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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Moo Jewelry

On the web at

On Facebook at
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Moo/40121602859 and

Via email at
moojewelry [at] gmail [dot] com

On the phone at

Image Gallery at

This is a tremendously shameless plug for my sister's jewellery business featured in the Trinidad Express Woman magazine today. I make absolutely no apologies for being proud of her, or for wishing her and her extremely supportive and loving husband continued success.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Local Boys shine at the Estadio Azteca and at Lord's

Happy moments must be remembered, and local heroes regaled.

On a night where the air was literally rare, where veteran keeper Clayton Ince seemed at times an impenetrable wall in between the uprights, where hope for victory was not even slim, Trinidad and Tobago's senior team notched their first goal ever against hosts Mexico at the Estadio Azteca.

At the Stadium where we faced our worst defeat in Trinbago football history (7-0 versus Mexico on October 8th, 2000), where the legendary Diego Maradona scored both his "Hand of God" goal and "Goal of the Century", young Trinidad and Tobago player Hayden Tinto, on only his second start for the national senior team, wrote himself into local legend with his solo effort at altitude.

The video embedded below records that moment in Trinidad and Tobago sporting history for posterity - June 10th, 2009 at the end of the first half. And no better commentator to cover the goal than one speaking Spanish. My thanks to fellow Twitterer @Sanman_ish for the find.

And at the Lord's Cricket Ground yesterday, local boys Dwayne Bravo and Lendl Simmons, contributed ably to the West Indies' victory over defending World Twenty20 champions India. Both gents performed ably with bat and ball, Simmons taking three catches and scoring a steady 44 runs. The elder cricketing Bravo for his part ended the day with bowling figures of 4 for 38, and added a blistering 66 runs off 36 deliveries, including the emphatic six that sealed the West Indies' victory.

Highlights of the game, West Indies winning by 7 wickets with 8 balls remaining, follow.

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Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Water Taxi Service: Need-To-Know and Should-Know Info

Everything that one *needs* to know about the Water Taxi Service can be found on its web page. Any new information on the service, especially schedule information, is uploaded regularly and in timely fashion.

As one of the service's regulars, I have nothing but praise for the teams on shore - customer service staff and security officers, and the teams on deck - the captains and their crews. They are friendly and polite and, apart from the very rare mechanical failure, they ensure that the service runs on time all the time.

For my readers, the following is the need-to-know information on the service, culled from the Water Taxi Service page:
  1. Terminals - There are two terminals supporting the service at present
    1. No. 1 Wrightson Road, Port of Spain (next to Femmes du Chalet a.k.a. The Breakfast Shed)
    2. Flat Rock, Lady Hailes Avenue, San Fernando (between WASA and the Fish Market)
  2. Shuttle Service - As part of the service, the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) offers a bus shuttle service from the Port of Spain terminal on two routes through the city. This is at a cost of TT$3.00, and service must be purchased at time of ticket purchase for the ferry. (I'll get the routes and update this post with them later...)
  3. Ticketing - One-way tickets between the two ports in any direction cost TT$15.00. Optional shuttle service in Port of Spain is an add-on cost for a total of TT$18.00. Tickets may be purchased at both terminals on the day of travel or in advance. Ticket purchase is subject to availability of seats on each scheduled sailing.
  4. Safety and Security - There are security officers stationed in the car parks, at both terminal facilities, and there is a security officer assigned to travel on each sailing. Travellers are all scanned and searched at point of entry. To ensure the safety of all passengers, no weapons are allowed on board the boats. Passengers carrying knives or sharp tools are asked to turn them over to the security officer who travels on the boat, and the items will be returned when they disembark. The Management further, in its sole discretion, will refuse to allow on board intoxicated or unruly persons.
  5. Contact Information - Phone contact for the offices at the two terminals is as follows:
    1. San Fernando --- 657- 5434 or 652- 9980
    2. Port of Spain --- 624- 3281 or 624- 6563
  6. Sailing Schedule - The sailing schedule as at last week is as follows. The current schedule is always available at the NIDCO site where any changes to the schedule, including the addition of special sailings, will also be posted. The schedule can be confirmed at the numbers above.

    • Departure from San Fernando:
      • Morning: 5:45, 6:30, 6:50, 8:00, 9:45
      • Evening: 1:15, 2:15, 3:15, 4:15, 4:45, 6:00
    • Departure from Port of Spain:
      • Morning: 6:50, 7:35, 8:00, 9:05, 10:50
      • Evening: 2:30, 3:30, 4:45, 5:30, 6:00, 7:05

After observing some warahoon behaviour while waiting for the boat at both terminals (and I make all apologies here to the Warahoon Amerindian Tribe... these Trinis really give you all a bad name...), the following is added as should-know information about the service.

One. There is no such thing as a "Stand By Ticket"
Tickets are sold for a particular sailing. Period. There is nothing like buying a ticket in the hope that a boat will have seats at time of sailing. If the 140-something seats are sold in advance of the sailing, then that's it. The boat is considered full. They're gone. There are no more tickets.

Two. You can't miss the 3:30 boat and expect to use your 3:30 ticket for the 4:45 sailing
If you paid for a seat for the 3:30 and you missed the sailing, it's your loss. The staff of the Water Taxi Service are not beholden to let you on the next sailing for free, which is what you're basically telling them to do.

Three. The boat is not going to wait for you
The posted sailing time is the sailing time, not a minute before or after. Once the ramp is off the boat, that's it. It's gone. And so is your ticket's usefulness. So time your business to make sure that you arrive at the terminal ahead of sail time.

Four. There is an order to seating and boarding in the terminal
It is not a free-for-all. Persons board the boat row by row from the Terminal's waiting area. If you want on the boat earlier than everyone else then you need to get to the terminal early and sit as close to the front as seats are available. You cannot expect to sit somewhere off to the back and then think that you can board earlier than the people who arrived later. If they're sitting ahead of you, they board before you. It's that simple. Further, if a member of the service staff comes and asks you kindly to move forward and fill out the seats ahead of you and you choose not to move, don't be an idiot and think that you can badger your way on board before your time. Indeed, I wish sometimes that they would invoke the Unruly Passenger Rule so that I don't have to hear you grumble for the entire hour about how piggish the security officers are.

Five. It's not a joy ride
For the majority of the people who use the service, it's a means to get into Port of Spain for work in the morning and back home from work on an afternoon. Consequently, the sailings that are heaviest subscribed are the ones highlighted in bold and red text above. These are the services most likely to be sold out because persons tend to buy their tickets well in advance. It guarantees that they get to work on time, and back home in a similarly timely fashion. This brings me to another point...

Six. It's not you and your friends alone on the boat
The Water Taxi is a commuter service, not an amusement park ride. Be mindful of that when you're chatting loudly and laughing like a howler monkey (you know who you are!) over the low drone of the engines. You have people around you who might be trying to catch a snooze or wind down after a long day at work. Bear that in mind too while you let your children rock excitedly on the seat in front of them as they try to peer out the windows at... well... the Gulf of Paria. Please try to have some consideration for your fellow passengers. It's nice to be nice.

(So I'm being a little bit unkind with the howler monkey bit...Sorry, howler monkeys of the world...)

Seven. It's not Movietowne
Yes, there are monitors and a large flat screen TV on the boats. Right now they're used to show the safety message and life jacket demonstration at the start of the journey. But don't think that you're going to be watching the latest movies released in cinemas nationwide. Walk with an iPod (or similar device), book, magazine or the papers to entertain yourself with.

Now the above are not hard and fast rules. Regulars (read: people who use the service every day) may enjoy a little leeway from time to time, but for the most part know not to take advantage of the staff's good nature.

And finally, for the naysayers...

Eight. The Water Taxi Service works
  • It's not a waste of tax payers' money.
  • In spite of what the naysayers have to say, it's a popular transportation option for which sailings had to be added in order to keep up with demand.
  • There is no way that more buses on the highway could have produced a service that guarantees an hour long trip at regularly scheduled times between Port of Spain and San Fernando, especially during rush hour.
  • In spite of Trini mauvais langue in some quarters, the boats do not break down all the time.
  • Nobody gets stranded in the Gulf of Paria.
  • The ride isn't rough and you're not going to be throwing up all over yourself.
  • The trip usually takes less than the scheduled hour. Some of the captains have been able to cut as much as 15 minutes off the trip on occasion.
  • The service makes a difference in the lives of as many as 140 persons per trip in terms of time, energy and frustration, with a 400-seater still to come into service.
  • It's not a waste of tax payers' money.

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Lost Generation

Something uplifting today...

The God in whom I believe agreed with Abraham to leave Sodom be if there were just 10 good men to be found in the city [Genesis 18:16-33].  I know at least nine other conscious and conscientious people myself, so I don't think that we're lost or failed or damned here in Trinidad and Tobago either.

Fixing us is easy though.  We just need to do what's necessary to reverse our current path.  Make sure that as you click "Play" on the video below that you don't just listen intently, but you also read the text displayed.

Now go out there this week and do what you can in your own space to turn things around.

(Thanks Tamara for sharing this with me...)
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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Staying Safe on Social Network Sites

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 25: In this photo illu...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
It has been a dark day, and also one of incredible enlightenment. I've been hearing all day from people who have friends that use popular social networking sites for hook-ups, in a number of cases leading to grave disappointment.

We will probably never know though how many persons have come to shame, loss or injury as a result of their links in these spaces. But we heard today about an alleged murder, possibly linked to a lapse in judgment in the use of one of these sites.

The thing is though that like any other tool, a social networking site can be of benefit, but it can also prove dangerous if used improperly or recklessly.

I could sit and write a treatise myself on how to stay safe in Cyberspace. Essentially, all it takes is a modicum of common sense. However, several persons and bodies have already written at length on the measures that persons should take to avoid danger.

Among the most comprehensive sets of recommendations I've seen so far is that issued by the United Stated Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT). Their Cyber Security Tip ST06-003 titled, "Staying Safe on Social Network Sites" reads as follows, providing a comprehensive overview of what social networking is, and how to stay safe online. In the same way that we can warn each other about the dangers of just walking the road, let's warn each other about the dangers that lurk in Cyberspace and keep each other safe.

What are social networking sites?

Social networking sites, sometimes referred to as "friend-of-a-friend" sites, build upon the concept of traditional social networks where you are connected to new people through people you already know. The purpose of some networking sites may be purely social, allowing users to establish friendships or romantic relationships, while others may focus on establishing business connections.
Although the features of social networking sites differ, they all allow you to provide information about yourself and offer some type of communication mechanism (forums, chat rooms, email, instant messenger) that enables you to connect with other users. On some sites, you can browse for people based on certain criteria, while other sites require that you be "introduced" to new people through a connection you share. Many of the sites have communities or subgroups that may be based on a particular interest.

What security implications do these sites present?

Social networking sites rely on connections and communication, so they encourage you to provide a certain amount of personal information. When deciding how much information to reveal, people may not exercise the same amount of caution as they would when meeting someone in person because
  • the internet provides a sense of anonymity
  • the lack of physical interaction provides a false sense of security
  • they tailor the information for their friends to read, forgetting that others may see it
  • they want to offer insights to impress potential friends or associates
While the majority of people using these sites do not pose a threat, malicious people may be drawn to them because of the accessibility and amount of personal information that's available. The more information malicious people have about you, the easier it is for them to take advantage of you. Predators may form relationships online and then convince unsuspecting individuals to meet them in person. That could lead to a dangerous situation. The personal information can also be used to conduct a social engineering attack (see Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for more information). Using information that you provide about your location, hobbies, interests, and friends, a malicious person could impersonate a trusted friend or convince you that they have the authority to access other personal or financial data.
Additionally, because of the popularity of these sites, attackers may use them to distribute malicious code. Sites that offer applications developed by third parties are particularly susceptible. Attackers may be able to create customized applications that appear to be innocent while infecting your computer without your knowledge.

How can you protect yourself?

  • Limit the amount of personal information you post - Do not post information that would make you vulnerable, such as your address or information about your schedule or routine. If your connections post information about you, make sure the combined information is not more than you would be comfortable with strangers knowing. Also be considerate when posting information, including photos, about your connections.
  • Remember that the internet is a public resource - Only post information you are comfortable with anyone seeing. This includes information and photos in your profile and in blogs and other forums. Also, once you post information online, you can't retract it. Even if you remove the information from a site, saved or cached versions may still exist on other people's machines (see Guidelines for Publishing Information Online for more information).
  • Be wary of strangers - The internet makes it easy for people to misrepresent their identities and motives (see Using Instant Messaging and Chat Rooms Safely for more information). Consider limiting the people who are allowed to contact you on these sites. If you interact with people you do not know, be cautious about the amount of information you reveal or agreeing to meet them in person.
  • Be skeptical - Don't believe everything you read online. People may post false or misleading information about various topics, including their own identities. This is not necessarily done with malicious intent; it could be unintentional, an exaggeration, or a joke. Take appropriate precautions, though, and try to verify the authenticity of any information before taking any action.
  • Evaluate your settings - Take advantage of a site's privacy settings. The default settings for some sites may allow anyone to see your profile. You can customize your settings to restrict access to only certain people. However, there is a risk that even this private information could be exposed, so don't post anything that you wouldn't want the public to see. Also, be cautious when deciding which applications to enable, and check your settings to see what information the applications will be able to access.
  • Use strong passwords - Protect your account with passwords that cannot easily be guessed (see Choosing and Protecting Passwords for more information). If your password is compromised, someone else may be able to access your account and pretend to be you.
  • Check privacy policies - Some sites may share information such as email addresses or user preferences with other companies. This may lead to an increase in spam (see Reducing Spam for more information). Also, try to locate the policy for handling referrals to make sure that you do not unintentionally sign your friends up for spam. Some sites will continue to send email messages to anyone you refer until they join.
  • Use and maintain anti-virus software - Anti-virus software recognizes most known viruses and protects your computer against them, so you may be able to detect and remove the virus before it can do any damage (see Understanding Anti-Virus Software for more information). Because attackers are continually writing new viruses, it is important to keep your definitions up to date.
Children are especially susceptible to the threats that social networking sites present. Although many of these sites have age restrictions, children may misrepresent their ages so that they can join. By teaching children about internet safety, being aware of their online habits, and guiding them to appropriate sites, parents can make sure that the children become safe and responsible users (see Keeping Children Safe Online for more information).
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