Synergy, a true story

This is a true story, it happened in Caracas in March 2008. The names (name really) have been changed to protect the innocent ones. Unfortunately, we do not know the name of the guilty one.

Ana was running very late. She had gone to a job interview and had told his current boss that she was at a doctor appointment. The guy was an asshole and Ana knew if she didn't get back to her office within the next fifteen minutes she would be fired, and she still didn't have another job. Against all her instincts and customs she decided to get a Moto Taxi

A Moto Taxi is just a Motorbike, normally a scooter, used as a Cab or taxi. In a city completely set in permanent traffic gridlock, bikes that serpentine between stopped vehicles are the only way to get from A to B in a reasonable amount of time.

Ana didn't have a choice, she needed to be there, there was only one Moto Taxi in the street. She ask for the price, agreed without haggling, resist the urge to puke as she put the lice infested helmet, and hop on the bike.

The first part of the ride was scary, Ana saw her knees millimeters away from car parts. She saw red lights being past as vehicles with right of way honk their horns. She heard her driver chats with other riders around the city, most of them doing one job or another.

But suddenly, without any palpable reason, her Moto Taxi stopped in the middle of traffic, just beside a Toyota Yaris. Ana's driver pull out a huge gun, and demanded the Yaris driver give him her watch, jewelry, cellphone, and other valuables. He turn to Ana and told her: "Don't worry, you'll get there on time, this will only take a minute." The Yaris driver tried to negotiate keeping some things of sentimental value and such. The Moto Taxi driver threatened her and hit her with his gun. Put his hand inside the Yaris and took whatever he could and rode on.

As they arrived, Ana was trembling as she took the money from her purse She gave him a tip, a large one, hoping that he wouldn't rob her also. The guy took the money, smile at Ana, thanked her, and left. Ana went up to her office, not even worried about what her boss might say...




Kevin Mitnick's Business Card

During his talk Kevin Mitnick mentioned his Business Card, yes, the one that transforms into a lock picking set. I didn't think I could get one, because, of course, everybody swamp him at the end

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But i came out with a neat trick, I took my own card and yelled Kevin! I'll trade you!, he laughed and came to me to give me a card and he got mine! So double success! Here is the famous card:

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Kevin Mitnick's talk

Yesterday I went to El Nacional's World Technology Forum. The first talk was by Kevin Mitnick and it was a hoot. He talk pretty much on topics of his The Art of Deception book. But it was entertaining and clear and he did live demonstration of several exploits that were very neat. We were sitting very far away, but it turns out that we were VIP because we registered very early for the talk. So we end up in front. Some pictures of Kevin:

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Disappointed by another Venezuela Movie

My daughter nag me all weekend long to take her and her friends to a movie, except she didn't wanted me to enter the theater with them, that'd been embarrassing. So I look at the other movies that were on display and decided to go see "Por un polvo". I was absolutely taken back by the amateurish nature of the film. The acting was absolutely terrible. Including an "Italian" that couldn't say the easiest words in spanish but had no trouble with the harder ones, I hadn't seen that since soup operas from the 70's. The plot was terrible too. They are trying to do intelligent things without doing research or working hard. Really terrible. Skip it. The sex scenes were all right, but that's always true when there are Venezuelan actresses. I wish our cinema wasn't so backwards...


A Civilized Venezuelan

An interesting article about a woman pretending to be a man in order to be a medical doctor. Interesting that Venezuelan Francisco de Miranda was involved... From the article:
"Miranda was an enlightened man and probably had no problem with the idea of a woman doctor"
[Thanks Stef! ]


Damn them all!

I hate the guts of whoever called Digitel (my mobile phone operator) to tell them, wrongly, that my phone was stolen. I hate the gut of the person in Digitel that proceeded to ban my phone from the network. I hate the guts of anyone involved in solving this mistake, that have been unable to do it in over 24 hours. I have been without a phone since friday, thinking it was broken, yesterday I went to Digitel and found out what was really happening. I am very pissed off...

I hope each and everyone od these people dies a painful, slow, horrible death and if any of them are acting with malice I hope they get raped by dogs while dying.
Update: I love Julio, Hugo, Francisco, and Karina who helped me solve the problem in a few hours, after almost two weeks of suffering. Karina (a Digitel's VIP Attention specialist) also solved some other problems with my account, and she is very nice to look at. I also bought a N82 as my work needs an adequate phone to make presentations.


Santa on the streets of Caracas



Santa en las calles is an initiative of some young people in Caracas. They get dress as santa and his helpers and go giving food and warm clothes to homeless people. In its second year it is already fairly big. This is the video from 2007.


Getting rid of zeroes

Well, the government decided to change the currency in Venezuela without changing the name. The new Bolivares are called strong Bolivares, though the adjective is supposed to disappear in time. It will not ever be a very strong bolivar. Inflation and the dollar differential will see to that. But the reconversion is going as badly as I expected. One bank seem to have done very little, they simply subtracted the right amount. So that if you had 1.000.000 on December 31, 2007, on January 1, 2008 you had a Reconversion Charge of 999.000 Bs. so that you get the 1000 Strong Bolivares that you should have. I have heard stories of banks charging a 800 Strong Bolivar fee on a 300 Strong Bolivar transaction, Obviously, they did not change the currency of the Fee. I visited 5 ATMs today, only tow were working. One refused my card, the other gave me old, weak bolivares. This promises to be an interesting month... It is too late for my advice, which is keep cash at hand!


The Student Movement in Venezuela

A good opinion piece in the New York Times about the student movement in Venezuela that defeated Chavez in the last election. It is called Humanizing the Revolution. Good read.


A shitty victory by the government

As the main representative of Crest I admit that yesterday the government had a shitty Pyrrhic victory when it manage to officially change the time in Venezuela... for now.

We vow to keep fighting to increase chaos until Eastern Standard Time is restored. I haven't seen a single clock automatically change. Not in computers nor in cell phones. I am not surprise as members of Crest have been advising those companies.

The future evades us by half an hour now...


NO! No? No! NO! NO HAS WON!

No idea it could happened. The No has won. Does that mean Venezuela lives in democracy again? Why can't I stop feeling paranoid?


Diarrhea in the Time of Chavez

So I caught the stomach virus that is going around in Venezuela. I am normally very resistant to these things but I have been, err, close to the throne the last few days, basically talking to it whenever I am not actually sitting on it. The performance has been less than solid, if you catch my drift (though I think you better not). Of course, in this scatological process I have used abnormal amounts of toilet paper. So we ran out of it. My wife complaint to me, cause there seems to be a shortage of toilet paper going around in Venezuela. It seems abundance of toilet paper, milk, meat, sugar, etc is one of the main causes of poverty. A chavista friend explained the reasoning very clearly to me: What is poverty but lack of money? And how do people part with their money? They buy those things! If there is nothing to buy, then poor people will have money! This actually makes sense specially combined with the excess liquidity (of a different kind than mine) that is also going around in Venezuela... But, I have to ask, is it really my fault that I have diarrhea in the Time of Chavez? I mean the man has been president for almost a decade and plans to stay for several more! I am healthy, but not that healthy.


The Glory hat Venezuela never hears

Some members of the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra gretaly impresses New Yorkers at the Queen's Museum.


Been there, heard that

I really do not see what the big deal is about this. I have heard people telling Chavez to shut up hundreds of times!


Why the Prius has no chance in Venezuela

Gas is 7 cents a gallon! And who benefits in the XXIst century socialism? The rich and the corrupt, of course. Here is the deal: A corrupt guy manages to get government subsidized dollars. He/She exchanges them back in the uncontrolled gray market for a a 70% profit! spending the profit He/She gets a big car. It doesn't matter how much it consumes because gas is cheap, it doesn't matter how much it costs because the money came from "nowhere" (i.e. the people are paying for it with inflation and scarcity of products). Of course, there is a downside. Having a nice car is dangerous, so He/She will have to spend some more in protection, bullet proofing your car is common. But who cares if you have to spend more? The money comes "by magic" right?

On the meantime poor people have to pay a gas of tank every five days (on average) because they have expensive transportation and they have to take several of them (a micro bus, a bus, and subway, usually). If they are delayed and have to take a taxi, that will cost more than a tank of gas! funny thing: They will be the ones to protest if gas goes up by a single weak bolivar...


By-Passing Internet Censorship

Via Boingboing I got word of the Citizen's Lab guide for bypassing Internet censorship and blockades. It is a great guide for anyone that is interested in surfing anonymously and/or securely. With a lot of the warnings for the people whose risks are greater. Highly recommended. You can get the guide here, or email me clicking the envelope on the left if you need it in some other way...


The Ay! Pity!

Good news in the iPod touch hacking front. We already have all the iPhone apps running on the iPod touch. Now, we can stop calling it the Ay! Pity! which is what we say whenever we notice a missing feature. No wonder Apple make the initials say it: iPt... Now, it may become an interesting gadget. Screw you, Apple!


The Two Cubas

Someone goes to Cuba discovers warm water. Good article though...


Chavez in the Limelight


Another triumph of Crest! Long Live the Imperial Eastern Standard Tribe!


Why Demoracy?

Is Democracy for everyone? Democracy is the only form of government that approves its own destruction (eg., Venezuela) Why Democracy?


He only bought a suitcase...

So, my friend name appeared in a list of CADIVI. He had to go and justify his single use of the Internet dollars that Venezuela government allows (3000 per year). And so he went. What did he buy? One midsize suitcase. What for? To bring some money into Argentina. Did he had a receipt? No... they let him go nonetheless... No fine, nothing.


Actually, this explains a lot...


If you can't understand why the world is in the mess it is, just take a look at this CNN Video. Forget about Bush and what he's rambling about, just look over his right shoulder through the Window... Yes, it's the Alien that control George W. Bush. Ahhh! Now, it all makes sense!


Death...


A promise fulfilled by Chavez!


Long Live the Imperial Eastern Standard Tribe!

This is absolutely top secret. Luckily nobody reads this site. I was in Canada for a top secret training with the Ultra Top Secret SCS (Sécurité Canadienne Secrète). They have sent me back to Venezuela with the Secret Mission of creating the Counter Reactionaries for Eastern Standard Time (CREST). We will resist the propose time change by Hugo Chavez and his Pro Pacific Standard Tribe infiltrators. Despite our pro empire stance (this is our logo)

we will not opposed any of the other reforms. Let Chavez govern forever, after all we are quite pleased with Osama, Hugo, and George plan to keep oil prices high until alternative forms of energies are almost cost effective. Let the Central Bank disappear. But, messing with our allegiance to the Eastern Standard Tribe? Further isolating us with the half hour thing? That's even worse than joining the Central Standard Tribe (those morons!). The Eastern Standard Tribe and SCS will use all its resources to opposed this plan. So, everybody tell everyone to join while at the same time keep it all a secret, ok?


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