Earth Hour

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Caught in A War of TV Networks

I am a member of a Yahoogroup that caters to Filipino professionals from around the world. I don't know how it all started but all of a sudden, two factions are now battling it out in the discussion area.

The main piece of contention? Which network is better: ABS-CBN or GMA?

Maybe I should give a brief background about these two networks. These are two heavyweights in Philippine broadcasting. ABS-CBN claims that it is the country's pioneer network. It started in the 50s but their operations were stopped when then President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law and sequestered the properties of the family that owned the station.

GMA also claims to be the country's first network and unlike the former, it continued its operations even during the Martial Law years. During those years, it was this station that brought to the country such American shows as CHiPS, Three's Company, Man From Atlantis and a host of other good programs.

When Cory Aquino became President through the People Power Movement (I refuse to call it a revolution because my militant friends from UP argue that a revolution involves bloodshed), she gave back ABS-CBN to the original owners. In fact, it's not the only property Tita Cory returned but even other properties sequestered by the Marcos government and she gave it to them on a silver platter. Bad move I should tell you but I should find another time to discuss this.

Since it's return, the ABS-CBN station did everything to drill in everybody's mind that they are the biggest and the number 1 station in the land before and after Martial Law. Since the other stations in the country are government-owned, only one station could challenge these assertions: GMA. And challenge it did.

That leads us to my topic for this post.

I don't understand why the members of our e-group are waging war among themselves over which of these two stations is the best. To be honest, I watch shows on both networks and I must admit most of their content would leave you in a stupor.

The comedy shows are anything but funny and are downright stupid. These shows run for an hour with heavy usage of canned laughter perhaps to induce the viewers to laugh even if the situation is not funny at all. I can't remember any program on these channels that really made me laugh. What more, the production values are so cheap, I am often left with no choice but to switch to the Discovery or National Geographic Channels.

The drama shows? Forget it. You will not cry because of the story. You will cry because you felt cheated of spending one hour of your life on a piece of nonsense

And the newscasts! All I learned in my broadcasting course in college, the reporters in these networks blatantly violate. One anchor speaks in a monotonous voice you'd think a robot would sound better in his place. A reported speaks like she's selling fish instead of reporting the news. And one weather person always appear on TV like he was just blown in by a strong typhoon. I pity my professors, how would they instill in their students proper speech and diction if they constantly exposed to these violations.

To make matters worst, these networks constantly engage in copying each other's program content and trying to upman the rival station. It comes to a point that the viewer is so confused as to what channel he is in.

These are just a few of the reasons I couldn't understand why my fellow members are so emotional about this network wars. I can't see any reason why they would be so fanatical about defending the station of their choice.

I decided that someone should make them snap out of this thing. The egroup was fun until this network war thread cropped up. And so this morning I posted a message on our egroup telling the members to stop the nonsensical discussion. I pointed our that if they are not being paid by the networks for what they are doing, there is no sense to make enemies out of people who otherwise share some of their interest. Besides, to these networks they are nothing but mere statistics that will boost their claim to the top what.

Guess what, I am now their common enemy.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

The Apple in My Mind

Mac Mini or iBook? Posted by Hello

I've been in a very tough position in the last few weeks.

Ever since Steve Jobs announced the arrival of the Mac Mini, I've been itching all over my body. I wanted to get one. Now! But wait... something is holding me back. I want an iBook too. I can't make the right choice. I need help.

My inner self tells me to weigh my needs. Portability? Power? If I want portability then the iBook is the way to go. If I needed power the MacMini is it. But then, MacMini doesn't come with a keyboard, a monitor and a mouse. And here in the Philippines the littlethingamajig goes for 38 thousand pesos!!!

So it's the iBook then? Hmmm... the iBook sells for, at the minimum, P72K. Add some RAM and the whole thing goes for almost P80K. Oh and I'll only get 30GB of storage space for that. Plus, there is a need to buy a nice bag to protect this investment.

Who wouldn't be confused with all of these things to think of?

Of course there's another inner voice that keeps on nagging me with a very practical question: "Do you really need an Apple in a country run by Windows?"

Right now, the rebel in me says Yes.

Sunday, February 6, 2005

Come Fly with Me

Just last week, I was told at work that I am going to be a part of a team that will conduct a survey in Davao City. I've been to Davao many times before so I was the least excited about the whole trip. But a good office friend told me that it'll be a good opportunity to get out of the workplace and see places other than the four corners of my cubicle.

This week, however, I heard the horrible news that we will be taking an airline that offers cheaper airfare. The airline is Cebu Pacific.

I'm sure that most of you have heard the joke about Cebu Pacific. The one that says, 'Fly to Cebu and land in the Pacific.'

Who will ever forget two of the worst airplane disasters in the country. Yes, the planes involved were those from Cebu Pacific. One slammed into a mountain somewhere in Mindanao because the pilot had to take a detour to pick up some passengers. The other flew low over Samal Island in Davao and hit some coconut trees thereby disintegrating before it hit land.

So what to do? I told them that I will skip this one and nothing can make me change my mind. Not even the threat of disciplinary action or reducing my chances of getting promoted. I'd rather have my life than a notch up the corporate ladder.

Whenever asked why I decided not to go with them I have only one answer: "I fear for my safety."

Now don't get me wrong. I am not a die-hard devotee of Philippine Airlines. It's just that I have come to trust the airline. It's been flying the route for years and I've always flown to Davao in the same airline. Okay, their safety record may not be as near perfect as Qantas (remember 'Rainman'? He said Qantas has the best safety record among the world's airlines). They are also a butt of joke in terms of punctuality (PAL = Plane Always Late). But experience counts a lot in this business, and PAL has years of it. Knowing that makes me feel safer.

And so I chose not to avail of the chance of getting out of the office and seeing places other than the four corners of my cubicle.