My Last Day At Aprimo

As many of you know, this is my last day as an Aprimo employee.

Why did I decided to leave? A matter of principle. Let me first share the creed that I follow in life – a variation of Elbert Hubbard’s Loyalty Pledge.

If you work for a man in heaven’s name, work for him, speak well of him, stand by him and stand by the institution that he represents. Remember that an ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness.

If you must growl, condemn and eternally find fault then resign your position and when you are at the outside, damn to your heart’s content. But as long as you are part of the institution, do not condemn it because if you do, the first high wind that comes along will blow you away and you will probably never know why.

So why did I decide to move on? Truth be told, I lost hope. I conceded to the thought of things not getting better with the leadership, or lack thereof, in Manila.

Many sacrifices were made. Some were shoved aside, others did not get the point across, but collectively came to fruition. I am not sure how much damage was done and how deep it goes as far as the morale of the Manila center is concerned but with the recent changes and with a familiar face soon at the helm of the Manila center, things are finally taking a turn for the better, moving forward. I did not expect the needed change to come so swiftly and abruptly but it did.

Everyone now knows that there is hope, myself included.

Despite how things turned out and the generous counter-offer, I still decided to move on. Every time I think about the people I consider as my family at work, I could not separate the thought of how much injustice has been allowed to persist for the longest time and from how it should have been if only the right person was placed in the right role in the first place. As a result, there are those who are putting their self-interest first instead of the greater good. Not long after the buyout, I witnessed self-preservation over truthfulness, favoritism over loyalty and weight on tenure over merit. I can no longer do my responsibilities without being cynical. I think that at this point, moving on is better than second-guessing actions and motives. Trust is the only currency we need, for without it, there is nothing more to say.

I will not ask you to be happy for me nor to be worried for me nor will I tell you that I am surprised to make this announcement because I am doing this on my own accord and not because I am being pushed out of the company with a graceful exit. I am moving on in pursuit of maturity in my career and to temper my emotions when the subject matter turns into my work family because the recent experiences left that much bad taste in my mouth that I cannot stay.

But in spite of the things that went wrong, I met you. To each and everyone of you whom I have been able to work with, share light moments with, laugh with or even suffer with… I thank you for making this chapter in my career worth looking back to.

To those who are asking which company I will be moving on to, it is Within The Walls of this building. 😉 So if there is something that needs to be said, you know where to find me.

In any case, don’t be a stranger and say hi every now and then.

Andy

Five Sinigang To Try Before Getting Acid Reflux

Over the course of history, there have been a lot of innovation and experimentation in different industries. None more true than in the food industry where the simplest ingredient can transport you back to your childhood days or reinforce your cynicism towards the true intention of the one who prepared your food. 😀

Today, we have here a list of Sinigang dishes that you should try before getting an acid reflux and forever miss out on the sheer delight of mixing patis, kalamansi and sili before chowing down what’s right in front of you. So swallow down that lump in your throat and go over each of these variations.

5. Fried Pork Belly & Shrimp Sinigang
by Max’s

Nope, that is not two dishes. A unique twist on the homey sinigang by combining pork and shrimp. Land lovers and seafarers can gather around the dinner table and share a quick meal, even just once. Quick meal because the serving is a bit small.

4. Sinangag na Sinigang
by Kanin Club

Now this is by far the embodiment of the street vernacular “kanin palang, ulam na!” Instead of having a sour soup or broth, this dish gets a couple of slices of pork and deep fried gabi leaves as toppings. The rice itself has all the sinigang flavors one could ever ask for. Comes with siling labuyo on the side.

3. Sinigang Na Short Rib & Watermelon
by Manam

It has watermelon without the seeds. It has kang kong. It has sitaw. It’s more sweet than sour. The combination really shouldn’t work and yet manages to pass as one of the best sinigang ever. Pair it with plain steamed jasmine rice or two for maximum appreciation of its flavor.

3. Sinigang na Baboy in Guava and Pineapple
by Mesa

The pineapple is an interesting addition to the guava mix common in the provinces. It adds an extra dimension in terms of taste and gives off a surprising feeling once you bite into that pineapple in your mouth together with the pork and rice in guava broth. Again… pineapple together with pork and rice in guava broth. Dunno what just happened there.

2. Sinigang Na Ribs ng Baboy sa Bayabas
by Alex III

Not all things come easy. For the first-timers, this dish would smell funky. But don’t let that initial impression and smell stick with you even after you’re done eating. This is as close as it gets to an authentic guava-based sinigang here in the Metro.

1. Sinigang Na Corned Beef
by Sentro

So it has come to this. The classic. The Sampalok provides the right amount of sourness with a hint of sweetness to boot. The siling gulay provides a subtle spicy kick without the burning pain. The beef, ever so tender. On a slow day, the staff would even let you taste the broth before it gets served to give you a chance to fine-tune the flavor.

So there you have it. The fivesix sinigang dishes you need to try before getting acid reflux. Whether its a new spin on an old recipe or just the classics, the noble sinigang is always a good reason to gather friends and family around the dining table. All these are good for sharing so please do share, unless acid reflux is really your goal.

How To: Upgrade QNAP TS-451+ NAS To 16GB RAM

According to the product’s website, the QNAP TS-451+ has a ton of features that goes beyond just being a NAS – like real-time video trans-coding, virtualization platform and utilization of LXC and Docker containers.

When a NAS is no longer just a NAS

The available configuration for order is either a 2GB model (TS-451+-2G) or a 8GB model (TS-451+-8G). And based on literature on that website, the maximum supported RAM for the QNAP TS-451+ is 8GB. 🙂 8GB?! But we want to maximize the features of this NAS unit! I guess we would have to add more since one cannot have too much RAM. 😀

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We have the base model (TS-451+-2G) that comes with 2GB of RAM

Based on literature online, other than the manufacturer’s advertised specifications, it is fully capable of supporting 16GB of RAM! So I went online and purchased this 16GB kit. This SO-DIMM is the same as the ones used for laptops (your mileage may vary):

G.Skill F3-1600C11D-16GSL, DDR3L-1600, PC3-12800, CL11-11-11-28, 1.35V

A closer look at the memory chips used for this 8GBx2 kit:

Each chip is 512MB and each stick has 16 of them which makes up the 8GB per stick

As mentioned earlier, the NAS unit that will be receiving this RAM upgrade is the TS-451+.

Step 1. Remove the drives.

Step 2. Remove the four screws at the back of the unit.

Step 3. Slide off the casing backwards to set the indicator at the bottom of the unit to the unlocked position.

Step 4. Lift the casing upwards to completely remove the case itself.

Step 5. Remove the screws that holds the hard drive cage. For a 4-bay unit, there is a total of six screws.

Step 6. Pull the drive cage straight up since there is a connector that connects the drive controller with the mainboard

Intermission: Let’s take a look at the mainboard after removing the drive cage

We can see the RAM slots on the left and on top

The 2GB RAM that came with the unit is from Transcend.

A word of warning: the second RAM slot is a bit hard to get to especially with fat fingers.

Last look at the mainboard with the RAM slots installed with the 8GB sticks.

Step 7. Reseat the drive cage, tighten the six screws that holds the drive cage, slide back the casing and tighten the four screws at the back. Connect all the cables and fire up the unit. Check if the additional RAM has been recognized by the system.

Hardware Information says we have 16GB total memory and both memory slots are correctly recognized too.

Done. 🙂

How Shakey’s Sponsored My Birthday After Almost Ruining It

It’s my birthday!

I woke up almost lunch time due to a get together the night before. It was raining so we decided to order in lunch from Shakey’s. Wifey ordered a lot because I heard her say “…change for PhP 1,500.00…”. I also heard the her give my number in addition to her number – maybe so that they can make sure that the order isn’t bogus since it’s a lot. So that’s done. We just needed to wait for the delivery to arrive.

I remember Mommy and Daddy bringing us to Shakey’s for some birthday celebrations when we we’re kids (can’t recall who’s birthday though). But I can clearly remember the Bunch-of-lunch with pizza, spaghetti, chicken and mojos and the super shakes! Even during and after high school, I’ve celebrated a birthday or two at Shakey’s.

Then things turned for the worse. The agent told us during the first call that if our order was not delivered within an hour, the order is going to be free of charge. After waiting for an hour and a half, wifey called the hotline to follow-up. To our surprise, the agent told her that the branch assigned to our area can no longer accommodate the delivery and since nobody followed-up before the hour was up, the order was not going to be delivered. Why do I need to follow-up before the hour is up? Why did they asked for two numbers if they are not going to contact us anyway? Wifey asked if that’s it and if there is nothing the agent can do with the current situation after making us wait for an hour and a half. The agent just kept on apologizing and saying that there is nothing they can do.

At this point, I took the phone from my wife and asked the agent to connect me to the manager of the branch assigned to our order. Daddy always said to talk to the manager regardless if it is a complain or a complement. The agent then placed me on hold for a few minutes and when she came back, she told me that the manager doesn’t want to talk and that there is really nothing that they can do. I insisted that I needed to talk to the manager and that I would go to their branch personally if the manager would not talk to me over the phone. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry, much more when I’m hungry. Hell, I don’t even like myself when I’m angry. The agent placed me on hold once again but longer this time around. When she came back, she told me that all was taken cared of already. She gave me the order tracking number (03107191) which I was to present. We can get our food either by pick up or by dining in but the catch is, it’s on a different branch. And it’s all for free. Bleh! The concept of free food in exchange for the inconvenience doesn’t sit well with me. So anong pinaglalaban mo? Prinsipyo, teh. Prinsipyo!

We decided to agree with the arrangement since the branch was near the mall where we were going to later in the day. They didn’t say that we need to go to the branch right then and there so we did so only when it was convenient for us. They’ve inconvenienced us too much already.

When we got to the branch, I talked to the manager and told her what happened. I gave her the order tracking number and I also told her that I am a SuperCard holder and that today is my birthday. We were just attempting to celebrate and not be inconvenienced by all this miscommunication and irresponsibility. She went back to the counter and found our food all packed up and ready for take out. I could imagine the pizza being soggy, the chicken not being crispy, drinks stale due to the melted ice and the pasta no longer al dente with cold meatballs. Lo and behold, the manager ordered the crew to cook-up a new meal and in a few minutes, we were served with freshly cooked pizza, pasta and others – the way it should be served – hot and fresh out of the oven. The manager also gave us a pair of iced-tea and another pizza on the house.

At the end of our meal, I talked to the manager and she urged us to file a formal complaint via email (wecare(at)shakeys(dot)biz(dot)ph). It turns out that the agents in the hotline knows (or should know) which areas are no longer covered by which branch and that the order should not have been accepted in the first place. There have been instances similar to mine and that the branch would have to absorb the losses when it could have been avoided if the agent(s) in the hotline did their jobs properly.

Anyway, the order tracking number can be traced to the agent and a thorough review of historical transactions would certainly reveal a pattern – if there are any.

TL;DR

Called for food delivery. Delivery promo: If it’s late, it’s free. (1-hour grace period)
Waited for one and a half hour.
Talked to agent. Got apologies.
Wanted to talk to branch manager. Got turned down. Got more apologies.
Insisted to talk to branch manager. Threatened to physically go to the branch.
Informed that I need to go to a different branch. Bribed with free food. Got some more apologies.
Went to a different branch to pickup my food for delivery which I decided to just dine in.
Branch manager did what any decent manager would do.
Faith in Shakey’s restored.

Special thanks to Shakey’s Lagro branch for the hospitality and to Ms. Kate Tonogan, the Manager On Duty who did the right thing.

Gallery

Asus RT-AC88U Unboxing Photos

I’ve been looking for a WiFi router that has support for link-aggregation, dual WAN, dual-band (802.11ac), has good range, built-in network security and traffic analyzer, has USB 2.0 and 3.0 and has eight gigabit ports. Only a few routers are in the market that has all these features so it’s a quick decision to make which I did couple of months ago to replace my aging Linksys DD-WRT 54G. Below are the pictures I took during the unboxing. 🙂

The box of this router is big. And I mean really big! In all honesty, I wasn’t expecting it to be this huge.
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You can see in this photo how it sizes up compared to my Thinkpad x260. It’s much bigger and the laptop might even fit inside. 😮
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Once you remove the top part of the box, you’ll be greeted with the router in it’s plastic cover.
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After removing the router itself, you’ll be greeted with the Asus logo and it’s tag line. You’ll also see three of the four antenna peeking out.
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What I loved in this unboxing was the attention to detail made by the manufacturer. They have cutouts and thumb holes that helps in the removal of the packaging without damaging the other parts or ruining the unpacking experience for a peripheral that cost this much.
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Once the upper layer that held the router is removed, there is a small compartment underneath the Asus logo that holds two LAN cables, the AC adapter and cord options.
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Removing the four antenna reveals another compartment that holds a cord option, CD and user’s manual.
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Here are the contents for posterity. Notice the different cord options which is a nice addition since there wouldn’t be a need for a plug adaptor if the available wall socket is not compatible. It has different wall socket options from different regions like US, UK and ASIA.
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Here’s a close-up shot of the AC adapter.
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Lastly, here’s how it compares to the Thinkpad X260 when all the antennae are attached. Almost but not quite. 🙂
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Gut Feeling

It all started when Joey decided that she wants another litter.

She got busy with Benjie on 09/09/2016 despite our efforts to keep them apart. Unlike her first litter where we did not know when she got it on with Benjie, this time around we know the exact date. With that in mind, I went ahead and downloaded an app to determine when she would be whelping her second litter – yes there’s an app for that. The screenshot below is what I got:

screenshot_2016-11-05-19-07-45.jpgBred: 09/09/2016. Whelping: 11/11/2016

We wanted to be prepared when Joey whelps her second litter so we were closely monitoring her health, diet, temperature and temperament. I also committed to myself that I would create a whelping box similar to the first one where her pups would be kept safe for the first couple of months.

20161011_100014.jpgJoey on 10/11/2016. One month to go before the expected due date!

Right after All Soul’s Day (11/01/2016), I already had this nagging feeling that Joey is close to giving birth. I had to keep looking at the app and tell myself that I still have 10 days to go. I started to buy the materials for the whelping box on the morning of 11/05/2016 hoping that I would have enough time to finish. I guess Joey had other plans! She gave birth to her first pup for the second litter right after lunch. Exactly when I was in the middle of constructing her whelping box.

20161105_130451.jpgJoey and her first pup for the second litter!

It was a bit hard constructing her whelping box while also being kind of her nurse. Wifey and I would take turns watching over Joey as she gave birth to each of her nine puppies. We would then move the pups out of the way when she is resting or when she is having spasms when another puppy is about to come out. Although she gave birth to nine puppies, only seven survived. The other two were not breathing when they came out. We declared them unrecoverable only when Joey has already gotten too exhausted trying to revive them and only after we tried to do a CPR on the lung cavity. The final indicator that the pups were dead was when they let out a small amount of pee which signaled a loss of muscle control – much like in humans on their final seconds.

The whelping box I made measures 4ft. long by 3ft. wide which I think is enough for 7 puppies and Joey to fit in. Unlike the first whelping box, I made sure that the whole front is open and can be closed for safety reasons. I used a piano hinge to attach the front ramp to the whole box.

20161105_194513.jpgWhelping box with the ramp down.

20161105_194536.jpgWhelping box with the ramp up. Kinda reminds me of Bravestarr’s Fort Kerium in Fortress Mode 🙂

Although I was able to finish the box within the day, we decided not to move Joey and her litter from where she gave birth and just let her recover from exhaustion. We just prepared her box for their movement the following day. We added towels to keep them try and warm as well as some electric fan to keep them cool during days that are hot and humid.

20161105_194603.jpgAnother look of the whelping box from the different angle. 3/4″ marine board all around!

Here are some pictures of Joey resting after whelping her second litter while a curious pup snuggles with her.

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When Services Don’t Work As They Should

Don’t you just hate it when you are paying for services that doesn’t work as they should?

Finally, after being a long-time subscriber, I went to a PLDT business center and asked them to cut my line. I told them to cut everything including the landline, mobile landline and DSL internet. They asked me why and I told them that the internet service is so slow (like less than 1Mbps slow) despite being subscribed to the 8Mbps plan. Then they proceed to ask me if I’ve reported the issue to their support hotline. F*CK! Of course I did! More than once! And nowhere near the advertised speed! For crying out loud, I am paying for almost 3,000PhP per month and I should be the one reporting if I am not getting the service that I am paying for?!

Moving on, I subscribed to Smart’s All-In 500 plan since the 4G-LTE speed in my area is way better than their sister company’s DSL offering (yes PLDT, I’m referring to you). I intend to use the postpaid line as my internet for the household.
smart

The idea is to get charged P5 per 15 minute from the plan’s consumable amount and let the Anti-Bill Shock (ABS) kick in to cap the charges. The ABS was 1,200PhP for as long as I can remember but this October, Smart changed it to 2,500PhP. As long as I am getting better (unthrottled) speeds and no volume caps, I can live with that. By my computation below and from my experience with PLDT, I’m still getting a better deal even with the new ABS.
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The only problem with the ABS increase is that my credit limit is set to only 1,000PhP. This means that if my unbilled usage goes beyond that limit, the service is temporarily disconnected. Smart has a dashboard called mySmart where subscribers can request for an increase in credit limit. Below the form is a section for Important Reminders – fair enough.
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So I went ahead and submitted a request for an increase in credit limit to 3,500PhP so that it is more than the ABS.
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Lo and behold, I got a response the following day via SMS:
mysmart
I was almost impressed with the response time – almost. Reading through the SMS, I would have to…

  1. Submit the same documents I submitted when I applied to become a postpaid subscriber – just a few months back.
  2. Submit those documents to http://www.smart.com.ph – when the form to request for a credit limit increase does not have any facility to do so!
  3. Go to Help & Support and narrate the concern – what the f*ck is the credit limit increase request form for?
  4. Fax. lol

In just an hour or so, I get another SMS:
notsmart

Can somebody please let them know that a quick response time means squat when it is out of context?
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