Friday, December 28, 2007

The packaging avalanche

In today's Saipan Tribune:

"The floor is littered with boxes, plastic blister packs, cardboard, greeting cards, ribbons, bubble wrap, tags, pins, bows, wrapping paper (my nemesis), polystyrene packing, plastic bags, and all the rest of it. I know I'm not the only one digging out from an avalanche of packaging and related garnishments..."

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Obsolete man

Whenever I find a product I like it is immediately discontinued. It is a recipe for derangement and financial ruin, as explained in today's Saipan Tribune: The Obsolete Man.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Digicam shopping

Digital cameras are going to be popular gifts (again), so, for aspiring Saipan Santas, I ponder the realm of camera shopping in today's Tribune.

A mighty useful information source is Steve's Digicams. On that site you'll find that the "conclusion" page for any given camera holds the most useful insights.

There's a lot to digest in that site, so here are three good pages to start off with:

6- to 7-megapixel cameras

8- to 10-megapixel cameras

Steve's Best Cameras list

On a related note, in the world of digicam batteries, PC World magazine reported getting as many as 664 shots out of one pair of "AA" sized Energizer E2 lithium batteries. And one writer for PC Magazine reported getting 2, 676 (yikes!) shots out of one pair. I'm sloppy about power management-- I spend more time looking at photos on my screen than I do actually taking pictures-- and yet my battery-draining behavior still yields at least 450 shots out of a pair. They're magic. (These are disposable batteries, and are NOT the same as the "lithium-ion" rechargeables. )

As I prepared this article, I happened to stumble across a favorite old camera model of mine, so I wound up buying...ahem... well...I bought 10 digicams; I'm cursed with the fact that every time I like something, it's discontinued, so I think I've developed a hoarder's mentality. Most people start New Year's off with a headache, but I'll start it off broke!

Photo: Steve's Digicams

Friday, December 7, 2007

Department of Santa Claus

After creating a Department Of Santa Claus (DOSC), Saipan's bureaucrats issue their grand strategy, namely:

"Diversifying from reindeer-powered sleighs to eco-friendly wind-powered rocket ships, which will create a tremendous opportunity for diverse diversification within inter-cosmic free trade zones via public-private partnerships, education, and community participation."

Old St. Nick ain't amused.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Next year: Interesting Times

"The CNMI is hopelessly addicted to the intrinsic contradiction that it can have a huge, bloated, all-pervasive patronage government, while at the same time having a healthy and productive private sector."

Indeed, as the Commonwealth economy continues to crash, it's business as usual for CNMI policy. Something's got to give. And something will--a rude awakening is in the cards for both the community and the business sector. Yes, interesting times are in store for 2008.

Friday, November 23, 2007


Wise man say: "It is better to light a flashlight than to curse the darkness."

While the CUC Grinch will keep delivering blackouts to the Commonwealth, aspiring Santas can use the opportunity to recognize a practical and affordable gift: The Mini Maglite. It's a must for Saipan, and the topic of today's column.

These nifty things are available locally. Joeten Ace Hardware in Susepe has them for $17.99.

And here's a link to the manufacturer's site, which includes a graphic for using the candle mode.

Also, here's some history behind the company and its founder, Anthony Maglica, who is a very inspiring entrepreneurial success story.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A kid's poster

It's time to take a break from Saipan's economic death watch. Let's contemplate something more inspiring, and what could be more inspiring than flying?

Although I played hooky today by hiding out from Saipan's economic issues, editor Jayvee Vallejera drove right to the heart of the matter with an excellent overview of the regional economic context, available here.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Oily Business

High gas prices got ya' down? Look on the bright side: The CNMI is now so heavily subsidized by the federal government that the usual worries about oil and productivity don't matter all that much anymore. Living on handouts...ain't life grand? Oily business indeed.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Dear Abi

If Microsoft Word doesn't float your boat, take a look at AbiWord, a freebie, available at

Here's my take on AbiWord in the November 2 Saipan Tribune.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Crunching Credit

Got credit? Many folks in Saipan don't. Now is the time to re-evaluate that situation, hence today's column, Crunching Credit.

The column lists two Web sites, which I'll link here for convenience:

Friday, October 19, 2007

Oil? What's the password

With gasoline at $3.529 in Saipan, and oil nearing $90 a barrel, it's time to take another look at oil prices.

And, what's helium got to do with this?

Click here and find out.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Casino a Go-Go

Here's my take on the contentious casino issue.

Article Here