...So I did it

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 11/16/2005 - 00:19
So it seems I cannot uphold my word - Well, yes, it was because of the trouble it would represent to the fine Moquegua guys - But anyway, I ended up accepting the invitation practically at the last minute, and went to Moquegua, Perú, probably for my life's most tiresome journey. Saturday, after lunch, we headed for the airport. I left Mexico at 17:30, and arrived five hours later in the Lima airport. Thanks to Antonio, José and Laura, who picked me up at 23:30 and arranged me a room in a hotel. I met the DebianPeru crowd, a very nice group, Sunday morning - We had breakfast, chatted for a while, and went for Lima's famous ceviche (assorted seafood cooked in cold in lemon. VERY good). At 3:45PM, I took the bus to Moquegua... For 17 long hours. Got to Moquegua at ~8AM, went to the José Carlos Mariátegui University. I met the other guest speakers for breakfast, went with them to meet the Univerity Rector, hooked up some minutes to the net, went to a typical Moqueguan restaurant, gave my talk... Then hurried up to get the bus back to Lima. We got there five minutes before it left. I don't know why or how, but the bus back took 14 instead of 17 hours - I will not complain ;-) Back in Lima, Carlos met me at the bus station, we went for breakfast, and hurried to the airport. I crossed the gate at 12PM, hurried by the airline personnel (and didn't manage to see Rudy/Stone_Head, who was on his way there)... Just to find the plane was delayed, although by little. Sat down for a while, hacked for a bit, and took the plane back home. Summing it all up, I traveled roughly 40 hours, out of the 72 hours I was out of Mexico. Of course, you could add 1hr travelling to the airport and 1:30 back home... Anyway, 40/72 is quite close to 42/74 :) I am tired. Plain tired. I am just waiting for Nadezhda to get home, as I want her to find me alive, and I'll crash down in bed.
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Thanks for the warning!

Submitted by gwolf on Mon, 11/07/2005 - 11:23
Ok, so I have my Mac Mini ready to overtake my old PC as my home server/gateway/whatnot. Before anything, I must thank Filip for his warning - I had left 3GB at the end of the disk to set up MacOS - Just for fun, just to play with it, maybe even to use the Mac On Linux trick. Anyway, if I want to do anything with MacOS, I can use Nadezhda's G5 imac... And it is not sane to have a server's interface to the world rely on a stack of two (cooperating, but still...) OSs. I'll just stick to good ol' wired Ethernet. PS: Fuck Broadcom.
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Lateness, angst, addiction - Trying to get hold of my life

Submitted by gwolf on Mon, 10/31/2005 - 22:30
This is by far the most stressful long period I can remember in my life. I was quite in control of things approximately until around June. Since then, things have been falling over me in a quick and heavy sucession - First of all, being co-organizer at Debconf was quite hard. I had run conferences before, but nothing ever like this - And, I should add, I never had a German boss running the show. [friend="Stockholm"], as a project leader, you really rule... But whoever works with you should be warned: It is not easy. Gunnar's Rule of Future Life No. 2: It's easier to be the coordinator (remember I was officially the Tyrant for three years at CONSOL? :) ) than to be in the immediately subordinate team. Back home, I expected the regular post-vacation rush, so having a hard August -trying to make everything on time- was expectable and OK. I don't remember exactly what projects was I in during August/September (I remember some minor stuff, but I think adding it all together was the mistake). There is one thing I did, though: Accepting way too many invitations as a speaker, at least one every two weeks. And, as many of you know, you cannot just travel somewhere and keep working - When I am at a conference, I want to get to talk with the people there, I want to know what are they interested in (why they invited me in the first place), and make friends with them. But this time it was (as it happens every year - Why are most conferences stuck together September-November?) just way too much. Gunnar's Rule of Future Life No. 2: Be careful on what you accept. It's easy saying "yes" to a conference. It's hard keeping sanity afterwards. Ok... I have been going places. For example, two weeks ago I was to San Luis Potosí. Instead of staying there for two days, I left my office at 7PM, took the metro to the bus station, got the bus at 9PM, arrived at 2AM, went to my hotel, woke up at 7:30AM, had breakfast, coded for ~1hr, went to the conference theater, delivered my talk at 11AM, went for a quick lunch (which became a takeaway order) at 1:15PM, got on my bus at 2PM, arrived back in Mexico City at 7PM, got to a (fucking long) meeting at 8PM, left the meeting at 12AM, and finally got back home at 1AM. Fun, huh? Gunnar's Rule of Future Life No. 3: Yes, it's fun to travel. It is much more fun to travel when you actually get to know the place! ...And pressure has not given way. As soon as I finish with one project, there is another one demanding my attention right away. October has been more than hectic. I had to cancel two invitations (on which I was to go to two cities each time) I was quite looking forward to, in Peru - I am very sorry, friends at Lima, Moquegua, Tacna and Arequipa... But I won't make it there this year. I am specially frustrated by not being able to make it to Concladeb in Arequipa - I really want to see DebianPeru/DebianArequipa's good work! And I am specially sorry on canceling today my trip to Moquegua, after they had already booked (and paid) for the tickets... It seems the money will not be lost after all, but I was such a pain in the ass for them, it is not fair I am cancelling... But anyway. Gunnar's Rule of Future Life No. 4: Remember to learn from past experiences - It feels incredibly as a deja-vu from last year. I hope I am not spoiling any surprises: Today, instead of blogging, I am supposed to be setting up the Comas server for Debconf6. Even with all of my worries, yes, I am still determined to be the man behind the show for Debconf. It will be in Oaxtepec, don't worry, and it will be a huge success. So let me finish this post quick, and it will be sooner you can register for it ;-) There are still too many points to work on Comas, though. I am setting up a tweaked version, against my will, but with the commitment to fix it transparently and soon. Oh... Yes, and I still have to coordinate with the locals here, as it's taking forever for us to open the fscking bank account so we can start receiving funds and paying money. Did I mention Debconf would be in Mexico? Ok, I will do my best not to make lateness the norm. Gunnar's Rule of Future Life No. 5: Try not to bore your audience with too many details. Remember you have to work, and somebody might complain you lose too much time blogging! But before I leave you alone: You might ask why do I mention the addiction in my post title... Well, because I have started treating my main addiction. It is really not easy, and I don't ever want to know what is it like to have a chemical addiction, like people who abuse drugs. If you have seen me face to face, it should be obvious: I have a very strong addiction to food. For one month already, I have been as conscious as I can every time I open my mouth - And, yes, it was not just three times a day. I have made some advances (sorry, I cannot really measure it, as home scales make it only to 120kg). Today is a big day for me: I was admitted in a pilot obesity control follow-up treatment at my University's sports health direction. I am very happy about this, as I do need mentoring and hand-holding. This is a seriously difficult process to follow, and I really hope to carry it thoroughly. Fortunately, my health has been perfect until now - But I cannot abuse myself forever.
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Yet Another Meme

Submitted by gwolf on Fri, 10/28/2005 - 14:21
Nice one, Mike! I would have liked to end up being more humane, though ;-)
Much More Scientific

You have:
The graph on the right represents your place in Intuition 2-Space. As you can see, you scored about average on emotional intuition and well above average on scientific intuition.Keep in mind that very few people score high on both! In effect, you can compare your two intuition scores with each other to learn what kind of intuition you're best at. Your scientific intuition is stronger than your emotional intuition.

Your Emotional Intuition score is a measure of how well you understand people, especially their unspoken needs and sympathies. A high score score usually indicates social grace and persuasiveness. A low score usually means you're good at Quake.

Your Scientific Intuition score tells you how in tune you are with the world around you; how well you understand your physical and intellectual environment. People with high scores here are apt to succeed in business and, of course, the sciences.

Try my other test!
The 3 Variable Funny Test
It rules.

My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 80% on Scientific
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 7% on Interpersonal
Link: The 2-Variable Intuition Test written by jason_bateman on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test
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Please describe yourself

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 10/26/2005 - 16:20
Ok, so my brain is right now thinking on how to make Comas (my Conference Management System, which is quite nice, but somewhat unflexible. Sorry for the butt-ugly and incomplete webpage...) more flexible - And I have come accross some quite nice things. First of all, I want the fields for each person (the person table) to be easily modifiable, allowing me to add/remove attributes at will between different instances of Comas. Ok, this is the muscle behind my new idea. Yes, PostgreSQL-specific, as basically everything in Comas:
CREATE OR REPLACE VIEW table_attributes AS SELECT c.relname AS tablename, a.attname AS attrname, t.typname AS type, a.attnotnull AS required, d.description AS description FROM pg_class c JOIN pg_attribute a ON a.attrelid=c.oid JOIN pg_type t ON a.atttypid=t.oid LEFT OUTER JOIN pg_description d ON d.objoid=c.oid AND d.objsubid=a.attnum WHERE a.attnum>0 AND a.attisdropped = 'f' AND c.relkind='r' AND c.relname NOT LIKE 'pg_%' AND c.relname NOT LIKE 'sql_%' ORDER BY tablename, a.attnum;
Nice, but still not enough - As with any other RDBMS, fields can not only hold data, but -of course- they can be foreign keys, referring to data in other tables. Ok, in order to check those relations and be able to build a map of the relations in my DB, I came up with this:
CREATE OR REPLACE VIEW related_tables AS SELECT c1.relname AS referrer, c2.relname AS refered, a.attname AS ref_key FROM pg_constraint con JOIN pg_class c1 ON con.conrelid=c1.oid JOIN pg_class c2 ON con.confrelid=c2.oid JOIN pg_attribute a ON c1.oid=a.attrelid AND a.attnum=ANY(con.conkey) WHERE contype='f' ORDER BY c1.relname, c2.relname;
In the first query, note that I am excluding from what I report all the tables starting with pg_ or sql_ - While that's a usual convention in Postgres, there surely is a better way to do it, some attribute signalling it's a system catalog... But, at least for now, this covers my needs. Anyway, this might come useful for your projects. PostgreSQL introspection is fun! (Yes, those two queries are the result of many lonely hours going through the documentation and a couple of spontaneous questions to several friends - But it's worth it!)
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On nice, closed numbers

Submitted by gwolf on Tue, 10/25/2005 - 09:38
Wouter: I also remember finding it shortly in the future and missing it. It sucks. Anyway, try to be creative: gwolf@mosca:~$ LC_ALL=C date -d '1978-05-06 + 10101 days' Sat Dec 31 00:00:00 CST 2005 Yes, I know this looks like binary but is decimal, but... Well, looks nice :) I think the sanest for me will be to wait ~11 more months: gwolf@mosca:~$ LC_ALL=C date -d '1976-04-27 + 11111 days' Thu Sep 28 00:00:00 CDT 2006
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Meme time!

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 10/12/2005 - 12:01
Following Tolimar, Kov, Noodles, Amaya, and the people who have fallen off the edge of the Planet:
  • Gunnar needs to stamp images with time when captured
  • Obviously gunnar needs a world map store and use the information he has gathered
  • Gunnar needs a box for his blocks
  • Gunnar needs to finish his clean-ups he planned or I guess already started.
  • Gunnar needs to develop more body rhythm to advance in this style.
  • Go rent "Scars Don't Sweat' because Gunnar needs the .003 cents he earns from each rental
  • Asther and Gunnar need a miracle! Asther needs her healing and Gunnar needs an additional measure of God’s strength and grace as he cares for Asther
  • Gunnar needs your help with Dwellingup data
Scary... Some of them even make sense!
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Of floods and the longest distance between two points

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 10/12/2005 - 11:40
In order to understand this post, if you are not familiar with Mexico City (specially with Ciudad Universitaria), you should get this flood experience route, which illustrates the longest and wettest possible route between two points I have ever had to use. Yesterday, we had quite a nice Debian México group meeting. I invited the people over to my Institute, and we started on time, at ~17:00. I should note that my office has no windows, so until 16:50 I still had the impression we had nice weather - I came back from lunch at home at 16:00, and we still had sunshine. When I got to the Ángel Bassols room, on the fifth floor and with a beautiful view of the south west of the Mexico City valley, I noticed we had a severe storm - People got to the meeting anyway, which is admirable... But from time to time I was more into watching the rain fall than hearing people speak. We had four small talks out of the five scheduled: I spoke about Debconf - What it is, how are we advancing, what can local people do, where/how to get involved (hint: We are meeting this Sunday, October 16, at 19:00UTC, which means 14:00 Mexican time, in #debconf-team in Rodrigo spoke about public key cryptography, GPG, and the usefulness to have a Web of trust (meaning, it's not only good for becoming a DD). Sergio spoke about his experience setting up and administering Nisamox, Mexico's only Debian mirror (of course, in UNAM as well). Damog spoke about the fine job he has been doing on cleaning up the WNPP. Ana was scheduled to talk, but we had the room only until 19:30, so at 20:00 we had to leave. Well, we should take this meeting to the traditional restaurant, right? 20:45, still in the lobby of the building (Torre II de Humanidades), we were all watching one of the most intense rains I have ever come across. We were hungry and didn't want to be there anymore - Ok, lets move. Rain started to give way, so we headed to the cars. Yes, many of you know I live really close to the Institute (see the map again), but I wanted to go have dinner and talk a bit more. I went with Sergio to his car, parked in the Facultad the Ingeniería parking lot, some 40m from the Torre. The sight was amazing. The "Las Islas" park (sorry, I could find no photo) really became islands. There was even a considerable waterfall in the border between Las Islas and the parking lot! We took off our shoes to get safely to the car. Ok, traffic would probably be hellish, but we thought it would be 1hr until we got to the traditional Vips Altavista. One hour later, 22:00, we were only in front of Rectoría - What is it, about... 400 meters away, at very most? Sergio decided to park and wait until we got some possibility to move. After some 45 minutes, people started opening way towards Insurgentes Sur - We went that way. Even though it was in the opposite direction, we had the hope of movement. As we already knew (thanks to the radio) that everything in this city was chaotic, we headed to Sergio's institute (Astronomy). Before reaching there, we found yet another group of cars which did not move, forward or backward. Amazing - We entered the Facultad de Ciencias parking lot - The queue was of people trying to exit through the Cerro del Agua exit (which is ~700m away, northward, by Metro Copilco). We realized nothing would save us from getting soaked - At least rain was not severe anymore, but it was still falling steadily. We walked a bit, Sergio went on to his institute, and I decided to go to the metro and go straight home. I got to Metro Universidad at around 23:30, and waited there for about 15 minutes (metros in Mexico usually take between two and five minutes between each other, depending on the demand). Only that... Well, we were told that Metro Copilco was closed as the area was completely flooded. Crap. Crap. Crap. Later, my wife and her brother confirmed that the flood was severe - We were lucky not to get a flood at home! I decided to ride the metro anyway, as Metro Miguel Ángel de Quevedo is quite closer to my house than Universidad. And, yes, I walked back home. 3 frigging hours to go from my Institute to my house. ~300m away. Probably the most severe storm I have ever seen in Mexico City. Unbelievable. The only thing I really must thank for is that in my wife's family's house everything was OK - They live just next to the natural course of an open river, and they have had terrible floods, with up to 1m of water... The city government did some work, which proved to work correctly this time. Thanks to whoever made it!
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I like understanding why I am not a Gnome user

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 10/05/2005 - 12:02
Erich: Most Linux users expect me to run Gnome, KDE or -at the very geeky extreme- xfce. I hate them all - I hate xfce and KDE much more than I hate Gnome, yes, but I cannot live in a Gnome-based world. It is just not comfortable. It is not fun. Some months ago, I tried them all. One week with Gnome, one sour week with KDE, three very sour days with xfce. The world makes you feel you should be using an integrated feature-bloated desktop, and that good ol' beloved Windowmaker with {rxvt,emacs,firefox} is an anachronic no-go. I find it interesting to read other people explaining why they think as I do, and I also like reading the counter-arguments. Besides, if there happens to be an integrated desktop user who is dissatisfied with his current environment, why not tempt him to try something different (like my WMaker) or completely different (like their ion3)?
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Isn't it Galeon 1.2 which went off the path?

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 10/05/2005 - 11:13
Axel Beckert was ranting regarding how Galeon 1.3 sucks so badly he sticks to his Woody (Gnome 1.4 IIRC, Galeon 1.2) desktop. In one of the lines of his rebuttal/statement of what he wants from Galeon, he states:
I just strongly disagree with pure simplification being the right way in UI design.
This is the problem with Galeon: That it went far away from its original intention. Its original motto (which I discovered to be still in use) is The web. only the web... Well, I really enjoyed pre-1.2 versions of Galeon, but it just bloated, bloated, bloated until it was no longer usable for me. I too hate many aspects of Firefox, only it is the most usable browser I have seen... I still have to look at Kazehakase, but from the little that I can get from its page, it is not what I want. I want, just as you, something light, not over-featured, but tunable to my personal preferences. And while Firefox's configuration is closer to the extra wheels for a bycicle you complain about in Galeon, I have been able to tune it quite a lot via extensions.
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IBM keyboards / Enter and return

Submitted by gwolf on Fri, 09/23/2005 - 00:19
Romain: IBM keyboards rule. I still have mine, dating from 1989, and in perfect shape. Delicious to touch. I think yours is a special edition, however, as mine has one E key only ;-) Bubulle: In Spanish and Latin American keyboards (yes, they are different and they both suck - The Spanish one sucks doubly), it is common to see keyboards labeled with Intro, a strange attempt to translate Enter. I have never seen a person call that key "Intro", althought some programs do refer to it. But anyway, for extra points: How would you call the icon for the numeric pad Enter key in Apple's keyboards? What does ⊼ mean? Where did it come from? I think it is the biggest oddity in the otherwise very rational design of the Macintoshes that I don't understand.
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On usability and on what Debian is about

Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 09/22/2005 - 21:11
Andres Salomon rants on the apparent lack of focus on usability we have in Debian, compared to Ubuntu. First of all, I think that directly relating the word usability with the concept desktop is a very big and common mistake. I know I am not in the 99% of the computer users - but usability for me almost always means the opposite: Interfaces that stay out of the way giving you easy access to whatever you need (and I do mean whatever - think a nice and cozy shell, think ol' beloved Emacs). Once again, I know I am not in the majority, I know that many people will prefer spiffyness (if such a word exists). And, of course, I know perfectly the shortcomings of my style for the non-techie user. However, back to my point: Debian does not target a specific set of users. Debian targets anything deemed interesting and worthy by its developers - even if its developers try to go in opposite directions. Partly because of that, Debian as such, will probably only be useful for some people... It took me quite a while to grasp what might be the meaning of our often quoted slogan, The universal Operating System - What does that mean? I have always spoken against the one-size-fits-all approach - And that's precisely why I chose and continue to choose Debian. And that's Free Software is all about. I think I only came to terms with this slogan (which I hated before) after understanding why were many people pushing for CDD (Custom Debian Distributions): Because our work must be staged to really be universal. Debian provides a great deal of the needed integration work. Debian provides a well-established base, very usable and very (some people would say, excessively) complete. Of course, for most users, it is way too much. I have (numerically) 6% of the available packages installed in my main system - I suppose the proportion would be closer to 30% if I used any other mainstream distribution. It's easy to cut from there, to throw away most of the packages you will not need for a particular user profile, and provide a better solution for them. And that's precisely what Ubuntu -and many, many other derivers- do. Yes, I also -as most DDs and Debian supporters I've talked to as well- have some doubts and viewpoint shifts regarding how is Ubuntu good or bad for Debian. There are many, many sensitive spots. That's not what I want to tackle here... Call it Ubuntu, Progeny, Linspire, Libranet, LinEx, GuadaLinex, or whatever you want - We work on giving them a good, solid foundation. They work on improving this foundation for the kind of users they need. And, of course, those users will be happier than having the generic thing. Well, too much typing already. That's that.
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Who gets to cut the cheese

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 09/14/2005 - 10:03
Lars: I also like very much the typical Norwegian cheese slicers - I have had one for a long time, even before knowing where they come from. There are still many ocasions, though, when what you want is a simple, plain old knife.
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'Delete' as in 'Leave it hidden'

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 09/14/2005 - 09:56
I am quite happy: I found a 256MB memory stick card for ~US$60, so I just ran to buy it. Since then, I have been much more active with my camera, of course. I was baffled, though, last Sunday, when after only (!) 170 (1 megapixel) photos I got a memory stick full message. WTF? Well, we have been using Nadezhda's iMac to move the photos to our server's album - I don't like iPhoto, I prefer moving them to the destination directory. And, as the memory stick is a full RW filesystem (unlike the camera's internal memory, that can only be mounted read-only), I just told MacOS to trash them. Silly me: I assumed that having a plain old FAT filesystem, this would mean what I told it to - Nope. It just means 'create a /.Trash directory and move everything in there'. Of course, the /.Trash isn't viewable by MacOS' finder. It also stays hidden when doing a simple 'ls'. The camera does not report it, as it is outside its universe (/DCIM). Bah.
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The Universe is conspiring against me

Submitted by gwolf on Tue, 09/06/2005 - 21:52
There is no other rational explanation. Today, I finally finished upgrading my Institute's ancient network infrastructure - Our network was still running over a 10mbps shared segment, one week ago I replaced the hubs by switches in three of the four floors, and today I did the last one - of course, my floor, the only one that's densely populated, and where the firewall and servers live. Instead of two lockers with one hub each, with a small mess but nothing more than that, today I replaced four hubs with three switches, in a major mess. Ok, nothing the average sysadmin hasn't done before. Estimated time? 90 minutes. I plug the net back in, and can see my internal network instantly. Beautiful. I can check the Institute's web site from a random machine. Gorgeous. I can even reach the University web site - Life is good. Or so it seems. I reach nothing else. For ${DEITY}'s sake... What can it be? Well, after some 20 minutes of bad luck (this means, I could not understand a bloody thing why was everything working fine on my end but I could not reach out of the University), I had to head back home, as the Institute closes at strictly 9PM, and it was already 9:15. I even tried logging in to the Physics Institute, where I have an account - Success! Anyway, no time to debug. I come back home... Well, before anything else: Please, don't forget that UNAM is home to over 300,000 students. It is the largest University in Mexico, probably in Latin America. It was founded over 450 years ago. I mean, it is a serious place. Ok, please explain me this: $ traceroute -n traceroute to (, 30 hops max, 38 byte packets 1 0.627 ms 0.404 ms 0.381 ms 2 0.179 ms 0.159 ms 0.153 ms 3 2.333 ms 0.893 ms 0.862 ms 4 32.014 ms 24.159 ms 3.464 ms 5 20.342 ms 30.751 ms 31.827 ms 6 18.951 ms 31.810 ms 31.688 ms 7 32.680 ms 16.426 ms 30.449 ms 8 20.964 ms 46.971 ms 62.977 ms 9 48.579 ms 56.504 ms 48.209 ms 10 * * * 11 * * * Bloody crap... I am trying to reach one of the central servers of the University! What the Fsck, this University has 3 B-class segments (that is, over 192,000 IP addresses, and over 60,000 connected computers). It is one of the main Internet providers in the continent! Why on Earth did the network feel like going on vacation precisely the night I am working on infrastructure!?
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