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
  • Location of primary residence:
    In Chiriqui
  • Birth (home) country:
    USA

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  1. I am well aware that not everyone was a Don Ray fan. Most everyone has their detractors whether they admit it or not. I am well aware of mine, they remind me often! The bigger point here was that there is a large group of expats moving out of Panama. While the short term residents are missed, it is the longer term residents that the community has come to rely on that will be the biggest impact. I fear for the next expat that needs the type of help Marion Clamp and others received. As the saying goes, you do not know what you have until it is gone. Then again the optimist says: you don't know what you've been missing until it arrives. Moving on... appreciating what I have... and waiting for what comes...
  2. This was just posted on Chiriqui Chatter. It appears that Don Ray and his wife are moving to the US and we are losing one of the areas most kindhearted and helpful men that the expat community has known. This is truly sad news and a great loss for the community. I wish Don and his wife Lilliam all the best. --- The David Warden Position For the U.S. Embassy is Available April 21, 2017Panama Journal With this post I am announcing that the David Warden position for the U.S. Embassy in Panama is available to be filled. Lilliam and I are going to move to the U.S. I resigned my position as Warden effective today. If you have an interest in filling this position, please email the America Citizen Services at the following email address (Panama-ACS@state.gov) and they will explain the duties and responsibilities. I will no longer be posting the Embassy notices. I encourage you to sign up with STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) and you will receive all communications directly from the Embassy.
  3. Dottie, There is a very detailed explanation of this here: http://www.theverge.com/2017/3/31/15138526/isp-privacy-bill-vote-trump-marsha-blackburn-internet-browsing-history While using a VPN may give you limited protection on who can see your data, at some point your information travels in the clear. Instead of travelling in the clear from the ISP point, it is encrypted until it gets to the other end of the VPN and then once again travels in the clear on its way to the final destination. Basically, that means that your VPN provider can do exactly the same thing as your ISP - you are just changing the point your data is in the clear. Also, there is additional information that is always available in order for you to connect to your ISP. For instance, your account, your IP address, the time and length of your data connection (were you online at 3am or not). All of this information is valuable for marketing purposes. ISP's as well as VPN providers can collect and sell this information. The fight and rule change is about whether or not this is considered to be permitted. Yet as you dig deeper into it, even that statement is some what foggy as the governing body only interprets what is written and does no enforcement. My personal take on it is this... The collection of your data and surfing habits has already has been done for a very long time. This is not just a US thing as it occurs in most every country. To think that there is ANY privacy online is to not understand how your information is transmitted. For those of us old enough to remember it - think of the Internet as a giant party line in beginning days of telephone service. Everyone can pretty well see and hear everything. Some information can be encrypted and hidden but the very fact you are using the Internet, when and how long, is in itself valuable information. There is little to nothing you can do about it.
  4. Unlike my post of a year ago, I have become a Uber convert while travelling to Colombia. I use a combination of Uber and taxis and find that both services have their advantages. I like the security and comfort of Uber. On the downside, I have had to help most Uber drivers to find the actual pickup and drop-off points whereas a taxi driver seems to have better knowledge of the city. There are times when a taxi is quicker and there are times when getting a taxi seems impossible due to high demand. It is worth the 5 minute wait to get the Uber. I now have a better understanding of what the attraction of Uber is to travelers. What I saw as the cheap, easy, non-meter taxis can certainly leave a traveler wondering if they are getting a fair deal. I suspect taxis are a better deal for the locals and Uber is a better deal for the tourist and travelers. Personally, I do not find the argument that Uber is putting taxi drivers out of business or is greatly impacting their livelihood to be valid. A taxi driver could certainly become an Uber driver. It would seem that perhaps the real issue for a taxi driver is the loss of cash customers and the ability to bend the rules on fares. I hate to see Uber accepting cash, even tho I have made cash payment to an Uber driver in the past. The sense of security drops off if you start to deal with cash to the drivers and at some point you might as well take a cheaper taxi. As for protest by blocking or slowing traffic on the streets - welcome to Panama. Seems to me they do themselves more harm than good. Take an Uber because the taxis are all busy protesting. Competition is a good thing and we, the customers, win when there are options that provide better services to our current needs. Find a way for both services to co-exist and let the public choose to fit their needs. Thanks for the news update Bud.
  5. You will never get the massive number of lawyers to give the same information since it is to their own self interest to give or exclude certain information. What is a shame is that the government could very easily solve the confusion by having a single website or set of sites that stated the information factually. Of course enforcement of the rules is another matter all together. The law says one thing, the decree says another and enforcement seems to be independent of either. Having a resource that the common man could access would help protect against unscrupulous lawyers. In my case, after stating on this site that I was giving up, a lawyer came forward and suggested that it was a simple matter for us to get my wife a "family reunification" visa or "dependent" visa based on our marriage. No other lawyer had offered this and I found almost no mention of it on Panama's migration and government websites. The lawyers only offered me various other paths for her to become part of my Friendly Nations visa and quoted prices of $5,000+ Now, whether or not this family reunification visa is in fact available to us, and at the quoted price of $1,050, remains to be seen. This goes to the point that there does not appear to be a single authoritative source to list all of visas that are available along with their requirements. There are many websites that list a few common ones, often out of date, yet no authoritative one that I have been able to find. I like to be well armed before approaching a lawyer so I can discuss things intelligently. After all, it's Panama. The only one looking out for us, is us.
  6. Interesting point Doug... had not thought about it like that. Like everything in life, it is all about perspective!
  7. To clarify - yes we were both single when we got married. We had a choice of getting married in the US, in Colombia or in Panama. Colombia was the easiest, least expensive and least complicated as far as paperwork. When it comes to a resident visa in Panama, the marriage is only important in the fact that it is needed to prove that my Panama company (Friendly Nations Visa via my Panama S.A.) is what is providing the income. Neither of us are pensionados and she does not qualify for any other type of visa. My point was that in order to get the paperwork to prove our marriage in Colombia, we would need to go to Colombia to get it and upon returning they will not let her enter the country. So the lawyer suggested that if we could not return with the paperwork, then we should essentially lie to Panama and get married here again as if we were single. This goes to my point that yet another so called reputable lawyer's answer is for us it to lie and create false paperwork to get around what should be a simple trip to get proof of marriage. This is the system here. Lie, cheat, get around the rules and play the game. I did it before for 5 years because I was naive. I am smart enough now to know that Panama is going to keep changing the rules with new decrees. What the Panama and the lawyer tell me today will not be what the facts tomorrow. Admittedly we are in an unusual situation. Looking at her passport it appears she has been border hopping for the last year. In fact we were merely dating and travelling between the two countries until we finally got married a few months ago. The lawyer had no answer when I asked what the difference was between visiting often and border hopping. Everything we did for the last year was legal and within the laws, rules and decrees at that time. Our visits were always in one country or the other for at least a month length - not a 3 day hop. Is there a way for us to go thru the system and get her a visa? Yes. The cost is estimated at $5,000+ due to various circumstances. There is no simple way for Panama to look at my residency for the last 8 years and then give her a spousal visa for some additional fee. On the other hand, Colombia looks at me as her new husband and says I can have spousal visa for about $200 (effective immediately) and then permanent residency and dual citizenship after 3 years. The process is a few hours long and my passport is updated within a week or two. As one lawyer told me - Panama sees the border hoppers as a great deal of money if it can just force them into a visa process. And I do not disagree that people should be here legally. I have proudly showed my papers at every checkpoint and admired the country for making sure people were legal. My complaint is that they are punishing the very people who want to go thru the process, such as my wife. Don't get me wrong, I love my life here and I have fought hard to be here legally. As I said in my original post, I am raising the white flag. I have lived here and been a supporting member of the community. I have employed dozens of Panamanians and given to the country in many ways. I have changed as Panama evolved and sought to always be honest and forthright. Panama is asking too much. The lawyer sharks are circling ready to lie and cheat with promises of a simple visa that is just a mirage. I think I will swim somewhere else, thanks...
  8. Moderator preface: The following posts were split out of a different topic that was related to an Executive Decree of December 2016 that dramatically shortened the time that a tourist visa was valid in Panama. That topic then began to focus on Steven Walker and his family, and their issues of being barred from returning to Panama after a "border hopping" cycle at Paso Canoas. For more details on that topic, see the referenced citation that has been added to this posting. One side effect of that Executive Decree is that another expatriate with legal residency (@Twin Wolf Technology Group), who recently married a Colombian citizen in Medellin is having to make a decision how to handle their situation. That portion of the conversation started focusing on how to get Panama to recognize their Colombian marriage documentation so that the new bride could apply for residency in Panama as the legal wife of a non-Panamanian but legal resident of Panama. While directly related to the border hopping topic, the primary focus really is marriage outside of Panama, the Registro Civil, and the implications of a non-Panamanian wedding on residency in Panama. Thus, the Moderator has made a decision to split out those postings and start a new topic. What follows is the split out topic related to marriage documentation. No one did anything wrong, as this is just a natural progression of a train of thought that morphed into a different but related topic. The original topic is here: And the new topic starts here: The decision for me and my new bride comes down to how much of a battle we wish to fight vs the ultimate benefits. One of the many lawyers we visited stated we should just get married again in Panama before we leave in April. I quickly pointed out that this would mean forging documents to say we are both single when in fact we are not... the lawyer saw no problem with it. I am a person with both persistence and patience. I am also forthright and honest. I will not try to game the system and if that is what is required, We will move on despite my desires and the life built here in Panama over the last 8 years.
  9. I have to take exception to the thought that if people would just do it right from the beginning they would not have this problem. I have attempted to do it right from the beginning. I have fought the battle for more than 5 years to get a resident visa because I wanted to do it right. Everyone has a different experience with lawyers and the immigration system, let me share a bit of mine. I came to Panama 8 years ago with a company that invested more than $300,000 into Panama. The law firm we chose came recommended by others in the same type of business. The lawyers at the time told us that several of us would then automatically qualify for permanent visas due to our investment. Despite 2 years of promises and constant badgering, the resident visas never materialized. When the business finally closed and returned to the US, I was left to battle getting a resident visa on my own. The corruption among lawyers in Panama is rampant and there is no legal way to hold them accountable for their actions. My second attempt to get a resident visa ended shortly after it began and while it resulted in a loss of money, it was certainly less of a loss than the previous experience. It seems that the man representing himself as a lawyer was in fact not a lawyer but his girlfriend was a lawyer and he was forging the documents in her name. Again, no way to hold him accountable without throwing money into a system that cranks out lawyers like raindrops in October and never punishes them. The third attempt was here in Boquete. I signed on with lawyer that came recommended by many on Ning and other places. It is always best to get recommendations but in each case those recommendations meant nothing. Once again I ended up with a dishonest lawyer. His office in San Francisco plaza closed shortly after I paid him and he refused most phone calls. I continued to badger him for 2 years, tracking him down as he changed locations and refused my calls. I heard every excuse in the book including "his car was broken into and they stole my final paperwork". Multiple trips to Immigration were needed because his paperwork was rejected several times. Ultimately I triumphed but at a cost far exceeding anything reasonable and with 5+ years of border hopping to continue the battle.. Since I own a car, I was forced to hop every 90 days instead of the 180, just to keep my driver’s license valid. I can understand that Panama is trying to prevent abuses but how is an honest person supposed to navigate the sewer of lawyers and endless hurdles? Even if you get lucky and find the one honest lawyer in all of Panama, how is someone supposed to do it in the 90 days without multiple trips out of the country given the process take a year minimum? Despite my long and finally successful battle, I am now faced with this issue again. I married a wonderful Colombian woman in January and of course she is a tourist since we have only been married a couple of months. We were married in Colombia and Panama could care less. For them, she is a tourist who has crossed the border multiple times in the last year (of course she did, we were dating!) We talked about where to live and she agreed to move to Panama. We have already purchased a flight back to Colombia at the start of April. The purpose of the trip is for me to get a spousal visa for Colombia (I want to be legal) and for her to apply for a tourist visa so she can visit my family in the US for Christmas. We were also going to get our marriage certificate and her paperwork apostilled so she could start her Panama visa process. It now appears she will not be permitted to come back to Panama due to this short-sighted and ill-considered decree. We have 21 days to get her a visa or some sort of paperwork that permits her to return to live with her new husband. Anyone living here knows, Panama doesn’t do anything quick - other than change the rules and enforcement. It is looking like our best option is to raise the white flag of surrender. Colombia is welcoming us with open arms. My resident visa in Colombia is a simple one day process – not a five year battle with unaccountable lawyers. Maybe Panama's next government can work on cleaning up its lawyers and legal system so the rules don't change at the gust of every breeze in March. My point is that while it is easy for some to say “do it the right way from the beginning… It will save you from problems in the future”, the reality in Panama is quite different. While those who have their visas may rest easy now, as I was doing, Panama is just as likely to change the rules with a decree and take away your peace of mind. My experience.
  10. Great video - thanks Keith! I always thought it was just a drunken party. Nice to learn more...
  11. Speed to a particular website can be effected by many things. To help track down where the problem is occurring you can take the following steps: 1. Try going to the slow website using a different web browser. Compare Firefox Mozilla with Google Chrome and Internet Explorer. If only one is slow, then the issue can likely be corrected by cleaning/dump the cache. Rather than trying to figure out how to delete the cache of the web browser you are using, I recommend downloading the free version of Ccleaner. Install and run the program, clicking on Analyze and then Clean. That will delete the cache and temporary files. This often speeds up web browsing that has gotten slow on a particular site or even in general. This is always a good first step, along with restarting your computer as it refreshes everything. 2. If the website is slow across all the browsers, the next step is to eliminate the computer as the cause. To do this, go to the website using a different computer, or a tablet or phone. If the other devices are quick, then the issue is with the computer and not the websites. 3. If multiple devices in the same house are slow for a particular website, the cause is one of three things. It is either with the Internet Service Provider, the path between you and the website or else with the website itself. The fact that other sites are not slow helps eliminate the ISP as the problem. Once you have eliminated everything above, you are left with the path between you and the particular website or else the website itself. One cause for a particular website to be slow while others are not is the route your computer takes to get there. This is determined by something called a DNS server. Your computer asks the DNS server where a particular website is located out on the Internet so it can begin the journey to get you there. Most people are setup to use the DNS server provided by their Internet Service Provider. However, services such as Unlocator and VPN's will change the DNS server that is used. Therefore, a computer that is setup to use Unlocator (or similar service) can be slow getting to a particular website because it takes a different route to get to the website, often encountering slow downs along the way. If possible, turn off the VPN or disconnect from services such as Unlocator and check the speed to a particular website that was slow. Some VPNs have been included in Internet Security software and users may not be aware of it. If all else fails, it is time for a call to your local computer guy/gal to help track it down. Most of these types of problems can be easily diagnosed using some additional tools. I am not seeing any slow down for the site, however I am not in Panama at the moment. Hope these tips help... if not, contact me directly. Dan
  12. John, Sent you an email and have not gotten a reply. You can send a private email to me at dan@twinwolf.net
  13. When people think of Windows, they think of their personal computer. However, most do not realize that many of the other things they interact with daily are also running Windows. If you have ever walked into a casino and seen rows and rows of slot machines - most do not realize that many of them are simply a computer running Windows. Without seeing a keyboard and mouse, the average person would not think that this is a single game program being displayed and run by Windows. The same is true of some ATM machines, some cash register terminals and many other devices we interact with every day. With the news that Bonnie has quoted, I suspect that there has been a strong outcry from larger companies that need the security patches but are burdened by all the additional patches that can have an effect on their device's single purpose. This was also they case when WIndows XP came to "end of life" and no more security patches were going to be released. Microsoft soon reversed it's decision and continued security patches. Having options is always a good thing because the world is not simply black or white. The fight for control tries to make it so but ultimately, there are exceptions to every rule. Windows 7 and Windows 10 are distinctly different. Each with its own advantages and faults. I am happy to see Microsoft giving users the option to choose what best fits their needs. Windows 10 is great for a one size fits all approach and Windows 7 is great for allowing companies and users to choose what fits them best.
  14. For the curious, let me explain the difference between an "app", an "application", a "program" and "software". Most people use the terms interchangeably because the difference is either unknown or unimportant. Software vs hardware is a simple concept. Hardware is the physical components that make up your computer, tablet or phone. Software is the set of instructions that make the hardware perform different tasks. Looking at the four terms, they become increasingly more specific. In other words, you can have many programs that make up a suite of software - such as Word, Excel, and Power Point programs all make up the Microsoft Office software suite. The term software includes all programs, applications and apps. Stepping down, an application is a program with a specific purpose yet contains multiple functions to accomplish a range of tasks. For example your Word program is an application with a specific task of being a word processor. It has the functions of creating text documents, spell checking them, sending them to the printer etc. The confusion comes in when people think an "app" is an "application". It is not. An app is specific to a single function. Because it is specific to a single function, it is not critical to the overall goal of an application or program. Think of an app as similar to an icon. You can delete an icon and still run the program/application from another point because you have not deleted the actual program/application. Generally, apps are touch based. They may be used to start an application but an app is not the application itself. Windows 10 has apps - a touch based way to start an application which may be part of a set of programs within a suite of software.
  15. In other news, Oct 31st is the last day that Microsoft will allows OEMs (Original Equipment Manufactures) to build computers with Windows 7 pre-installed. While you will still be able to buy computers with Windows 7 pre-installed for a short time, once the supply in the stores and warehouses is gone, your choice for Microsoft will only be Windows 10. Like every operating system, there are its devotees and its critics. User experiences vary greatly. Combining that with the fact that both Apple and Microsoft are changing as technology evolves, and you have a situation where the average person is easily confused. Realize that what you have and use today is not what you will have and use in the future. My advice is to keep your knowledge up to date while staying one step back from the leading edge of change. I will attempt to post important technology updates. At the rate of change that can be a full time job!