Telecommuting

images2Telecommuting or working from home is a trend many companies embrace these days, especially with the pressure of decreasing that office real estate square footage that translates into precious and expensive dollars. With the advent of technology that allows both the office PC and telephone environments to be effectively replicated at a remote location, with the help of the ubiquituous and cheap internet of course, many companies these days are seriously considering a fraction of their workforce to work from home to boost productivity and achieve economies of scale. Given all the right scenarios – secure internet access, a reliable and efficient remote access system, portable phone system – the prospects for telecommuting is ripe. Moreover, telecommuting automatically satisfies a substantial part of disaster preparedness and contingency planning, when an unlikely repeat of 911 wouldn’t wreck that much havoc to a company if a portion of its work force is mobile and not concentrated in one location.

Some jobs are perfect for telecommuting – others are not. Job types notwithstanding, telecommuting isn’t for everybody. Even if it is OK for me to work from home, I still prefer to come to the office for at least 2 days in a week, just to chill with the folks and keep updated with what’s going on. In short, the social aspect of work life is pretty important to me and while I would relish working from home so I could go to the driving range anytime and hit balls 🙂 I still feel that need to connect with my peers and exchange ideas, socialize and feel I am part of an organization. I have heard of a staff working from home fired because the company found she was updating her Facebook account quite frequently. There are pros and cons with telecommuting but one thing is sure – when you’re working from home most of the time the company isn’t about to trust you 100%. Expect them to check logs, email activity, browsing time to get a sense of your productivity.

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SUING THE OMNIPOTENT

In this day and age of materialism and extreme liberalism we have grown impervious to the news we hear everyday, suggesting that we are evolving into a world that precariously treads into one that might be devoid of religious rules and norms that once governed our lives and fostered societal harmony . Here’s one shocking news that surpasses your notion of weird and likely to raise your eyebrows – a man sues God in court  for the “widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth’s inhabitants.”   Huh? Is this for real ? In light of our freedom of expression in a so called democratic society such a preposterous lawsuit must be given equal consideration like any other so the judge aptly dismisses the case on one technicality – God has no address and can’t be given a subpoena to defend himself 🙂 The plaintiff retorted that since the courts recognize God’s existence asking people to take oath ending with the proverbial ” so help me God” phrase, God must be existing. The plaintiff is contemplating to appeal and waste taxpayers’ money in the process. I don’t know what this means folks but a couple of centuries from now there is a real possibility that this earth many no longer subscribe to the idea of a divine creator.

 

GOOGLE CHROME BROWSER

This is by no means a technical review but I did download the WIndows Vista beta version of Google Chrome, the new browser developed by no other than Google and found it short of spectacular but overall, quite alright. More efficient hence productive is perhaps a more apt description. It does appear to be faster and I dig its clean cut, minimalistic look minus the clutter of menu buttons on the top typical of Firefox and Internet Explorer. It looks refreshingly neat. The menu and toolbar are smartly hidden on the upper right hand corner, readily expandable. I also like idea of the thumbnail pages of your most visited sites being displayed the moment you open the browser. All you have to do is click on the thumbnails. Your recent bookmarks are likewise presented as hypertext links on the same page. Really great for lazy folks like me who could get to my favorite page in two mouse clicks, no dragging required. If you are terribly lazy, you can even cut a desktop shortcut for your favorite URL (link) and simply click on it. I mean how much more productive can you get with a one click operation?  The only problem with this feature is the shortcut opens the browser in a truly specialized fashion. It disables browser menu and won’t allow you to navigate to other URL’s – no back and forward buttons, no URL address bar presented – that’s the catch. It is perfect for my daughter who now simply clicks on the desktop icons of her two favorite links – Webkinz or Family Channel. There are many more features too detailed to discuss in this post but I give Google Chrome a thumbs up for its practicality and ease of use.

SSL on WordPress Admin. This is probably a trivial issue to some but I like the idea of using SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption option when having a session in Admin mode. SSL ensures no one can spoof into your session in cyberspace, especially those who use wireless to browse the net. It is a feature you can turn on quite easily.  Blogger has SSL but only when signing on, where your login ID and password are encrypted but defaults back to unsecure mode after sign on. You know if SSL is ON when you see https instead of http on the URL address bar.

 

IMMIGRANT WOES

I’ve met so many Pinoys who migrated to this country and everyone has his own version of the well acknowledged baptism of fire, the difficult challenges one has to overcome or adjust to as a newcomer. Nothing breaks my heart when a family’s plan to settle here is derailed by no other but their very own children. With this I mean couples who give up  because they can’t handle taking care of their kids and I don’t mean 6 or 8 rambunctious children but in the two instances I’ve seen – 2 children , all toddlers. Don’t you find this unbelievable ? The wife simply gives up and surrenders because taking care of her children minus the nannies is tantamount to prison labor 😦  We’re not talking of the super elite here, just ordinary folks who enjoy the comforts of middle class living back home. The real problem in my opinion is, the children had not been trained with any life skills whatsoever, totally dependent on their nannies for everything. A 2 year old literally behaves like an infant, crying for everything she needs. Too bad. The reason for migrating was precisely for the children’s future and now they are the very reason for backing out. The first case happened a few years ago and the family had gone home for good. The second case is still undecided , still in a very early stage and dependent on how the husband’s jobhunting goes.  If I was to say something constructive here, I say remove the blindfolds, shake off the hypocrisy and get real 😯

 

SCRIPT or BOOBOO ?

 

Listen to the mention of the word c**t…c**t..contributor.  Was this a blunder ? Sounds contrived to me. Maybe it was scripted. What do you think ? 🙂

Cool Toys

Imagine relaxing on your couch after a nice dinner and after watching boring TV shows, you take your remote control and switch your HDTV to a different input source and lo and behold, you’re watching YOUTUBE live ! Wouldn’t it be dandy to be able to access YOUTUBE just like you’re in front of your PC or laptop and navigate through it minus the keyboard ? Neat !

The AppleTV is one product that brings the internet closer to the home entertainment systems. From this unit you can download regular songs and music videos from Itunes, browse and play podcasts, view your pics on Flickr and rent movies, both standard and HD quality. You can also pair this unit with your Mac or Windows PC and play the multi-media from your Itunes library as well as your photo slideshows. AppleTV allows you to play them all on your HDTV unit.

Rental of new movie HD ( High Definition) releases with Dolby Digital 5.1 features ( for those with surround sound systems) at Itunes at is at par with the regular cost of cable or satellite PPV (Pay Per View) movies.  If you’re wondering how much bandwidth this sucker would need to play a movie don’t worry because AppleTV downloads the movie in its entirety before playing it. What you’re buying here is accessibility to a large database of movies. The system is also smart enough to let you know movies you have watched. You will have the rented movie at your disposal for a full 24 hours so you can call your friends and relatives over to watch after which the movie will go pffft! and get deleted on the unit’s hard disk once the time elapses 🙂

How do you connect this baby to the net ? If you already have a wireless router, it will be a breeze because this baby is wireless ready and all you need to do is add this unit to your configuration, just like your laptop. You also have the option to connect the unit with an ethernet cable ( 10/100BT) or USB to your DSL or broadband cable router . These aforesaid connections will allow the AppleTV to access the internet directly. Once you are wired, you can pair the unit to your PC to play multimedia files directly on your HDTV which is really neat.

The unit will connect to your HDTV via HDMI, DVI ( an HDMI variant) or component video connection for high-definition output. Apple has restricted this feature to HD quality only, a statement that HD and widescreen format is the name of the game today. As for the audio component you can connect using the standard analog RCA jack ( red and white) or via the less noiser and higher quality optical audio interface, to your surround sound system to produce the theatre like Dolby 5.1 effect.

The AppleTV will set you back some $220 or $320 for a 40GIG or 160GIG hard disk size respectively. Whew, I’d love to have one of these babies. With Father’s Day approaching this will be my wish. Let me rephrase – Father’s Day being a justification to subsidize myself of my whims 🙂

Linksys, a division of Cisco systems is also selling what they call Windows Media Center Extender which is really nothing more than a wireless unit that allows you to play all the multi-media files in your Windows PC hard disk on your TV. At the price of $200, it only does part of the Apple TV’s job description and cannot access the internet directly. It does however interface with SD or regular TV’s which the AppleTV can’t.

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ON ANIMAL CLONING ; HDTV DEMYSTIFIED

The Korean government had confirmed the news that it had successfully cloned seven Labrador Retrievers from a super canine skilled in sniffing drugs and explosives. The Magnificent Seven , being replicas of its cloned source are expected to inherit their biological master’s exemplary skills and are therefore deployable at the front lines with minimum training. We dread the thought of this Frankenstein-ish experiments proliferate in our world today as we all know that policing the four corners of the earth to regulate such an activity is a daunting task.

Here’s a question that had been nagging the human race since the fictional days of Dr. Victor Frankenstein – is cloning justifiable and what are its limits? The conservatives among us of whatever religious persuasion consider tampering the human genes an affront to the sanctity of creation and must never be condoned. What about animals ? What about the cloning of animals for the utility of man ?

We have heard about cloning of sheep, to produce a superior breed that provides quality meat and wool. Imagine a specie of pigs, cattle and chickens – all cloned so man could avail of the perfect meat. But then there are those that would clone for different reasons , like a California woman who was willing to spend $150K to clone her dead pet dog, a pit bull that had been preserved in a freezer. She wants her dog back, an exact reincarnated replica of her beloved pet. Aren’t we likewise tampering the sanctity of creation with this eerie proposal albeit they are animals with supposedly no souls? And what happens next – cloned super race horses that would win forever, cloned vicious dogs that would be marketed as guard dogs. If we open the door to animal cloning with no restriction, we might just admit to playing God and risk the destruction of animal life in this planet.

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BLOGGER Woes

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I don’t know what happened to Blogger but when I accessed my blog with my Internet Explorer ( default) browser from the office yesterday it lost the graphics and turned into textual, reminding me of the early days of the internet , pre-Netscape and Internet Explorer era, when we only used textual browsers like the extinct but venerable Gopher 😦 When I arrived home however I could access my blog – graphics and all, with Firefox! Conclusion – Blogger’s web servers where all our Blogspot blogs live and breath have a problem with Internet Explorer. What else could it be ? And what is the fix ? Changing to a new template ? I can’t worry about it anymore.

I’ve long been considering moving out of Blogger to a much more user friendly and graphically rich blog like WordPress and Typepad. I was even mulling to buy a professional WordPress template so I can just plug and play but this incident compelled me to move my butt and get something going. So I hurriedly accessed WordPress last night and spent a couple of hours to set up this pretty straightforward template just to get me going. I can tell that WordPress is tons better than Blogger in terms of user-friendliness. If I can do it, how much more you folks. This isn’t going to be my permanent template – unless I become diabolically lazy 😦 Continue reading