Monthly Archives: November 2005

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes

This is just too funny. I just received an email from my son back in the states. The email started, “Do you want to hear something funny?”

He continued. It was 1:00 AM last night and I had just started making love to my wife when we hear our five-year-old daughter start talking right by our heads. She said, “When you guys are done doing whatever your doing can you turn on my fan?” My son said, “I was traumatized.”

Flame or Flameout

Flame or Flameout
By Don Ray Williams
November 30, 2005

How does one know when love is real,
That it is more than passion that we feel?
Is there some test that one can trust,
To know that it is love, not lust?

I’ve asked this question, maybe you have too,
I’ve asked it till my face turned blue,
I have searched for answers high and low,
It seemed the more I’d search, the less I’d know.

Finally, a very good friend explained to me,
That knowing true love is really easy.
She equated love to the life of a flame
When she first said this, I thought her insane.

She said when a flame is weak and a breeze comes along,
Then the flame flickers and soon it is gone.
But if the flame is strong and another breeze flows,
Its effect on the flame is that the flame simply grows.

Love is the flame and life’s events are the breeze,
Love will grow or diminish based on the strength that it sees.
Strong love will survive the worst that may come,
While weak love needs little, before it is gone.

So if you wonder if you are in love, not merely in lust,
Just give it some time, and in time you must trust,
That life’s breeze is a blessing, and nothing to fear,
Lust will extinguish, but true love will appear.

Can You Find Me Now?

Can You Find Me Now?

Cable & Wireless has moved in David. I went to pay my telephone bill this morning and when I parked, I noticed that all of the windows on the Cable & Wireless building were boarded up. After a phone call I learned that they had moved into the building that had previously been the C&W Mobile office building. Verizon may have the commercial “Can you hear me now?” but C&W has altered it to “Can you find me now?”

In case you are looking for the C&W office, this is what it now looks like.
C&W New Office

Santa Is Not The Only One Watching You!

It amazes me that more people are not aware that using wireless hotspots for PC connections is fraught with danger. More and more people considering retirement are visiting Panama as well as other Latin American countries and bringing their laptops with them to communicate back home. When they find a place that provides a wireless connection, they will use that as opposed to directly connecting via LAN because it is more convenient.

The problem is that the wireless protocol does not provide the same level of security. I hear them say, it is not a problem because their connection is using encryption. That is probably true, but that doesn’t make it a secure transfer of information. The reason it is not secure is that when you establish the connection between your PC and the wireless hub, the keys for the encryption are sent in the clear. Therefore if a cyber bandit wants to look at your information all he has to have is a Linux PC with some free software to receive the keys as you connect and then he can de-encrypt your messages and snoop around your PC. If you connect to sites and send passwords, he knows your logon and passwords. If you send credit card information he knows that. Any information you send is not secure. And if you haven’t set up your PC correctly, he can look at all the files on your PC as well.

Until the standards committee for the wireless protocol changes the protocol, wireless is not a safe environment. I have stayed at La Vía Láctea in Boquete and it advertises that it provides wireless connection to the Internet. Not only that but they don’t even set it up with encryption. I advised them that they were providing a non-secure connection medium for their clients and should advise the clients to that effect so the clients could take appropriate action. When I was told it was secure, I provided them a URL with all the information showing why it wasn’t secure and asked that at minimum they activate encryption to make it a little more secure. They said it complicated the connection too much for the clients.

If you use a wireless connection in a hotspot for your PC and you read this, you have now been warned.

Gracias To All That Recommended Dr. Octavio Ortega Barraza

Dentist Office Photo
I hate going to the dentist. I mean, I really hate it! I had been going to Dr. Jeffrey Joyner when I lived in Boquete. When I moved to David I decided I needed to consider someone here to avoid the trip as well as the gasoline expense.

I started asking around for dentist recommendations first on the Yahoo Panama groups and had three recommendations and one negative advisory. I then went to some of my local friends in Panama and asked again. One name came out on top (both in Yahoo and locally) and I saw him today.

I was supposed to go for my last cleaning in September and this being the end of November (basically 3 months late), I was pretty nervous. I had noticed a little bleeding of the gums and knew I needed to go now.

I decided I had postponed the visit long enough and was determined to go today. Here are the directions to his office. If you are on the one-way street that goes by the Gran National Hotel Theaters, turn left just past the theaters. Drive to the next corner and across the street on your left is the office. Here is the Dentist’s business card with all the pertinent information.
Dr. Octavio Ortega Barraza Business Card

I take my seat in the chair of anxiety. I give the doctor my dental history. He speaks very good English. He gave my teeth a thorough look-see and said there didn’t appear to be much problem. He said my gums appeared to be a little inflamed, but that could be taken care of with a 5-minute mouth rinsing with salt water before going to bed for a period of 15 days. He then proceeded to clean my teeth using an ultrasonic water cleaner follow by the standard metal pick (the one I never like, but know is required). I mention this, because Dr. Joyner never used the metal pick, only ultrasonic water. I believe both do a better job.

He said to see him in 6 months. My heart rate is now at a normal pace again and pleased with the dentist that had the most recommendations. There may be others as good and he is, but he is as good as any I ever went to in the states. The charge for my visit was $25. Dr. Joyner always charged $45. I guess that is because more gringos live in Boquete and they don’t take the time to find out what is available in David.

I am one happy camper for another 6 month.

Gasoline Prices And Octane Ratings

I see that today’s Dallas Morning News is talking about the price of gasoline going down again. Here is today’s’ prices in Dallas.
Gas Prices In Texas

Here in David the prices will change this Thursday. Currently the price for regular octane is $2.50. Many people comparing the price of gas in the States with Panama will probably make a mistake and not compare the equivalent octane ratings.

In Panama Regular is 91 octane. That is Premium in Texas. Texas has three grades 87/89/91. Panama has two 91/95. Why anyone buys 95 here is beyond my comprehension. The difference is substantial at the pump and you can’t even buy 95 octane in the US.

So for today’s prices it is $2.50 in David, Chiriqui in Panama vs. $2.30 in Texas. Not bad considering the difference in distance to the refineries.

Prices are usually at least 6 cents cheaper per gallon in Panama City than in David.

Note: Henry’s Comment to this post adds information I didn’t know and a more accurate comparison would be $2.50 in David vs. $2.10 in Texas.

Phishing For Suckers

Has someone been phishing you lately? I just received a fake email that said it was from PayPal. I have spam software that captured the email and quarantined it. I have used PayPal in the past and my SPAM software knows it is a legitimate address. So why was it quarantined? Read – Huge Red FLAG!

Here is a copy of the email I received. The email address that you will see below is what appeared in the message. The problem is that what was displayed was not the address that the one you would really be directed to.

To: My email address
Subject: You have added new email address to your account.

You have added as a new email address for
your PayPal account.
If you did not authorize this change or if you need assistance
with your account, please contact PayPal customer service at: email
Thank you for using PayPal!
The PayPal Team

Please do not reply to this e-mail. Mail sent to this address cannot
be answered. For assistance, log in to your PayPal account and choose
the “Help” link in the header of any page.
NEVER give your password to anyone and ONLY log in at Protect yourself against fraudulent websites
by opening a new web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer or Netscape)
and typing in the PayPal URL every time you log in to your account.

PayPal Email ID PP191

My word of caution is to be careful about clicking on a URL that is in an email you receive. If you are in doubt enter the URL manually.

Naturally, I have sent the email message and all routing information to PayPal which has a way of notifying of Fraud attempt.