Sunday, July 17, 2005

Linux is shareware?

Or so the paper says.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer had an article today about Oracle targetting local SMEs. Apparently they have an advantage because they use "the Linux shareware."

Too bad I can't find the article online.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Gloriagate - Now is not the time

I remember the atmosphere at UP around the time of the infamous second evelope at Erap's trial. Even the normally apathetic Engineering students were being woken out of their political stupor by outrage at the turn of events by the Estrada-friendly senators. Everywhere you go in UP, people would be asking you if you were coming to the big rally on EDSA.

Today? Today, the conversations are like this:
"Mag-gimik dapat kami bukas sa Makati eh..."
"May rally daw bukas ah?"
"Oo nga, bad trip nga eh"

That's the biggest problem facing the power-hungry vultures looking for a quick way to oust Gloria. Right now, people just don't care. At least not the people that matter, not the average middle-class joe too busy earning a living, yet not poor enough to be part of a hakot crowd. The current crisis has apparently not yet reached it's breaking point, despite the calls from different sectors for Gloria's head.

Why not impeachment, which is a legal avenue made available by the 1986 constitution specifically for such situations? The opposition argues that it is an administration trap, that her allies would merely squelch the investigation. This is madness. The administration would not dare do such a thing, as they know full well the trigger of Erap's downfall was the second envelope fiasco, and any similar attempt at whitewash would be too much of a risk. One of the reasons why not many people aren't too enthusiastic about extraconstitutional methods - they haven't even tried the legal remedies yet. When those remedies fail, then maybe, just maybe, people might start caring about it.

You want to read more opinions? Try my brother Alvin. Or maybe his friend Rey, who seems to be a rather angry young man, yet somehow still comes off as more rational than some of the other participants in this debacle whoa re at least 30 years his senior.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Hipster PDA?

Should I get a Hipster PDA? I'm thinking about it. Or something similar.

Not really for organizing tasks and stuff. Only for jotting down temporary things when away from a computer. So I can remember them later. I often think up incredibly clever world-shaking ideas while commuting, it would be nice to remember all of them.

I still largely prefer the advantages of electronic storage: cut/paste functionality, easy to make backups/copies, distribution, easily searchable etc. I'd really only use paper for temporary stuff. Or when I need to use a pen to think.

A notepad would be nice. You know, like the ones reporters used to carry around.

Movies: Fantastic Four

One word: Suxxor.

Well, not really. It's okay I guess. When I first heard they were making a Fantastic Four movie, my first reaction was, "Uh...that can't be good."

The plot is barely servicable...the thing that really made me think "suxxor" was how Victor von Doom's role was handled. I mean, in the comics, Doom was a monarch, ruler of Latveria. He wasn't a madman bent on revenge. He was a madman bent on world domination!

In the comics, Dr. Doom is like a machiavellian villain, craving for power, but never exposing himself directly to harm. He'd always get his minions to do dirty work for him, and just when the Fantastic Four thought they had him -- damn, it was a Doombot all along! Curse you, Doom, you got away again! In the movie, Dr. Doom is like, "Holy crap, I'm bankrupt and Richards stole my girlfriend! I'll use these newly-acquired non-canon cosmic powers to kick his ass! And maybe get into a punching contest with the Thing, or see if I survive a supernova."

Another thing, the FF hardly do anything "heroic" here. The only time they really do a public service (the scene at the bridge) would have been avoided if the Thing wasn't who he was. Yet, despite this, the people of New York (hm...was it New York? Well, the Baxter Building was there, so...) easily accept them as heroes. This is ridiculous. Movie Spiderman did a whole lot of good deeds, but he received also a whole lot of crap before people started to realize he was a hero. And he's just wearing a mask. What makes people think the people would so easily accept someone like the Thing?

The Thing is of course, the most tragic member of the FF, and a good part of the movie focuses on the problems caused by his transformation and his desire to find a cure. To compensate, he gets all the funny scenes, such as they are. There's one that reminds me an old Simpsons joke: "Your fingers are too fat for this phone..."

The best thing about this movie? The Fantastic Four are represented quite accurately.
(Edit 11-Jul-2005: Actually, the best parts were those involving the Thing and thr Torch. Reed was pretty much what I expected, but Sue's character was quite weak, and at some points Jessica Alba seemed uncomfortable with it. It can't be helped though, as before Franklin was born, Sue Storm-Richards had the weakest character development in the comics, and her lacking role in the movie simply reflects that.)

The worst thing about this movie? Doctor Doom and the people of New York are not.

The best line in the movie?

"It's clobbering time."

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Gloriagate - Notes on the PCIJ Transcript

I was going to ahead and break my blog silence on the whole Gloriagate thing, but I realized I should read the whole transcript at PCIJ first, boring as it is. That way, I can at least say I'm basing my opinions on known facts unlike roughly 90% of the rest of the particpants in this debacle.

I went through it in about thrity minutes, skimming most and picking out only the parts that seemed most interesting, and skipping anything that was too vague or that I didn't strictly understand the mechanics of.

The primary question about this transcript is of course, did Gloria conspire with Garcillano to cheat? Regarding this, we can only focus on those conversations which imply the President speaking directly to the man on the other end of the phone. With this in mind, I present the following excerpts:

Conversation between man and a woman on 29 09:43 hotel 2004
GMA: Hello...
Gary: Hello, ma’am, good morning. Ok ma’am, mas mataas ho siya pero mag-compensate po sa
Lanao yan.
GMA: So I will still lead by more than one M., overall?
Gary: More or less, it’s the advantage ma’am. Parang ganun din ang lalabas.
GMA: It cannot be less than one M.?
Gary: Pipilitin ma’am natin yan. Pero as of the other day, 982.
GMA: Kaya nga eh...
Gary: And then if we can get more in Lanao..
GMA: Hindi pa ba tapos?
Gary: Hindi pa ho, meron pa hong darating na seven municipalities.
GMA: Ah ok, ok.

The damning words in this excerpt come from the man named Gary: "Pipilitin ma'am natin yan." (Liberal translation: We will try to make it happen) It implies that Gary was telling GMA that he would do something to manipulate the results to create a 1 million margin of votes. The observant reader should note that (a) GMA did not ask the man Gary to do anything. However, Gary implied doing something illegal which she should have spoken against; and (b) Any manipulation at this point does not seem aimed at stealing a victory, but rather making the victory appear to be a decisive victory

Conversation between Gary and an unidentified woman believed to be PGMA on 02 22:29 hotel June
Gary: Hello, ma’am. Good evening.
GMA: Hello, dun sa Lanao del Sur at Basilan, di raw nagmamatch ang SOV sa COC.
Gary: Ang sinasabi nya, nawawala na naman ho?
GMA: Hindi na nag-match.
Gary: Hindi na nag-mamatch? May posibilidad na hindi magmatch kung hindi nila sinunod yung individual SOV ng mga munisipyo. Pero aywan ko lang ho kung sa atin pabor o hindi. Dun naman sa Basilan at Lanao Sur, ito ho yung ginawa nilang magpataas sa inyo, maayos naman ang paggawa eh.
GMA: So nag-mamatch?
Gary: Oho, sa Basilan, alam nyo naman ang mga military dun eh, hindi masyadong marunong kasi silang gumawa eh. Katulad ho dun sa Sulu, sa General Habatan. Pero hindi naman ho, kinausap ko na yung Chairman ng Board sa Sulu, ang akin, patataguin ko muna ang EO ng Pagundaran na para hindi sila maka-testigo ho. Na-explain na ho yung sa Camarines Norte. Tomorrow we will present official communication dun po sa Senate. Dun ho sa sinasabing wala hong laman yung ballot box. Na-receive
ho nila lahat eh.
GMA: Oo, oo.
Gary: Tumawag ho kayo kanina ma’am?
GMA: Yeah, about that Lanao del Sur at Basilan.
Gary: Iaano ko na lang ho, nagusap na kami ni Abdullah dun sa kwan kanina. About this, iaano ko ho, wag ho kayong masyadong mabahala. Anyway, we will take care of this. Kakausapin ko rin si Atty.

Again, the damning words come from the man named Gary: "Dun naman sa Basilan at Lanao Sur, ito ho yung ginawa nilang magpataas sa inyo, maayos naman ang paggawa eh." (Literal-and-not-too-gramatically-correct translation: In Basilan and Lanao Sur, the increases they did for you, they were done well.)

These two excerpts are the most important because, as far as I can tell, these are the only ones that imply the President's direct knowledge of cheating done on her behalf. If they avoid, can get rid of, explain away or otherwise cancel out these two excerpts, GMA can easily avoid culpability from the rest of the transcript. For all we know, there could be some wacky explanation that has a small probability of being true. ("One million votes? No, we were talking about one million man-minutes spent counting the ballots!" -- Okay, so I'm not very creative right now. Submit your own wacky explanation!)

Is she guilty of electoral fraud? Maybe. This tape at best constitutes what I believe to be called prima facie evidence. As we all should know by now however, wiretapped conversations are not admissible in any court of law in the Philippines. Not even in an impeachment trial, which is not really a court of law.

Some other notes on the tape:

  • There are two other known entities on the tape who can be convicted of electoral fraud. One is of course, the man known as Gary. The other is Robert Barbers. These are the most important people that need to come out and speak their side.

  • The man named Gary is obviously Comelec Commissioner Garcilliano, as he is explicitly named several times.

  • The phone being tapped was obviously Garcilliano's, as his side is the participant in all conversations.

That's all on this matter for now. I will raise more of my own opinions in a later post.