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Twin Wolf Technology Group

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About Twin Wolf Technology Group

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  • Real Name:
    Dan Porter
  • Reason for registering:
    Live and/or work in Chiriqui
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    In Chiriqui
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    USA

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  1. I am seeing the same thing here in Colombia. Many large supermarkets charge a small fee for each plastic bag. Right away that cuts down on the number of plastic bags a customer uses. They also sell the reusable cloth bags which many use rather than paying for plastic bags each visit. I did see that the Rey in David was trying to push the idea of reusable cloth bags by having a single checkout isle that only served clients with either the reusable bags or for customers not using any bags. Unfortunately, after a short time, it appeared that checkout lane was always closed. I suspect that having a dedicated cashier for a checkout that got very little use did not make much sense. Personally, I like the consumer having the choice with incentives for preferred behavior.
  2. The global scourge is what the consumer does with the plastic bag and how it is disposed of and what is done with it after use. I have a hard time laying the blame of plastic bags everywhere at the hands of the companies making them. The user is responsible for its use and what is done with it after that point. The consumer does have choices and responsibility. The problem in Panama is much larger than just plastic bags. The problem is within the culture itself and both laws and education need to address it. Plastic bags are not outlawed in neighboring countries, yet you do not see them blowing in the wind and being tossed out car windows. In my opinion it is too easy to point the finger at oil companies or manufactures and declare they are responsible. Educate your population, put incentives in place for collection and recycling. Change the throw-away culture and create responsible consumers. Other countries have done it successfully, Panama could do it too.
  3. In Colombia, I have found that the registered white "tourist" taxis also operate as Uber drivers at times. In other words, they get the benefits of being an Uber driver when they are not busy and thereby service more people than just a regular Uber driver. It would seem to me that if taxi drivers were allowed or would embrace doing both services they could come out a winner rather than trying to squash competition. Of course you need to meet the requirements of both Uber and the local taxi laws. Those beat-up, barely running taxis are out of luck. My experience has been that the white "tourist" taxis know the city better and have more experience, so I am happy when my Uber driver turns out to be one of these drivers. Maybe Panama could encourage this while reducing some of the burdensome regulations.
  4. Airport Security

    Everyone has lost a little something or other going thru the security check at the airport. I have had numerous items confiscated such as tweezers, fingernail clippers, etc. Today topped that list of items. It seems that you are not allowed to carry a partially used roll of 1/4 inch double sided Scotch Tape in your carry-on. As the security gal flagged her supervisor over, he agreed that Scotch Tape was not allowed in your carry-on bag. Stunned, I asked why. I was told that it could be used to tie or bind a person. I considered his answer as I put my belt on, slid my 12 foot power cord for my laptop into my backpack ad picked up my 10 foot USB cords. Yes, we can't have people carrying on something they could use to tie or bind. Its a good thing security is keeping us safe from the terrorist flying out of Albrook Airport with Scotch Tape in their bag. Rest easy... they are on watch... just drop the tape and walk away
  5. Yes is it legal in Colombia as follows: Since 1994, cannabis has been legalized for possession of small amounts up to 22 grams for personal consumption. In 2016, The Supreme Court of Justice stated that someone who is caught with a greater amount than the statutory limit cannot be criminally prosecuted if it is found that the person carries the substance to satisfy their own consumption needs.[53] It is legal to possess up to twenty plants for personal consumption. While I have more than enough vices of my own, this is not one of them. For my friends who count this among their pleasures/vices, there is a list by country as to what is legal and what is illegal for for pot. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legality_of_cannabis_by_country
  6. Cedula?

    Hi Julia & Sam Everyone has different experiences which is why it is often times hard to get solid answers. It always ends up being "it depends" or "my experience was". I lived in Panama for 8 and half years. It took my 5 years to get my resident visa and at the end of that process I was promised a cedula. The lawyer conveniently lost my paperwork and failed to respond to my requests to get the cedula, so I lived with just the carnet (the resident visa). I never ran into difficulties with it, tho I already owned a car and had a bank account open. I did both of those without a cedula. I had expected some issues since my passport was renewed after I got my carnet. My passport number changed and does not match the number on my carnet. I simply held on to my old cancelled passport in case there were any questions about the numbers being different from my passport to my carnet. To date, there have been no issues, I have never been questioned and showing my carnet has always sufficient even for jubliado discounts. So, my experience has been there were no difficulties living with just the carnet (resident visa) and not having the cedula. That was my experience for what it is worth.
  7. Non-Cents

    This is kind of a silly topic but one that everyone deals with. Coins In my move to Colombia, I needed to rid myself of all those US Coins, not to mention that wonderful dollar coin the "Martinelli". So what do you do with your all your coins? Put them in a piggy bank or blg jar? Unless you are diligent of using them as fast as they accumulate, you end up with a large amount. The banks always want me to roll all the coins and deny they have a coin counter. I suspect that is false but when the answer is no, you go looking elsewhere. The Rey in David has a coin counter for the public but there are a few gotchas. First is you have to dig out all of your Martineli's as it only counts US coins. Not hard to do. The next one is a hurdle I have cleared only once. The only person that will run the coin counter machine for you is the head cashier/manager. On my first visit I was told that she only does it in the mornings when they are setting things up. On my next visit (in the morning) I was told the machine was broken (Hmmmm...) That was also the excuse on several subsequent visit, yet it appeared the machine had been used. I did finally get my jar of coins counted and converted to paper bills but decided it was a losing proposition. The head cashier/manager was never eager to do it and it seemed like an awful lot of trouble for such a simple thing as turning on the machine. That made me wonder... what does everyone else do? Just hang on to the coins - which is what I would have done if I was not moving to a country they would be useless. To "coin" a phrase I decided to "buck" up because it makes no "cents", they are just going to "nickle and dime" you to death. Penny for your thoughts or give me your two cents worth!
  8. I find this topic of particular interest. I have used AirBnB for a few years with various experiences (both good and bad). We are also planning to host for AirBnB in the near future. I was in Panama when hotel occupancy rates were at record highs and had prices to match. What is not pointed out in the above articles is the explosive rate at which large hotels were being built in 2010, 2011 without any thought as to how they would be filled. The hotel industry and Panama brought much of this on themselves with greed and poor planning. Panama approved new construction of hotel after hotel thinking they would all be rich with hotel rates sky high. At the time, many of us were asking where all the people would come from to fill them as many of them had plans to add casinos as part of their operations. In my opinion, while AirBnB certainly takes a piece of the hotel pie, you have to expect the consumer to start looking for other alternatives when rates are outrageously high. Why pay $100, $200, or $300 a night in a hotel when you can get an AirBnB with all the amenities of home for a quarter of that price? I know clients that booked into the Marriott Hotel in 2009 for almost $400 a night. Now you can get that same room for $100 or less. I am happy to read that AirBnB is taking a proactive approach and making deals and collect taxes. That seems fair all the way around. As for the tears from the hotel industry, greed got you. Don't blame AirBnB. In many ways it is no different that the taxis and Uber. Better service for less money. Step up your game and quit crying about the competition. I just wish Uber was as proactive and honest as AirBnB appears to be. Thanks for the articles Bud.
  9. Burdensome Check-Out Procedures at Stores

    The part that is head shaking to me is that at the very end of the multi-step process, they ask you to sign the receipt... ...yet they give the entire receipt to you, so you are signing something you are keeping and they have no record of you signing anything! I am unclear as to why I need my own signature and they can not explain it either.
  10. I think it is just human nature for one to find ways to justify difficult decisions and then vent to relieve the stress and frustration. I am one that is leaving Panama and while I could easily list a number of things I dislike or seemed senseless here in Panama, I am sure I could just as easily find faults in my new destination once I have lived there for an equal amount of time. All my life I have made a major move about once every 10 years and I could easily list faults and express frustration with each location. My personal decision to move on is based on what appears a better option both personally and financially. While Panama finally tipped the scale for me in a different direction and while some past experiences here in Panama played a part in predicting the future, I can't say I have any great displeasure with Panama as a whole. I could probably list just as many pros as cons. There are certainly things I will miss here and will likely be back to visit clients and friends. It does feels like there are a larger number of expats leaving at this time or at least a bit more than the normal turnover we have seen each year. I am very skeptical about how concerned Panama is about the number leaving the country. I am sure they are more concerned with other issues and the expats leaving is probably just a side effect of other policy decisions. If Panama teaches you anything, it is that everything changes constantly (both good & bad). It can change at a moments notice... or even with no notice at all. Rules and laws here seem to be only enforced when a situation becomes untenable. Typically enforcement is done for a short time and then, as with everything here, it changes again. Seemingly random and sometimes without good reason to those of us that are used to laws and regulations being hard and fast.
  11. Very long read. As expected, there is an anti-Trump and guilt-by-association theme put forward by the writer but it is not over the top like many news articles. It is nice to get a full history of events to put things in perspective. I remember much of it as our business group was in discussions to assist with the casino operation. Thanks for sharing Keith, I enjoyed it.
  12. This is true in all locations where there are arrows painted on the pavement, tho most people either do not notice or understand their significance. If there are arrows painted on the pavement, those are the ONLY permitted directions. If there is not an arrow painted in the direction you want to turn but there are others painted arrows, then the turn you want to make is not permitted. A common and semi-humorous story is that when a gringo is pulled over for making such a turn, the gringo says there was no sign saying the turn WAS NOT permitted, to which the officer replies, there was no sign (painted on the street) saying it WAS permitted. A subtle but important difference. All permitted directions are shown whereas any other directions are not permitted.
  13. Your Passwords

    As I write this, I am shaking my head. Another site hacked, this time one that hold passwords for thousands of people. What I am commenting on is a service called One Login. It is a password manager service. The idea is to keep all of your passwords in one place and have a program or app on your phone keep track of them so they can all be very long and different. You only need to remember the one password for the service and the rest is done for you. Well, OneLogin was broken into by hackers and all of the passwords, including the keys to unencrypt them, were exposed. If you have this service, you have already received an email about it. For the people that do not have that particular password manager but do use a similar service I would like to caution you with a bit of reasoning. The old saying is "Don't put all your eggs in one basket". A password manager does exactly that. It puts everything valuable in one place. You are then trusting some company to keep the passwords to all your valuable information safe. Consider this... if you are a hacker, it would make sense to attack the place where there are hundreds if not thousands of passwords rather than trying to get just one password of yours. Personally, I solve the problem of having different passwords on different sites by making a formula out of them. It is a rule that I apply to each website when they want me to create a password. If follow the rule, then each site then gets a unique password. I do not need to remember the password, instead I can recreate in my mind by remembering the simple rule. Here are a few examples: Let's say this is my formula to make a password for any web site I visit: First two letters of each word of the website name, followed by the year I was born, followed by a $ and then my initials in lower case Wells Fargo = WeFa56$DP Ebay = Eb56$DP Chiriqui Life = ChLi56$DP As you can see you end up with both upper and lower case letters, numbers, and a special character ($). That meets all the recommendations and it is unique for each website. Now when I visit in the future, I just think the rule out and I can figure out my password without having it written down or stored in a password manager. You can add other things and mix it with your own variations to make your formula unique. Perhaps you want to use the first initial of all your kids names or maybe the last two letters of the website name. The idea is to create a simple rule that lets you create a password for each site and makes it unique. Keep the rule the same for every site and it will have enough variations to make a different password each time. By doing this, you no longer need the password manager service and all of your accounts will not suddenly be exposed with a single failure should it get hacked. It is something to consider. I have always said a password manager works right up until the company disappears or gets hacked. When that happens, you do not have to deal with a single exposure, you have to deal with EVERY site. In today's world, that can easily be 100s. Now... about saving the passwords in your web browser so you do not have to enter them each time - I will let you consider the risks when your computer goes into the shop for repair ! Stay safe and enjoy the day
  14. I was for many years as I have discussed on this forum before. Bad lawyers and corrupt system forced some of us. To be honest, after fighting the system for more than a year, it simply becomes easier just to make the border run. After all, who doesn't enjoy a little 3 day vacation in Costa Rica at a nicer beach than those in Panama? I began making my border runs from Panama City because I had no choice. It was a long haul at times... trying to get thru the system to become legal was more of a challenge than a long bus ride. Also, even for those people that saw it coming, there was little they could do to quickly to comply with new rules and regulations. The process quoted by most lawyers is 6 months to a year to get processed and a bunch of money upfront with no guarantees. Your mileage may vary (lol) I did eventually get thru the system and get a Friendly Nations Visa but I can understand those that either can't or won't. I won't put my wife thru it as she is still considered to be a tourist. Immigration laws change, as does the government and its decrees. Regardless of whether you think border hopping was legit and legal or if you think it was a loophole, the fact remains that it had been used by a very large number of people for many, many years. The government of Martinelli was border hoping friendly and not interested in changing the law. Varela's government is not boarder hoping friendly. This government is looking for money and it appears that this is one way to generate some. (just my personal view on it all). I suspect that Matinelli's approach brought more business and money into Panama than Varela's solution will but only time will tell. Either way, it is absolutely Panama's right to change and enforce immigration as it sees fit. Consistency does not exist in Panama nor does equal enforcement of the laws. Walkers got unlucky and got a longer penalty. As many can attest, your experience at the border depends on the agent at the time - it was rarely the same from day to day. I was never forced to stay out the full three days and was always permitted to return the same day. That is inconsistent with what others were experienced and I was always prepared to stay longer if the agent made that requirement. For some of us - it is merely the nudge we need to move on.
  15. While the country sorts this out, I have often wondered about the claim that a taxi driver is a "professional driver" and therefore somehow better than the average driver (such as an Uber). The humorous, yet somewhat true saying that "Every car accident involves at least one yellow car" makes me wonder what the real statistics are on auto accidents and taxi safety. I doubt that statistic is available on taxi drivers vs the average public but it would be interesting to know given the position that some take saying Uber drivers are not professionals. From my experience, there is a marked difference in the white tourist hotel taxis vs the average yellow street taxis. They do cost more but provide air conditioning and are more likely to speak some English. Hopefully, the country will find a way for all options to exist and give each of us the choice of service that fits our needs best.
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