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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Woohoo!

I went to the National Library this morning to claim my "Certificate of Copyright Registration and Deposit" (for my ambigram design). Having dealt with a handful of Government Offices in the past, I am quite surprised and delighted that the entire registration process was a breeze, even if I had to wait for a month (from the time of my application) to get my certificate.


Disregarding the month-long processing time, the whole process took only less than an hour. That includes the submission of the documents, paying the dues (P200.00), and claiming the certificate. There were no lines, no "surprise" requirements and fees, no repeated frustrating trips to the office, none.

To each and everyone of you at the National Library's Copyright Section, I give you my two thumbs up and a BIG heartfelt thanks!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Autobots, Roll Out!


I went to see Transformers (Revenge of the Fallen) yesterday with my wife, son, and mother at Trinoma.

Summing it all up, I enjoyed it. My wife liked it quite a bit (despite not being a fan of robots), and so did my 63-year-old mother. My three-and-a-half-year-old son... well... he fell asleep about halfway through the movie.

Here's what I liked about the movie...

  • Megan Fox (I know this is rather unfair. We all know the main reason why many people... errm, men like her, it's definitely NOT because of her acting. And Wheelie couldn't have made the point any clearer!)
  • Shia LaBeouf
  • the giant effing robots especially Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Devastator, the "Ancestors", Megatron, Demolisher, Sideswipe (he deserves more screen time), and (I-didn't-expect-liking-him-but-I-did) Jetfire
  • the ONLY true comic refief (in my opinion), Wheelie
  • Optimus Prime not being the ultra "clean" goody-two-shoes anymore
  • the voices of Optimus Prime, Soundwave, Jetfire, Megatron, and the Fallen

My dislikes:

  • some of the main robot characters in the first movie were pushed to the sidelines (ending up as sort of extras)
  • many robots were needlessly added (including the twins... I loved Wheelie though)
  • was it just me or did the movie score also take a back seat?
  • how the "Matrix of Leadership" worked (C-H-E-E-S-Y-!)
  • the three sisters (motorcycles)
  • a few cheesy lines here and there

Anyway, the story... well, it was fine. It was DEFINITELY NOT a five-star two-thumbs-up kind of thing, but it was generally ok. But really, for me it all came crumbling down with the Matrix-of-Leadership bullcrap.

Some notable scenes - in no particular order, I'll list them as they come into mind (contains spoilers, stop reading if you don't want me spoiling the movie for ya):

  • transformation/union of Devastator
  • Devastator climbing to the top of the pyramid
  • chopper flying above Mikaela as she was crying over Sam
  • union of Optimus and Jetfire
  • Soundwave scenes
  • the forest scene
  • chopper dropping Optimus at the airbase
  • destruction of the aircraft carrier
  • Demolishor scenes
  • Sideswipe scenes

One more thing I'd like to mention, I like what they did to Jetfire. I can still remember what I thought of him in G1... a pushover. He's now got my respect... too bad he had to go.

My personal rating... four out of five stars (largely due to the awesome effects and nostalgic quality). There's a 50/50 possibility that I'll change my mind on some of these if I would watch the film again.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Guess Who Wrote This...

Read this and try to guess who wrote it:

Dictatorship!

Now the black foul deed is out.

Absolute power—not just decree making power—but ABSOLUTE UNLIMITED POWER was after all the final objective.

This was the ultimate sordid plan after all.

Blacken Marcos. Destroy him with propaganda. Even having won the elections push him out from the beginning with charges of hidden wealth and massive fraud.

Falsehoods and fabrications to immobilize him from using the military power under him.

Simple scenario enough.

Then drive him out or kidnap him from MalacaƱang Palace, the seat of power.

Hidden wealth, torture, insurgency.

Thrive after grabbing power to steal both government and private wealth.

So today the unabated looting of both public and private wealth, each one pointing to the other as the culprit.

Looting by the rich and powerful. Looting by men in uniform. Looting by hoodlums. Looting by the poor.

For the dictator who is no less a looter protects her kind.

The dictator is in full control and the dictator has unsatiated appetite not only for private vengeance but for sheer viciousness and masochism--inflicting pain on others to soothe her poor troubled mind and conscience.

Cry my beloved people. So easily and quickly did we lose the freedom, justice and dignity or self respect for which so many millions of our lives had been sacrificed.

Now we must war again against the monster who imposes slavery anew.

Death, yes—perhaps.

Slavery—never—

I cry for my people and country.

Here's part of the original document, maybe you can recognize the handwriting:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wordless Wednesday


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Before there was Transformers, there was Diaclone...

And, I was fortunate enough to own one. :) AND, moreso, to still have it with me after 24 years and with everything still intact!

As you will probably notice in one of the pictures, there's a price tag stuck somwhere on its box that has the figure "70.00" printed on it. I can't say for certain if that was its selling price back in 1985 but it's possible since G.I. Joe figures were sold for only 45 to 60 pesos at the time, and now they're selling for like what... 300? 400 pesos?















Notice that the miniature guy is sitting
inside the car in the above photo.






Anyway, I believe this guy's name in the G1 Transformers series is "Tracks", an Autobot, and he transforms into a Chevy Corvette. He's colored blue in the Tranformers, by the way.

From Wikipedia:

Diaclone was a toyline by Takara Toys launched in 1980. It consisted of transforming vehicles and robots piloted by miniature, magnet-shoed figures spun off from the prior Microman toy line that were in turn called an Inch-Man.

The toys in the 1980 line were designed by future Macross designers Shoji Kawamori and Kazutaka Miyatake (both contracted from Studio Nue), who designed the mecha and the figures respectively. Unlike Microman, which featured "full-scale" toys of its 10 centimeter tall alien cyborgs, the figures in Diaclone represented full-sized human (and enemy alien Waruder) pilots, and were in approximately 1/60th scale.

In 1982, the line later featured the Car-Robots set of transforming robot toys, invented by Koujin Ohno with some initial designs by Kawamori and others. While the original series featured fanciful robots and vehicles, Car-Robots added the feature of the robots being able to disguise themselves as various late 20th century-era contemporary vehicles. In 1984, Hasbro licensed the Car-Robots toyline along with the Microman "Micro Change" toyline from Takara and merged the two series of toys to create the Transformers. Most of the original Autobot vehicle-based characters came from the Car-Robots set of Diaclone robots. Other Transformers characters that came from the Diaclone line included the Dinobots, Insecticons (from the enemy Waruder toys), the Decepticon planes (originally from 2 "JetRobo" toys, produced in the colors of future Decepticons Starscream and Thundercracker) and the Constructicons, who also came from the Car-Robots set. The Constructicons came from near the end of the series, at which point Takara was starting to abandon the Inch-Man pilot figures and being limited to the 1/60th scale. The 6 TrainRobo were also produced in the same sub-line as the Constructicons, but would only become Transformers (as the Trainbots) in Japan's 1987 line.

Takara eventually discontinued the Diaclone and Microman toylines in 1985 in favor of the more successful Transformers rebranding.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How I Wish I Could Have Caught This on Tape

Kids cry. Naturally. Some kids cry adorably, while some... well... annoyingly.

This afternoon, while working on something, my wife heard our three-and-a-half year old son, Magnus (who was at a neighbor's house playing with some kids), cry the annoying type of cry (yeah, the one that sounds like a broken fire engine siren ). Since he was with our trusted helper who's been very good at taking care of him, and knowing that he can at times be quite an actor, my wife didn't pay it much attention.

When the duo came back home a couple of hours later, my wife asked our helper why he cried. Turns out, the kids, including our son, were playing with this one ball and Magnus wanted to keep the ball for himself.

After giving Magnus a lecture on sharing and telling him that the ball wasn't his, my wife told him: "I don't like to hear you cry like that... don't do that again, okay? Only babies cry like that."

"I'm not a baby..." he said, "I'm Magnus."

"Yes, you're not a baby anymore..." my wife stressed, "...that's why you shouldn't cry like that. You're a big boy now."

"I'm not a big boy, I'm a small boy... I can't reach, see?"

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Rally in Makati

It's been quite a while since we last had a "big one". As a matter of fact, I can't remember when the last "big one" was or what it was all about.

If the news is to be believed, there's going to be one tomorrow, in Makati, starting at 4:00pm to protest against the House-approved constituent assembly to amend the Constitution. Sounds exciting.

But, then again, there hasn't been one (big or small) that has really made an impact lately... and by lately I mean five-or-so-years.

For every rally/protest that has been held over those five-or-so years, there'd been talks (or rumors, if you may) about the participants/protesters being "hakot" or "hired". True or not, protests held over those years seem to lack the "umph" factor. Yes, the protests are shown on the news, they even become front page headlines on the next day's papers. But give it a couple more days, it's as if nothing had ever happened.

There's one group who started their protest early this evening at the Welcome Rotonda, encouraging motorists to blow their horns and join in the noise barrage. Sad thing is, when I passed by the area on my way home from work, no one seems to be taking them seriously and the only people making the noise are the protesters themselves.

Let's see what happens tomorrow.

Update: June 10, 2009 - Some estimate 21,000 people participated in the rally, while some say only 6,000 did.

Thieves From Within, Ghost in the Machine

ATM Usage Safety Tips
ATM Usage Safety Tips
Ok, so you've been doing all that... and so far you haven't had any problems except, probably, for a few times when the darn machine ate up your card or went offline when you needed it most.

But now, it seems, those safety guidlines will no longer be enough to keep you safe.

I know posting about this may/could cause panic to some people but, really, my only purpose for posting this is to share the information. Quoting from the 80s G.I. Joe cartoon... "...knowing is half the battle".

I've read a news article early this morning (on Yahoo) about a malware that's infecting Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). The article wasn't specific in telling which country's ATMs have been infected. However, it did mention "Eastern Europe" and "outside of Eastern Europe". Hmmm...

What the malware does is this... when an ATM card is fed into the machine, the malware records the information stored in the card's magnetic strip... including the PIN. Then, with the use of a "master control card", the thief can either print the collected data using the ATM's receipt issuing system OR store the collected data in his/her "master control card".

Experts working on the malware said that the malware has no networking capabilities yet. However, there is the danger of it being engineered into a worm which will enable it to spread through ATM networks.

Authorities are suspecting that the malware was either done (and planted) by an industry "insider" or by someone who was able to pick the lock(s) of ATM(s). This is because the malware can only be installed on ATMs by someone who has the capability of gaining direct access to the ATMs internal hardware.

By the way, the malware samples gathered in March (2009) by SpiderLabs and Sophos are said to be designed to target machines made by Diebold.

Update: June 26, 2009 - This was reported on ABS-CBN's TV Patrol tonight.
 

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