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Those who owned the Bible

Submitted by gwolf on Fri, 01/12/2007 - 17:40
I came across a very nice story by Leonel Rubio (Leonel, please correct me if I'm misattributing this to you), licensed under the Creative Commons license. It's in Spanish, but quite worth a read - Aquellos que Poseían la Biblia (Those who owned the Bible). It starts with the supposition that Disney, at the end of the ever-recurring cycle where they ask the US Congress to extend the duration of copyright (so that Mickey and Donald don't fall into the public domain), they push boldly for a new record: Not just 20 more years, but 500. Of course, this would be easily torn apart in little pieces in the laxest of law courts, but still, a nice read :) Thanks, Leonel! :D
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Honest spammers

Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 11/23/2006 - 19:54
Wow...This time I'm truly amazed. A spam just hit my debian-devel mailbox. That's sadly not strange at all, I know. Only that I started reading it. It says:
Spammers don't seem to target us for their random alias generation
tools, or        maybe they haven't got to the letter 'o' yet. com
for subsequent posts, but that whole barn door thing comes to mind.
In so doing, values are overlooked often and mistakes are made. Maybe
Microsoft will let me        change my alias.
Maybe some of it would actually be useful to me. For whatever reason, my
Microsoft email address didn't ever get        spam.
Then it goes on talking nonsense splattered with all kinds of garbage talk, some news (or whatever) about stock options of a China Health thing, and goes on throwing nonsense blabber. Sorry, I'm not linking to it (I'll probably later update this entry), it's still not available in the Web archive of debian-devel.">
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Of broken promises and fixed websites

Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 11/16/2006 - 16:38
Over five years ago, I wrote a very simple web-based system. This system, however, did some basic client-side (Javascript, of course) validations before sending the data off to the server. And it worked nicely. On Linux, of course. The system went live. It worked correctly less than 1/10th of the time. Yes, somewhat strangely, quite close to the ratio of Netscape/MSIE users. Yes, a Javascript coding bug. The embarassment made me swear not to get close to Javascript ever, ever again. Of course, we live in a world where idle loops get optimized and where infinite loops have an ETA, this had to change at some point. Earlier this week, I decided to unfuck a web layout that worked (again) correctly in Mozilla and KHTML, but horribly in MSIE. I didn't care before, because this layout was used on a production system at work, but its users were only two colleagues and myself - Only I'm about to put a public module up. I re-did the site layout and CSS (I cannot believe Dreamweaver code is that ugly!)... The only problem was, I now know, quite common: I needed equal height CSS-made columns. And although I had come to several pseudo-solutions, they all appeared pseudo-b0rked in one or more pseudo-browsers. The only way I found to get it working was to free myself from prejudices and go back to Javascript. BTW, the Javascript X library looks quite handy - but at over 50k, it's not something I'm terribly happy about including in a website. What's next? Am I going to fall for coding over-AJAXy sites? I hope to maintain at least partial sanity.
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Reflections on the air

Submitted by gwolf on Sun, 10/15/2006 - 13:02
[2006-10-13 18:00] There is a popular saying in Spanish, "en viernes 13 ni te cases ni te embarques" - Roughly, On Friday the 13th, don't get married and don't board a ship. That makes perfect sense - I'm already married, so I'm not worried about the first part. About the second, you never now - So I'd better take the plane to a country without sea access. Bolivia, here I go. [2006-10-13 23:30] I'm writing this blog entry as I fly out of Mexico towards Bolivia, via Panama, on Lloyd Aereo Boliviano's flight number 911. The captain just announced that dinner will be served shortly, and invited those of us who want to enjoy the meal to open the tables, in order to get a better service. I fear that if I don't open it, I might get soup served straight over my pants, or something like that. [2006-10-14 02:40] At the Panama airport. Captain informs again: "Passengers, we inform you we will replenish fuel. Therefore, if you choose not to go out for 15 minutes, we will request you to sit down with your seat belt unlocked. You will not be allowed to walk along the ailes. The bathrooms will be closed. Please do not ring the bells." Damn, that brings quite a lot of quiet about the refueling process - Of course I went down for 15 minutes, along with everybody else. BTW, shame I didn't take my laptop with me, as the battery is now at 15%... The Panama airport has (contrary to most airports I've been to in recent years) plenty of power outlets. Anyway, maybe on the way back. It's now 03:00 (Mexico time), and I think I'll have a better use for the next four hours until we arrive to Bolivia than coding.

How to change a large bill

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 09/27/2006 - 10:44
Last Monday, I went out to meet Álvaro and the LIDSOL gang. At 18:00, I had surely missed his Cherokee talk, which I have seen already a couple of times... Anyway :) ...So I had to take the metro. Two stops only, but I didn't feel like walking - and they would probably leave if I took ~30 minutes to arrive. Problem: I didn't have any metro tickets, and I had only a MX$500 bill on me. Very previsive, I stopped by the ATM just by the station's entrance, and got MX$100. One metro ticket costs MX$2. The $100 bill was quite worn out, though, even glued together by some adhesive tape, so it was not _that_ surprising when the clerk didn't want to take it. Clerk: (quickly taking the $50 bill and several coins she had put in the window opening for me to pick up) Sorry, I cannot take that bill. Gunnar: Ok, well, I understand... I'm sorry, then, I must pay you with this $500 bill... C: Sorry, I don't have change for that. (looking over me, unsympathetically, to the next in queue) How many? G: (blocking her view to the next guy) Well, so what alternatives can you offer me? I need to take this trip. C: Go change your bill somewhere else. G: As you might have well noticed, it's worn out. And I'm not buying $450 of tacos. C: I don't have change. G: I see you have quite a bunch of $10 coins, in towers of ten... C: You _really_ want that? G: Looks I have no choice... (Visibly pissed off, the clerk just shoves 4 full stacks and one stack minus a coin in the window opening. No, no bills were offered, not even the $50 one she had lying in front of her) (Gunnar, patiently, takes one by one the 49 large coins and puts them in his pocket) G: (smiling, as if I had put the third consecutive 7 in Mao) Thank you very very much for your kindness! Of course, after that, I left with ~1kg in my left pocket. Enough to kill many people.
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Suddenly important?

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 09/13/2006 - 11:52
One of the things I value most in my workplace is that, unless I break something, I am barely disturbed. People wave at me and recognize me in the hallway, I even have some corridor chats every now and then - but in my office, quiet. Nobody comes, nobody calls, nobody bothers me. I can mostly work on my stuff. Today, however, I have had two over-20-minute phone calls (I hate long calls - keep'em short, to the point, end of story!) and at least four short ones, three people from the institute have come to request my help to do different things, even a couple of friends working on some of the Mexican Free Software conferences came to talk with me. Is this something boolean? How come they all dropped by or called me the same day? There must be a reasonable explanation.
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Metros of the world

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 08/30/2006 - 18:01
Thanks, Damog, for starting yet another pissing contest^W^Wnice and informative meme. And thanks, B3co, for writing yet another tool to waste my oh-so-scarce time. Which needs some CSS work if people like me keep showing up just to say "I'm also a frequent flier". Anyway, here I go.

Got at!
I found at least one Metro I've been to missing - But hey, maybe the people at München U-Bahn could not be bothered to come up with a logo? Update Well, B3co updated the site and included München - What can I do if not update my listing? ;-)
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Biting your tongue

Submitted by gwolf on Tue, 08/08/2006 - 08:47
Sorry, this post will only mean anything to you if you can grok an es_* locale, preferrably an es_ES one. B3co points to a wonderful site, which I came accross sadly when I am about to start working. Still, lots of good laughs taken from mistakes in the Spanish press. The site? Morderse la Lengua (Biting your tongue), from Centro Virtual Cervantes. I found such beauties as the world's largest telescope, which can see object 100 meters away, a Boeing that goes back to Madrid through a crack, a Spanish airplane crashing in Turkey for the third time in a year. A Spanish party asks for the right to conduct abortions until the twelfth month, and -avoiding the problems that come with advanced age- a business looks for secretaries between 20 and 290 years old. And many, many, many more.
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Today's first good laugh...

Submitted by gwolf on Fri, 08/04/2006 - 12:55
Goes, of course, to good Maulkin. Worst of all, it seems to be inspired by real life - Now, could you do a similar analysis of end results? :) And when sharing it, Rodrigo sent me to Spamusement. What's that, you ask? A magic machine that turns spam titles into humor. Two beautiful examples: It's not a joke and Your Dog Will Love It!. Now, please, can I have my 30 minutes back?
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Working in vacations...

Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 07/13/2006 - 21:25
Means the office where the coffee machine usually sits is closed. Fortunately, that is easily fixed. Now, how healthy will it turn out? I'll tell you in two more weeks.
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On Daylight Savings Time

Submitted by gwolf on Mon, 04/03/2006 - 19:24
Joey Hess blogs about possible dangerous ways to exploit the daylight savings time. Well, for the tenth year in a row (if I am not mistaken), we central-Mexicans can proudly announce we are GMT-5. When I was a kid, we were always told that daylight savings are a very important way to save energy in non-tropical areas, such as the North-Western states, USA, Canada and Europe. We understood that, as tropical beings, we didn't have to worry about that, as it would have neglegible effects for us. Ten years (eleven?) ago, this changed, and we became first-class world citizens, together with the emotion of shifting the clock's hands twice a year. Of course, we all did stupid things once or thrice - The first time we got back to GMT-6, I moved to GMT-4 instead. We were laughing at the fools who forgot to move the watch. I went to the movies with Nadezhda, and was confronted by a less-than-amused clerk that had to explain the same to too many people along the day. At least he smiled when he noticed we were stupider than most. Well, today I am a big fan of daylight savings. I simply like having sunlight up to 20:00, sometimes even 21:00 - But I have reversed the old logic I was taught at school. We Mexicans have very little variation in our clocks - We go from maybe 11 to maybe 13 hours of daylight comparing Summer and Winter. Ok, make it 10 and 14, to make it sound more dramatic. Having the sun raise at 6AM makes sense, no matter what time of year it is. Most electricity is spent in the early night (8-10PM)... So it makes a lot of sense. Even for the people in the USA, maybe even Canada, and most of Europe. But... Why do Nordic countries adhere to daylight savings? I mean... You vary from 4 to 20 hours of sunlight a day - What difference does one hour make anyway? Why follow the hassle we all regular humans have to go through? I can't imagine people in Narvik and Rovaniemi trying to squeeze that little glimpse of sun they have during the winter, and trying to align their sleeping time to the exact the sun is only half-visible in Summer.
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The other side of the world

Submitted by gwolf on Mon, 03/20/2006 - 11:21
Martin: Strange... Here setting up a company is so much of a hassle that most people only register as Persona física con actividad empresarial instead - Physical person with enterprise activity. That means, you can print your invoices with "Madduck Consulting Inc." if you so wish, as long as under that, in tiny letters, you print your real name and fiscal data.
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A rosary of watermelons

Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 01/05/2006 - 09:08
A rosary is a string of beads that Catholics use for prayer. There is a very similar apparatus in the Islam, called tasbih - They look like this: Ok, now why is this relevant? Yesterday I was at a meeting with two people who were a couple for a long time, let's call them he and she. We had a talk along the following lines:
Me: Ok, I'll have you the system running on time. Just please remember to bug me every now and then. Torture me if I don't answer you. She: Ok, but you must know I can be quite heavy when torturing! He: She really means it. Sometimes she can be like a rosary of watermelons.
...I loved the image :)
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No wonder...

Submitted by gwolf on Tue, 12/20/2005 - 14:22
Given my fine coordination, my very high frustration tolereance and the friendliness with which I greet people while busy doing my stuff, this was quite expectable. Your results:
You are Hulk
Iron Man
Green Lantern
The Flash
Wonder Woman
You are a wanderer with
amazing strength.
Click here to take the "Which Superhero are you?" quiz...
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Pacman trouble

Submitted by gwolf on Tue, 11/29/2005 - 17:31
I have found visual evidence that the Pacman xscreensaver hack levels are produced by random and, contrary to what many people say, were not simply copied off the console. Atari's good soul must thank ${DEITY} that this didn't happen to a human player! Still, it was funny watching this game, mainly as Pacman's speed is roughly 10% faster than the ghosts', and he cannot just stand still.
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