Nov 23 2016

I forgot—again

Adel Gabot


Here I go again, forgetting that malls now open at 11AM instead of the customary 10AM for the Christmas season. I went to Cubao at 9:58AM (Cubao is my base of operations of late), and realized that, once again, I was an hour early to do anything constructive here. Crap.

Now I have to kill time at the Ali Mall Starbucks. Unlike the mall, they opened at 8. But I wasn’t in the particular mood for coffee; I just had some Barako before leaving the house, and I was still buzzing from it. So I’m just sitting here passing away the time until the malls open and idly writing a blog post.

It started here. Ali Mall began their new one-hour-later schedule last week, earlier than all the other malls, and that was a painful lesson to learn, but I managed to after a couple of days of killing the extra hour off. I just hadn’t realized the other malls in Cubao, and presumably malls all over Metro Manila, had joined the club.

I’m actually here to load up my PayMaya Visa credit card, the only card I have at the moment, having painfully learned my fiscal lessons long ago. It’s actually more of a debit card, and it has to have sufficient funds to buy the stuff you’re ordering first before it lets you buy them. Which is just how I like it: a credit card that doesn’t incur any credit.

It took me a while before I could work off the immense credit card debt I had amassed before, and I wasn’t going through that mess again. I didn’t have the necessary discipline to have a credit card, I guess. I’m buying some stuff online, and need to deposit funds into the card so I could. Which was why I was here.

I could have loaded the cash into the card at the SM Payment Center of their grocery at the basement of SM Cubao; they were open at 8, but I found out this morning that only the Payment Center on the 3rd floor had the ability to load PayMaya cards. So I had to wait for it to open at 11.

So, it’s almost 10 and the mall itself is almost open, and I can walk through the causeway directly to the 3rd floor of SM and finally load up my card. Here we go.

Sheesh, what a waste of an hour.

At least I got to write this.


Nov 20 2016

Memories of Marcos

Adel Gabot




Ever since I had my stroke in late 2009, memories of certain random things have been hazy at best, non-existent at worst. So my memories of the Marcos era and the little parts I played in it are unreliable, but some stick out clear as a bell.

My clearest memory is from September 1972, when I was 10 years old. Martial Law was just declared that Thursday. We were living in a house in BF Homes Novaliches, and as were decades from the social connectivity we have now and we mostly kept to ourselves (we also didn’t listen to the radio or watch TV much), we weren’t quite privy to the news until the following Monday. I remember that very clearly.

My dad was a military officer on leave then when Martial Law was declared, and as such, was absent from work. We only found out about the declaration four days later, and he was worried he’d be considered a deserter and be court-martialed and locked up. Thank God nothing came of it.

I also remember the whispered rumors and undercurrents of worry at the time, when journalists, critics, dissidents and enemies of the Marcos regime were being taken in the night, locked up, tortured and killed. But being as young as I was, it was like a distant worry and I didn’t really pay it much attention and went on with my life.

As I grew up I became more aware of the trouble, and I as entered college, I joined the protest movements and became a minor member of the UP Student Council. I became close friends with some of the notable protestors and activists of the time, like Lean Alejandro and Malou Mangahas. I joined demonstrations and marches and all that. I remember a lot of us were rounded up, and some just disappeared, never to be seen again. Those were scary times.

Admittedly, I was partly there because of the need to belong to something, but mostly because I also believed in the cause. How could you not? When I got into the job market after college and the mother of major demonstrations occurred in 1986, I was on EDSA with the masses, and we finally overthrew the dictator and his corrupt regime.

Now, 30 years later, after languishing in a refrigerator for years, that bastard’s long dead corpse was secretly buried in the Libingan ng Mga Bayani, facilitated by our idiotic new president and allowed by our esteemed but unfeeling Supreme Court. It is an honor he certainly does not deserve, and people are up in arms. Some people at least.

In this country, people’s memories are short, and they have allowed the dictator’s family to continue to hold top positions in goverment, much less prosecute and convict them for their family’s many heinous crimes against us.

Many don’t care about what went down in the LNMB last Friday. Protests are happening all over, yes, but I suspect that won’t really last long, and pretty soon we’ll all carry on as if nothing had happened. Again.

I sincerely worry about the Philippines.

Nov 17 2016

Mysterious drive deaths

Adel Gabot

Expansion 3.5 Pkg WW


I can’t figure it out.

I’ve been having a lot of external disk drives dying on me recently. As in a lot, and I’ve been pushed to the absolute limit, with no extras, no slack.

It started first with my 4TB Seagate Central NAS drive. It just quit on me. One morning, it wasn’t on my desktop, and when I went to check, it wouldn’t even light up. I tried different power supplies to hopefully revive it, but nada. That particularly hurt, as my entire media library was housed in its massive size. I had to rebuild the library from scratch. (The silver lining was, I got rid of all the detritus I collected over the years and just kept the files I really really liked.)

Then went my 2TB GoFlex Desk a few months later. This was also a painful loss, as I had invested in an very expensive Thunderbolt adaptor for it so I could extract the then-fastest access speeds from the drive. I’d been using it as a data archive and a place to dump all the bits and pieces of miscellany I collected here and there. Now it was dead, or close it it. I was able to revive it, but it’s now dog-slow, as in it takes hours to copy a simple MP3, making it practically useless. In the meantime I have a very expensive Thunderbolt adapter as a paperweight.

Then it was my 2TB Buffalo CloudStation NAS drive’s turn to bite the bullet. It just went belly-up, and no amount of repair and restore could bring it back to life. That makes a total of 8TB of storage gone so far.

Next to go was my GoFlex Satellite, a 500GB portable drive that had wifi circuitry and a battery built into its small frame I was using for my mobile needs. It was nice. I just had to turn it on and then slip it back into my bag, and I had oodles of storage space for my iPad and iPhone. That was also painful, because of the battery and wifi it cost nearly P10k back then.

Then, a couple of months ago, my venerable old dedicated Time Machine backup drive, a big, bulky 750GB Western Digital (was it WD? Or was it Seagate? I can’t even remember; gotta check) went dead after many faithful years of service, leaving me without reliable backup for my iMac. (I had to buy a new 1TB portable drive to take up the slack and revert to after-update backups instead of the automatic every-hour-on-the-hour backups I’d gotten accustomed to. As a result, I had some extra space, so I doled out my media library around my drives so I wouldn’t have them all in one basket this time.)

Next on the dead pile was a 500GB internal 2.5″ laptop drive I had housed in a cheap CDR-King enclosure which I had been using as one of my Media Drives. This one was for my various media downloads from YouTube, Vimeo and many other sources, so it wasn’t that painful a loss. But still.

Last week, the little old white Seagate external I’d been using to backup my laptops with Time Machine died too. It was just 256GB, but it was enough for the occasional backup of my MacBooks. Thing was, I actually managed to restore it over the weekend, so it was just a near-miss this time. It’s working fine so far.

Finally, I also had another near-miss just last Tuesday with my main system on the iMac, the big kahuna. I’ve been noticing a slowdown in operation over the past week, and it had progressively gotten worse until I was seeing the spinning beach ball much too often. As in every other click of the mouse. I did a quick check, and I was informed by Disk Utility to back up the 1TB home drive immediately and restore the system from my backup. Ugh. So I erased the hard disk, reinstalled Sierra from my bootable USB drive and restored my setup from my Time Machine backup. Took me almost the whole damn day, but I got it done.

So there. I don’t know why this is happening to me. Either my system is just getting old, or something nefarious is occurring. It just feels weird that this is all happening to me within a short period.


Nov 16 2016

Apple depository

Adel Gabot



With today’s launching of the horridly expensive (US$300 for the large edition!) coffee table book Designed by Apple in California, I was moved to take stock of how many Apple products we have in the house.

Plenty, as it turns out:

  • 27″ iMac
  • 13″ MacBook Pro
  • 11″ MacBook Air
  • Apple //+
  • Apple //e
  • Macintosh (original)
  • iPad 2
  • iPad 3
  • iPad mini 1st gen
  • iPhone 1st gen
  • iPhone 5s
  • iPod 5th gen
  • iPod nano 6th gen (2 units)
  • iPod shuffle 2nd gen
  • iPod shuffle 3rd gen
  • Apple TV 3rd gen
  • Apple TV 4th gen
  • Apple Quicktake 200
  • Apple Newton Messagepad

This is not to mention the many Apple-made power adaptors, assorted dongles, extra headsets, rechargeable batteries and chargers, thunderbolt and lightning cables, mice (mouses?), trackpads and keyboards I also have.

Take note, this is just the current things I have. This isn’t counting the many number of other previous products I used to own, like that orange iBook or Titanium MacBook or desktop monitor or older Mac desktops, all dating back to that Apple //+ that started it all.

Gosh darn. I’m more of an Apple nut than I realize.



Nov 13 2016

Reconsidering the MacBook Air

Adel Gabot



You know, I’ve been thinking I shortchanged having a MacBook Air all these years.

I had one years before. My second, actually. But before that I had the original Apple release of the Air and used it for years until the battery bloated like a balloon and I had to give up on it. I would have other MacBooks after that, but I got my second Air later in life when I felt I needed one again.

Then a year later I hemmed and hawed on having an Air because of the duplication of function with my then-iPad, so I sold it to my brother for a pittance. I got along fine for a while until I got a job where I felt like I needed a laptop again, so I decided to get me a 13″ MacBook Pro, and it was fine.

Then, last week, I got this old mid-2011 11″ MacBook Air with just the originally supplied 128GB SSD and 4GB RAM. It looked great, worked perfectly and the battery was still good at 82% capacity, even after five years of use. I was planning to sell it because I didn’t think I needed one.

But I inadvertently busted it up cleaning it, shorting out the keyboard with my damp cloth, so I had to pony up for repairs (dammit). Since I got it back, I installed Sierra on it, and on a whim, before selling it, I wanted to see if I could install just the barest minimum software on it, just the stuff I actually, truly needed and used and see if I could do actually do it.

So I pared my software to the barest essentials, and came up with a 25GB complete setup. Imagine that. 25GB! All I needed to survive in this world, electronically at least, whittled down to a small system. I didn’t really scrimp on anything, just discarded the self-indulgent flotsam and jetsam. I even added a small library of songs, videos and reading material on there. And it all works, amazingly.

I’ve been using it constantly ever since I installed it, and the convenience and economy of it all floored me. After all that sturm und drang, this was all I needed to survive. All of it housed in a tiny, slim, unbelievably light package that you could slip in an envelop.

I didn’t need those fancy new processors and those big Retina and 4K displays. I didn’t really need that Touch Bar and those USB-C ports, that haptic-enhanced pseudo trackpad and thin bezels.

All I needed was this old, entry-level 11″ MacBook Air. Again.

Of course, in real life I would still need my external drives and all the other peripherals I’ve put together all these years, and all of the accumulated, archived data of my life. And of course I can’t live without my media library. But the point is, my central system can be made this small and compact and I could still survive.


Perhaps I don’t really need a 27″ iMac, 13″ MacBook Pro and iPad mini. (Well, not the MacBook Pro and the iPad mini, at least; I think my self-indulgent side couldn’t let go of my tricked-out iMac.)

But I could do with the MacBook Air for my mobile needs, at least. Why didn’t I realize this before?

Hmm. More food for thought.