Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Test Shots

For this year's Inhinyero yearbook staff (i2007), I am a member of the GradPic committee. Our committee is assigned into searching for photo studios that can handle the UP Engineering '07 account.

After a series of inquiries and studio interviews, we were able to narrow down our list into just 5 studios. Just recently, we had been in these studios for the test shots. These shots would be the ones posted in the Engineering 3rd floor lobby, for the subscribers to see and to decide.

I could have been the male model for the shots, but I eventually declined. I can't promise to be at the testshot-sites all the time because of some conflicting schedules (i.e. lab tours, thesis meetings). It would also lead me to an awkward state once the test shots would be made available for (eng'g) public viewing.

Being a GradPic committee member entitles one to receive special treatment from the studios. For every studio we went to, we were given free food. The first studio was located in the Chinatown area, so we were treated with Chinese food. 2nd studio gave us free KFC meals for lunch, and also gave a pizza merienda before we went home. 3rd studio (I was absent) gave pizzas. 4th studio treated us to Max's restaurant. The last studio gave us the most complete set of meals: from brunch then merienda, and then dinner!

We also had the chance of having group shots, so sometimes make-ups were applied on us alongside with some costumes. The last studio even made me an extra model. The downside of it is that they made me pose topless (I'm no macho-dancer/boldstar!)with wet-look effect kuno. I'm going to dread the time when my picture would be circulated to other people, some of my staff mates were using their cam phones on me. I'm writing this on my blog so that you won't be surprised in case you would have seen these pictures of mine. Those were not really my idea, I swear. At least you now know the story behind it.

Aside from the studio experience, one thing that I had enjoyed was the conversations with the studio owners. Talks about earlier years, business, people,etc. I plan to be a businessman someday; one can really learn much from these kind of people.

Now that the test shots are done, all of my time should be dedicated much on thesis... and my search for the perfect laptop. Dang! It's really tough investing your money into something, makes you think over and over again. Better be sure than be sorry.

posted by ScIoN 11:25 PM |

Friday, May 26, 2006

Wanted: Perfect Laptop

I remember the film, Finding Nemo, which had a character of a crab/lobster in an aquarium. This crab had been guarding an oyster-like accessory which gives off bubbles once in a while. He had been delusional, thinking that one day, a pearl would appear from that accessory.

For the past weeks, I had been like this crab, waiting for the right moment for catching a prized possession. After gaining some amount of money from my previous rackets, I am bent into buying my own personal laptop.

Almost 90% of my online time, I check on tipidpc (and others as well) to get the best valued laptop. My major constraint is the budget for it, since the money would come from my very own pocket. Not only that, since I am to order online, I have to check on the security of my money. Just a few days ago, I had just exchanged emails with "Mihai Alin" regarding a laptop he supposedly sells. Good thing that I don't trust someone easily, I finally found out that he is a scammer. Just try googling his name and read the ebay Malaysia forums.

At first, I had settled for 2nd hand laptops since they tend to be affordable. I would just rely on the seller's feedbacks for the security of the transaction. But then, buying something second hand have great risks. Who knows that the laptop's lifespan might normally end by the time you buy it.

Buying a new one is not far off, since laptops today outsell desktops. Laptops come cheaper these days. As of now, my money on hand can not afford the new one, unless somebody can lend me some money. I hope I can ask money from my bachelor uncle, or my business-minded grandma.

I am not going to buy a laptop to boost my social status. My career path with IML is to be a hardware programmer. That mobility is needed in programming. I don't have to go home or to the lab just to do my codes. It's like being a writer in a much more technical way. I have to be able to do it anywhere at my own liking. Especially now that we are to be doing our thesis project, I don't want to be stucked in the lab. Perhaps, I can do it in a more convenient place.

Another thing is that, my main desktop is already OLD. So instead of buying a newer desktop, why not aim higher and shoot two birds with one stone via the laptop choice?

So can you guys donate for my cause?

posted by ScIoN 6:57 PM |

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Post Batangas Escapade

Last May 20, we had a summer escapade to Glenn's beach house at Hugom, San Juan, Batangas. Glenn, who is a "balikbayan" from Canada, is going to spend most of his vacation time here in the Philippines.

Our group is composed of UP EEE freshmen batch '01 who are also CIRCUIT members. Our night at the beach was filled with trivial games (e.g. cliptomania) together with some spiked pomelo juice. At the time we were playing a "Pinoy Henyo" game, some members were shrieking which gave the ire of some resident neighbors. We had no choice but to transfer to the sands and build a short-lived bonfire.

Since we are in private property, we have the beach all to ourselves. Ironically though, less than half swam in the morning. Others opted to play poker instead. The night before, a stray dog ate our Purefoods hotdogs; thus, we no longer have enough food for lunch. Good thing, Nino had a supply of canned goods, at least we had tuna.

As for me, beach/resort outings had been the perfect getaway for me since I grew up in a landlocked region. This is where I get to practice some swimming. It was also my first time to do some snorkeling. Too bad, typhoon Caloy just made a mess out of the surroundings even before we get there. The corals and fishes had been washed away farther into the sea, that is why we had seen only a few.

Another thing that I love with these outings is that, I get to visit other places in the Philippines. I'm happy that I get to be well travelled lately (even the places in Metro Manila).

Well now, I had not written about this escapade a little earlier since I had been waiting for someone to upload some of our pics. So here they are:

**This was the hardest part of the trip, since we only have one car for transportation, 8 of us commuted all the way to Batangas. Yeah, it included the hiking...

***There you go, we can no longer bear to drench in sweat. Not after having a good swim.

posted by ScIoN 10:50 PM |

How Safe is eBay.ph?

For the past few weeks, I have been searching for the perfect laptop that could fit my budget.  I had bookmarked a lot of items already.  It's really hard to choose especially when money is involved.  I have come across this ebay.ph item that offers a Sony Vaio s460 laptop for only $450.00.   Mind you, it already includes the shipping fee.  I'd say this is too good to be true, but what if it IS true?  This is really one hell of a deal.

I have been in correspondence with the seller via email, that he replies instantly. Also, I had received emails coming from "ebay".  Is there such thing as an ebay safe harbor department that could mediate and assure you safe transactions?  Instructions say that I should wire the money via western union; that the package would be delivered via UPS Air and that we will be using the seller's account so I should not worry.  Are these reasons valid? 

The seller seems to be cautious too since he has too many requirements, but could these be just fronts?  Another reason why I still have doubts is because an s460 laptop to be sold for $450 is way too cheap.  Anybody who already have an experience in dealing online and offshore?  I would like to make sure.  If this is a valid transaction, I don't want to pass up the opportunity.

posted by ScIoN 10:51 AM |

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I am a DOST scholar??!!! and Family First boo-boo's!!

After finishing my contract with ePLDT, I really looked forward to receiving my very first "corporate" salary. We have not yet received our full salary since the HR needs to recompute what is due to us. I just hope I can earn higher than the promised basic pay. We're even not sure if we are also under the 15-day wage, if so, we would get fully paid only by the end of May. And I hope, it would be handed over as a check, not cash please.

I am having a hard time with my NBI clearance. We applied in the Pasig branch, then got delayed because of the processing of our picture over the weekend. Upon claiming on a monday, we were told that we should get it after 6 working days because it had to be processed in the main branch. Then they say our names got a 'hit' with their database; thus, we had to be interviewed at Carriedo (main). It turned out that I have an obligation contract with DOST. What the...?!!! As far as I know, I had not been receiving any stipend from DOST; in other words, I am not a scholar! Thanks to that, I am again delayed into getting my clearance. I have to clarify my case with DOST. If then that I am a scholar, they should be prepared with the money that I didn't get for 5 years! It would be worth the contract, I must say.
Sir/Ma'am, do you have a credit card? Upon hearing these kind of questions in a mall, saying NONE would save you your precious time. This was the very mistake Nino had when we were at Megamall coming from our NBI-Carriedo escapade. We were flagged down (530pm) by a "Family First" promo girl(?) offering Nino freebies and a chance to win 'cool big' prizes. Of course, who doesn't want freebies and a chance to win cars/ house&lots, et al?

I've heard enough of this kind of scheme but I thought Nino was interested with what they offer so I did not say anything. The tradeoff for the freebies would be a 30-minute (as promised) briefing session promoting the company. Because we did not want to be rude with the promo girl, we just gave in to her requests. We were led to the 5th floor (where the company has a HQ), onto the waiting area. You can see the other 'victims' as well waiting for the briefing session to start. It had already been about 630pm when I left Nino (I'm not qualified into their scheme anyway since I don't have a credit card).

Eventually, Nino claimed that the promised 30 minute session became 3 hours!! WTF! What did he get, 2 freakin bags with a stupid "Family First" label. Who'd be proud of that?! It's just like labeling yourself that you had been fooled by these guys. While at it, I had observed the employees and I do laud their ability as customer service representatives. It would take a lot of guts doing their kind of work. If only you can divert their energies to some kind of more responsible work. Coercion is the key word for what they had been doing to the mall-goers. They expect that through this way, many people would spread the "Family First" plans or sumthin'. As per observation, they just make people irate with what they are doing because they just waste people's time. So beware!!

posted by ScIoN 10:39 PM |

Monday, May 08, 2006

Work Experience

I have been working now for a week in Ventus, an outsourcing call center company under PLDT. For the first week, we were under training; so, it seemed like we were just taking up night classes. Since our contract with ePLDT is good for only 10 days, we are to work for just about 5 days! haha!

This is my very first work experience, I mean, the real deal experience. I'm not going to count the Student Assistant roles in UP since I don't get any challenge there. Even now that I am still halfway through my contract, I'd say this is a very fruitful experience for me.

The reasons why I wanted to get a part-time/summer job are:
- I did not enroll in any summer class; therefore, instead of bumming around I should do something productive. Just as I had said before, I can't dedicate all of my "24hour - sleep" into thesis. There's got to be something in between so that I won't have brain damage. As per observation in the month of April, I did nothing but to bum around. We've also done little progress in our thesis. So, getting a job could at least mend my slothful habits.
- In terms of being productive, it would mean experience(eee-related) or cash. I guess it turned out that I chose the CASH option.. hehehe. Well, in addition to my previous post, since I had 2 choices (ePLDT and Symphony), I had chosen the "sulit" package. ePLDT offered 10 days with a normal 1-month's pay, while Symphony I assumed would offer an intern's pay.
- To get to know other people. You get to work with people coming from different categories.

Other perks I had received from working:
- I get to practice verbal English with native speakers.
- I get to travel around Metro Manila, just to process employment documents. I also get to familiarize myself with these places. I tell you, I have a poor sense of direction; but, since I get to go to these places often - problem solved.
- Now I know the ins and outs on what to do when processing your NBI clearance, SSS, et al.
- It seems I am more disciplined when it comes to work. In contrast with before when I was just bumming around. This would definitely increase my productivity.

All in all, this experience had been one hell of an adventure for me. I loved that kind of feeling. Don't get me wrong, I won't pursue a career in call centers. I just love the feeling of being a yuppie, but, I actually don't like the kind of work in call centers. Most specially with the inbound sales division where I'm in. If you know me, it's just not the type of job that fits my personality. Let's just call this a summer fling. :D

posted by ScIoN 10:27 PM |

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Location: Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

ScIoN is a former Systems Engineer in Japan who specialized in industrial imaging and digital hardware design. He is now back in the Philippines pursuing graduate studies in Finance at the University of the Philippines - Diliman.



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