Tuesday, November 28, 2006

So much for technology

The Luddites were right this time. At least for today, as I fell victim to technology that went awry and caused my blood pressure to go up a notch.

On my way to work this morning I was horrified to see that the chip readers of the G-Pass, the much-vaunted contactless payment system for MRT, was out of order. Both of them. Which means that I have to fall in line to purchase a single-journey card for me to be able to board the train.

Later I went to the bank (Bank of Philippine Islands in Julia Vargas) to withdraw money over the counter (I can no longer withdraw from the ATMs because of the 20 thousand-peso limit). After waiting in line for almost two hours the bank's computers went offline and nobody can withdraw money. So again I have to bitch a little and "compelled" the teller to make an exception. Fortunately (maybe she was just trying to avoid a tongue lashing), she consented and accepted my ATM receipt as proof that I still have some money in the bank and allowed me to withdraw some.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Zune is Butt Ugly

Many hacks tech reviewers are raving (mad?) about the Microsoft Zune, the supposedly iPod-killer from Redmond - tauting the much-vaunted WiFi capabilities and its larger screen. Yeah, yeah, but WTF - brown? I know design is not really a strong point for Microsoft, but how ugly can the Zune get? Carrying one would be like lugging an adobe brick around (considering the heft of that thing, this is not far from reality).

Maybe Microsoft should learn from history, such as the following list of supposedly iPod-killers who met their untimely demise after duking it out with the gods of Cupertino. I sure am going to stick with my iPod.

Sony Beans - February 13, 2006
Dell DJ - February 4, 2006
iRiver - February 1,2006 (in Europe)
Thomson - December 12, 2005
BenQ - November 28, 2005
Olympus - November 9, 2005
Rio - August 26, 2005
Virgin - March 8, 2005

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Commute at the MRT

One of my least favorite part (as if I even enjoy it) of my commute to work is the MRT leg. MRT is one of the three light-rail transit system in Metro Manila, stretching from North EDSA to Baclaran in Pasay, passing through EDSA, the main thoroughfare.

MRT itself is not half-bad, aside from the Lilliputian size of the coaches, but rather what catches my ire is the Cubao leg of the journey. You see, once the train reaches the Cubao station, almost all of the waiting passengers there lose all sense of civility and manners - shoving and elbowing everyone just to get inside. Not to mention that almost 90% of them smell really bad (much like over-riped guavas crossed with month-old cheese). Because they are in close proximity with you, their smell and icky sweat would also permeate and rub off on your clothes.

Another chief complaint is the escalator in Quezon Avenue station, which doesn't work most of the time, making me walk up four flights of stairs just to get to the platform.