Category: Personal Experiences

When your father dies, people say many things to you, much of it the same thing. Sorry for your loss. Condolences. May he rest in peace. You will not remember words. You will remember kindness.
Mary Schmich, Chicago Tribune

I had a privilege of being under one of Raimund Genes teams as he led the Core Technology group in Trend Micro. He was a lively speaker, a vibrant storyteller and a true visionary.

I remember my happy moments with Raimund; when he caught me wearing a controversial shirt in the office (and his reaction was precious), when one time he complimented me on a blog article I did for the TrendLabs Security Intelligence Blog :), while attending his training on presentation skills, he asked me why I have that kinda evil smile on my face while he was presenting one slide and I awkwardly have to explain the reason why. And who would forget all his hilariously catchy costumes at our TrendLabs Christmas Parties. Fun times indeed!!!

I will greatly miss his presentations, his cute way of saying “The malware, the threats, the cybercriminals”, his unique accent, his explanations on European laws (he usually discussed it together with the US ones) and his thoughts on how it may impact my projects and modules plus a lot of other technical and geeky discussions. I will forever cherish the learning and insights from Raimund.

I’m sharing our CEO’s Tribute to Raimund.


<video courtesy of Youtube and TrendMicro.com>

Words cannot express my sadness so let me share some lines from an old article I’ve read.

When your father dies, it doesn’t matter that other people’s fathers have died, that fathers have been dying since human time was born. What matters in the moment of his death is that he was your father. Your one and only. Your loss is unique, profound, yours alone.

When your father dies, people say many things to you, much of it the same thing. Sorry for your loss. Condolences. May he rest in peace. You will not remember words. You will remember kindness.

When your father dies, the small particulars of his life, the kind you barely noticed when he was alive, grow into revelations.

When your father dies, you will become more intrigued by the life he built from the childhood he was given.

When your father dies, you start to know him better. “Oh,” you think, a long time later, “now I get it.”

But every now and then, when the sky is a particular shade of blue, or you spot a man with a familiar build on the street, or you hear the chatter of a ballgame on the radio, you will feel a knot in your chest, and to no one in particular, you’ll say, “Dad.”
🙁

More of that touching article here courtesy of Chicago Tribune and Mary Schmich.

My thoughts are with Raimund’s family, his wife Martina, and his two sons.

And I am offering a short prayer for Raimund to end this post.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord,
And let Your perpetual light shine upon him,
May he rest in peace, Amen!

Amen!


“It is a fool who repeats the same actions expecting a different outcome”
-Grom Hellscream, Lord of the Clans by Christie Golden

I was reading my friends article entitled Filipinos actually love their bloggers via Manila Bulletin  and I did some reflection on why there are very few posts here in menardconnect.com recently. So many reasons here and there 🙁 . But reading the names of blogs, bloggers and hashtags in Tonyo‘s article really made me “senti” and inspired me to do a more serious reflection on my blog and blogging in general. So I also revisited my old post back in 2009 (yup this blog was self-hosted wordpress blog since 2008). The scenario was we (my high school batchmates and I was discussing what blogs was then. I am pasting some snippet of the discussion.

“What is a blog?
wikipedia definition:
A blog (a contraction of the term “Web log”) is a Web site, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order.

“Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog

blogger.com definition:
A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. A political soapbox. A breaking-news outlet. A collection of links. Your own private thoughts. Memos to the world. Your blog is whatever you want it to be. There are millions of them, in all shapes and sizes, and there are no real rules.

In simple terms, a blog is a web site, where you write stuff on an ongoing basis. New stuff shows up at the top, so your visitors can read what’s new. Then they comment on it or link to it or email you. Or not.

My say? Blogger.com describes it well, it can be a diary, a rant/rave site, a political movement site, an e-store to sell your stuffs… anything goes… “There are no real rules”. I’ll put it in filipino to express myself better: Blog is “a website tungkol sa mga kanya-kanyang trip”. That’s the menardconnect definition.

Blogging was so simple back then. Kanyang kanyang trip lang! Walang basagan ng trip 🙂

Fast forward to 2016 (and 2017). I admit I was affected by this toxic environment in politics and social media the last few months and this affected the frequency of my posting here. And its good to read that Tonyo made a strong point on accountability (of bloggers)

I’m sure many bloggers would share my view that we cannot stop these bloggers from blogging, and that they are ultimately accountable to themselves and to their readers. But for either administration or opposition to claim that their competing blogs and websites represent the blogosphere — that’s different. That’s misrepresentation.

Bloggers, be responsible and accountable. Period.

Quo vadis?

For me and my blog.

There is a saying in Filipino that “Pag gusto may paraan, pag ayaw me dahilan“. I choose action and positivity in blogging. For the action, I will continue to post more about interesting topics, maybe discuss my passions. But I will do something different just like what the opening quote is (I got it from an old Warcraft book, btw). NO! I don’t plan to post about politics (that’s too toxic hehehe and read some old post on why I avoid it) but if there is really a good mix of other with political tidbit (e.g pol+infosec or malware or games or others) why not?

Seriously, let me work with the action and positivity first. I really miss posting about games and practical internet security tips so that will be top on the list. Also some shout-out post to some new bloggers in the block in in the work so watch out for it OK?

To all readers out there: Thank you for your continued support!
And to all bloggers out there: Have fun and keep on blogging! Stop the hate! Spread love!

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year 2017!!!

Jyväskylä New Year 2017

And since its already the end of the month and will be Lunar New Year soon let me greet you all too Gong Xi Fa Cai!!!

Brussels - Chinese New Year 2017 02

I am wishing you, all my friends and readers to have a Prosperous New Year in 2017, the year of the Fiery Rooster.

Watch out for more posts here I will be blogging more in menardconnect.com this year 🙂

Image Credits: Tiia Monto, Vanvelthem Cédric, Wikimedia Commons

SMS Scam: Wrong Pasaload, Please Send It Back To Me

We got this SMS Scam yesterday. And as a public service to the readers of this blog, I am dissecting this sms scam attempt so that we can all avoid falling victim.

The sms scam is a 2-part text. The first message
sms scam

Sender: +63 907 664 9375

808

1/2 06-Nov 07:45: P200 has been transferred from 09076649375. To your mobile account Ref:290304390733

is supposedly a message about a pasa-load (sms load transfer) of PHP200 to your phone number, sent by the 808 number (local telco service number on sms load transfers).

and the second message:
sms scam

Sender: +63 907 664 9375

Sir/Ma’am
nagka mali po ako ng Pasaload sa inyo ko n load ang P200 para sa aking nanay, baka po pwede niyong ibalik ung load, kailangan niyo lang pong gawin ang instruction. 09108432236 (space) 200 send 808, replyan ng Yes ang susunod na mensahe, tx ko nlang po nanay ko n antayin ung load, pasensya n po s abala.

Rough english translation

Sir/Ma’am, I made a mistake in the pasaload/transfer load of PHP200 for my mother, and I sent it to you by mistake. Please be kind enough to return the load to me. Just follow this instruction, and reply yes to succeeding messages. I will message my mother to wait for the load. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Wow! The scammer levelled up from their former SMS Scam try. The new scam tries to play with some emotions now: first the “paawa” effect, next it tries to “exploit” Pinoy’s natural concern and consideration for the elderly (the money/load is for my mom, please return it), and they too are very courteous now. The spelling and sentence construction is good too in my opinion (wala na jejemon text, level up na talaga sila). Good try +63 907 664 9375 but you still phail Mister/Miss Scammer 🙂 Why? because I eat spam and scam for breakfast so I know you phail :-p and I wont tell you why. I just hope that you, Mr./Ms. scammer will have your own “karma” soon.

I have engaged my telco company support via twitter early this year, but they said they cannot do anything about this scam and they recommended I report it to the government agency (NTC) instead. (I might post about this some other time).

So my advice to my friends and readers is to ignore the SMS text scam, and DO NOT REPLY. If you have time, please report the incident to NTC too.

Some of my friends who replied and either played along with the scammer, “trolled” the scammer or even “cursed” the scammer to the ends of the earth had a funny convo with the scammer but this seems to be a not so good strategy in my opinion (but at least they got some good laugh that day). Most friends who trolled/cursed the spammer ended up receiving more SMS spam. I think this is because the perpetrators know that their mobile number is active and therefore it can be “recycled” for future sms mal-campaigns.

I am wondering why these SMS scams are always about 200 pesos. Maybe 200 pesos is their lucky amount? Hehe!

Again my advice is that if you receive similar messages/texts, ignore the SMS as it is an SMS scam, and DO NOT REPLY. If you have time report the incident to NTC too.

Do you also receive SMS scams like this? Share your stories by leaving some comments below 🙂

I need you, I need you, I need you right now
Yeah, I need you right now
So don’t let me, don’t let me, don’t let me down
I think I’m losing my mind now

Don’t Let Me Down, Chainsmokers & Daya

We came prepared (yup we heeded Illidan’s warning). We donned our WoW gear and we’re off to the moviehouse on the first weekend of PH screening. If you are curious about our iLvl 6xx gears, here is a sample pic 🙂

That's me in Only Noobs Play Alliance Chestguard, wifey in Only Noobs Play Horde Robe

That’s me in Only Noobs Play Alliance Chestguard, wifey in Only Noobs Play Horde Robe. Thanks Jinx.com!

Yeahhh men! We are WoW fanatics so we were really excited about the movie!

The Good
The movie, content, graphics, and all was great. I can rave and rave about the movie on this blog but the post might be terribly long. So in the tradition of my free six series let me highlight some six rave points about the movie Warcraft: The Beginning

  • The details of the orc structures (the orc upgraded buildings in the eagles eye view scene is so neat)
  • Boomsticks!!! (Cool invention from our Ironforge friends)
  • Fight gryphons fight! (see how Lothar’s gryphon fend off orcs)
  • Wolves are fiercely cool and I want one (Remember: “You’re annoying my dog“)
  • Humans and their meetings with other races (Fun! most of the time nothing is accomplished hehehe)
  • The free stuff courtesy of warcraft.com/movie

The Bad
I understand that the film is set in an alternate timeline. But I will post three main personal rants about the movie:

  • Mak’gora concept was screwed (In Durotan vs Gul’dan, fel magic was used. Maybe I’m old fashioned and into the official lore too much but this Mak’gora is tainted imho. But hey maybe its only me)
  • The Garona love affair angle (Sorry I really don’t like the Miss Halforcen character in-game and so this will definitely affect how I felt about her in the film)
  • Khadgar did not age at all. Duh! (Seriously, for all the powers of Medivh and Sargeras unleashed upon him, it did do much impact on Young Trust’s appearance)

The Ugly
Not necessarily the movie’s fault. But the 3D cinema we were watching was so so. FYI, Blizzard partnered with one of the major malls in the Philippines and if you watch it in 3D you get some freebies in-game.

warcraft-sm-edit

But the “good” PH partner put Warcraft: The Beginning in fewer cinemas, and some cases like ours in older ones that resulted to the not so good experience. Honestly I would be happy if they put Warcraft movie in the cinemas in The Block in North Edsa but no they screened it in the older cinemas. Boo!

But enough of the ugly part. The important thing is that Warcraft the Beginning is now a reality now after some xx numbers of planning, shooting and CGI-ing.

Watch the trailer below courtesy of Blizzard and Legendary Pictures

Overall, great movie. I highly recommend the movie to all Warcraft fans and non-fans out there especially to all my readers who have played any Warcraft game in their life! Just like the Chainsmoker feat. Daya song, this movie is full of anticipation and I’m happy it did not let us down!!!

Why I Avoid Discussing Philippine Election Related Topics

Backstory:
I discussed the 3 reasons below to some twitter friends, when they asked for my comment on the automated election system. I jokingly said that I have a personally-imposed “gag order” on the specific issue 🙂 but sent them some personal notes explaining my reason.

As the 2016 election day draws near, I reflected back and I decided that I am sharing the reasons here in Menardconnect.com

I have been avoiding discussions related to Philippine Election in public for several months already. These public activities includes blog posts, tweets, and Facebook timeline shares and the likes. Maybe I am comfortable discussing these with close friends and family members only? Let me tell you why…

Reason 1: I’m a technical guy. Most of the time I need to verify related “tech details” before I confidently say “this is bad” or “this is good”. Checking these “tech data” requires resource (time) and we all know this this is very limited nowadays 🙁 .

Reason 2: In my line of work, there is this mindset/”school of thought” that is “everything is breakable(e.g. hackable, compromisable, watchamacallit-able etc). Given this mindset it will be a matter of resource between attacker versus the target; how much resource the attacker is willing to spend as opposed to how much resource the target have at their disposal to take the “hit” (e.g. avoid/mitigate/etc). Is this mindset good for public consumption?

Reason 3: Public posting on this PH Election-related topics may be viewed as a bias/partisan politicking.
I understand the challenges of the publicly sharing/commenting/tweeting. Especially if its controversial there will be this thing called “feedback”. “Been there, done that”.
And most of the time, I find handling those “feedback” too emotionally-draining for me 🙁

to be continued…

B Drivers of Manila: Toyota Innova In Trinoma

Second post for the B Drivers of Manila series will be this Toyota Innova in Trinoma Parking Lot entrance.

This Toyota Innova (plate number AAP 5166) teaches us how to “cut” and enter the parking lot “courteously”. I am just happy I acted cool that day or else… hehehe. The Trinoma parking guard noticed that I was just smiling (ngiting aso hahaha) and was shaking my head in amazement, so the guard sheepishly smiled back and told me “Ser, pag pasensyahan nyo na lang, baka nagmamadali“.

Video taken by yours truly using Transcend DP220 (worth a gadget review post here at menardconnect.com soon) last February 25, 2016 at Trinoma Mall Parking entrance (North Parking if i remember it correctly), Quezon City.

Drive safely! Ingat lang tayo lahat palagi! Always be safe ok?

Hope you like my B Drivers of Manila post. 🙂

 

B Drivers of Manila: G Liner

I recently bought a dash-cam and I’m playing with it whenever I have free time. With the dash cam I am also trying to learn a new skill this year (video editing hihihi 🙂 ) because I think its cool to learn a new skill that is different from my usual field of expertise. Mashing the dash-cam and video editing learning experience, an idea came to my mind: Why not do a blogging experiment? I will be posting some videos in social media and do accompanying blog post about the vids here in Menardconnect.com. Sounds interesting lah? Let’s get started…

First post for the B Drivers of Manila series will be G-Liner Bus in Manila. On why the series will be called “B Drivers of Manila” I will explain in a future post. But for now here is the video for G-Liner Bus (plate number ASA 4292) in Manila (and how they seem to lord over the streets of city of Manila every day).

Via YouTube

Via Facebook

G Liner Rules… the streets of Manila- March 1, 2016 B. Drivers of Manila: G Liner Bus in Manila

Posted by Menardconnect.com on Thursday, March 10, 2016

Open Letter To Newsgra.ph Team

Hi Newsgra.ph Team,

First of all thank you for the link you have given my Manila Bankers SMS Spam  2013 post from your “Warning Manila Bankers Will Call You for Sensitive Data” article. It’s good to know that we have some common topics and advocacies for our websites.

I will go direct to the point. I am writing this open letter to let you know that upon reading your “Warning Manila Bankers Will Call You for Sensitive Data”

http://www.newsgra.ph/1725/warning-manila-bankers-will-call-you-for-sensitive-data/

Posted last February 17, 2016, I recognized one of the picture you used. It looks like my phone screengrab image that I captured and used in my 2013 post.
manila-bankers-sms-spam

My Image from a 2013 post

xManila-Bankers-SMS-Spam-Scam

Image from Newsgra.ph website. Take note the of NewsGra.ph watermark in the upper right part

So I would like to ask you some questions:

  • Is it the same picture as the one I have in my 2013 post?
  • If yes, how come it now has Newsgra.ph watermark?

I tried to reach out via twitter

But I got no reply, so I decided to try my luck here and write you this letter.

I’m not “madamot“. I’m not selfish. I’m really a nice guy (well… most of the time). I’m also one tweet or one email away if you want to use my image for your website. We are both Filipino blogger and as much as I can I support fellow Pinoys here in the blogosphere.

Actually if the image you posted got no watermark I will be cool.

Kung walang watermark yan image sa website mo wala tayong pag-uusapan. Mabait ako, madali ako kausap. Ni-link mo naman yung post ko sa blog post so OK lang ako e.

But watermarking an image that does not belong to you is kinda “unethical” don’t you think???

Again, I’m just one tweet or one email away (via my contact page). With that message I’m ending this post.

I made my move.

Your turn now.

 

All the best,

Menard

Update 2016.03.24
I have contacted Newsgra.ph folks via their Facebook page yesterday and raised my concern. They have addressed it and they have apologized for the inconvenience. All is good now!

Happy Chinese New Year!

Gong Xi Fa Cai!!!

I am wishing you all my friends and readers to have a Prosperous New Year. I know some of you have seen or watched a Dragon Dance or a Lion Dance today but for me I want to welcome the year of the Fire Monkey with a post here at menardconnect.com.

2016ChineseNewYearOfMonkey-LiuyangHunanChina-ByEpicFireworks

For a short background story on Chinese Zodiac animals I am quoting a very popular site.

An ancient folk story tells that Cat and Rat were the worst swimmers in the animal kingdom. Although they were poor swimmers, they were both quite intelligent. To get to the meeting called by the Jade Emperor, they had to cross a river to reach the meeting place. The Jade Emperor had also decreed that the years on the calendar would be named for each animal in the order they arrived to the meeting. Cat and Rat decided that the best and fastest way to cross the river was to hop on the back of Ox. Ox, being naïve and good-natured, agreed to carry them both across. Midway across the river, Rat pushed Cat into the water. Then as Ox neared the other side of the river, Rat jumped ahead and reached the shore first. So he claimed first place in the competition and the zodiac.

Following closely behind was strong Ox who was named the 2nd animal in the zodiac. After Ox, came Tiger, panting, while explaining to the Jade Emperor how difficult it was to cross the river with the heavy currents pushing it downstream all the time. But with its powerful strength, Tiger made to shore and was named the 3rd animal in the cycle.

Suddenly, from a distance came a thumping sound, and the Rabbit arrived. It explained how it crossed the river: by jumping from one stone to another in a nimble fashion. Halfway through, it almost lost the race, but the Rabbit was lucky enough to grab hold of a floating log that later washed him to shore. For that, it became the 4th animal in the Zodiac cycle. In 5th place was the Flying Dragon. Of course, the Jade Emperor was deeply curious as to why a swift flying creature such as the Dragon should fail to reach first place. The mighty Dragon explained that he had to stop and make rain to help all the people and creatures of the earth, and therefore he was held back. Then, on his way to the finish, he saw a little helpless Rabbit clinging onto a log so he did a good deed and gave a puff of breath to the poor creature so that it could land on the shore. The Jade Emperor was very pleased with the actions of the Dragon, and he was added into the zodiac cycle. As soon as he had done so, a galloping sound was heard, and the Horse appeared. Hidden on the Horse’s hoof was the Snake, whose sudden appearance gave the Horse a fright, thus making it fall back and giving the Snake the 6th spot, while the Horse placed 7th.

Not long after that, a little distance away, the Goat, Monkey, and Rooster came to the shore. These three creatures helped each other to get to where they are. The Rooster spotted a raft, and took the other two animals with it. Together, the Goat and the Monkey cleared the weeds, tugged and pulled and finally got the raft to the shore. Because of their combined efforts, the Emperor was very pleased and promptly named the Goat as the 8th creature, the Monkey as the 9th, and the Rooster the 10th.

The 11th animal was the Dog. Although he was supposed to be the best swimmer, he could not resist the temptation to play a little longer in the river. Though his explanation for being late was because he needed a good bath after a long spell. For that, he almost didn’t make it to the finish line. Just as the Jade Emperor was about to call it a day, an oink and squeal was heard from a little Pig. The Pig got hungry during the race, promptly stopped for a feast and then fell asleep. After the nap, the Pig continued the race and was named the 12th animal of the zodiac cycle. The cat drowned in 13th place and did not make it in the zodiac. It is said that is the reason why cats always chase Rats; to get back at them for what they have done.

Source:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_zodiac#The_Great_Race

Again I wish you all Good Health, Happiness and Prosperity this Year of the Fire Monkey.

Xin Nian Kuai Le!

Happy Lunar New Year everyone!