Nov 21, 2009

I Struck Gold!

There's an old proverb that always ring a bell everytime I think of investing - "Do not put all one's eggs in a single basket". As my income grows almost on a regular basis, finding a safe place to hide and nurture my 'eggs' can be time consuming at times. Factors such as risks, stability and interest rates are just some of things that need careful consideration before putting my money in.

Very recently, I looked at gold as an investment and I must admit I am very convinced why everyone has to have some of it. Since Gold prices are steadily going up from the time it was traded, I considered buying some for my own however, a few things must always be considered like where to keep it and if it can easily be sold to current market prices.

I stumbled on this website ( where you can easily buy gold and trade them anytime when cash is needed. I listed some commentaries regarding this service as I tried my hands on them:


1. You don't need huge cash deposits to buy gold. A regular middle income dad like me can start saving by buying gold with a minimum of $US36 (that's P1,660+ pesos) deposit. That is the price of 1 gram of gold at the time of this writing and you already have an account which you can deposit on any of the three bank locations (New York, London or Zurich) available and at any of the three donominations - US dollar, Euro or Swiss Francs.

2. Real Gold: The gold that you will buy is a real physical gold, kept in an allocated storage with your name. The gold is kept and secured in your behalf by ViaMat - a BullionVault partner of some sort. Likewise the money earned from trading gold is kept in an international bank and on any of the three currencies of your choice.

3. Real-time monitoring: Depending on the market trends of gold, you can actually see the up-to-the-minute changes in valuation of your gold investment on the Account Balance Page. When the value of gold in the market goes up, the valuation of the amount of gold you keep in BullionVault goes up as well. You can actually see how much your investment grows even over a period a few days.

Buy gold online - quickly, safely and at low prices

4. More control: Control is important most specially when your hard earned money is at stake. Should you want to maximize profits by trading gold, you can easily do it in BullionVault's easy to understand trading platform. Since the value of gold remains steadily up over the years, you may not need to trade at all - just keep on buying. If (just if) the value of gold dips to record lows, you can then sell it to other BullionVault members which may be programmed to do it automatically for you. All one has to do is determine the tolerance level of price 'dips' one can take.

5. Easily converted to cash: In times where cash is badly needed, your gold investment may be sold to a much higher price from the original price you bought it - ofcourse. For gold, fortunately, your money invested will definitely yield a much higher return than putting it in a time deposit.

6. Easy to understand. The user interface of BullionVault is very easy to understand and operate on that even a highschool student can start trading with basic knowledge - I think.


1. You cannot use your credit/debit card if you're thinking of buying a few grams of gold. You have to Bill Pay or wire 

transfer your payment in cases you wish to buy gold. These things take time and it's more convenient for me to use my credit/debit card instead.

2. Member page keeps on logging-out. I know it's for security purposes but I hope they will have an option where the user decides to keep logged-in the entire day.

3. Some video tutorials for beginners who wanted to go into gold trading at BullionVault.

Over all I would recommend BullionVault as part of your savings and investment portfolio. The key advantages that made me 

go into this is: Control, stability and profit.

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Aug 4, 2009

Optimizing PostgreSQL for Production ...

Optimizing PostgreSQL for Production Use.

This is a reference list of things that need to be changed to PostgreSql Server prior to production use. This material is a collection from other resources but outlined in a while to simplify configuration settings for regular database administrators like me.

STEP 1 [Configurations]: Go to PostgreSql config at: file /etc/postgresql/8.*/main/postgresql.conf to change the settings.

STEP 2 [Available Memory]: Know how much memory you need to allocate for your database. If your server is solely dedicated for database use, then your physical memory shall be your available memory. If it is shared with other services such as Apache2 Web Server then, leave an ample memory for others. Generally, allocate a very liberal amount of memory for PostgreSql since databases are naturally resource hogs. My rule of thumb for this is: 

75% of Physical Memory (RAM) = 'Available Memory'
Example: .75 * 2G RAM = [1.5 G RAM]

STEP 3 [Change th config file]

DescriptionSets the number of shared memory buffers used by the database server. Settings significantly higher than the minimum are usually needed for good performance. 
Recommended.25 * [Available Memory]
Special NoteYou need to change the kernel parameter [SHMMAX] to twice the amount of memory allocated for shared_buffers.

DescriptionSpecifies the amount of memory to be used by internal sort operations and hash tables before switching to temporary disk files.
Unitskb     Default: 1024kb
Recommended[Available Memory/max_connections] / 2

DescriptionSpecifies the maximum amount of memory to be used in maintenance operations, such as VACUUMCREATE INDEX, and ALTER TABLE ADD FOREIGN KEY. The value is specified in kilobytes, and defaults to 16384 kilobytes (16 MB). 
Recommended[Available Memory] / 8

DescriptionNumber of disk-page buffers allocated in shared memory for Write-Ahead Log (WAL) data.

DescriptionMaximum distance between automatic WAL checkpoints, in log file segments (each segment is normally 16 megabytes). 
Recommended(([Disk Space Allocation for WAL] / 8) -1 ) / 2
Special Notemust be between 16 to 128 depending on how much disk space are you willing to allocate for WAL.

DescriptionSets the planner's assumption about the effective size of the disk cache that is available to a single index scan.
Recommended[Available Memory] * .75

CPU Operation Costs:

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Jul 23, 2009

Life Insurance: Permanent vs. Term

The whole idea of getting a life insurance is purely for protection however, there are now a wide variety of life insurances, bundled with some form investments,promising better returns (cash value) and boasts wider coverage. But, before you pull your wallet and get excited please ALWAYS take time to know what you want, how much you can spare, and for how long you wish to keep the policy. Carefully selecting the right life insurance can spare you from disappoitments and save you huge sums of money in the future.

After careful deliberation, you'll surely be faced with the million dollar question - should you buy a permanent life insurance or term insurance? Here are some useful facts and tips you should consider first before buying.

1. Buy Life Insurance for Protection ONLY
Life insurance is NOT an investment vehicle and should never be considered as such. Many life insurance policies nowadays are bundled with some form of investment component that primarily makes your premium very expensive. To give you an idea, Term Life Insurance will only cost you around 10% of the actual cost you'll get from Permanent Life Insurance having the same coverage. Also, another reason worth mentioning is that investment component in permanent life insurance policies generally yields very low returns because it does not earn cash value in the first two years from your policy application.

2. Term Life: More value for less
If your young or a middle-aged dad like me, getting a term life insurance policy make alot more sense. A term life coverage at a younger age makes your premium very affordable and the likelihood of you cancelling your policy is less because it's cheap and sustainable. Fact is, many permanent life insurance policies are cancelled in the first 10 years for the very same reason.

3. Keep it lean and simple.
Do not buy some additional riders you wouldn't really need and most probably will not use. Insurance riders contain a lot of exclusions that is usually written in fine prints for very obvious reasons - they don't want you to know. Riders also drive your premium payments up and put more money into your agents pockets. The rule of thumb when getting a policy is, keep it simple and lean. The only exclusion to this rule, in my opinion, is the Waiver of Premium Rider (WoPR). This rider suspends premium payment but keeps your policy active when you become disabled.

4. Buy only from reliable source.
Always do your homework by knowing the financial standing of the insurance company you're buying a policy from. Don't be deceived by nice looking brochures or verbal promises made by your agent. Know their financial standing and get opinions from others. You have to know and make sure the company will still be there when you need them.

5. Select a professional insurance agent.
Surely, the first people who will approach you to buy their insurance are either some very close friends of yours or your relatives. My brother bought his from his mother-in-law which he eventually cancelled. My advice is stay away from them and get someone not related to you that can equally be trusted. This will make it easier for you to say no on offers you don't need or not be ashamed should you want to settle for a low-premium policy. This is one good reason why I find it difficult to cancel my policy which I bought from a close friend.

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May 17, 2009

Healthcare Reform: Things they should teach our doctors in med school.


Foreword: This article was kept back for quite some time until today for the reason that it might cause a stir among many of our business partners, affiliates and a handful of close friends. I do not intend to discredit the medical profession in general nor embarrass anyone. My sole intention is to let them know that they should put people first above all before themselves.


Quality healthcare is one of the very basic benefit every Filipino should and always have. Yet, even those who have and can afford, cannot truly appreciate health care in its true sense of the word. I'd say, much of the problems in service delivery  lies entirely not our government or the system but from the principal drivers of health care - the doctors.

I have listed some common and very annoying habits that doctors do or doesn't do in the practice of their profession and what med schools should teach to our young graduates.


1. Respect other people's time.

Have you ever seen a doctor who came in for work on time? Probably there are but in my experience 9 out of 10 doctors never make it on time. What's even more disheartening is the fact that people graciously accept doctors' tardiness. No one expresses anger or disappointment whenever the doctor come in late for work. Instead, they are greeted with respect and reverence much like greeting a priest in a confessional. Also, our chronically tardy doctors were given 'safe passes' or 'blanket' acceptance for such socially unacceptable behavior. It's high time that we should express to our doctors that our time is equally important as their time and that there are no excuse good enough for disrespecting our covenant of properly keeping time.


2. Always consider patient's financial capacity.

The cost of health care including diagnostic tests and medicines are steep these days most specially with the advancement of very modern medical technology. Ever wonder why doctors prescribe too many lab tests and not even ask if we can afford to pay for it? In retrospect, doctors should always qualify the financial capacity of the patient to pay for medical bills and that procedures should be conservative and given in accordance to patients' economic status. In other words, before an expensive procedure is to be given to a patient, a low cost alternative must first be considered unless extremely necessary.

If it may help to understand, doctors get as much as 15% to 30% percent (commission) for every laboratory referrals they make to private laboratories. The more referrals they make, the more income they generate - that is how the 'game' is played. Sad but true, there are no prevailing health care standards placed by our Government to better monitor and manage medical practice, much like an ISO for the manufacturing industry, and so doctors are left to do basically anything they want without being accountable for anything.


3. Give what is due to the Government.

Doctors make poor businessmen. A dishonest businessmen at that. In fact, they don't consider their practice a business at all; probably another excuse not to give official receipts and being chronically tardy. Doctors don't declare how much patients and money they earn for medical consultations. Doctors don't declare their commissions or referral fees they get from private laboratories and hospitals. Doctors don't declare cash gifts and bonuses. And, doctor's refuse to deduct taxes from services rendered to insurance holders. Well, if there is anything these doctors want to deduct from, it probably is their obligation of service and charity to their countrymen.


4. Stop asking favors.

We are in the business of health care and, part from being that, we hire doctors to manage our clinics. If there is truth to what our medical director once said that: "doctors need medical reps for conference sponsorships". Is it really a need or just merely a want? I pity the medical reps these days for they are reduced by these doctors to become their personal sponsors for conferences and even their dinner parties. This is one major reason why our medicines are among the most expensive in Asia because of the representation costs incurred by drug companies to these doctors. Yes, your doctor is the reason why they are expensive.


5. Work with the system.

Many doctors always seems to feel that they are always a cut above the rest. This probably stemmed from long and expensive education that they feel they should be given special treatment. Thus, being socially placed above the pedestal, they feel that they can work their best if there are less rules to follow. Rules that particularly govern their professional practice.

I can vividly remember when we first installed our first medical director to our chain of medical clinics and discussed on house rules and policies, they (the doctors) started feeling very uncomfortable.


The practice of medicine has changed dramatically over the years most specially with the advent of modern medical technology. We were able to probe deeper and understand primary causes of diseases and how we can protect ourselves from them. But, despite all the advancements, some basic yet very important things hasn't changed and that is how our modern shamans (doctors) practice their profession for the sake of science?

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Apr 18, 2009

Creative ideas to force yourself into saving 'automatically'.

Relaxed wLaptop_LoRes

I must admit, I am not really big on saving money much less on investing. However, we all need to save and make money one way or the other; if we atleast care about securing our future or our children's future.

The only way I know then on saving money is the same way how most people still do now - apportion an income and place it in a bank. Very crude and ineffective. No wonder saving money takes so much discipline and effort to make it work.

But before we jump in, allow me to say that there are two key elements that must always be considered when saving money. Elements needed to make saving money to work for you, every time. First is doing it 'automatically' and second, protecting it from yourself .

1) Saving 'Automatically'. This means having someone apportion your money for savings on your behalf with no conscious effort. A common example may be automatic deduction by your payroll officer or automatic fund transfers by your bank.

2) Protect from yourself. These may be processes or programs that limits you from touching your nest eggs from unnecessary withdrawals for a  specific period of time.


So what are other ways to save and how do we start it? Here it is:

1. Increase your monthly HDMF (Home Development Mutual Fund) contributions.

I am pretty sure that right now, you are paying only the minimum required by the government for your HDMF or PAG-IBIG. And, what still many of you do not know is that, PAG-IBIG also functions like a bank (a provident saving bank).

Increasing your PAG-IBIG contributions doubles or triples your money since this will be matched equally by your employer. So, say for example, your monthly contribution of 50 bucks is matched equally by your employer with another 50 bucks. That's easy money! Also, since it is a savings deducted together with your other obligations like your SSS; it is non-tax deductible and earns dividends overtime.

This means the more you contribute the more you earn overtime and without you even knowing it.


2. Get a savings-linked annuities.

Annuities are premium payments made on regular intervals like monthly, quarterly or annually. There are some non-traditional investment vehicles that are now linked to savings. A very good example is a whole life insurance where you pay annuities until the age when you plan to retire and a portion of these premium payments goes to your savings. This way, one is compelled to pay and save at the same time to get covered by an insurance.

I got mine at PruLife UK with a no-frill life insurance plan. Scout for a plan that fits your needs and make sure its linked to savings. To do this 'automatically', ask your payroll officer to do an automatic salary deduction and directly deposit the premium payments to the insurance company's bank account.


3. Save windfalls and extra incomes to savings-linked annuities or other investments.

Yes we do have windfalls once in a while and these may be in a form of bonuses or successful business deals. Windfalls or extra incomes provide for us an opportunity to advance our payments on mortgages, savings-linked annuities, or to buy more investments. The whole idea of advancing payment on savings-linked annuities other than increasing your savings is to protect you from difficult times such as unemployment.

But do not advance your savings-linked annuities too much as you might be putting all your nest eggs in one basket. An 18 to 24 advance payment will do the job and give you enough protection during hard times.


4. Simplify investment. Get a Managed Fund.

I've written in my previous blog article that I am completely opposed to putting my savings in a bank since it only earns very little interest plus other deductions. So it's really not a wise move if you do and it's only the banks that earns from your hard earned money.

So where do you put your money? Put it in a managed fund. I prefer managed fund because its simple, balanced yet yields higher returns, and less time consuming. This way, my money is diversified across different investments thus making it more secure in the long run.


5. Pretend that you didn't get a raise.

If you do get a raise, I highly advise you NOT to tell your wife or else... you know I mean. Since you and your family has adjusted to the lifestyle prior to your salary raise, keep your mouth shut and save the extra to any investment vehicles that you may have. Again, you may pay in advance your annuities or make another investments.

You can the again negotiate with your payroll officer to direct deposit the raise to annuities of your choice.


6. Buy Certificate of Deposits (CDs).

A certificate of deposit is a promissory note issued by a bank. It is a time deposit that restricts holders from withdrawing funds on demand. Although it is still possible to withdraw the money, this action will often incur a penalty.

CDs only offers a small annual rate of return, usually around 5%-6% per year but the good part is it prevents you from touching your money unnecessarily. It also provides another good option to place your windfalls or extra income since it only requires a minimum of five thousand (Php 5,000.00) pesos per certificate.


As you can see, there are ways to force yourself to save and there are still some more out there. So far, I only included those that works for me and still slowly increases my savings contribution every so often.


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Apr 16, 2009

That Crazy Horse


That crazy horse! I think about it a lot these days.
Missing the sulky and misguided adventures, that
brought me in countless pits of dangers and mindful follies.
She was a foolish ride no doubt, but fun nonetheless.

Since that dusky hour of our depart,
immediately I felt the weight around my waist.
Dragged and lost into lands unfamiliar;
land of virtual peace and love. So they say.

That crazy horse may be truly crazy.
yet brings the warm glow of youth and,
the liberating but wondrous joy of unpretentious mind.
With this I say, I want to break lose and find my crazy horse.

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Mar 15, 2009

5 Simple Rules to Saving Money

Save Money

Many of us would agree that saving money is an essentially important part of our daily activities yet, don't know exactly how to start and sustain it.

When I was a young kid, I was taught the value of saving money and the very traditional way of doing it - saving a few amount and putting it in a bank. That's it! There were no specific instructions or rules given on how to achieve this task and how I will manage to sustain it.

These 5 simple rules is what works for me and surely may work for you too. I wrote them here so I can always remember on how I did it and to help others who wishes to get themselves on track to saving wisely.


1. Set your purpose for saving money.

Just like with any other things you wish to do, you've got to have a roadmap on where you plan to go. Saving money is no exception and you should know where to put your money on and for what purpose.Knowing your goal and purpose for saving money also serve as an inspiration. It is an index to your faithfulness to save.

Some examples of purposes for saving money are: Retirement Plan, Children's College Education, Buying a house, and Emergency Funds.


2. Start now and just do it!

Just with any natural laws of Physics, it takes more energy to move an idle object. It is the same thing with habits, the hardest part is always to get something started.

The best time to get your savings habit (if you haven't done so), is to start NOW! One of the best advise I got on getting things done was from a Nike commercial that says: "Just do it!".  When I strongly believe on something that I know is right for me,  I just do it , take it head on and not ask too many questions- period.

So, instead of being critical about things while you waste time thinking, getting it started NOW and think as you move along is the best way to make things done.


3. Pay yourself first.

This is nothing new but rarely done. This means that before you pay the government (for taxes), your utilities or mortgage; you have to pay yourself first.

Most often than not, I hear families do it the other way around - pay the bills first then what ever is left will be for savings. This is a HUGE, HUGE mistake that is why many unsurprisingly, never save enough for their future.

How much should you be saving? A rule of thumb is to save between 10% to 15% of your gross monthly income - I save 17%. If your in your middle thirties and haven't really saved much, I suggest you to save as much as possible including some windfalls like bonuses or cash gifts. Catch up on the lost years that you haven't.


4. Do it automatically.

One thing I don't and never plan to do is budgeting. So you ask how I manage my savings without budgeting? I do it automatically!

Doing it automatically means 'automatically' deducting my income (be it for my insurance or managed funds) before it even reaches my hands. This way, I don't get tempted to use my money from other purposes I don't intend to buy. Discipline is something I don't have and so I work only with whatever income is left after deducting 'automatically' for my savings.


5. Do not keep it in a bank!

For many of us, we put all our savings in a bank where it only grows 1% per year. This is precisely the reason why I never put my nest eggs in them because you virtually inhibit your money from growing.

Be wise and put your money on managed funds or other investments where you have complete control on how your money is invested on. Many managed funds have at least an annual compound interest rate of 10% per annum.

Would you still keep it in a bank?

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Mar 4, 2009

The SPIDER Rules: A Middle-Aged Dad's Guide to Personal Finance.


I am neither an accountant nor I claim to be a financial guru but I can certainly tell what makes sense if you're a middle-aged dad like me raising a family and securing our financial future. I have learned that there are only six simple rules (aka S.P.I.D.ER. Rules) for one to ensure future financial security. These rules spans time, income class or educational attainment. The degree of financial success depends on how much effort you give into all of these.


Rule 1: Save

The act of saving is the first basic step toward future financial security. As a rule, one should save 10-15% of one's gross monthly income - I save 17% monthly and I still live quite comfortably. Man's appetite for personal conveniences (lifestyle) is insatiable yet can only be controlled by one limited resource - money. To limit and simplify my lifestyle, my savings get automatically deducted from my paycheck and I live with what i have left. Simple yet effective.


Rule 2: Protect

Since I am a family man of two children, I have to protect my savings and family from unforeseen circumstances of death or debilitating diseases. I chose a no-frill permanent life insurance just enough to cover me for these unexpected events. My life insurance serve also as a savings plan with a 10% per annum interest.


Rule 3: Invest

Investing is an act of contributing money to make money. Savings alone is not enough to secure one's future - you have to multiply it.I started mine in mutual funds then, when I accumulated enough, it will be invested on businesses that provide a much greater return.


Rule 4: Debt Management

It is moronic for me to say that debt is bad because it never is. It turns bad only when it becomes unmanaged to a point where one can no longer pay for it. Here is my rule when getting a loan: only borrow money to make money. Buying a car for family use will not put money in your pocket and buying your dream house won't either. Manage your debt and put it in a controllable level.


Rule 5: Educate

As with any activity like a camping trip or a basketball game, it needs careful planning. Good planning starts when we are financially educated and really doing what we learned. I started by reading books from R. Kiyosaki and D. Bach and browse for more on the web. Learn as much as you can. Let education be your map to your future.


Rule 6: Revenue Streams

Even though I'm a part business owner of our health care company, I am salaried just like any employee in the office, but the pay is much higher. Having learned not to be complacent, I find creative and new ways to make money. And, Whatever I earn goes to the bank or some other investments. Everyone has special skills and anyone can profit from them. Be it in cooking, web design, and writing; you can turn them into profit and who knows, any of these special skills may become a huge income generating business for you and your family.


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Feb 5, 2009

Physician House Calls : Reviving an Old Practice to Modern Communities.


When was the last time you remembered a doctor visiting you in your home and see how you are doing? I was fortunate enough to have such personal care when I was still a young lad, that kind doctor was our neighbor. From that time forward, going to the doctor's office was really somewhat a luxury. It is since I don't have much time to spend and wait in line for doctors that always come in late for work .

In cases of medical conditions where you need to urgently see a doctor at wee hours of the night, where do you go? I cannot go to OPD section since they close at night. So I am left with no choice but to endure the steep cost of medical care in the Emergency Room, even if my case isn't an emergency.

We in the health care insurance business recognize the this serious flaw in the delivery of health care services to our countrymen. More often than not, the HMOs shoulder most of these unnecessary expenses incurred thereby increasing their utilization.

Being fully aware of this situation, KAINOS Health Management, Inc (our company) has come up with a simple plan that isn't really new at all; but a long gone practice - physician house call.

Yes, we believe that genuine health care should be patient centric and that, a personal and convenient approach is necessary at all times - even at night. Providing house calls is a very welcome convenience most specially for parents who have not enough resources to visit the nearest hospital or can't wait until morning to consult a very tardy doctor.

Visit our new program on our company website at to learn more.

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Feb 2, 2009

Google Mail Going Offline!


98290_matter I don't mean to cause panic to everyone who uses Google for their mails but yes, Google has pulled the plug from it's mail service.

Google has released from their Labs, Google Offline Mail service which means you can now view, search and compose Google Emails even when no Internet connection is available. Isn't that exciting?

How Google does this? If you're using IE7 or Firefox, they will prompt you to install a small background service called Google Gears in your computer. Google Gears will be the one responsible for caching and synchronizing all your email data with their remote servers. It does this automatically without you having to notice it after your first sync process.

What I like about GMail over outlook is that it is:

  • simple and straightforward,
  • full feature and very fast searching capability,
  • huge storage space for mails - 7Gb, and
  • very portable.

Now, I have every reason to tell my two brothers to dump their old, clunky and highly inefficient M$ Outlook and move in to Google Mail service instead.

Enjoy your offline email browsing with Google Mail

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Jan 24, 2009

The Folly Of Action Group Meetings


I was the host tonight of a BCBP Action Group Meeting which we hold once every week to different households of each member couple. It is a fellowship community where my wife and I recently joined to worship Christ and commune with other members as well. Yes we had the usual stuff of studying the Bible and of course the personal sharing.

When the sharing started based on the reflections we had on a verse from the Bible, my wife and I had only a little over five minutes to say our part because the other couple took almost an hour to say their piece!

After the session, the host will normally serve food for the guest and we did. Since I am the host, I thought I will have the opportunity to share more and run the group's conversation. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. I was almost quiet that evening because their 'chit-chats' never seem to cut and it's difficult getting in between their conversations. I however tried to manage my way twice to get through and start to say my piece. Yes, they stopped and listened for a few seconds then they just smiled back. Immediately after that, they shot back and continued on  as if I did not talk at all or I wasn't there. I was not even asked for my opinion.

Sensing that it was hopeless for me to join their conversation, I just retracted and kept silent the whole night. Now, how is that for a group sharing?!

My advice:

I have only few advices to give to these people and I know it's not that difficult...

  1. that they should listen more than they talk,
  2. give time for others to talk,
  3. and, be kind to the host to run the show - it's their house anyway!

I'd say that this is complete disregard and therefore disrespectful to my authority as a host. I felt that my house was turned into a cheap restaurant and I am the waiter!

With this, I am very,very disappointed. Sorry guys.

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Jan 23, 2009

Half Past Eleven


One day got infuriated by something and someone who isn't worth mentioning about now. These words just came spewing out like a dormant volcano rumbling and throwing rocks of angry words. Nope that volcano hasn't erupted yet, it will soon be and pressure is building up fast.

These I write ...


A self-righteous man is a self-centered one who

thinks of himself as all knowing and blameless in all his

hideous acts.


He who does not accept personal shortcomings

has a very short memory and lives a life as short

as what he can only remember


An agitated man never seeks the

company of peace, but rather digs

himself in the graveyard of loneliness.


A man who claims perfection is

himself living a less-idyllic life.


Anger only reaps resentment. It's perilous

path leads to unfathomable depths of destruction,

loneliness and regret.


A leader with a broken moral  compass,

leads a pack of sheep into a rocky cliff of

what he claims a promise land.


A well guarded thought and tongue is more

respectable than one who speaks

folly and vile words.


When do you say it's over?

When do you say it's enough?

When do you say you can't?

A quiet man never speaks a word about it,

nor moves a hair but

shows when he disappears.


A true man's value can be appreciated

only abundantly when there is

less of him available.


Great destruction can only come from

the least of them all.


A proud man never learns to accept defeat

but when defeat is inevitable, he in turn blames the

world for his miseries.


In the eyes of a proud man, he is blameless

and remains that way until all sight is lost.

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Jan 22, 2009

Initiating an Almost 'Paper-less' Office


I work in a health care insurance industry and in this business, paper works are undeniably enormous and quite unsightly too. Though the initiative of doing 'paper-less' has been floated before, no real plans were laid out and no real participation by the management has been committed.

We all clearly say that doing 'paper-less' provides many potential benefits, and cost is one of them. Whenever people encounters challenges on implementing this program, all of a sudden they withdraw and not talk about it. True enough, it is very challenging - so this is where the fun and excitement begins!

When we talk about a 'paper-less' program, it is synonymous to using a special software to manage all paper works for distribution and storage. There are many softwares (aka Document Management Softwares - DMS) available in the market but many of which are insanely expensive and will surely make you lock-in to their service - that is something we do not want of course.

For several years, I have had the opportunity to work on several different DMS's and I would say there are many good ones out there as there are many bad ones too. One thing to consider as well is the company that makes these software and we wanted to make sure that they will still be there even after two decades of use.

What are the qualities of a good DMS?

A good DMS must atleast have the following properties:

  • Easily accessible: All employees must have a ready access the uploaded documents for retrieval and review so there will be no physical distribution of documents that will eat up their desktops.
  • Sharing: Uploaded documents must have the capability to share it with others based on the privileges provided by the owner of the document.
  • Accountability: This is done in two ways: 1) version control to monitor all changes made by every single user and, 2) document permission to set security restrictions to every document.

GoogleDocs & Spreadsheet - A good way to start.

To give you an idea on how our office is setup, we have 60 plus employees both in our insurance business and medical clinics which are located in other parts of the city. Yes, papers are used a lot so my challenge here is to significantly minimize paper usage as much as possible if it cannot be remove at all. Since we are using GoogleApps platform anyway (thank goodness for that), for our email, calendar and instant messaging service; we might as well maximize all other services like using GoogleDocs & Spreadsheets as our Document Management System (DMS).

Implementation Plan

Sometimes, the only best option to make a plan like this successful is not to give your employees any other option. ;) Really! Believe me it works all the time. Below is my way of implementing an almost 'paper-less' office:

  1. Make a memo to everyone concerned telling them about your plan and when it will be effective. The schedules of training, transition and implementation must be clearly stated to avoid potential conflicts in the future.
  2. Create a simplified guideline and policy regarding this initiative. This will help the transition to paper-less easy for everyone to follow.
  3. Provide training sessions and learning resources. Since most of the things they need to know can be found on the Internet. I provided our employees links to videos and interactive tutorials for them to study. training sessions are provided only if there are some advanced questions to be asked. Doing this saves time and effort on my part.
  4. Remove all MS Office or Open Office applications installed on every desktop. This will ensure that all employees will be forced to use Google Docs and Spreadsheets and that these documents will be saved in Google servers.
  5. Disallow document saving in any local hard drives or USB drives. This ensures better security and protection in cases of theft, calamity or virus attacks.
  6. Provide regular review and feedback sessions to measure success of the project plan.

I have given my staff relatively three(3) weeks for the transition. With that, I think that is ample time for them to adopt to the new system.

How are you implementing yours?

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Jan 18, 2009

Me, My beer and the Sinulog Festival.


Oh yes, it's that time of the year once again where people flock and stroll around the City 'til early morning the following day - the Sinulog Festival. Quite honestly, I have outgrown this event and wanted to stay as far as possible from loud noises and heavy traffic. However, I've got two 'jumpy' kids who are very excited to get a tattoo and watch the street dancing.

So in preparation, we got all our things packed for a sleep over at our office (Jones Avenue) so we won't need to worry about waking-up very early in the morning for the Sinulog.  We also went out for a dinner with a couple who has been my long time buddy since high school and shared a nice chat and laugh with his wife this evening.

I guess, I would probably enjoy Sinulog more if my wife isn't with me all the time. If given the chance, I would probably sit on some small bar and drink, get to know people and have a good and nice chat. Or probably sit on one corner and just watch the parade pass by and enjoy my quite time alone. But then again, it's just me wanting some time off alone sometime.


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Jan 12, 2009

The Troubled Global Economy: "In Greed We Trust"


The year 2008 as many of us are aware, unless you are living in some remote timbuktu, that we are in a very serious global economic crisis. Banks failing and closing down, unprecedented job losses, and fear of uncertain future is slowly becoming a reality. Many says, it stemmed from too many bad loans from the housing and banking industry thus, the credit crunch. To add more insult to injury, Bernie Madof (once called an investment guru) has successfully built the largest Ponzie scheme probably in the entire history of humankind. He made people believe that their money was safe and growing but, wasn't really there.

Fifty billion dollars, all gone by just ONE man!

With this we asked ourselves, how can a very strong economy like the US, likened to titanic in pride, strength and might; be sinking in deep, cold and lonely waters of debt? Haven't they learned from their 1929 experience or do they just have a very short memory? Complex as their economy may be to balance their worksheet, their economy will even become more sour unless people start changing their mindset about themselves - that the world does not revolve around them!

The American economy is built on the capitalist principles of buying and wanting more. For them, the seed of economic growth is not providing the needs, but feeding every individual's urge of wanting more. You wake up everyday and you see endless ads and commercials on the roads, radio, TV, internet and virtually everywhere. Capitalism has successfully found and capitalized one resource that is virtually unlimited in supply, and that is GREED!

And also because of greed, the capitalists invented a tool to suffice their endless wants - credit. People started buying on credit more than what they can pay for and splurging to their hearts desire until more credit is needed. This went on for years until the bubble has finally bursts.

Such misfortune is very embarrassing to many Americans, it simply blows their PRIDE and cannot accept the fact that they are in deep, deep trouble. To save face, they are minting more money out than ever before in the hopes it will stimulate their economy once again. The sad reality is, they are just passing the buck to their children and their grand children so they don't have to worry about it now.

If I am to put a mathematical formula on how we all got into this mess, I would simply expound it into this very simple notation:

                          (Capitalism + Greed) * Pride = Trouble

From this point forward we ask ourselves, where will it stop and when will it end? Is Capitalism the culprit of all these? Is it all the fault of Allan Greenspan? I say, this is all a case of GREED and PRIDE. Since we are all in it together, I guess it is but prudent to "grab the bull by its horns" , accept the consequences and not pass the buck to their children.

This is where I leave my message for you to reflect and understand how we can fix the problem and prevent it in the future. There is no quick and easy fix to this. So we all better brace ourselves for the very rough road ahead and pray to God for forgiveness and comfort.

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