February 22, 2017

Netflix Philippines Is Offering Another One-Month Free Trial For Subscribers Who Defaulted On The First Trial

I was among those who first signed up with Netflix when the video-streaming company started offering their services in the Philippines last year. The main reason I joined way back then was because they offered a one-month free trial for new subscribers. Their monthly fee back then was $10 a month. I took advantage of the free trial for new subscribers with the plan of renewing my subscription when the trial expires.

However, when I signed up, I was disappointed with the dearth of movies and shows in their collection. The collection is very limited. There were tons of movies and shows that were available for American subscribers that were not available for subscribers in the Philippines.

I only watched a few movies and series from their service. My free trial period expired without much fanfare. I decided not to continue with my subscription since I didn't see any improvements in their collection.

Fast forward to today (several months later), I received an email from Netflix informing me that they are offering another free trial period for folks like me who defaulted on the first trial. I jumped on the opportunity of course. Signing in, I sighed with relief upon seeing the much-improved inventory of movies, documentaries, and television series. It looks like I might actually keep my subscription this time when the trial period expires.

Good job Netflix. If you want to take advantage of the new free trial, check out your inbox. I assume that Netflix only sends emails to those who are eligible for the new offer.

February 21, 2017

Initial Thoughts On The Proposed Malacanang Social Media Corps

This coming Thursday (February 23), the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) will hold a media gathering at the University of the Philippines with the aims of acknowledging the "the power of social media" and presenting the "draft Social Media Policy before various interest groups and industry stakeholders, which include the academe, students, bloggers, mainstream media, and those in the legal profession". This is another step towards giving bloggers media accreditation to cover events in Malacanang.

My initial thoughts on this one is that I support it. With reservations of course since I am yet to see the "draft social media policy" created by the PCOO. I'm an advocate of government transparency so I find the proposed Malacanang Social Media Corps as a welcome development. More minds covering the palace means more sources of information. I would not expect bloggers and social media personalities to get the same privileges and the same levels of access accorded to the members of the Malacanang Press Corps. I think it would be an unfair setup for a blogger to have the same privileges as an accredited journalist who dedicated years of his life studying and practicing journalism. For instance, it would be arrogant of me (a blogger) to march up the Palace steps and demand that I have the same access levels as that of an Inquirer reporter.

Of course, there's a chance that the things I've said above would change once I see the "draft social media policy". This draft is the most important part of this proposal. Will mainstream journalists, bloggers, social media personalities, and the PCOO agree on the contents of the draft? That is yet to be known.

I'll end this piece by giving credit to whom credit is due. The proposal to allow bloggers and social media personalities to cover Malacanang events came about after pro-Duterte blogger RJ Nieto of Thinking Pinoy asked President Duterte himself if bloggers can be allowed to cover Palace events. Nieto made the request when he and other pro-Duterte bloggers and social media personalities visited Malacanang two weeks ago. Luckily, the President said yes. I'm not a fan of Thinking Pinoy. I disagree with a lot of what he says. I also express complete disapproval of his doxxing techniques and his proliferation of mere rumors and unsubstantiated claims. At this time, the man deserves a pat in the back for being instrumental in the ongoing development of the Malacanang Social Media Corps.

February 19, 2017

The Cutlass In After Earth Is Probably The Most Dull-Witted Weapon In The History Of Sci-Fi

M. Night Shyamalan's After Earth has a rating of 11% on Rotten Tomatoes. That's all you need to know. It's bad. Really bad. Alynda Wheat of People Magazine summed it up well:"The dialogue is as wooden as the acting, and the plot is just silly. Truly, the only thing the film has going for it are some occasionally cool special effects."

After Earth has tons of silly stuff. I'll forgive them all except for the stupid cutlass. Do they really want me to believe that 1,000 years after the 21st century, man's best defense against gigantic aliens is a freaking cutlass? Yeah, yeah, the weapon has blades on both ends of the handle. That's cool but the fact remains that you have got to be extra stupid to use it as your main weapon against a 20-foot alien monster.

After Earth is devoid of guns. Guns would have been much more effective against the alien monsters. If you watch the movie, the alien monsters actually shoot some kind of bullets from their mouths. That means they can also attack at a distance. And what weapons do the humans have? Cutlasses. Freaking cutlasses. Weapons that you can only use at close quarters.
According to the makers of After Earth: "The cutlass is a Ranger's greatest weapon; an extension of the strength that comes from within. The lightweight, handheld weapon is both versatile and elegant, using hundreds of metal fibers to form numerous weapon configurations from both ends of the handle. Used in attack, self-defense and survival conditions, the Cutlass blends seamlessly into a Ranger's biosuit and can be activated with quick finger inputs on the handle. The C-40 combat model has a total of 22 configurations, including short blade, spear, long, blade, dagger and more."

In short, it's just a giant Swiss Army Knife. A pistol from World War II Germany would have been more effective against the alien monsters.

More Unnecessary Hate From Sass Rogando Sasot For Leni Robredo

Do nothing. They'll take you to the guillotine. Do something. They'll still take you to the guillotine. This is what's happening to Vice-President Leni Robredo in the hands of her most ardent critics like Sass Rogando Sasot. As I've said before, Sasot and her ilk would jump on every opportunity to drag Robredo through the mud. Even if no opportunity arrives, they'd still drag her through the mud. Take for instance Robredo's recent appearance at a youth gathering. She spoke and tried to inspire the gathered youth leaders on issues surrounding the country. She told them to persevere because they have the potential to change the course of the country's future.

That's a good thing, right? One of the top political leaders of the nation telling the youth to not be afraid and become catalysts for change. In my book, that's a great cause. Apparently, Sass has a different opinion. As always, she's trying to discredit another good deed from the Vice-President. And of course, she only posted a screenshot of the CNN article. She didn't even bother to put a link in the description to the article. Why? Simple. She wants her "thousands" of followers to merely read the headline. Because to hell with context, right? And as usual, the circlejerking in the comments section starts. You know, people talking about "lugaws" and "buntis".

Anyway, here's the link to the CNN article that the "realist political analyst" from the Netherlands never bothered to include in her post. The youth forum was an event by the AISEC, "the world's largest non-profit student-run organization in the world".
One last question to Sasot: what's wrong in telling the youth that they have the potential to change the future? Telling them that they have potential is one way of telling them that they can do great things if they pursue them. Now that's being "realist". That's a much better way to put it than telling them that they can 100% halt crime and corruption within six (6) months.

Look at these young people. As the AISEC website proclaims, they have to activate their potential if they want to accomplish great things. Not delude themselves that they can do this or do that in 3 to 6 months with zero basis.

February 14, 2017

On Sass Rogando Sasot, Leni Robredo, And Lorraine Badoy's Appointment As A DSWD Assistant Secretary

I don't have any major problems with Lorraine Marie Badoy's appointment as an assistant secretary for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). A lot of people are saying that there's something fishy about it since Badoy is one of the most vocal defenders and supporters of President Duterte online. Isn't that obvious already? Let's not kid ourselves. One of the major reasons (if not the biggest reason) why she got the position is because of her passionate support for the man from Davao. Period. She affectionately refers to him as "Digong my labs". Her personal blog contains "digong" in the domain name. I totally understand why the Duterte administration took her in. It's politics. Why appoint someone who would later bite you in the back when there's Badoy in the corner (dashing smile and all) who has been very consistent with her "Digong my labs" rhetoric. Most politicians would choose a fan over a critic. No earth-shaking revelations here at all.

DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo has confirmed Badoy's appointment. Taguiwalo is one of those people in Duterte's roster that I like and respect. And I'd like to assume that she had a hand in deciding to get Badoy inside the agency. If Taguiwalo thinks Badoy has the goods to get the job done, I'm with her. I have my reservations, of course. As a follower of Badoy's posts on social media, she strikes me as an intelligent woman. But there are some things she says that makes me scratch my head and ask myself "Does she really believe that?". And she does stupid things sometimes. Like that post about a little school project by one of Vice-President Robredo's daughters. I found it tasteless and almost juvenile. But we are all capable of doing stupid things especially when we are too invested in something. I hope she does well in her new government position.

Badoy also happens to be among those who have taken among themselves the social media job of dragging Vice-President Robredo through the mud every chance they get. Freedom of expression, they say. Cool, as long as they keep their criticisms grounded to what's real. Unfortunately, a lot of their criticisms are built upon rumors, unsubstantiated claims, and conspiracy theories. For instance, let's take Sass Rogando Sasot's comment on Badoy's appointment and the outrage that has come from critics.
See what I mean when I said that they would drag Robredo through the mud every chance they get? This is an example. Badoy's appointment isn't even about Robredo. I get it that Sasot is responding to those who are questioning Badoy's appointment. But this rebuttal is juvenile. Still using the "kabit" issue? You have proof? Why drag Robredo into the issue surrounding Badoy's appointment? Why not just come up with an argument to show that Badoy deserves the position? What does Robredo got to do with this whole thing?