[ the digitizer ]*

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Offline Blues

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It’s 12:20 p.m. and I am at a cybercafe trying to normalize my life without an internet connection at home for about, oh, a week now. Blame it on Digitel‘s incompetent, unprofessional and unacceptable business conduct (it’ll be one pithy post to come, I tell ya). Anyhoo, as I am trying to tinker the keyboard to coax the words for every angst I have, I can’t pry my eyes away from the line of black ants on what-used-to-be-off-white-but-now-kinda-cream-colored wall right behind the monitor I’m using, while hearing the kids (who probably skipped school) massacre each other in their MMOGs (that’s Massively Multimedia Online Games for those of us mortals) and one attendant sleeping on the couch obviously unnerved by the noise and the sea of humanity (this is a 24-hour internet shop, so yeah, I have the heart to understand, too), while the other attendant is blasting his stereo listening to Semisonic‘s  “Closing Time”  (at 12 noon?) and watching a rerun of Warner Bro‘s “Daffy Duck“…  I don’t know which is worst : not having my internet or being online in this surreal environment. Is that why they named their shop Yeko ? I dunno. I just wanna swiftly reply to incoming emails, update my blog, smooch with my Facebook friends, and off I hie to an even crueler offline world.

I’ll let my wrath brew and stew on it for quite a bit and then dump it on Digitel later, replete with complaints to NTC, DTI, even write poor (I meant filthy rich), old John Gokongwei for all I care if it will get me reconnected.

Ugh, I’ve had enough of Daffy already. I’m horrified at the thought of it’s voice ringing in my phantom ears later. Go!

Meanwhile, I can continue reading my orphaned books and take our 4 dogs to walks more often in the open fields near our place while waiting for Digitel to reconnect my digital life.

I think I have breached the line that blurs the online from the offline. It feels so unreal to be disconnected from my virtual life. Whether this is a bad thing or not, there’s no denying the impact of this 24/7 connectedness with the world at least in my experience. However, much like a computer unit that needs to be rebooted (well, if you are a PC user, that is) once in a while, getting this digital respite is the perfect time to revisit pre-digital predispositions and connections. That certainly gave me more bite on reality than bytes on virtuality, whatever that means.

Now, I have a bigger bite  to clamp on Digitel if you’ll excuse me… [d]*


Written by nealm

23 September 2009 at 4:41 AM

Got Phone? Get Milked!

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Nokia N99

500K Pesos

On July 15th, my almost bucolic morning ritual of checking emails and organizing my digital life was uneventfully interrupted by a SMS (text message) from an unknown sender, +639066036708. Hmmm…nothing peculiar with getting a message occasionally from a number that is not in my phone list except that this one jolted me more than my 8-in-1 choco : “Congratulations! Last 07/14/09 ur cell # had won! P500,000+N99 UNIT from: PCCNS DTI-#9831 SERIES of 2009 please call me now! I’m atty. HERNAN F ROXAS.” (sic)

Well, sorta, because halfway through the message I saw the imaginary word SCAM scroll across the phone screen like a pesky li’l alert message in hyper-blink mode, so my dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (er, logic) swiftly took over and calmed my ventromedial frontal lobe  (okay, emotion) down. Um, simply put, logic trumped emotion just like that! Why? First, I didn’t join or sign up for any raffle so how on Estrada‘s name would I legitimately win?! Second, they could literally throw away half a mil plus a shiny, pricey new gizmo (and a concept phone at that) and yet couldn’t afford a few pesos to call me? Wow. Hoo-hah. It’s the text message equivalent of the infamous Nigerian concocted orphaned-account-needing-a-recipient email scams that still manage to spam inboxes and con the gullible ones. I was willing to let it slide and go back to my peaceful, unassuming existence if not for the cloned message that I received from the same number exactly 97 seconds later. So what’s a 21st-century guy got to do? Google.

With 2 billion text messages zipping through the Philippine airwaves daily, it is very likely that some of these are meant to  boondoggle people. When I googled this query, I found Herbert Joseph  Carigma‘s blog post on him receiving 4 such messages. Four! Even surprising is the 188 comments by those who got similar messages, some of them sharing their experience when they actually called the sender. (Laughs). Like real troopers (thanks, guys!), however, they posted all the senders’ numbers and the messages whose tell-tale signs of forced legitimacy is their use of obscure acronyms, DTI permit numbers, and lawyers as if to suggest that “Atty.” means authenticity  and honesty (not!). Also, the other result was about a guy, whose handle is “bauer”, receiving a few days earlier the exact message that I got and posted it, of all places, in a Filipino gun owners’ forum. I bet it took him a lot of self-control to keep his finger off the trigger. You can find his post ¾ of the way down the page in here. The next logical step was to call Globe Telecom‘s 211 (that’s Customer Service to you) and report it. I was told that the number+639066036708 is already flagged and the owner has received warning messages due to several complaints. I offered to be a witness (hopefully under the Witness Protection Program had I surreptitiously skinned the underbelly of a text-savvy beast) should they conduct a thorough investigation reassuring that I have saved both messages if they will ever need it as evidence . Still seething from the thought on the possible damages these unconscionable people cause, I looked up the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) website and filled out their complaint form, including a demand request for a follow through (paging DTI… where is that reply?).

I stretched in my chair, quite contented at my heroic stance against these scums of the universe and proud of the great lengths I took to do something about it. Then my ventromedial frontal lobe suddenly fired up a nagging thought : “What if I really won? 500,000 pesos? N99? C’mon!” My dorsolateral prefrontal cortex was quick to retort, “Bull! And if you insist on that phone, you can shove it up your…”

OK, I got the message.

<<< Scam Alert >>>

If it seems like a scam and smells like a scam, it is a scam!

  • This is how to know if you are about to be duped. Thanks to Anastasia for the link.
  • Curious about phone sex scams? Well, it’s your lucky day because I found one great blog (check out the chat sampling; it is a riot!). Ghrasya, thanks.
  • In the Philippines, you may contact :

> Anti-Money Laundering Council Secretariat (AMLC)

5/F, EDPC Building, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex, Mabini St., Manila, Tel: 302-3982/ 524-7011 ext. 2372

(Their website’s Assistance Page )

> Corporate Affairs Office

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, BSP Complex, Mabini St., Manila, Tel: 523-4832/524-7011 ext. 2259

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Written by nealm

18 July 2009 at 8:59 PM

Tokyo’s 6-Storey Gundam Robot!

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As a child of the Voltes V generation, this is the closest to the real thing for me. It’s a 1:1 replica of a Gundam robot, at 59 feet (18 meters) tall, weighing 25 tons! This is pure robot nirvana! (Japan – 1, US – 0; sorry Roomba, you’re just a cowchip with a chip. And oh, R2D2 was a dwarf actor in tin costume… how lame!) ‘Nuff said.


Click on the picture for the Flickr photoset.

Here’s the video!

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Written by nealm

10 July 2009 at 3:22 AM

Posted in Entertainment, Tech

Tagged with , , , , ,