I have not comes to terms with this truth.. but I have come to understand it is a truth. People , regardless of race, age, religion, sex economic level, stature in one community all have proven to able to be corrupt. It appears to me to be just a human trait. One does not have to look to far to see manifestations of corruption in religion like, iglesia ni cristo, Vatican / catholic, Islam / or isis is going a bit overboard now with their kill everyone who does not believe in the god they way I do (but recall thats what Catholics did all over north and south America in the early days.
Governments – well we dont have to look to far to see now NSA has broken our trust, spied on us for no reason and no legal right to do so, but we are not alone in corrupt governments. You really cant name a country that doesn’t have corruption as part of what it battles.
Individual people are also corrupt, where they will take whatever advantage they can get away with.. Not everyone, correct. just a not every religion is totally corrupt, and not every company is corrupt. Its just that ever human, and by proxy every organization that humans make by agreeing on something can become corrupt.
VW and the troubles they are going though is what brought on this thought today. Their little software trick to incorrectly report the emissions of their diesel powered cars not only shows how far a company will go to meet its sales goals . Regardless of the cost to the earth we live on. this idea tells me that if VW, a well respected firm like that could and did get away with MASS fraud then what are other companies doing that we are just not aware of yet.
What fraud is being pushed on us by the likes of Apple, Google, GM, Monsanto, Coca Cola, US Steel, Hartford Insurance ? you name it. if they are big or small, they are run by humans which can be corrupt.
Not sure what I want to do about this.. but its on my mind. I guess I feel let down.
As you might have guessed my passport has quite few stamps on it but looking at it recently I noticed there were not stamps of counties located in Asia – So IL had to correct that.
The Philippines turned out to be how I got this oversight corrected. Got a ticket – Global Entry pass , known traveler id – and made some connections and off I go to a part of the world I know very little about.
A few pointers for those who might want to follow along –
1 Don’t rent a car – or even think about it. What is more common here is to rent a car and driver together. The traffic here sucks – not to mention the lack of traffic signs –potholes and so on .. just do yourself a favor and rent a driver for the time you need one. – Plus as it turns out for me a driver is also a good tour guide and has a good suggestions on what to see.
2 Hotels are not expensive – so what I did was rent one for 2 weeks. And took day or two day trips leaving most of my stuff in my hotel.
3 Yes Fly into Manila but get out as soon as you can. Flying into Manila the hub and capitol of the Philippines but it a BIG city not unlike what you might expect for a up and coming 3rd world country- but unless you want to see yet another McDonalds / Starbucks /Trump Tower /Coffee Bean/ Shaky’s don’t bother with seeing too much of the city . Awe of the larges buildings, get over it.. and get out.
The places I ended up going to have almost English unpronounceable names like Pagsangjan –which is really quite beautiful . Batangas and the Taal volcano (No that’s not a misspelling) The Taal Volcano was actually mentioned in Bryan Cox’s documentary , wonders of life – talking about the Sulfuric acid in the crater mixing with the lake at the base of the volcano causing some sort of natural electricity, which may have helped early life start.
for me it was boat trip across the lake to where I got on a horse and led up the mountain to the crater’s edge. Lots of people taking picture of me , wanting to sell them back to me on the way down.
If you find yourself in the Philippines , its something really to see. – how often do you really get a chance to climb an actual – somewhat warm/ active volcano
Other Day trips included the province of Laguna where the excitement was taking a river kayak up some white water – yes up the river- the boatman bouncing in and out of the kayak pulling us along by hand once to the head of the river there was a medium sized fall which you get on a raft and allow locals to pull you under the falls being beat up completely by the weight of the falls on your back. Very cool and refreshing and felt much like you spent a hour with your masseuse by the time you were finished. The trip back was of course easier for your boatman as you are now moving downstream.
Ill skip the little day trip to Quezon Villa Escuderoa as I would hope you would. Way too many bus tourists—and nothing really to see
Then off to El Nido
El Nido is in the province of Palawan which turns out to be a series of islands Philippines is itself made up of 7000 islands so this should come of no surprise . El Nido I had heard about but going to a travel agent or two all tried to discourage me from it… instead – trying their best to keep in in the landing city of Peurto Princenca rather than trying to book me in the little sleepy town of El Nido. In Peurto Princenca there is something called a unground river tour which seeing pictures of lots of people being packed into boats – and looking at a cave from inside a boat.. I opted to stick to my guns and find a way to get to El Nido.
Glad I did, Turns out walking out of the airport at Peurto Princenca there are a few tourist agency’s ready to get you on van to take you straight away to El Nido . the cost for a one way 5 hour trip in a shared air conditioned van is 10 usd
There are a few – very few nice hotels in El Nido – I didn’t happen to get lucky and get one of those as my agent booked me in a placed named the “Four Seasons” which is not really like the worldwide four seasons that you have come to expect.. – its more of a 3 star place with great view – and a big lumpy bed – a toilet which didn’t really work ..Overall a 4 of 10 rating.. But since I wanted o see the place.. I cant complain.
El Nndo itself if a pretty small sleepy beach community . Feels much like Catalina – for those of you from So California. The city offers 4 island hopping tours – all going to different islands- about 5 islands on each tour and the tours take all days and include lunch an snorkeling
Take them ! What else can I say ? Breathtaking is all I have to say about that. Worth the price of getting there, the 5 hours on a shared van and a little crappy hotel. All worth it when you see sights of the snorkeling and island scape of El Nido.
Sure its half way around the word- and 1000 miles from the middle of nowhere.. but where else would you want to have your vacation?
Then it was back to Manilla /Makati
Last on this adventure was Baguio City and Banaue (Rice Terraces)
Baguio city is a very nice and clean modern mountain city- Seems like a lot of foreigners have settled here over the years . For me El Nido would be nice place to retire or even Baguio City. Not nearly as hot as down off the mountains and lots of local produce is grown here.
Then off to Banaue (pronounced Ba –Now –ie) http://www.banaueterraces.com/
Since I was here I had to see them for myself. I can tell you it was long long trip – by car almost 18 hours in total. Maybe it would have been better to break it out in 2 days.
I am glad I came – made some friends- and learned quite a bit and got a stamp on my passport
Need I say more ? the new iPhone with its transparent body.
Things change a bit over the years. Now there is true competition to Amazon Music Player.. which is google play music. Now Google play music has a native IOS app, which makes their service actually usable. Upload up to 20,000 songs for free. and play them anywhere.. as long as you have internet. Not bad.. Amazon has the same thing but its 24.95 per year for 250,000 songs. My collection is about 10,000 so I think I know what Ill be doing.
Update on Google Voice.. it now accepts pictures… sort of.. if someone sends me a picture text to 213 245 1027 I get it in my gmail account. I still cant send a picture from Google Voice.. but progress.
Kcrw, my favorite radio station now has a iphone app ! nice move kcrw.. listen live.. to their feed or to their music archive, or npr feed.
In case you were in a cave last year.. PodCasts got a big push, with the release of of the podcast Serial. A weekly offshoot of the this american life.. A true story of an inmate search for the truth of the crime he was incarcerated for. Week after week a new revelation of facts and legal stumbling.. it was sort of like a car crash.. not that I wanted to listen.. but couldn’t stop once started.
My media play center continues to evolve. What started as a windows server – to hold and download media and a player – to a all in one windows media download .storage player… now things are changing again,
two Nice little WD Devices are really slick
WD MY Cloud a 2- to 4 TB ! NAS Server about $ 150 .00 .. not only is it about the size of a cable modem its a true nas and media server in one.. Store media from any machine do(wnloading it.. and it has its one media server built in.
Then a $60. WD TV , A pocked sized media player.. plug and play.. reads any windows file shares and any available media services on your network. Thanks for a really slick iphone remote.. media can be placed .using my iphone as the remote for it. Who needs yet another remote )
Add to that I needed some sound.. but wanted something I could listen to with speakers/ or headphones and even bluetooth.
Check this out Pyle PTP228 T its a bluetooth amp, works great as the sound for the WD TV Even has usb port to charge up devices
40 watts per channel,, and small .. best of all it doesnt look like a home unit.. this thing looks like it belongs on a DJ Rack.
So I just signed another year lease on my loft in Los Angeles. So I guess I am here for at least another year.
p.s. Better Call Saul ,, Got to watch it.. Really good stuff.
I can’t get enough of Fargo. Its really a fun watch. Billy Bob Thorton is at his peak, the only thing wrong is I that it wasn’t released by NetFlix and so I can’t binge on it.
Now I read that the best UK show of 2013 has a season 2 due out next month, Utopia ! Can hardly wait
Then even better news, that is HBO has ordered a US adaption of Utopia to be directed by David Fincher
Hope this brings joy to your heart.
And I have see quite a few this year.. (unlike last year)
Without a doubt the best overall movie – had me laughing and on the edge of my seat – I cant believe what I am seeing here, pushing the envelope of what a movie is suppose to be.
Wolf of Wall Street
I think you just have to experience the energy, drama, writing cinematography and quotable one liners for yourself.
This is a masterpiece, I think the best movie of the genre since fight club.!
One way or the other.. its your one must see movie of the year.
Cloud Storage with today’s technology is a place on the internet where you back up or sync your files to :
Typically what happens is when you install the desktop app, it creates a folder inside your documents folder which is sync’d to the cloud
Any file which is snc’d is then able to be shared to another user on their network, or to the world by sending a unique url to the file itself.
For me, who use 3 or 4 computers at a time, its really good, because I don’t have to worry ever about not having my files, I’ll install these apps on ever machine, and once I save the file, all the machines have a copy of it.. (plus on line so I can get it using my smartphone or tablet.
The leaders in this area are google, (with google drive) Box.com and DropBox and Amazon drive and Sugar Sync.
The difference is in some features of sharing and google converts your word docs to their version of word.. but all pretty much the same.
All have a free entry level, and start charging when you really want to use it a ton.
DropBox gives you 2 gigs for free, Box 5 and Google 5 Gigs,
For me, I want more – I have music / video’s and other stuff I have acquired and I need at least 12 gigs to be happy. So for the past year I have been on my companies account at box.com
Now comes the latest in the cloud storage, copy.com from Barracuda networks (big in spam protection worldwide)
They want in to this consumer need of cloud storage !
Their offering is pretty much the same as the others except.. they start off giving away 15 gigs of on line space, and increase it by having users invite others to their services. (like I am doing now to you.) !!
If you sign up with my link, you get an additional 5 gigs(starting your free storage at 20 gigs… ) I also get bumped up by 5 gigs..
You see, if you sign up 2 more people you will have for free 30 gigs of on line storage.. and so on.
The system is as easy to use as the others can work on ipads/androids iphones / mac’s pc’s and so on. I you sign up, and don’t like it, no worries, they don’t take your credit card… its just free.
Your name and email address , you create your own password.. that’s it.
Use this link.. to make sure you get your extra 5 gigs, and I get mine also.
My newsgroup service company NewsDamon just floated me an offer I couldn’t pass up. Ill explain.
The trouble is recently some of the best shows like Mad Men, and Game of Thrones are not showing up on the newsgroups. So I am forced to look back on the torrent sites for a few shows. As you know, my loyal readers I sort of gave up on torrents a while back in lieu of NewsGroups.
Ok I can still torrent limited.. so surf over to EZTV.IT get what I need, no hassle. But then I remember now I have to use peer blocker and relay on someone to keep my peer blocker updated… (questionable to say the least.. for free service)
Ok so I get this email with a promo for SlickVPN 3.00 a month, unlimited use, encrypt my data, and change the ip address one of 80 different countries, without speed issues. So in essence anyone who looks at my traffic, including my own ISP can see only that data is moving.. and anyone with a torrent, sees that I have a presence in Thailand, or Sweden, or whatever I want it to be.
3.00 a month.. for full bandwidth vpn service, masking my ip address , and works on not only pc but tablets, etc. pptp , l2tp, and your choice of various vpn vpn software. Support is good, service is good and price is right.
No I am not getting paid to refer you, and no I don’t include a link.. I am sure you can find it if you are interested.
Just passing along the info.. in case there was interest.
Have you seen the return of Demonoid.. as D2.vu its there.. sometimes.. but my username was there and I was able to log on.. somehow D2 might just be the rebirth of Demonoid. We will see.
There is one issue with the Itunes software that I really can not accept, and that is that you can using one pc to sync music to it. So for people like me who have various pc’s and laptops.. I come across a mp3 file I want to install onto my iPhone.. I have to wait until I get to the place with the one pc has the iTunes software install with my music..
006143170-big-hammer-rings-bell-02Sure I can install iTunes on another PC.. but just try to sync your iPhone with that.. well. you just lost all your music.
So apple has a solution for this, called something like icloud for music.. but of course its apple and just try to play music on it from a non apple product. not going to happen.
Up comes Amazon to the rescue again, Amazon cloud player allows you to upload to their cloud all your mp3 ogg, flac files .(try that with apple).. and amazon will scan it. and if they have it in their library, they dont bother to upload it. just just assume you purchased it, and give you the rights to play it on any of your devices.
No Shit.. thats what they do. !!
So I uploaded as a test 200 songs of so the other night, Amazon had about half in their library already, so I didn’t need to upload everything.
Then I went for my workout, and decided to stream some of my recently uploaded tunes on my iPhone.
Worked like a charm… the player also allows you to flag any song/ album to download it to your local device in case you are at a place without internet.
But steaming using ATT 3g works just fine
The cost for up to 250 songs is free (some of my songs are 3 hour shows from Gilles Peterson.. just counted as one song!!! but up to 250 songs are free.after that. you have to fork over 25.00 for a year service fee. ..for basically unlimited storage… maybe 250,000 songs something like that but its unlimited
Amazon kicks ass !
S3 cloud storage. and RDS love it.
Just an fyi, I am working now on html signatures for my company which have rotating images, and have to be a specific font. and have to be deployable on outlook, SalesForce, iPhones and iPads… all looking 100 % the same. I just cant believe that I have to write an installation manual which includes the line.
Then you shake your phone until you see the…..
Got to love a challenge. !
Side note. I am getting my gpz back today ! Started it up today. Sounds even better.. Boys and their toys. !
I love these guys, Caravan Palace !!
Looks like they care coming back to LA, I have to get tickets.
But in the mean time, here is a sampling of their music