Stuff I have written/presented
Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 04/04/2007 - 22:59
Russell blogs about his new 22" cheap TFT monitor. You lucky bastard.
I use a 17" Dell LCD monitor at work (sorry, cannot recall the model), and I've been quite pleased with it. Granted, 1280x1024 isn't what I had gotten used to (1400x1050 on my previous laptop and previous work machine), but it does the trick - And for my current laptop, I went for a smaller machine, with a 12" wide-screen 1280x800 monitor. I still find the monitor somewhat small, and the missing 224 pixels _are_ noticeable - but the size is well worth it.
But what I've been playing at work with is changing the monitor orientation - This 17" Dell monitor can be set up vertically (1024x1280), and xrandr will merrily change the orientation. So far, I'm happy with this setup. I still feel there are some video-related quirks, and maybe the pixels are a bit off (i.e. black letters in a white background have a bit of a shadow), maybe it was visible as well in the regular configuration, but not as noticeable. But well, I feel it easier to work with for most of my work cases - For having a full-screen browser, each row is smaller and more rows fit on screen - It's quite pleasant. For doing Web development, having a horizontally split screen (one above of the other) between Emacs and the browser is quite natural. And when I use more than two frames (i.e. for following logfiles or debugging multi-factored breakages on servers ;-) ), well, they are small enough that it's similar to having the ol' regular layout.
I'd still like to get a second video card and monitor. I remember working that way in the job I left four years ago, and it was very comfortable.
BTW, Russell, for your needs I suggest you to try Ion. After all, who really needs to have a root window/background after all? :-)
Submitted by gwolf on Fri, 03/30/2007 - 19:01
It's been two weeks I got my latest toy. And, lets be honest - I don't buy me toys very often.
My very own espresso/capuccino maker! No, it's not a pro-level machine, nor does it try to be. I'm a bit disappointed as the espresso comes out slowly and homogeneous, with no foamy layer on top - But hey, it tastes great. So far, I'm still a terribly lousy capuccino maker, but perfection comes with practice.
Now, what's bad about this? First, that -although I'm a heavy coffee drinker, pouring at least 1 liter of regular filter-drip coffee down my throat every day- I very rarely drank coffee at home. Now I do. At least, two espressos every day - Well, two mugs of espresso, mind you - that's like six or so proper espressos. Yes, I'm trying to cut down on the coffee I get at work.
Second, well... Having the rich taste of an espresso in your mouth every day makes you despise and loathe filter-drip coffee. It just does not taste right anymore. The delicious roasty after-taste does not stay in your mouth for at least twenty minutes. But here is where the addiction part comes into play: I still need it, and when my work area's coffee machine is empty, I still go with my mug begging for coffee in other areas of the building.
Submitted by gwolf on Fri, 03/30/2007 - 09:24
And, while on my way there, I'll get to visit my family in New York (and get to know a bit of the city, I hope) for a couple of days as well! :D Leaving Mexico in June 7th, three days in NY, travel to Edinburgh on June 10th (arriving early on the 11th), and head back home on the 24th. Yay! BTW, attempting to save some money and the pollution caused by air travel, I asked Google for how to drive from New York to Edinburgh. It looks clear and easy, but in the end I settled for air travel. Specially for the estimated travel time (about 29 days 17 hours)... Oh, and item 23 slightly worries me: Swim across the Atlantic Ocean: 3,462 mi.
Submitted by gwolf on Tue, 03/27/2007 - 17:17
As I have stated here long ago, I do not really believe in the Debian Project Leader. Yes, it has an importance. Yes, it's not merely a decoration figure. But I do doubt it can really make much of a difference. I don't hold exactly the point of view I held back then, but it's still quite close ;-) Anyway...
[ 1 ] Choice 1: Wouter Verhelst [ 7 ] Choice 2: Aigars Mahinovs [ 3 ] Choice 3: Gustavo Franco [ 2 ] Choice 4: Sam Hocevar [ 4 ] Choice 5: Steve McIntyre [ 4 ] Choice 6: Raphaël Hertzog [ 5 ] Choice 7: Anthony Towns [ 3 ] Choice 8: Simon Richter [ 6 ] Choice 9: None Of The AboveAs it's not a post I strongly believe in, with that many proposals in play, I cannot say I thoroughly reviewed each of the platforms/rebuttals/debate (I did follow them all, of course). I agree with most of what most of them propose (Sorry, Aigars, but I don't agree with you a bit ;-) ). One thing is, yes, worth noting: During the dunc-tank brouhaha, I spoke very little, but was mostly supportive of AJ's pushing a real new proposal. Why am I ranking lowish AJ, Raphaël and Steve (who were, after all, in there)? Because I did really appreciate AJ having the guts of pushing, of being brave enough to go into uncalm territories trying to change Debian. Is that the change I want? No, I don't really think so, so I'm not voting him (or Steve, as the 2IC, or Raphaël, as one of the board members) very high. And yes, one of the reasons I'm ranking Wouter first is his tendency not to be too passionate in flamefests. And, of course, not having much of a platform - Having an overly ambitious platform which would change the conception of Debian both towards the inside and towards the outside is completely unrealistic. And that's one of Aigars' cardinal sins :)
Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 03/21/2007 - 20:21
I run my blog using Jaws, a simple and quite nice blog-minded CMS project started by several friends of mine. I've long wanted to contribute to the project, but so far, I've only reported a couple of bugs. Boo for me! ;-) Anyway, I just updated from 0.6.2 to the just-released 0.7.1. Guys: You rock! What a painless, easy and (so far) well-working update! I am late already, so I'm not going to check into all the new features. So far, I'm quite happy with the extra easiness and control to get some comment-spam protection, my main gripe so far. I hope not to flood any of the Planets with a RSS upgrade (it's not been a problem lately, I guess that the Planet guys fixed that as well ;-) )
Submitted by gwolf on Mon, 03/19/2007 - 18:19
Uwe asks about fast, reliable, not noisy storage mechanisms - And yes, of course, he talks about Flash memory's well known limitation: The relatively low number of write cycles each area of the memory is known to be able to withstand. I recently told this same argument to a friend who was enthusiastically telling me about his dream project of setting up a computer based exclusively on solid-state storage. Of course, he didn't like the limitation. But after reading a bit (sorry, I don't have the URLs at hand - but Google is a good friend), it seems that many (most? all?) controllers work around this limitation by rearranging the most used blocks around, so that the Flash gets as evenly used as possible. Quoting from Wikipedia's article on Flash memory:
Another limitation is that flash memory has a finite number of erase-write cycles (most commercially available flash products are guaranteed to withstand 1 million programming cycles). This effect is partially offset by some chip firmware or file system drivers by counting the writes and dynamically remapping the blocks in order to spread the write operations between the sectors. This technique is called wear levelling. Another mechanism is to perform write verification and remapping to spare sectors in case of write failure, which is named bad block management (BBM).So, Uwe, just check the media you get supports wear levelling technology, and you should be safe.
Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 03/15/2007 - 17:04
Ben, Erich and Russell bit - Why shouldn't I?
A. Copy the list below to your own journal and Bold the actions you are already taking Underline the actions you plan to start taking Italicize the actions that don't apply to you B. Add one (or more) suggested action(s) of your own C. Leave a comment here, so that she can track the meme to your journal, and copy your suggested action(s) back to my master list. Shame - I cannot comment on this, as I'm no a LiveJournal registered user. And I don't intend to be either.
Submitted by gwolf on Tue, 03/13/2007 - 19:44
[ Warning: Long post follows ] Just today, I read that H01ger is happy he can wear just a T-shirt somewhere in Northern Germany. Well, from my point of view, much the opposite has happened. And I'm not just happy - I'm fucking proud! About four years ago, Nadezhda went almost every weekend to hike to the mountains with the Grupo de los Cien people. I'll sidetrack a bit to speak about them: Grupo de los Cien is a group of mountain lovers (no relation with the enviromentalist group which later took the same name) that, since the 1950s, have built and maintained the high mountain shelters in Central Mexico. It is a group, by the way, with which Nadezhda fell completely in love - and now it's up to me to find out why ;-) But lets go back to the main topic. Almost every week, she came back delighted and loaded of energy from a mountain hike. Almost every week, I told her I wished to go with her, of course, if they went to a simpler route. Of course, lugging around over 130Kg of humanity is no easy deal. And, after over a year and because of many problems that came together at once, she stopped going to the mountain as well. She always kept an eye on their friends, but so far had not been able to return to the mountain. Ok, so last week she heard the group was organizing volunteers to go fix the Ayoloco 2 shelter. She signed up, and invited me. I was afraid, but accepted the challenge - Of course, full of fear. Being this a historical event (at least in my life), I cannot but offer you some of the photos I took. And, yes, I've just started playing with Flickr. Lets see if it works for me ;-) Saturday, 5 AM, we woke up. 5:50AM, we met part of the group near Daniel's house, in Condesa. 7 AM, we were having a nice breakfast (tamales and coffee, yum!) in Amecameca, still 28km from La Joya. From Amecameca, we went to Paso de Cortés, where we met the rest of the group, and from there we went by a little, bumpy and unpaved road until La Joya. Somewhat around 20 people started the hike at around 9 AM. According to Google Earth, La Joya (just South of the Iztaccíhuatl - white woman or sleeping woman in Náhuatl) is at 3995m - And, of course, to start at that altitude is not easy. The air is very thin, and walking a little bit too fast quickly makes you feel the blood pumping, trying to get some more oxygen. I often remembered how my Bolivian friends behave in Potosí, walking slowly even when in a hurry :) We first went down a little valley, then up. The first portion of the hike was on soft, wet sand, with some grass (what we call zacate - Strong, hard grass, not what you commonly see in a garden). I soon learnt that was a blessing, as it was by far the easiest part. Then we went up a steep and quite rocky area - It started getting tricky for somebody not used to trusting his own feet. And it was steep, yes. This was the first time (of many, of course) I started thinking whether I should head back. We reached what I foolishly thought was the summit, only to find a steeper, longer way to go. It started getting common to find little deposits of snow/ice (I don't know the exact term in English - it's called aguanieve in Spanish, literally snow-water. [[Update]: Thanks to the now-DD H01ger, I now know that aguanieve in English is called sleet]. I understand it's a bit harder than snow, but still much lighter than hail). We crossed a completely rocky section - No sand to hold the rocks to their place. That meant being extra careful (and thus, extra slow). But just afterwards, in case it was not enough, Mother Nature answered my pleads for some sand - we crossed a section made exclusively of loose sand. And, please, if you have ever walked upwards on sand, imagine doing so at over 4000 meters. I was taking so much care of how and where I stepped that I strayed not more than 5 meters down of the path the group was following - Being able to climb back to the right path was really not easy. This was the point that not only I was thinking about heading back, but I'm sure Nadezhda thought I would abort the mission. She cheered me up, took some pictures of me as soon as I got out of the sand trap, and we were able to move on. After the sand, some more rocks, and we started feeling the chilly wind. We entered a cloudy region - Humidity does get the coldness into your bones! We could not really see where was the rest of the group, so we proceeded the best way we could. Fortunately for Nadezhda and me, just behind us came the very experienced Mario Corsalini and led us. And, yes, we finally saw the Ayoloco 2 shelter. I was by then exhausted, after some four hours of ascent. I ate one of my apples - The sweetest apple I have tasted so far. After resting a bit, and realizing I was almost frozen (we were at 2 Celsius under, with constant chilly, humid wind)... Then I started working with the guys, reinforcing the shelter, while Nadezhda and some other people painted the inside with. People started eating - of course, I joined them. And, after some time up there, we started going back down. Miguel Ángel, a volunteer in the Izta-Popo park, walked a good portion of the descent with me, giving me tons of help and tips. Thank you, thank you, really. The descent is, of course, much easier - We were chatting most of the time, and we made only around two hours back. The weather was quite nice on us - We had some aguanieve falling every now and then (yes! Yes! many of you guys have heard/read me bitch on how I had never seen snow falling before - Ok, this is not exactly snow, but I think it qualifies as my first experience ;-) ), but aguanieve does not make you wet, as it bounces off the clothes. When we approached La Joya we started having some light rain. We hopped in the cars, and then the rain really began. But even if this was not enough: Grupo de los Cien was celebrating the 83th birthday of one of its senior members, Poncho Rico. No, being 83 years old is not an excuse for skipping this memorable hike. We went to Anatolio's house, very close to Amecameca, and had a delicious dinner, cake and drinks. Nadezhda: Thank you. So, so, so very much. Thank you for being so patient with me, for dragging me up the Sleeping Woman. Thank you for getting me into this so very important and beautiful experience. I hope this will be the first of many. There is still a very long way for me to go before I'm really up to the challenge, but believe me: This will not be my last time on the mighty mountains.
Submitted by gwolf on Tue, 03/13/2007 - 11:17
Eddy Petrisor wrote quite an interesting text about the shortcomings of the .deb packaging format, specially comparing it to Gentoo's ebuilds. And, basically, it all comes down to this phrase:
Why this is not possible for deb right now? Simple, we have it as a rule in the policy that the debian/rules file is a makefile. So even if one would implement a class-like model for deb packages, you'd still have the debian/rules file as a make fileNow... Is debian/rules really expected to be a makefile, or it is just customary for it to be so? Look at the very top of your rules files - you will see they (at least, almost) always start with #!/usr/bin/make -f - That means, of course, that you can omit the fact they are makefiles. While packaging/debugging, I often run -say- fakeroot debian/rules build && fakeroot debian/rules clean. That, my friend, is closer to the invocation you often use for a shell script than for a makefile. I don't know if we have tools that rely on having rules called via make (and that should be easy to correct if needed), but I really don't see it problematic at a first glance to create packages based on something different than a makefile. Recently, I've been tempted by CDBS. I still don't fully understand its flow, and it's still mostly a dark-magic beast for me, but at least I am comfortable using it for my everyday packaging work (hey, pkg-perl group, I'll be bugging you again with my weird ideas soon ;-) ), but it surely has the advantages you quote in your message: It takes part of the complexity away. Of course, it introduces some extra bits. By using CDBS, the packaging entry level is considerably lowered - but the real understanding of properly maintaining a package becomes somewhat more difficult. Or is it just me clinging to the comfort of having learned my way around writing debian/rules?
Submitted by gwolf on Mon, 03/12/2007 - 13:14
Due to the extreme stupidity of the bank that holds my money whenever I have some, we were unable to pay my main domain name (gwolf.org) together with two others - I mean, the fscking bank mixed up the secret questions/answers, and we were unable to confirm our identity in order to pay to my favorite registrar (do you know they sponsor Debconf? I've been their customer for at least five years, and they rock). As of this Sunday, gwolf.org went off the net. Of course, being it a sunday, it was impossible to get a human in the right area of the bank. I must really thank Nadezhda: Despite being quite busy today, and after spending a couple of frustrating hours Sunday night trying to reach somebody, she managed to take the needed steps. Our domains are back to life. If you sent me a mail during this weekend, please send it again.
Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 03/07/2007 - 09:38
Ok, Vicm3, I'll bite. Looks we can continue working together... Umm... Or should I say, paralelly and close to each other, since we are both better as independent rather than team workers?
Your programmer personality type is: DHSB You're a Doer. You are very quick at getting tasks done. You believe the outcome is the most important part of a task and the faster you can reach that outcome the better. After all, time is money. You like coding at a High level. The world is made up of objects and components, you should create your programs in the same way. You work best in a Solo situation. The best way to program is by yourself. There's no communication problems, you know every part of the code allowing you to write the best programs possible. You are a liBeral programmer. Programming is a complex task and you should use white space and comments as freely as possible to help simplify the task. We're not writing on paper anymore so we can take up as much room as we need.And you? Programmer personality test I mostly (but of course, not completely) agree. Specially, I know I'm not at all quick getting tasks done :)
Submitted by gwolf on Tue, 03/06/2007 - 09:51
My dear comment-hating Bubulle, you forced me into writing yet another weblog entry :) I have not yet worked it out completely, but it might be that your problems with suspend to RAM your Dell machine are related to having the Composite or AIGLX extensions loaded. This is just an hypothesis, and might be just wrong, but:
Submitted by gwolf on Fri, 03/02/2007 - 12:36
[ Yes, entry written for my Mexican fellows. My blog is in English. Don't rant about that, your pleads won't be listened ] Damog just ranted (in Spanish) about too many people coming to Mexico City. I completely agree with him, but not with his conclusions. We are a ~25,000,000 people city, in a ~100,000,000 people country. The inequity we face every day is huge (Cd. Nezahualcóyotl, among the poorest in the city, is the most densely populated region in the whole world, but you can easily spot over 2000 sq mt houses in Bosques de las Lomas or similar regions - And the whole Santa Fé region just scares me, it is an unknown planet I don't even want to think of). But what's really terrible is how living in this city changes our collective moods. Sometimes it strikes me to understand how people in other countries can live in one town and work in another, over 40 minutes away. Well, for many years I worked at places over one hour away from home - and I didn't even cross the city. Mexico City is, or was last time I checked, 40x70km, and without enough adequate main ways. Of course, people get grumpy and aggressive while driving. What's my answer? Don't drive. Seriously. Yesterday, for example, I chaired three talks at Linuxworld Mexico. In friggin' Hipódromo de las Américas, a convention center located in one of the worst-connected pieces of land in Mexico. Usually, it would take me 40-90 minutes to get there by car, depending on the time of day and phase of Deimos against Fobos. Of course, it took me 70 minutes to go by metro+bus. I took two nice books (La región más transparente, a beautiful book by Carlos Fuentes no Mexico City inhabitant should skip, and Laurence Rosen's Open Source Licensing). And I didn't get bored, and I didn't hate the people I was riding with. Even though I crossed the most crowded metro stations. Not only I saved a fair amount of money (MX$6.50 each way against probably something close to MX$120 between the gas and the parking fee of that unholy convention center), but I used my time much better. Some years ago, when I regularly travelled one hour back and forth to work, I learnt most of what I know today of Computer Science during the long time I spent sitting on small microbús seats. Not the most luxurious way of travelling, but still a very good way of moving around our messy city. Of course, today I have learnt even more, and I want to advocate it: don't work far from your house, or at least, don't work far from a place reachable by Metro. Sometimes it sounds impossible, but really... How much do you value your time? Do you think that it's better to get MX$20,000 a month in a Santa Fé office than to get MX$15,000 in an office in Insurgentes? Do you think nobody will pay you decently if the offices are in Ermita Iztapalapa? Good work done brings a good salary. And seriously, the extra MX$5,000 in my first example is not worth the daily anger you will get by crossing the city to get to Nowhere Land and work for the corporate overlords. I might be extremely lucky, but I work 3Km away from home. I come by bike every day. And yes, I was scared at first - Even in Ciudad Universitaria people drive aggressively. You have to take care where you drive. Taxi drivers are among the worst, as they are always in a hurry. And, yes, my elbow has an ugly scratch, as I prefered to stop and fall off my bike than to land over a car whose driver was in a hurry. I've just had my bike for ~6 weeks (after over 10 years of not riding one, and back then, just for a bit), but I'm confident enough to get off the safety of a protected University with no cafres driving their microbús as they damn well please. Last weekend I had a ~6km drive (Copilco-Miguel Ángel de Quevedo-Loreto-Alta Vista-Copilco) using several high transit vialities (Universidad, Revolución, Insurgentes). I crossed three times the San Ángel bus hub, which scared my ass as I approached - But it's perfectly doable, far easier than what I expected. It was fun. It is a decent excercise. And we need more people to take the streets with their bikes. This morning I heard on the radio that Marcelo Ebrard (Mexico City mayor) is pushing a plan to boost bycicle usage in the city. Something similar to what has been done inside Ciudad Univeritaria, but -of course- in a larger scale: Useful ciclovías along the main roads, city-owned bike rental places (where you can rent your bike at one and drop it at another spot), all this well connected to the main Metro stations. In this interview (in this morning's 98.5 FM news program - sorry, I don't know who heads it... Martín something IIRC) they said that today, ~0.7% of the trips outside home in Distrito Federal (where only 8 out of our 25 million people live) are carried out on bycicle, and they expect to raise it to 5% over the next six years. We will see about that, I can only wish this program best luck. Damog complains that we drive like shit because dealing with too many people for too long pisses us off - Ok, Damog, here is the recipe: Don't get pissed off. Each of us will make a minor but tangible contribution. Don't drive so much. Quit your job so far away, get a decent (even worse paid) job closer to your house, closer to the university. You will be happier. Get a bike. Use it, you live close to UNAM as well. You will be happier. And we will be one step closer to total world domination. (yes, we the bikers, not we the Debianers ;-) )
Submitted by gwolf on Mon, 02/26/2007 - 20:39
It is no news that Richard Stallman spent some days recently in Cuba, and not precisely on vacation - He was quite active. But no, not only on politics: Also artistically. Yes, I do think he has to work a bit on his voice, but... Guantanamero surely deserves being listened to. Good Cuban musicians and all. Oh, and of course: The credits. Thanks to Maykel Moya for the links.
Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 02/22/2007 - 18:03
I just submitted my talk proposal for YAPC::EU, which will be held in Vienna in late August. The topic? Integrating Perl in a wider distribution: The Debian pkg-perl group. I took part in YAPC::NA (Yet Another Perl Conference - North America) in 2001, in Montreal, and YAPC::EU (you guessed right: Europe) in 2002, in Munich. While in Munich, I met Debian's Erich, Weasel and the late Jens. It is a very nice conference with all kinds of Perl-heads, apt for different experience levels. the talk I am proposing will be about what do we work for in Debian, how can we get a better synergy from our upstream group and (oh, this point is quite itchy - specially in strongly opinioned communities such as Ruby's! Perl people are quite nice to play with, however, but still...) what do we (as Debian maintainers) request from them in order for life to be smoother. Of course, I only submitted the talk. The CFP has just been launched, and so far, mine is the fourth talk offered - It can still be rejected (as it is not really related to Perl development, the heart of YAPC), but I guess it will be deemed interesting by the Perl monks reviewing them. In any case, hope to see you in Vienna as well!
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