Saturday, October 17, 2015

IT's Kafkaesque

Have you experienced the crushing weight of bureaucracy?

In Kafka's novel, 'The Trial', made into a movie in 1962, a parable is told - 'bureaucrats, the system of administration and its power crush the individual. The individual becomes a choking victim of society when by chance - or misfortune - he is drawn towards the gear of its system.'

Here's Kafka's parable "Before the Law" (stills and text from the Orson Welles movie 'The Trial')

Before the law there stands a guard. A man comes from the country, begging admittance to the law. But the guard cannot admit him.

"Can he hope to enter at a later time?"

"That is possible," says the guard.

The man tries to peer through the entrance. "He had been taught that the law should be accessible to every man."

"Do not attempt to enter without my permission," says the guard. "I am very powerful, yet I am the least of all the guards. From hall to hall, door after door, each guard is more powerful than the last."

By the guard's permission, the man sits down by the side of the door and there he waits.

For years he waits.

Everything he has, he gives away in the hope of bribing the guard, who never fails to say to him, "I take what you give me only so you will not feel you have left something undone."

Keeping his watch during the long years, the man has learned to know even the fleas in the guard's fur collar. And, growing childish in old age, he begs the very fleas to persuade the guard to change his mind and allow him to enter.

His sight is dimmed, but in the darkness he perceives a radiance streaming from the door of the law.

And now, before he dies, all his experience condenses into one question, a question he has never asked.

He beckons to the guard. Says the guard, "You are insatiable! What is it now?"

Says the man, "Every man strives to attain the law. How is it then that in all these years no one else has ever come here seeking admittance?"

His hearing has failed so the guard yells into his ear. "No one else but you could ever have obtained admittance. No one else could enter this door. This door was intended only for you."

"And now I am going to close it."

Friday, October 16, 2015

Be My Enemy - The Waterboys

Well the dawn is howling
And the mainframe shakes
Feel like I've been sleeping in a
Cellar full of snakes
My wings have been clipped
My shoes have been stuck with glue
Well if you'll be my enemy
I'll be your enemy too

Now I've got goons on my landing
Thieves on my trail
Nazis on my telephone
Willing me to fail
They were all sent by someone
(Obviously/Well I know it was) you!
Well if you'll be my enemy
I'll be your enemy too

I've a bucketful of Babylon
I got a handful of lead
I'm gonna put them in a gun man
Point it at your head
Because you stole all my friends
And you gave me the buffalo blues
Well if you'll be my enemy
I'll be your enemy too

Now from the slime on your tongue
To the nails on your toes
From the scales on your skin
To the stains on your clothes
You're gonna have to make me do something
That I do not want to do
But if you'll be my enemy
I'll be your enemy too

My hands are tied
I'm nailed to the floor
Feel like I'm knocking on the
Unknown door
There's a gun at my back
A blade at my throat
I keep finding hate mail
In the pockets of my coat
Well I've been trying to grow
I been cooling my heels
I've have been working the treadmill
I've been working in the fields
And I can't get to sleep
I can't catch my breath
I can't stop talking and
I Look like death
But I will put right this disgrace
I will rearrange you
If you'll be my enemy
I'll be your enemy too

If you'll be my enemy
I'll be your enemy too

Be my enemy!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Central bank websites: technologies and frameworks

An informal research on web server technologies used by central banks was conducted in 2014. The study used technology information profiler tools that collect information on the usage of various technologies for building and running websites. Free research data on aspects of the Internet like market share of webservers, OS, scripting languages, and content technologies were also used. Specifically, the service provided by Builtwith, w3techs, and NetCraft were used to pore through the techs used by central banks that appear in the list of the Bank for International Settlements.

The study revealed the following:
1. More than 80% of the central bank websites use either Apache or IIS.
2. 40% of the central bank websites use ASP or ASP.Net, while 20% use PHP.
2. Of the 190 central banks websites, only 26 use Java.

In other developments, recent indications point to the increasing use of open-source technologies in central bank websites.  Moreover. the recent award won by the Bank of Canada as the best central bank website show that open-source technologies can be an effective web technology solution.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

YAWTA - Yet another women's tennis album
Yet another women's tennis album - left unposted from last year.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Sining Saysay - Our nation's history through art

The University of the Philippines and the UP Alumni Association together with the Araneta Center, collaborate in an art exhibit that shows Philippine history through a series of paintings by Filipino artists. UP ties. The 6' by 12' paintings' themes are arranged chronologically from early Philippines to the present.

The exhibit is at the Gateway Gallery, 5th Level of the Gateway Tower in Araneta Center. It is open everyday from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm.

Here are some of the paintings:

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Nasi Goreng Recipe

After decades of Spanish-influenced fiesta fare and American fast food junk, Pinoys are now starting to appreciate the cuisine of its South East Asian neighbors. Restos serving Vietnamese, Thai, and Malay food are becoming a common sight.

A favorite among locals is nasi goreng. Literally meaning fried rice, it is just basically the Indonesian/Malaysian version of the sinangag, with much more spices other than garlic. My office mates, the events, food & lodging coordinators (EFLC) foodies, like my version so much that I'm sharing this recipe with them.

5 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cups left-over rice
1 onion, sliced thinly
1 tomato, sliced
spring onions, or onion leeks, sliced diagonally
2 tbsp chili sauce
2 tbsp bagoong alamang (shrimp paste)
3 tbsp kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)

2 medium eggs
1/3 cup mixed vegetables -peas, diced carrots 
crushed chili

Apart from being really hot and spicy for most Pinoys' taste, nasi goreng uses kecap manis, or sweet soy sauce. It is available in many SM groceries. The traditional Indonesian version also uses a stronger, dried version of the shrimp paste. The local bagoong alamang substitutes nicely.

Just like in sinangag, it is best to use cold (left-over) rice. Break down the rice using a spatula or the back of a large spoon, or your clean hands, to unclump them. Set aside.

In a large wok, saute the garlic, onion, and tomatoes.

Add in the bagoong alamang and chili sauce.

Add in the rice. Stir fry until hot.

Mix in the kecap manis.

Add in more bagoong, chili, and kecap manis to taste.

(Optional) With the heat still on, make space in the center of the wok. Put in the eggs and again stir fry, mixing the eggs well into the rice.

Garnish with spring onions.