Oh the horror.

This is the ultimate breakage: a breakage in the beer chain! In a country where cheap beer is a lifeline out of the inefficiency and brokenness, the danger of an interruption in the beer supply cannot be overestimated. Nevertheless I’ve been noticing dwindling supplies of bottled San Miguel Beer in Manila over the last few … Read more

PrimeTime Linux

I’ve been thinking of setting up a company to set people up with Open Source workplaces, and every year that goes past makes me think that the time is almost here.

There are a number of factors which are conspiring to make Linux a viable alternative:

  • The fact that Linux, via distributions such as Ubuntu, Mandriva, Suse et al, are now easy enough to install and intuitive enough for the Everyday User. I set my girlfriend up with an account on a spare laptop and just let her play. Soon enough she was asking for it on her laptop as well.
  • OpenOffice. Enough said. Hardly anyone uses the full feature set of Word, so why do we slavishly upgrade every time a new version comes out? Well actually we don’t …

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ID Badge solution

Not sure if I’ve ranted about ID cards in the Philippines yet. Seems like every building you go into, you have to leave a photo ID and sign in. I hate leaving my passport with them, but that’s the only photo ID I have. I normally try and argue my way in. Once I left … Read more

Swimming Through Treacle


The more astute readers will notice that its been over a month since I posted anything. Clearly the blogging apathy has hit, which any blogger will recognise as something which happens once the lustre of your shiny new blog begins to dull. But there are more sinister forces at work. I fear I may have been infected by the Philippines Treacle Syndrome.

This deadly wasting disease is most prominent on a Friday afternoon. It causes ordinary tasks to take several times longer than they usually should. Here are some examples:

Buying Ibuprofen in Mercury Drug:

You walk into the store. There are 6 staff in the shop, and 2 customers. You stride to the counter, behind which are 4 of the staff. They instantly stare intently at pieces of paper in front of them. Some try to run out the back door. Some duck under the counter. Eventually one will have to talk to you …

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Putting the Grate Back in Immigration.

Visa HellLast week I had to go to immigration to renew my visa. I’d been there a couple of months ago, and although the process was long-winded and expensive, it didn’t cause me too much pain. Therefore when I revisited the office last week, in the Intramuros district of Manila, I was entirely unprepared for the seven circles of hell which awaited.

Last time I’d got there at around 11, and had to wait until 3.30 for my visa, which had effectively taken up a whole day. This time I hopped into a taxi at 7.30, before the inevitable traffic jams had a chance to build up, and was there at 8am when they opened. My first surprise was that I wasn’t allowed in the building. At all. Two months ago I’d had no problems when I turned up wearing shorts, but since then they’d put up a cheaply photocopied notice saying “No shorts or sandals”, and were refusing to let anyone thusly attired in the building.

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