Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Good Morning Indeed -- Except for Norton 360

Where to start? Where to start? Okay. I'm using my dad's laptop for tonight. Now, that's a start. And, I did not think I would get the time to write here again. But, I'm thankful that I found myself tapping on the keyboard and revealing something this morning-night. It's 1:08 AM! At first I thought that I would get stuck with Plurk, or if I reach my daily 30-Plurks allowance, probably just go ahead with Twitter. But, am I glad to find myself writing on my blog instead.

Wait, gosh, I forgot that I left my Mac on sleep, and I am supposed to watch a 20-minute video interview of Q TV (in Canada, I assume) with Ryan Reynolds. Well, I've watched that with Alanis and Sarah McLachlan. Oh, must love Canadians. They flow with amazing song-writing talents like the ones I previously mentioned. They define art in music.

You might also ask why I watched Ryan Reynold's. But, actually, I haven't really watched it yet. Well, I would like to ask myself why too. But, it's because I was just wondering if the interview had anything related to his past failed relationship with Alanis Morissette, one of the coolest song writers I have ever known. I haven't watched, haven't had enough time to do so.

I have been very busy today, working with Shane (my group mate for the Capstone project I'm taking on), teaching him to do stuff he "normally" does not do, and doing my own stuff as well. It's kinda hard to oversee someone else's performance, but it is kinda rewarding and it's a whole lot easier when you have the time to actually do it, despite having your own task. Plus, the physical presence really counts. The interaction allows the free trade of thought, and generates more learning and good group dynamics. Technically speaking, however, we weren't, as of that moment, the ideal-sized group. We were just two. And, we worked in the condo unit I was staying in. It was good working there because there was a study table. I just did not like the lighting. It was kinda making us dizzy and all, as we stared the whole afternoon at our computers.

In one of my previous posts (an entry created yesterday), I talked about how big corporations can take advantage of the ordinary individual. I also connected how knowledge, and the lack of it, can make one powerful or powerless in the sense of the right to choose what is so-so, good, better, and best for one's self. Also, in terms of goodness, there is also this medieval concept of metaphysics about "good" -- that an act is judged to be good if it is of the greatest good, and if it is the good of the majority, if not all. But, this kind of "good" is not the case with these corporations. The "good" that they are focusing on are their own, neglecting the good of others, and unequally distributing the rightful good.

Let us take Norton 360 for example. I just hate how full of crap it is that there exists such "service" schemes as the likes of a Norton antivirus paid subscription. My dad bought a P3600 worth (or even more expensive) Norton 360 antivirus DVD, with a paid subscription. WOW. We paid for a "powerful" antivirus software, as they claim it to be, and have it expire for after a few short years? Just plain WOW again at that. It's like buying a brand new house, and having to pay for the key to it at a short time frame. In short, they really are taking advantage of the ignorance of the regular individual.

My dad is not a techie person. He only uses the internet for personal productivity tools such as the Microsoft Office, email, and a few others. Add to the list is the need for antivirus. What used to be a computer whose sole purpose should be for personal productivity now had an added responsibility of "protecting the user from viruses" and such piece of crap. Early on, I'd rather buy my dad a Macintosh computer to dump altogether these nonsense software called antivirus. And, especially to those big companies who won't give us any "service" unless we pay them, and only for a short time will they "serve" you. It's no use buying their DVD installer because it's useless anyway if you don't subscribe to them. AS IF they're a necessity. AS IF we could not live without them.

Yes, we do have a choice to not buy them at all. But, do we all know that? My dad does not even have an idea what his options are, and this plot of these large antivirus corporations offering "strong computer protection", with all the other unnecessary crap features, all for a price really "sells" to the kind of market that fear for their computers, even when no real serious threat exists. There is just an illusion that if you pay for something, the service is indeed better, and you get exactly what you pay for. Nah-uh.

Up to now, my dad feels scared to use his computer, plug in flash disks to transport important files, and use the internet all because his Norton 360 subscription has expired. What's so epic-ly funny is that the software is so wonderfully designed to not ever forget that my dad's subscription has expired, and NEEDS TO BE RENEWED RIGHT AWAY. All with those wonderful display of the price range, and all the other wonderful useless features. All value-added ones. Crap.

Right now, I think what I should to help my dad trust in his computer again, and start his daily activities is to explain to him that dependence to a paid antivirus subscription is not necessary. There are free antivirus software available in the internet, and those are enough to protect a computer. The best way to avoid viruses is a smart use of computers. Prevention is always better than cure. Knowledge equips one well enough for prevention of unnecessary dilemmas like computer viruses. Ultimately, it would also be best to suggest to my dad to try a Mac instead next time around. I'm sure that once he gets used to it, he'll never turn back. He does not know what he's missing... yet. At least not yet. I'm gonna make sure that I'll sell the idea of a Mac to him well. That is, if it would come to a point that I'll need to convince him about that.

I am going to finish installing an AVG Free version to my dad's computer so he can happily use his computer again (a childish la-la-la melody to that). I bet it's done downloading now. Better press Next, Next, and Next 'til it finishes installing. Ciao! ;)

Note: Here is the link to my previous blog about how corporations are practicing control over individuals:


I'm not furious about these things. I'm just frustrated and feeling critical about them. We all probably know, even in the unconscious we feel it, that we are being taken advantage of. These things are just popping out in the open, like when a potion of invisibility loses its effectiveness, and slowly reveals the image of its drinker.

Oh, don't think that I have missed out on bashing you, Microsoft! Hahaha! I still love you for the wonderful programming but exclusive platform, though! Still, Mac rocks. But, let's see what happens this next 10 years. I wonder who'll dominate the market next, if there will ever be a change, or if there will be new players. :)

I forgot to share too about my plan to go to AdHoc. I eventually decided not to go. I had to view my resume and prepare it soon for my internship this summer. I also have a good feeling that we will be able to finish our Capstone Project. God, thank You! You really are great! I feel strengthened and full of hope. I am also glad that things are starting to work out fine with me and my group. I am confident that we, well I, will graduate on time this coming September/October/next term! Oh, and, AdHoc, Imma see you this September! Parteeeey!!! >;)

There are still other stuff that I realized today. It includes some frustrations, learning from those failures, and enlightenment from those realizations about myself and others. What's so good is that in the end I find myself smiling. I'll also always remember how Alanis said that it's about what you do to your anger that makes anger colorful (see video here: Yes, we can be mad, frustrated, or pissed off at someone. But, it is what we do with our anger that defines if it is good or bad. It is the lack of action about anger that creates plain bitterness and frustrations. So, be mad, but do something good about it!

I won't get to read through this work anymore since I'm feeling SOOO sleepy now. Maybe next time I will. See 'ya! ;)

So there ya have it. Yer daily dose of rant, from Dukefool. ;)

Saturday, February 26, 2011


I shall write about the initiation of Dukefool probably tomorrow. For now, I shall sleep. Rest well, my liege!

The Self-Proclaimed Ezekiel hands down his torch to Dukefool...

Blog to follow: "The Initiation of Dukefool", as influenced by C.S. Lewis, and the respectable Madphilo Sophia, A.K.A Mark Anthony Dacela...

Realizing "Supersize Me"

Yes, there are lots of thoughts in my head. But, I just have enough time for a number of them. I have to pick what I want to write about. And, here is what I would like to write about last for "tonight" (technically, it is morning already, but I shall consider and call it night because it is dark):

I just had a McDonald's cheeseburger value meal with large fries, and a big plastic cup of Coke. I call them now as a value meal, but later I will refer to them as "value meals" with double open-close quotes. But, to tell you honestly, what I just wanted was a large fries (in McDo terms, it was actually just medium), and a cheeseburger. I craved for it when I saw an amateur video online that, for a very brief moment, displayed a cheeseburger on top of a table (of course, it was at a McDonald's).

I then decided to grab my wallet with me and head straight to the nearest McDo franchise -- the one in Quirino Station. I am staying at a condo unit here in Manila to be able to focus more on my thesis, and give it more time (not really sure if that is what's exactly happening, haha, but it helps if school is a lot closer and nearer, based on experience).

I walked my way to McDonalds; it was just a 5-10 minute walk from the condominium tower I was staying in. I brought with me my all-time favorite Walkman that was about to die from a low-battery (its LED indicator was already blinking orange, and I have forgotten to charge it for a few days now).

When I got to McDo, it was a relief except that the queue was a bit long. I got there at around 11:15-11:30, and got back home at around 11:45. But, anyway, when I got my turn to order, I first asked the lady in the counter about my options for ordering. I already had what I want in mind, but I had to ask how things work. For a first, I felt like I had a choice, but then the reality of McDonald's "Supersize Me" ideal set in a bit later.

I wanted me some Large Fries (again, a medium for McDo) and a single Cheeseburger. I didn't want any drinks. I'd rather drink water at home than drink a really cold (plastic) cup of Coke (or some other softdrink). I usually don't finish them anyway, and I just do because of the feeling of waste whenever I leave food or drinks unfinished. I also remembered them never asking me what I wanted for a drink, because they just served me with a Coke. What if I did not want a Coke, but wanted something else? Well, I will reserve my thoughts about that for later. So there, what I had in mind was the two food items. The only thing left is making clear to the order-taker what I had in mind, so she gets it fully well because it wasn't a "value meal" that everyone orders. It wasn't a package that McDo perfectly cut for a regular "Juan" or "Joe", if you will. It was a menu that I created for myself.

I should not forget to mention that they had a menu of "budget" food items. You can order a small-sized french fries for 25 bucks, and a cheeseburger for 39 bucks. That was a total of 64 bucks. But, I also saw in their menu that you just had to add 10 bucks to upsize your french fries (or get a large one). So, that is what I wanted. I wanted to spend 74 bucks to get a cheeseburger, and an upsized, or "large" fries. Without drinks, I must not forget.

So, I asked away, and what followed was the reply of the lady. I first asked, to verify, how much the large fries would cost. She said that it costs 50-something bucks. Gosh. That was one and the most surprising response I got there. It was the most surprising, because the reality later set in, and there was more learning afterwards. It was the defining moment that set the whole mood of my experience this night in McDonald's. If you do not order the "value meal" (the one with the drink on it), you'll have to pay a bigger sum. I was of course shocked, and asked why it was so priced like that. The explanation was quite ambiguous and I only understood later that they do not sell "medium-sized" french fries, which is what I wanted. They only sold "large" fries, which is only available when you order a "value meal". I am the one who will "consume"; in this case, the one who will eat. And, what I wanted for food was just the cheeseburger and my "large" fries. But, later on I realized that McDonald's wanted something for me from the very start.

I can vent out my disappointed at the cashier, or their manager, but I also realized that they are not my enemy. They may be part of this oppressing system, but they are also only just victims like everyone else. They work to get paid. They only tell you what they're told to tell you. Some may tell you more, but it's not the usual thing that would happen when you walk into a McDo store on a a regular day.

I got confused. I thought I had a choice, and that I could make a wise decision when I entered the doorsteps of McDonald's. I thought that I was going to be a wise buyer, and maximize my funds while I am away from home, from Laguna. I thought that I could spend my money well, and probably even get to try out some "nasty" food like those from fastfood stores (McDo, etc.), and street sides (barbecues), and expensive foods like those from convenience stores (Mini Stop, etc.), and from wee bit expensive restaurants along Taft.

But, I realized that this is where the reality of domination sets in. This is how controlling corporations can be. In a desire to standardize, to maximize profit, and to streamline the processes in selling fastfood, customers have less choices, less power, and less of everything (health and whatnot). But, the individual customer does not readily realize that, especially the majority of eaters. However, if from a bigger point of view, it can be seen how massive and detrimental is the effect of this corporate thinking of domination and profit. What makes it more doable is just you are trying to scatter the bad effects to a vast number of consumers, not a single one, so it is not easily perceived nor felt.

In my opinion, we need knowledge, and we can use it to obtain power. Our decisions and actions are the realizations of our potential, and our power. It is our own personal power if it isn't (our decisions) driven or pushed by other beings, big or small, be us aware or unaware of it. This kind of knowledge, this truth, gives freedom. From this thought, I will quote a popular biblical passage about truth:

"32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." -- John 8:32

The truth indeed empowers, and sets free those who are enslaved by the powers of deceit. Ignorance is a great cause for inferiority. Another biblical passage that I would like to quote is the following:

"6 my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge." -- Hosea 4:6

To continue my story about my night with a McDonald's meal, I ended up eating what I originally did not intend to have. I did not really want large fries, or at least the "large" size that McDonald's have in mind. That is a simple but grand display of how invisible yet tangible the imposing power of corporations like McDonald's is. I only wanted the "medium" one, for the money I intended to buy the food with. Next, I'm glad I had the cheeseburger. But, I did not want the Coke. Aside from me hating that extra sugar that stains my teeth, what could be worse is to have a large-sized one (a medium for McDonald's), and I just had one. Plus, all at the extra cost. I could have re-done my calculation, but things would be more complicated. The people behind the line I was in would start to complain, and the cashier would have to ask their manager to "void" my initial orders if I would try to experiment to find out what the perfect order combination for me would be. From that scene alone, it can be seen that I, the consumer, is not the only powerless. Even the layman who works for the "god" that is McDo does not have power. They need to ask a superior to "void" a simple change of order. That complexity in the process, that hierarchy makes it more difficult for people to be more flexible in their decisions, and to customize according to their needs.

You do not really have much of a choice when you step in a McDonald's, especially if you're just one small citizen. It's either you order what they tell you to order, both implied and intrinsic, or get nothing at all. Or, maybe you'll get to have what you want, but at the cost of making a scene.

Some of the other realizations I gained from this night's McDonald's experience also include the realization of why I dislike fastfood, and do not know why exactly. I'm glad I am able to understand it much clearer, if not the clearest. It's that feeling of being powerless, of having to do what McDonald's tells you to do, instead of you having the power to do what you want to do for yourself. It's that fact that you don't know what or what they do not put into your food--what you are taking and, or what you are missing. It's that deceiving label of a "value meal", if it really is for the consumers, or if it is for their corporation. Is it about the kids who know nothing about the dynamics and complexities of power, or is it about that red-head clown who hides a wicked, scary smile, and has the capacity for infernal thinking?

In a tiny way I can relate this to my discussion with a friend about the feebleness and the deceitful nature of the broadband companies in the Philippines. It started when I complained about how fast the internet was for a moment, and how rare that happened. I also expressed how I expect it to not last, as it has always happened. Then, my mate told me how misleading the ad that the internet service providers claim of their service as "4G", while in fact it is only 3G / HSDPA. I then linked to that chain the earlier instance when Smart Broadband (Smart Bro) first branded itself as Smart Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is a wrong term to refer to wireless broadband internet connection (what a loser, I exclaimed to myself during my conversation with the said friend). They (Smart) later changed their name to Smart Bro.

The talk went on to discussing how national politics, capitalism, ignorance, and the opportunistic grab and claim of power from the people's ignorance comes into play. At one point I expressed how I think that the citizens do not have power, in the form of the government protecting them, because the government itself is not powerful enough (or knowledgeable enough for that matter) to take this issue in its hands. There are lots of other stuff that I feel like the government cannot handle well yet for them to start delving into this issue about consumer rights, and a stronger protection of that entitlement.

Boy, am I glad I am not a commoner who lack knowledge about these things, although I may still be really ignorant. I am open to the fact that I may think that I know, but really do not. But, at least, I am proud to have been able to talk about this pressing issue on how the "big players" in the world oppress the small ones. It is better than being like straw, pushed to and fro by the wind, carried by and to wherever the wind blows*. I want to grow up standing on my own feet, treading places where I know I must go, not to where the clouds whisper to my ear that I go.

Notes: It took me a half-hour to at most an hour to finish this. Ugh! I am sleeping late again. :(

The friend I had a discussion with was Justin Go, who is also my thesis-mate. I am hoping to pass this project, despite the negative thoughts that I share with my other colleague, who is also named Matthew. We share the same thoughts because we are assigned to code the whole project, and we know what's going on.

I am also relating this again to my previous post about the question "What is Evil?" (Find post here:

I have high respect for the bible for the wisdom hidden within the folds of its pages and its words. Here is another one to quote about what I noted on ignorance, immaturity, and powerlessness (I have previously marked it in my writing with an asterisk):

* "14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming." -- Ephesians 4:14

From A Sand Castle to A Stone Palace -- Tweets and Blogs

A thought from a friend:

In my contemplation about me writing about something, and while I was writing a blog (that I wrote before this entry), I have further realized today the huge difference between blogs and tidbits of thoughts that go to various social-networking sites such as Plurk or Twitter.

"Nuggets of wisdom" only contain small flakes of knowledge, or thought in them. Yes, they can be expounded, but they will only expound once further thought is given unto them. A balloon won't inflate unless one breathes into them or pumps them air.

I have in the past reflected a lot of times about me not writing as much anymore compared to the first few years that I started this blog. Yes, I love writing, I love expressing my thoughts, and I love learning more about myself. But, it's not the type of love that I devote myself entirely to writing. I am not a writer by profession. I am not a writer by title. I am only a writer by want, and by choice.

My knack for writing continuously (in this blog) had come to a sort of hiatus starting the time that I felt like writing was a matter of impressing through expressing, expressing through the number of entries I write, and by expressing whenever I felt like something needs to be expressed, but couldn't be -- those that Wittgenstein claims should be treated with silence. "What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence" (Tractatus 7), but I still find myself struggling and forcing myself to speak out what cannot be spoken.

Another reason why I had lesser and lesser blog entries is because of the advent and the then-rising popularity of micro-blogging sites (Plurk, Twitter, etc.) -- they're now really popular (especially the latter). They greatly decreased my personal appeal to blogs, although I love them in essence. "Micro" as they were, they remained as small dots, and dashes, that just could not make a straight line. I'd be lucky enough to scoop my hands through them like dust, and hold them together for moments, until what's left of their diminishing number is a tiny mound of sand. Aside from the said reasons, I can't think of others, although there still might be more.

There's just a difference when you write a piece, your thoughts. There's a whole lot o learning. There is depth, and there is form. You don't just see the particles that make up something, you see what the particles create. You don't expect the pieces to create their selves on their own. You should be the one to piece them together with your own hands, not just your imagination. Your imagination is only the abstract of the extent or potentiality of them to become what they can be -- a whole piece. The most that we might make out of the snippets of our thoughts (Tweets, Plurks) would be Sand Castles. But, if we take a moment and give more time to actually think, and then write, we get the chance to learn more, create understanding, and generate knowledge. We build palaces that are either made up of wood, or even stone.

I am writing this because I believe I have found again and realized more about what the importance of writing is to me. I think I now understand more why I write, why I share, why I post. I am not promising more entries, because I know now that it is not about numbers. But, what I can promise is that I know what writing means to me now, after trying to search for what it means to me from the start.

Notes: the friend I was referring to is J. Miguel Quizon. Thank you very much for the thoughts on writing. Anticipating to learn more from you soon! :)

References about "silence" include:

- Wittgenstein, Ludwig. 1953. Philosophical Investigations. Translated by G.E.M. Anscombe. Oxford: Basil Blackwell
- _____. 1974. Tractatus logico-philosophicus. Translated By D.F. Pears and B.F. McGuinness. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Is Destruction Only Evil?

Is destruction evil? Why do we attribute destruction, death, and all that as evil all the time? Let us try to think about that question.

How about when someone passes away? Is it evil? Is it bad? We feel a longing feeling or sadness for whoever passes away, especially if they are important in our life, or have been a significant part of our life. When we build the time with others, no matter how good or bad it is, and when they pass away, it feels like something is taken away from us. I'm not talking about a hostage-kidnapper relationship. I am talking about a two-way relationship, such that both parties have a sense of ownership of each other. Am I saying that we should not feel bad about people passing away? No. It's just that maybe we should not view death as wholly evil, or as something entirely bad.

In mathematics, if we multiply a negative number by a negative number, we get a positive number. The same goes with life. We remove bad things so that only the good ones are left. When a man is hunted by a beast, and the only option left is to face it through bloodshed, is that evil? There is pain and death, but was the man who, if he kills the beast who plans to hurt him, evil? Also, in that sense, shall we say that the beasts in nature, especially the whole predator-prey relationship in the animal kingdom, are they evil?

So, what is evil exactly? When does something become evil? Who judges and qualifies something as evil? When and where did "evil" in the Christian biblical texts start or originate, anyway? If I am correct, the first time it has been mentioned was as a description of a particular tree in the book of Genesis -- the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the one that man ate, particularly Adam and Eve. In that sense, is it only man who qualifies as perpetrators of evil? The beasts did not eat of the fruit, or we do not know but they haven't really been told not to eat of the fruit of the Tree. Whatever commands the Creator gave to them, even those that may be unknown to us, it is their concern.

It must also be noted that in the book of Genesis, evil was only used to describe or to name a particular tree in the midst of the Garden of Eden. It did not have any exact definition. So, where did the description originate anyway? Did it exist even before the writing of the book of Genesis, which was written by Moses? Must it be that in his writing, evil already had existed, but was not defined either in text, or in a specific sense? Was it known as just an essence? What is it really?

Back to the animal kingdom. Are they excluded from evil? Well, at least let's take into consideration that the "evil" we are talking about is the man's concept of evil. Do they have their own concept or knowledge of evil? Are the able to hold knowledge? Well, if their description or kind of knowledge is their instincts, or something that they alone hold, I believe they are capable of knowledge. But, about their knowledge being compatible with the type of knowledge that man possesses, that I do not know, but I highly doubt as of the moment.

So, what is evil? Why do we judge something as evil? What is our basis? Us be an atheist or a theist, how do we define evil? How do we "discern" something to be evil in the first place? What gives us discernment of evil? Or, for that matter, "who" gives us the meaning of evil, if not what? And, I would like to ask if every human being believes in evil in the first place -- or knows of its existence, whether accepted or denied. Or, at the lack of it, is it because of ignorance, and yet despite ignorance, is there still a sort of intuition telling one's self that there is something that exists in the metaphysical plane that perfectly fits the description of those who know the word "evil"?

Take for example infinite circumstances of evil. When there are natural calamities. When there are deaths. When there is destruction. When there is judgment of someone doing "evil" acts, and damnation unto death. When an act such as those that do not fit our customs or modern practices, to the point of gruesomeness and unconventionality or "immorality" are committed. When there are outbreaks of diseases. When there is war. When there is darkness. When there is no light.

Who defines evil? How is it identified? Can we quantify evil? What is evil?


I did a Google search about "what is evil?", and what I found the most interesting was the following question -- "What is evil? Does it exist within our selves or does it originate from a force that is beyond our control?6"

Here are some of the links of the cloud searches I have found after writing this blog:


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

If The Earth Could Speak

I wonder how things would be if the earth could speak. I wonder what would happen. I wonder what it will tell us.

I wish that the earth could speak. Maybe then it could tell us about humanity more than we could ever know about it by ourselves.

We speak too many lies, too many wrong assumptions, too many wrong claims about what we own and what we don't. And, if the earth could speak, I bet it could tell us that we are wrong.

But, consider this thought. What if the Earth, full of wisdom of the world, seeing everything that has happened since time began, would speak to us. But also, what if we don't listen to it? Would it be of any use to us still?

If the earth could speak and tell us truth, would we, as humans, even listen to it? Do we choose our own truth and believe only in what we want to believe in? Do we try to seek what life is and understand it? Or do we make life the way we want it to be -- our own rules, our own ways, our own wants?

Saturday, February 12, 2011


I need someone in my life
Someone who would be there for me
Someone who, when I'm lonely, console me

I need someone in my life
Someone that would fill me
Someone who would delight me

I need someone in my life
Someone to stay there with me
Someone who would wait for me

I need someone in my life
Someone who would also need me
Someone just right for me

I need someone in my life
Someone who might argue with me
Someone who would still understand me

I need someone in my life
Someone who would strengthen me
Someone who would support me

I need someone in my life
Someone who would allow me
Someone who would receive love from me

I need someone in my life
Would that someone be you?

- Inspired by Kristy Starling / LeAnn Rimes' song "I Need You", written by Dennis Matkosky & Ty Lacy