gwolf's blog

Of aging, dead and comatose machines

Submitted by gwolf on Mon, 10/18/2004 - 13:19
It is almost one month my dear laptop (and, now that I am in this stupid inter-jobs period, main workstation) died. In fact, its passing away was one of the main reasons I decided to start blogging - I needed to tell someone of my grief and pain, of how much it hurts to lose such a faithful partner... But well, I didn't do it. Silly me, had I spent around US$300 on time, I would have bought Dell's extended warranty - And I have never seen a service with such a high quality as Dell's! Well, my friend Alexander told me he can get it repaired for about US$300. Fair, I gave him my computer and am hoping for the best. Sadly, I will not be able to see my dear machine for a week, as I am going to 5to Encuentro Linux in Valparaíso, Chile... But I hope to have it back by next Tuesday, when I come back. Ok... One month without my main workstation. What have I done in the meantime? How am I able to survive? The first couple of days were really terrible. I took an old laptop a friend of mine gave me some time ago (a P133 with 48MB RAM). And... Well, let's say it worked, although I could not do much with it. 240 bogomips are not quite thrilling. Then, some days later, [friend]p4ola[/friend] offered to lend me a K6-2@450, 64MB RAM. That sounds like a usable machine... But it didn't work as it should. I don't remember the exact problems, but I could not get it to work comfortably. As I was going to CLEI in Arequipa, Perú, I asked my part-time employer (UPN) to lend me one of the laptops they have for professors going to trips - which, happily, they gave me. It is quite a decent machine - a Dell Latitude D400, comparable to mine, although a bit lighter (around 2Kg, against around 4), a bit slower (1.4 vs. 1.7GHz), has more RAM (512 vs. 256MB)... But there is one thing I cannot stand: The screen is 1024x768. I feel as if I were in a cage. I am used to 1400x1050. By the way, I should have handed this machine back about two weeks ago... Will do so next week :) I hope they are not too mad at me.
But this subject got me to think of my other machines: My main server. I love that machine, but... Well, until a couple of weeks ago, it was quite enough. It is my oldest laptop (Pentium 120, 32MB RAM), with a 40GB hard disk. It serves me as a DSL gateway, and as a SMB, mail and web server. If your web site is static, this machine is more than enough... But if you are reading this on my site (insteaed of one of the planets where I am syndicated), you will notice it takes ages to open. 20 seconds on average for the main blog page to display. Sucky. I just upgraded to 48MB RAM, but it hardly makes a difference. I don't want to use any other machine for this, as a laptop makes a great home server - Almost no noise, very low power consumption, this old machine generates almost no heat so I can even store it in the bookshelf... Anyway, we will see what comes on next. ...And speaking about old machines: I still have not had time to play with my gorgeous Mac Quadra 950, one of the best m68k systems ever made (66MHz, up to 256MB RAM - which I believe it has. In a previous life it was used as a video editing workstation). It would make quite a nice buildd ;-)
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I am flattered!

Submitted by gwolf on Sat, 10/16/2004 - 20:14
You are Amiga OS. Ahead of your time.  You keep a lot of balls in the air.  If only your parents had given you more opportunities to suceed.
Which OS are You?
I have always been an AmigaOS fan... And now the infinite wisdom of Internet tells me it is not just causal.
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Cleanup day

Submitted by gwolf on Sat, 10/16/2004 - 13:46
This has been an interesting/productive Saturday. It started quite early, at about 8AM, some time after Nadezhda left for a course she is taking. I woke up decided to fix at least a simple bug in xosview. I adopted this package as it is a good excuse to get me to learn C++, on which I really suck. I am happy. This bug, although simple, was already over three years old, and I had seen it reported both in Debian and on the upstream Sourceforge site. And although xosview is not half as popular as it once was, DSL connections are quite commonplace - not having a way to correctly deal with them was a serious drawback on the package. On the personal side, I finally decided to cut my hair - Last haircut, IIRC, was a couple of weeks before Debconf, in May. Five months have passed, and well... I cannot find a decent, recent photograph, but I feel I really looked like a caveman. Right now, I (think I) look much better - My beard is 0.7cm long, my moustache (sp?) a bit shorter, my hair 1cm. Man, forget about the looks - It is really more comfortable. My moustache was long enough to get into my drinks 90% of the times, so each sip of ${liquid} was invariably followed by me sucking my moustache. Yuck. ...And, going on with this maintenance day, I moved some plants I have on the roof, as my neighbors complained that the wall adjacent to our house was full of humidity... Not an easy task, as each of them was over 50kg (and, being so wet, the clay was too easy to break - one of them snapped in my hands, lucky me I jumped back quickly, as I was barefoot). And... Well, now I think I will go work a bit at my garden, as it is a terrible mess :-)
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My whole country feels depressive

Submitted by gwolf on Tue, 10/12/2004 - 15:43
I have been feeling like this for quite some weeks already... I am (or should I say, should be?) involved in many projects. What should I be doing? Basically, what we Mexicans call [term]talacha[/term] - simple but repetitive work. Which, for a person like me, becomes something tedious. For my previous workplace, UPN (where I am now hired part-time to maintain some systems I wrote and do simple ones), this means fixing some bugs for Historia del Presente's site and finishing an attendance registration program for the Olimpiada Mexicana de Matemáticas. My progress? Almost nothing, and very slow. I am working on the second phase of a project I did with some friends last year. The client asked us for some extra features... Well, we have been trying to work on this for at least a full month, and I still see no real advance (excuse me if I am overlooking the work of any of you guys). I was talking with [friend]P4ola[/friend] yesterday, and we agreed that every one of us working on this is deeply depressed. Now, on my Free Software front: [friend]MiG[/friend] and I really need to work on Comas. There are a load of features we need to add, and details we need to polish, before marking a public release. Yes, CONSOL is using Comas, but I have given my word of adding some needed things for Debconf. And... Well, last commit was about two weeks ago, we have been sitting on our asses. At least we will work on analyzing how to incorporate what we need tomorrow afternoon. And about Debian? Well, I have been doing simple stuff. I have helped a bit clean up pkg-perl, adopted three packages I had waiting, uploaded a couple of fixes... But I still have not taken a look at some simple bugs on my other packages. ...And about life outside of my job: [friend]Nadezhda[/friend] and I seem to live in harmony: Both of us are depressed. She is doing much better than me, she has been working like hell with some frustrating clients, staying up late almost every day... But the air feels depressing. We have not done practically any cleanup at home for over a week, we have basically nothing in the kitchen, we are really in need to go to the store to buy some stuff... At least there is one motivator that will force us today: We just ran out of cat food, and _that_ is something we cannot ignore. So we will surely go today to spend some money. I am confident that as soon as I get formally hired at IIEC-UNAM (scheduled to happen in around two weeks time) things will start to improve... but right now, I am perhaps in the least active/productive moment of my life.
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Is it for real now?

Submitted by gwolf on Sun, 10/10/2004 - 12:41
[code="Perl"]use strict; print "Hello, world!\n";[/code] Many times through my life I have tried to start blogging somehow - On different public servers, maintaining a plain-HTML dairy, or similar strategies... And every time I did it, I ended up leaving it behind. I have been playing for quite some time with the idea of starting up a blog - Why not? Anyway, I have my own (although _very_ little) server, my friend [friend]ion[/friend] wrote quite a nice blogging software, [friend]Nadezhda[/friend]'s birthday was coming and we are too broke to consider giving her anything costy (and she has repeatedly told me she wants a blog ;-) ), I want my life to be syndicated in some planets, so... Here I am. Wish me luck! ;-)
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