Thomo’s Manila Hole – 2

Yes, it is a bit of a mess but come Wednesday night, all will be well

Yes, it is a bit of a mess but come Wednesday night, all will be well

Back on 19 September 2014 I published Thomo’s Manila Hole which was a look at where Thomo’s Hole would be. Having been, as the actors say, “between engagements for the better part of the first six months of 2014, the next steps to getting Thomo’s Hole set up were held in abeyance, waiting the first full salary payment.

I received the first full salary payment.

So, it was off to SM Department Store (SM = San Miguel – yes, the same folks as the beer folks) and after a quick look, a suitable book/display case was located and purchased along with a computer table. The computer table will be the painting table eventually. I organised for is all to be delivered on Monday – yesterday.

I got home last night and nothing had been delivered so I thought “oh well, I’ll call them and yell at them tomorrow”.

At around 10:30 pm however I received a phone call letting me know that the delivery was on the way. It arrived about 10 minutes later. The best thing was that apart from getting the delivery on Monday as requested, the flat pack computer table was assembled before delivery.

The next photo of the Hole will be after everything has been put away!

Bloody Stupid Processing

thomo_the_lostFaceBook are guilty of it. So is the Asia Wargaming Net. I went to register tonight and guess what? My handle, one I have used for nearly 20 years now, “Thomo the Lost” is unavailable Why is it unavailable? Because useless lazy programmers who haven’t got a brain in their heads think the string “homo” is somehow dirty, or worse, there even lazier team leaders and managers have just accepted some file of potentially dodgy names without considering what they are trying do!

Of course, the truly ridiculous thing is that I can set an in game name that is considerably worse – as in the two of the examples below (don’t read mother, there is a very naughty one there).


In fact, if I replace a “c” with a “k” I can make a much worse combination of letters and that is also accepted!


Hey Osprey Publishing, there are other tablets other than iPads

As many of you will know, I get annoyed with magazines that I subscribe to and that insist on locking me into one technical eco-system or other. Osprey publishing has joined that group.

They have recently been promoting their World War II Military History Magazine. This magazine looks good, slick and in the quality we come to expect from Osprey. They have even offered a free PDF download so one can have a look at the magazine. The magazine itself contains one complete e-book from the Osprey range and near as I can work out, subscribing gives you complete access to all the back issues.

To be fair to Osprey, they publish their eBooks in PDF and ePub format.

Which now begs the question … why, of why, is the magazine only avaiable through the iTunes store. It is advertised as

available for iPad and iPhone, and subscriptions can be purchased for just £2.99 per month or £7.99 per quarter. Each issue is a real gem, so why not give it a try and unlock a world of fabulous material on the Second World War.

OK, earlier in their advertisement they note that each

issue includes a full Osprey series eBook, and is packed full of fascinating extra material from our archives and authors

Hey Osprey – there are other tablets out there other than iPads. In fact, iPads account for 39% of the total international tablet market. Android tablets account for 61% currently! So what possesses a company to cut off 2/3rds of its potential market?

Why don’t you make all issues of the magazine downloadable PDFs so folks can move it from one platform to another, in the same way I can move my Osprey eBooks? You can still offer it through iTunes (and as a PDF, through Play Store as well as the Windows 8 Marketplace. Why cut off  67% of your potential market?

Thomo’s Hole Back on the Air

There was a slight downtime in the last 24 hours brought about by the registration of the domain pointer for expiring coupled with HSBC bank refusing the $13.00 online payment I made from the Philippines, even though there was $500 in my account AND I had been making payments from the Philippines over the previous two weeks.

Boo Hiss HSBC.

Last night I had intended on renewing the domain name, using madam’s POSB Debit Card (Yay for POSB – better service levels than HSBC) however several beers and a Murphy’s Gutbuster breakfast for dinner along with a cafe latte from Starbucks on the way home ensured that as I settled on to the couch for 10 minutes before going to my PC I would not wake again until about 4:30 this morning when it was time to switch off the TV (there was nothing on anyway) and roll over and return to blissful, beer induced slumber.

This morning I tried the renewal again – still failed on HSBC (boo) but paid first time with POSB. Isn’t it illegal for a bank to prevent us from accessing our own money?

Anyway, Thomo’s Hole is back, I swam for the first time in  months this morning (oh the agony), weight loss has steadied from its initial move south and no beer is contemplated until … well … next weekend … perhaps!

First Box Unpacked – not too much damage

I lifted the lid

I lifted the lid

I thought I would do myself a favour and unpack the figures that I figured would travel best – the modern ships. These are all on magnetic bases in a metal tin and I figured that the bubble wrap would help to stop them moving around. Now I should mention that I was not expecting anything great as I was present when the guys taping up the Balikbayan boxes taped first the top, then inverted the boxes to tape the bottom.

Opening the Balikbayan boxes and taking out the boxes of figures was not too trying a task as the boxes they were packed in had not collapsed at all (and remember, each of the 7 Balikbayan boxes had about 50kgs of stuff in them … books, clothes, shoes, electronic stuff and so on.

I removed the bubble-wrap and saw ...

I removed the bubble-wrap and saw …

I lifted the lid and things looked pretty much OK. the bubble wrap had kind of scrunched up a little bit and there were a couple of ships on their side down below but overall, it didn’t look too bad.

I removed the bubble wrap.

Yep, things had moved around a bit inside and I could see a little damage to the two aircraft but still, overall, everything looked pretty good.

I sorted the vessels out and reorganised the fleets in the box.

They are looking fine and ready for action (and I must admit, having not seen these for a couple of months, I do like the new style of basing I did on the Japanese).

All sorted by Navy again (Indian, Chinese and Japanese)

All sorted by Navy again (Indian, Chinese and Japanese)

The only damage that I could see was to the aircraft.

Mind you, the thing that has me amazed with the aircraft is that one of them has ended up with a lot more dihedral than it stared with. It must have been stretched over a vessel somewhere.

The only fleet damage was to the aircraft

The only fleet damage was to the aircraft

So, tonight, it’s out with the super glue (now where did I put that), straighten the wing dihedral and re-glue them to their poles.

Next box tomorrow (or maybe Monday of I go Karaoke tonight)!

Thomo’s Manila Hole

The boxes in the lounge room. Three boxes unpacked and four to go!

The boxes in the lounge room. Three boxes unpacked and four to go!

We moved last month. We slipped out of Singapore in July, sat around on the beach (sort of) on Batam Island and then came into Manila early in August. A month was spent living in a serviced residence – One Pacific Place in Salcedo Village to be accurate – where I was accused of stealing 6 coat-hangers! That was sorted.

Then, about 12 days ago we moved from the scene of the great coat-hanger robbery to an apartment in Legazpi Village. 10 days later our Balikbayan boxes arrived from Singapore.

The Balikbayan box is a box used by freight consolidators and forwarders to assist (for a handful of pesos of course) Filipinos overseas to send items back to the Philippines. We liked it because the charge for shipping was based on volume rather than weight and as a method of shipping items, especially if the items are packed well with the understanding that the box will receive rough handling, it was a $600 solution to a $6,000 problem.

Thomo's Current Manila Hole - just need to add a painting table and tidy up the storage as well as repair the incoming troops and we are away!

Thomo’s Current Manila Hole – just need to add a painting table and tidy up the storage as well as repair the incoming troops and we are away!

The boxes, all seven,  arrived so the last couple of days have been spent reacquainting ourselves with what we had rushed to pack back in Singapore. As expected, most of the damage fell on my painted figures. Everything else survived, in part because of Madam’s excellent packing (she maintains it’s the nomad in her where you are always packing for a move).

So, the next few days, my hobby time in the evening will be spent sorting and, I guess, super gluing items back together.

Thomo’s Hole is now in the middle of a soggy, but exciting, Manila!

Cheeseburger — Brother’s Burgers

Burger Brothers Cheeseburger - it's a chain but at $6.50 including chips and a Coke Zero, who's complaining?

Burger Brothers Cheeseburger – it’s a chain but at $6.50 including chips and a Coke Zero, who’s complaining?

Brother’s Burgers is a small burger chain in the Philippines. They have sixteen stores across the Philippines with one, fortunately, just up the road.

We were heading out to go to the Makati Marauders wargame club and decided to grab a bite on the way. Many eating places in central Makati were closed because it was a public holiday. Brother’s Burgers were the first eatery we came across that was open.

In we went.

Madam opted for the Extreme Bacon Burger whilst I went for my humble cheeseburger. I took mine in a meal which included chips and a Coke Zero for PHP 280 (about US $6.50).

The burger was served on a bun that was robust enough to hold the burger and the juice from the burger down to the last mouthful. There was a meat patty, about 250 grams in size on the bun with raw onion, tomato and an American processed cheddar cheese. On the top half of the bun was several leaves of lettuce. A slice of pickles rounded this out.

As with the Strand Burger, Romaine lettuce was used. Putting the top on, taking a firm grip on the burger and then biting, my taste buds were immediately titillated by the various flavours and textures. The patty was nicely seasoned and had been cooked well – cooked to well done but still juicy. Altogether, it was a nice burger and one I would happily grab for a sub $8 lunch again.

How did it rate against my baseline burger. To be honest, I think I prefer this one a little more so I would rate it 7/10. This was surprising as it is, after all, from a burger chain (although admittedly, a small chain).

Grab one!

Brother’s Burgers!

Field of Glory On-line — A Poor Replacement for the Gun Bar

My left overtakes Anthony's right at the end (my troops look darker)

My left overtakes Anthony’s right at the end (my troops look darker)

I’m now in Manila and the Gun Bar is firmly located in Singapore for the foreseeable future. How ever will I get my regular dose of beating up on Anthony? Simple really. Field of Glory On-line. Neither of us really likes Field of Glory rules but the on-line version has us not worrying so much about the rules as everything is resolved internally, in the computer’s memory.

The other down side is that it is impossible to determine if there is any dice feng shui, something we have got used to at the Gun Bar.

We just finished a game, 800 points a side and therefore a big game. We tend to start one big (800 point) digital army game and one scenario game (with both sides being played). The scenario games can be quite challenging. When we both lose the same side, it does suggest that the scenario is unbalanced.

Anthony's left has somewhat redeemed the failure of his right.

Anthony’s left has somewhat redeemed the failure of his right.

The last digital game we played however was from the Eternak Empire Group. I took the Ottoman out against the German knights led Knights Army. The two illustrations here are the position at the end. My left flank had overwhelmed and broken his right flank whilst his left flank had achieved the same result with my right. I had, however, manager to secure sufficient casulaties in the Knight to win.

The Ottoman Forced are shaded slightly.

We are in the process now of starting another game – this time my Sassanians are shaping up against a Principate Roman force.


Cheeseburger — the Strand

The Cheeseburger from the Strand

The Cheeseburger from the Strand

The Strand is the restaurant attached to One Pacific Place in Makati City, Manila, where we are staying at the moment.

I thought I would start the great Philippines Cheeseburger hunt here and set this as the baseline burger. It was not a bad idea. As far as burger go, it was reasonable. The patty was seasoned giving a slightly savoury flavour. The patty was cooked so that there was some pink still in the centre and was therefore still quite moist.

The burger itself was served on a bun that held together until the last two mouthfuls although it was a little sweet – a problem with many foods in the Philippines.

On the bun was lettuce (Romaine was used), tomato, pickle, the patty, raw onion and a cheddar cheese. It was served with chips that had been lightly battered in some seasoning with a small side salad dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette. The chips were interesting in flavour and texture, bending under their own weight as they were held up but overall, OK.

Cost was 375 pesos (about $9.00) and I’d rate this 6/10 as the baseline burger for the Philippines.

Miniature Wargames with Battlegames SOMETIMES Gives PDF Access

On 23 August 2014 I published Digital Wargame Magazines Overdo It! here in Thomo’s Hole. The crux of the discussion was that some magazines do not provide PDF access to their content so you are locked into your platform (iPad, Android tablet etc) as there is no real cross-platform format except for PDF.

I sang the praises of Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy from Karwansaray Publishers as they provide their publications in platform independent PDF format. I criticised Wargames Illustrated for allowing the technology to overshadow the content, making it hard to read as well as providing content locked to platform ensuring that either a spend a fortune repurchasing everything for a new platform or I stay stuck to Apple tablets.

I also criticised Miniature Wargames with Battlegames (MWBG) which is available through Exact Editions for not being available on PDF.

tweetHenry Hyde, the editor of MWBG was quick to comment on Facebook, Twitter and here in the Hole where his comments to the post noted:

Thomo – MWBG has been available as a PDF since inception. See

Giving Henry the benefit of the doubt, and knowing that I had looked at this before, I downloaded that PDF and checked and ‘lo and behold, there was no PDF version available for me. I looked further around in the Exact Editions website as I have an account. I had originally subscribed to Battlegames through Exact Editions.

Logged in, no subscriptions

Logged in, no subscriptions

Now Battlegames merged with Miniature Wargames around March/April 2013 and my Battlegames subscription expired about then. I had a subscription to Miniature Wargames at the same time, taken with Exact Editions through Apple iTunes (Newstand).

Henry will recall around that time there were a number of questions asked about subscriptions to both magazines and how they would be combined. I did nothing as my Miniature Wargames subscription was extant and any remaining issues I had to receive of Battlegames would be added to that subscription. In any case, I could not take out a Battlgames subscription then as I already had the Miniature Wargames subscription.

So, no PDF for Thomo.

I contacted Exact Editions support about this. My enquiry was:

Aug 25 18:11


I have had digital subscriptions to both Battlegames and Miniature Wargames
since 2012, both through Exact Editions.

Since the merger of the magazines, I understand that I should be able to
download PDF copies of the magazine. However, as you can see from the two
screen grabs below, Exact Editions does not seem to know that I have a
subscription even though I have a subscription.

Please advise on how I can access PDF versions of the magazine – as I am
thinking of changing platforms soon from the iPad to a MS Surface Pro and
will only be able to access via PDF.

Thanks for your assistance.

Cheers, Ian

I received the following response:

Aug 26 16:40

Hello Ian,

Thank you for your email.

A subscription purchased through the Newsstand app does not include access via the Exact Editions website or PDF download.

For a multi-platform digital subscription, you will need to purchase through the Exact Editions web store., rather than through the Apple Newsstand app. An app subscription, only includes access via that specific app.

Do you still have an active subscription through the app? As the receipt which you forwarded in your email is for an annual subscription from March 2013. If you have not renewed this, I would recommend purchasing a digital subscription from the Exact Editions website, here - miniaturewargames

Best Wishes,

Daniel Hodgkin, Exact Editions Customer Support

So, it seems that PDF versions (or multi-platform as Daniel describes it) of MWBG are only available if you subscribe through their webstore – which was not an option when Miniature Wargames first came out.

I wonder how many other gamers are in the same position?