Saturday, January 26, 2008

Sport lang!

The Miami Heat and the Magnolia Beverage Masters, my favorite basketball teams, are both having such nightmarish times that not even Michael Fajatin can amuse me. Then the Fed (the tennis champ not the post-Greenspan board) lost to the Joke. That means it will take a while before he catches up Sampras' Grand Slam record. Rafa also lost, to Tsonga (who he?). New and younger talents indeed. Pete's record will be safe for a while as the younger ones crowd out the top players. Looks like a bad weekend for my sports watching.

The big upside that negates the lows is the all-goddess finals in the Australian Open Tennis Championships. That's enough to make my weekend. Tennis fans can't ask for more. Ana Ivanovic faces Maria Sharapova. Maria won eventually but fans do not care who wins. It is a sight to behold. Lithesome Maria versus shapely Ana. Gone are the Williams sisters, one of which has a body like Lebron James and the other looks like Blakdyak. Never mind if Maria grunts louder than Monica (Seles, not Lewinsky).

Then I caught on HBO the Kevin Costner-starrer "For Love of the Game", one of my top 5 favorite movies. I don't know why this movie clicked with me. I've seen it like a dozen times, I have a copy, but I still spend two hours watching it again on cable. It is both a love story and a sports movie (Costner's 3rd baseball movie?). IMHO, this is Sam Raimi's best work, the same director who gave us Spiderman and the Evil Dead movies. Kelly Preston makes John Travolta a very lucky guy. Good song selections with Bob Seger's "Against the Wind" and Bob Dylan's "I Threw it All Away" capture the drama and emotions.

Not a bad sports weekend after all. The men's tennis finals may prove to be a good weekend capper. I go for the Joke on this one.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Why the Eee PC will not attract Pinoys

Eee PC
The Eee PC from Asus will not be as well received here locally as in the US. The product from the trusted motherboard manufacturer has been receiving rave reviews since its release. Locally selling at Php17,500, it is cheaper to get the Eec here than anywhere else. But why do I think this solid product, with specs just a shade under that of the smallest Fujitsu Lifebook and Toshiba Libretto but selling at 20%-25% of the price, won't be a big hit here?

For Php8,000 more you can get full-featured laptops (bigger screen, bigger harddisk) that won't make you squint. The US markets like the Eec because the package includes customized open-source operating system and office productivity suite. Locally, factoring in the price of Windows OS and Office suite on top of a regular laptop will set you back by another Php22,000. With software costing more than the laptop itself, a BSA-compliant laptop will cost at least Php47,000.

Savvy local users who have Php25,000 to spare can get a laptop that doesn't look like a low-cost Dvd player and still get the latest software by installing wares peddled by Capt. Hook's Penzance-based company. Between a Php17K(7in-screen-4GB disk) and a Php25K (14in-screen-60GB disk), you get more bang for the buck with one with illegal software. Many will risk BSA ire and get the latter. Only if we are as hard on piracy as they are in the West, then the Eec will have a chance here.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Work hard at working smart

A former boss, to whom I was not popular, often said (not to me) 'work smart, not hard'. Maybe it is just the only thing we agree about.

Many workers work hard, very hard. Not only work hard, but work hard for long hours. Never mind if mindless chatter intersperse the hours. Aside from chatter, many workers often work hard because they do not know exactly what they are doing, or the best way to do it, hence the inability to respond to the tasks accordingly. Some equate long hours with working hard. Of course, putting in long hours is hard work. Mahirap yun ha? However, if one has the option of working hard or smart, which would he rather do?

I've been working most of my life now. Majority of the working years were spent in government. One general problem in the bureaucracy is the tendency of management to equate long hours with working hard. In local labor lingo, the government bureaucracy works 'arawan', per day. Private business on the other hand, work 'pakyawan'. The irony there is whenever bureaucrats were to have something fixed in their house or car, for example, they invariably would want 'pakyaw' job orders.

Those coming from the private sector would find work in the layered bureaucracy sluggish, tedious and circuitous. The bureaucratic process trumps efficiency. Productivity is still unquestionably the desired outcome but efficiency is neglected. The bureaucracy will complete a job in 2 months if it can be completed in 2 weeks. That is the law of government planning. For example, the government projects an activity can be completed in X days, the government will then make plans and targets to complete the activity in X weeks, and then actually finish it in X months. Same X, longer unit. So, the next time you hear of a government output delivered in 3 months, more likely it was planned to be completed in 3 weeks, and could actually have been completed in 3 days.

A CEO blogs that the basic rule for success is responsiveness. This morning at the flag ceremony, our big boss talked of further improving our work. For starters, the government should start the crackdown on unresponsive units. It is time to get the bureaucracy out of its inertia.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sedentary lifestyle in the Grindhouse

The other day, the office was having fun browsing over old photos, chiding someone who claims he's losing weight but whose pictures say otherwise. Indeed, most have gained a lot of weight the past year. No surprise there, I commented about the group's passion for eating before.

That passion for mastication and the sedentary lifestyle conspired to add love handles to my midsection. Though I'm not really a poster-boy for physical fitness before, I'm fast becoming a model for unhealthy. Atrophied muscles, graying hair, flab around the middle, crouching gait. Looks like I aged twice as fast in the last 15 years.

But I intend to do something about it. One of my new year's resolutions is to lose the flab and get some abs.

May the Lord bless the brittle bones.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Why do I want a PhD?

A Doctor of Philosophy degree is the highest academic degree anyone can earn. They used to say a Ph.D. requires such extended study and intense intellectual effort, that less than one percent of the population gets the degree. People show respect for a someone who has a Ph.D. by addressing him with the title "Doctor".

They say that to earn a Ph.D., one must master a specific subject completely and he must extend the body of knowledge about that subject. A Ph.D. student is expected to pursue structured, supervised research. He will also needs to write an extended thesis, demonstrating evidence of the capacity to pursue scholarly research. The results of that research should make an original contribution to knowledge and be of a standard appropriate for publication.

Sounds daunting, doesn't it. Today it seems there is a surfeit of Ph.D.s. In my youth, very few have post-graduate degrees in the circles I move in. Ph.D. holders then really look and act the part. At present, many universities offer Ph.D. courses and many obtain the degree. But often you will hear people whisper "hoy, may PhD yun!." "Ha? yun? hindi halata" is whispered back often in disbelief. Stereotypes are distorted, images cheapened.

I breezed through my masters degree, hardly worked a sweat. The solid undergrad plus the extensive work experience helped a lot. By the time I hit the momentum to learn more, the game was over. I got my post-grad in record time. It's been a year since and I still feel the challenge. Besides, a Ph.D. sounds right for me - 'Perry Hugo - Doctor'. What can I say? I hate stereotypes and I'm cheap.

Friday, January 4, 2008

All hoping it'll be a better year.

I share the optimism of 91% of Filipinos that 2008 year will be a better year. How low can we go anyway? There’s no way but up. My personal emotional roller-coaster ride in 2007 scraped nadir right on Christmas week when I learned my name was mentioned in a contract mess. I hope the culprits will be judged guilty in the cases filed against them because that’s what they are, guilty.

For a better year, I resolve to:
  • Start pursuing my Phd
  • Work smart not hard, or better yet, work hard at working smart
  • Give more time to tutoring my sons
  • Lose the flab, and get some abs
  • Be more discerning, as somebody maybe advising me cryptically when he set my password to 'trustno1'.