weekends (though recently he has grown a bit too large for my vehicles cup holder) and has a young and growing appreciation for wine and cigarettes. They can be potty trained and have a pleasant and relaxed demeanor. Once attached however, they can become quite like the nagging girlfriend. They insist on curling and cuddling with you at the most inopportune times- like...when you are trying to complete the damned operations plan for a project. They know little about vehicles, as proven when Harley crawled into the transmission casing of my truck. And they always manage to find that burst of energy, chattering relentlessly, just as you close your eyes and find that sweet moment of Zen.

Despite all of that, I wouldn't trade little Harley for any other house mate. He is clean, quiet, and does not chew on your shoes. For anyone interested, I suggest purchasing them through friends rather than in the markets. You come across better color variations and breeding.

November 25, 2007


This will be my first blog post- i guess you can call me an "early adapter." Picking the template, customizing the font, and publishing was easy enough, but i've been sitting for 15 minutes, waiting for that spark of inspiration to fuel a decently long blog post. What the hell am I supposed to write about?

I'll leave this entry with a photo from my Business Picnic last weekend. We combined work, decadence (fresh flown in tuna, fine wine and cuban cigars), and adventure (Off-roading). Lessons learned: 1) Business is done best with partners of similar interests 2) Dominican cigars are still a better value 3) Landcruiser aside, Toyota makes shit of SUV's.

For those looking for a good offroading adventure, the directions to Puning Hot Springs is as follows:

1) Take the North Luzon Expressway to Clark (Enter Clark).

2) Ask directions to the Sapang Bato Clark Gate (This is close to the junction off the main Clark road to Mimosa).

3) Immediately out of the Sapang Bato Clark Gate, take a right and basically follow the road (you will need to continually ask for directions to Sitio Target).

4) At Sitio Target, you will need to register with the Sitio Hall. There is now a Spa at the end of the hot springs, if your in it for the offroading, I would not bother with the Spa. Note, they will force a guide on you-- I highly suggest you ask for the best guide possible, and make sure that he has a radio. Our guide was arguably the most useless guide available.

Bring your gear, the most important being an Extended Jack and a tow line. This is very important. I would also suggest a hand held radio as signal is spotty. This is a great offroad trip through the lahar river, highly enjoyable. WARNING: at the chance of rain you need to turn around immediately. Cut your trip short if need be as you may find yourself stuck and in a dangerous situation-- with rain this happens very quickly.