About Me

When not at work with students, I spend my time in my room either reading, calculating something using pen and paper, or using a computer. I read almost anything: from the pornographic to the profound, although my main interests are mathematics and physics. "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." -Erasmus

Sunday, May 15, 2011

the resurrection of portability

My old laptop battery is part of the 7-minute club. When fully-charged, it has a lifetime of 7 minutes, compared to its original lifetime of 3 hours. Given that the laptop is more than three years old, and the abuse I put it through, the lifetime is understandable.

An example: I used to play Command and Conquer (RA3) and Neverwinter Nights 2 on it, and I noticed that there was a substantial temperature increase compared to normal operation. I learned later that heat degrades batteries, and that it was a good idea to remove the battery when you plan to leave your computer connected to the wall socket. But I learned that too late.

Since I had extra cash, I decided to go to hot toyz yesterday afternoon to see if I could get my laptop battery repacked. A repacking involves opening the old battery pack, and then replacing the old cells with new cells. My brother suggested it as a cheaper alternative to getting a new battery, but I kept on postponing it. Unfortunately, I learned that they didn't provide that service anymore.  

I did learn that they had spare batteries, and because a repack would involve going to Gilmore Avenue ( a 15 minute bike ride from Quezon Avenue), as well as waiting a week and then going back to Gilmore to reclaim the repacked battery, I decided to get a new battery instead, after learning what the price was. I was lucky that they had it on stock, and the cost was PhP 4 K (around 90 US$). I knew that the going price was at that figure ( I asked when I last visited Gilmore Avenue) so I decided to buy it. It was twice the cost of a battery repack, but it meant not waiting for a week.

I tested the new battery yesterday, and it did last for two and a half hours. It was initially charged to 75% of capacity, and I wanted to discharge the battery before recharging it again. I'm happy it works as expected, and that I could now use my old laptop even at places with no nearby electrical sockets. Although my old laptop is bigger than my new netbook, there are things I could do on it, like photo-editing, that I couldn't do on the netbook. Now that the battery is alright again, my old laptop is no longer a portable desktop computer.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Rizal, the church, and the RH Bill

ABS-CBN is airing "Harapan", a televised debate featuring the pro- and anti- Reproductive Health Bill. I've read the bill, and I'm surprised that people can say that it promotes abortion. And professors of the state university at that.

To be fair to the professors, there is no consensus on the RH Bill. Two of my friends, for example, are professors who happen to be anti-RH Bill;  the back-story, of course, is that they're Roman Catholic and take the church's (or at least prominent bishops's) opinions seriously. I know of others in the pro-RH Bill camp, so one cannot claim that there is unanimity in opinion.

Even if the RH Bill gets turned into law, I foresee a damned difficult time in getting it implemented. If our history is any guide, well-meaning efforts to educate, enshrined in law, can be subject to subversion if the people who implement the law would will to do so.

Such subversion has happened-- witness the Rizal law, and how the Catholic Church has handled it. In order to comply with the letter of the law, expurgated editions of Rizal's novels, Noli and Fili, were prepared for the use of Catholic schools. I've ranted about it in other posts, so I will not go into details.

I suspect that if the RH Bill were passed, then the  next step of the church is to comply with the letter of the law by teaching the methods of contraception, along with a heavy dose of why using these methods (aside from rhythm and abstinence) would lead one on the road to perdition. The students will be made to forget that not all Filipinos are Catholics, and that ultimately, the choice of method ought to be decided by well-informed individuals. Also, there is no easy way to check that what should be taught is learned--- there will be no post-exams to verify this.

In spite of my pessimism, I still hope that the RH Bill becomes the law. We need it.