Thursday, March 22, 2007

North American Scum

Não. Não é o ultimo single dos LCD Soundsystem.

Sou declaradamente de esquerda, mas não sou anti-americano. No entanto não resisti a partilhar esta perola que me enviaram, mesmo quando eu achava que aquela especie de reality show da tvi mostrava que os portugueses eram do mais inculto que há...

P.S. se estão a ler este post no P* aqui fica o link para "O" video.

So many ideas and so little time (edited)

I've been having some good (i think) ideas for posts this past week, but haven't found the time to fully elaborate on any of them so I'll just leave the topics here for now and will try to get back to some of these subjects as time allows it.

Is Google evil? I mean, it can't really be a bastion of open source with so many closed source programs and patents. It's not all about free beer people...

Microsoft sponsored site profiling Linux adopters, but I guess they missed (at least) one.
The type that enough about MSFT that it avoids direct contact as much as possible.

Is there a conspiracy between apple keyboards and planeta asterisco?
I mean, have you looked at the "P" key on those things?

It's now 4 years since operation "Lasting Freedom" started. that must be the longest running act of terrorism in history (if you disregard the catholic church, that is). What? you still think a couple of Arabs planned 9/11???

A good friend pointed out a "default-is-stupid" moment on Firefox. And provides the fix. Got to love that.

Allgarve. Oldporto. Lisbonafied. Why didn't anyone think of it before?? oh yeah... it sucks.

Ian Murdock (that the "ian" in Debian) joined Sun. Is it me or is Debian slowly stepping into the void?

osx tips and tricks
compiling ports and don't have /usr/libexec/config.guess ?? (Or config.sub for that matter)
(from the command line)
cd /usr/libexec
cp /usr/share/automake-1.6/config.sub .
cp /usr/share/automake-1.6/config.guess .

Customizing OS X's behavior from the command line
defaults.write galore....

Friday, March 16, 2007

30 (+10) reasons to switch

This is a post i thought i'd never write. It's not that i don't find the discussion fascinating, but that in my experience people (read: non geeks) seldomly need (or want) to change their OS.

Better yet, most people don't use an OS, they use a set of applications. But if the same applications are either cross platform or platform agnostic, then it might make sense to discuss the possibility of switching.

I'm doing it now because i saw a post earlier this week about reasons to change to Linux, and the whole thing got me going. I really don't think my opinion will make you change your mind, but it _does_ come from a someone who is a Windows specialist, a Mac fan-boy and a Linux geek (all me, at different times).

Oh, and this is my first post from TextMate!

10 reasons to use Windows
- It comes pre-installed with ~80% of the PCs sold worldwide;
- You don't know what a driver is (except if its behind a wheel) and couldn't care less;
- Most software is written for Windows, all new technology (Blue Ray; HDVD; DRM) is made for Windows;
- You can go to chat rooms, use file sharing software, visit google and read from Windows;
- You don't know how exciting it is for a script kiddie to see what files you have on your "My Documents" folder;
- You mostly play games, but don't have a games console;
- You don't know that there _are_ other OSs that you could use;
- You use your computer as an electric typewriter with a monitor. What is an OS anyway?;
- You can't afford a Mac, and Linux doesn't offer you the trust of a big corporation behind it;
- You are a VB, XBase, .Net and\ or a MSSQL pro;

10 reasons to use Linux or other *NIX OSs
- You are curious by nature;
- You know a little bit about computers, but want to know more;
- You are a programmer, a security or systems expert, or any other sort of Hacker (or want to be one);
- You can't afford a Mac, and Windows isn't configurable enough;
- You laugh at something like "rm -rf /usr/bin/laden" or you understand the sentence "thank @Divinity I had that shell script to change my MOTD with events from calendar.* or I would have missed LISP's birthday last wednesday";
- Somebody shown you what Beryl, XGL or E17 can do. And now everything else fades in comparison;
- You saw a video on youtube of a guy playing around on a touch screen and flipping windows with his thumbs;
- You believe in Open Source ideals;
- You are a security \ privacy junkie;
- You have DVDs from more that one region or you can't stand the idea behind DRM;

10 reasons to use Mac OSX
- You are a creative professional. (And i don't mean those of you who can write a 20 line telnet replacement);
- You are easily influenced by Apple's halo effect or Steve Jobs reality distortion field;
- You want a computer that just works. And looks good enough to turn heads;
- OSX is a UNIX on visual ecstasy (in-joke, i'll explain another day);
- You don't mind using a closed source OS that is based on Open Source and whose OSI model layer 7 (again, in-joke) can be replaced with FOSS variants;
- You would never replace a CPU, motherboard or graphics card on a laptop by yourself;
- It comes pre-installed with ~10% of the PCs sold worldwide, including your own;
- You are really good at Windows (an expert of sorts) but your antivirus spouts messages about Viruses and other threats that try to creep into your PC and you wonder how it's like on the other side;
- No matter how much you tweak Linux (or how much software you put on top of XP for that matter), it still doesn't feel as snappy or look like OSX;
- Your favorite band is putting out GarageBand files of their new album (I'm still excited about that, sorry);

10 reasons not to use a Computer
- you don't work with computers;
- you own a DVD player, a good Stereo, a Cell Phone and Cable TV;
- Your prefer to listen to CDs instead of ripping them;
- No one ever picked up a girl by formatting her hard drive;
- You don't know how people spend so much time writing and reading without touching a single sheet of paper;
- You where the one behind this. You will now pursue a new career;
- You where the one behind this. You will now pursue a new career;
- You like practicing sports that are incompatible with a flat ass;
- You don't own a portable media player apart from an old Walkman;
- Your fingers are too thick for such small keys;

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Can you think of a geekier thing to do pt. 2

Nine Inch Nails, confirming their status as the Greatest Band in the World (for their fans at least) has just posted the multi-track files for survivalism in garageband format.

Just download listen and remix for fun! No strings attached. Just the ~100 mb download.

Better yet, according to their site, and i quote :
"We plan to release every track on the album this way over the next few months..."

The Wow (sic) is here.

Commodore is back!

This is one of the most exciting news I've had in recent times. Probably the second most exciting thing happening apart from Nine Inch Nails new album

My first computer was a Commodore 64 with a tape recorder for loading games and a monochromatic (green tones) monitor. I can still remember playing Ghost 'n Goblins and other top notch games when i was err... along time ago. Not to mention that my first baby steps into programming where with BASIC on this machine.

I also had a friend a few years later that had a Commodore Amiga 500 that I thought was amazing, and it was on this machine that i saw (and heard) the first ever computer generated music video (Money for Nothing from Dire Straits). It was _way_ ahead of anything my 386 DX 40 Mhz could ever do at the time. Oh and there was also Golden Axe and Technotronic kept playing on the stereo. Man I love classic gaming!

While on the subject of how old i am (actually I'm 26 in case you're wondering, but I've been using computers since i was 6) here's other things i remember:
Going to Iron Maiden concerts and wearing Judas Priest, WASP and Venom t-shirts;
Wanting to look like Charles Bronson;
Buying a Sega Saturn;
Barrotes, Jerusalem and Friday the 13th viruses;
Giving up on computers when the battery on my 386 melted all over the motherboard;
Playing bass guitar for a Black Metal Band (and being acclaimed as the most promising new metal band on national radio by António Freitas (link to portuguese language page);

Thursday, March 08, 2007

International Women's Day

Today was the International Women's Day, and all over the world there where men who didn't get their sandwich even if they tried to sudo it. :o)

Actually this is a very important day, since it universally marks the _one_ day where we are supposed to thank women for their efforts in making the world a better place and reflect upon the way we, the society, have been treating them.

In my humble opinion, one day isn't nearly enough. People (read: men) should remind themselves everyday that is wrong to abuse verbally, physically, by actions or by inactions all and every woman.

Hopefully, you'll be thinking that I'm beating a dead horse, since we're a civilized society and all that, and these kinds of discrimination don't happen anymore, so I'm going to share two little stories with you.

My friend Carla, was forced to leave the company she helped create because despite all her recognized (and praised) hard work, the business unit wasn't making much of a profit. And for all the long hours and even some lost nights that she poured into her former employer, all she got was a 0€ severance pay. Why? because her former boss didn't find it necessary to pay her a dime. After all, what was she going to do about it?

Another girl friend whom I cannot name as of yet, has been killing herself slowly trying to do all the graphic design for a company that represents 3 small monthly newspapers all by herself for the past months and she already has been subjected to harassment, lied to, overworked (16 hours work days...on saturdays) and they don't even pay her measly 600 € paycheck on time, but rather some 8 days overdue. Without an apology. Why? Because "nowadays everyone knows how to work with a computer" and "it's so hard to find a job" (these are actual quotes in case your wondering) and besides, what was she going to do about it?

Since this blog is mostly about geeky stuff, I'll say goodby with a lttle tech tip.
If you use Stoplight (a Pref Pane add-on that changes Carbon apps maximize and close buttons behaviour so that they do just that; Fill the screen and exit (Command-Q) an active window) on your Mac and are experiencing crashes on Safari after printing to PDF or if Finder restarts after viewing a slidshow in iPhoto, look no further. Just change Stoplight's setting so that these two apps run in "Mac OS Default". Pronto.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

On the subject of goodwill

This is not good news for Microsoft. Their latest OS hasn't even begun to make its way into the corporate desktop and already the claims on unbreakable security are a thing of the past.

Or were they ever anything but marketing?

The question I most often hear regarding the transition for the new OS is "Why bother?" To answer this, I made a funny little mental exercise.

What would I do if I was in charge at Microsoft (or at least if they listened to me).

Well, to start with, I would take the number of available versions of Vista down from 7(5?) to only 3.

Vista Corporate Edition (VCE) - Drop the show off (Aero will be turned off by policies on most cases anyway);
Better security and networking. This would eliminate the need for mandatory hardware upgrades in the enterprise and would thus lead to wider embracing by CTOs and CFOs alike.

Vista Media Hub (VMH) - A version with some great visual apparatus, geared towards the home user with basic needs beyond media and internet access.

Aero would be a must, so maybe this could lead to a more reliable hardware certification \ standardization process (much needed IMHO) were Vista Ready meant "Ready to run full specs with full performance".

Vista Gamer (VG) - Recognizing that a vast majority of PC users mostly use their OSs (at home that is) to load and play games, Microsoft should make a version of their newest SO much to the liking of the one that powers their own Xbox 360.(Not necessarily compatible, though that would be a blast).

Networking and Security services striped to a minimum, very compact and hu.. lightweight. Take advantage of the relationships with Hardware Vendors and maximize performance.

Next if my list would be taking better advantage of what comes out of their own labs and projects (label it as beta, if you will) and deliver a companion DVD full of goodies like Photostory (does it still exist?) Expression (even a lite \ demo version) and Photosynth (for VMH).

Also a good option, would be throwing VirtualPC, SQL2005 and Visual Studio Express into a Companion DVD for VCE and finally XNA Game Studio for the Gamer version.

As for the Office suit, i wouldn't touch it (with a long stick).

Eliminate the fabricated need for upgrades (personally I’ll stick with Office XP for as long as I can, or must) and make it compatible with open-document standards for publicity if nothing else.

Finally on the server front. Well this is going to be a biggie... So I'll put it more as a wish list than anything else.

1- Native Support for "foreign" file systems.
2- Show us what WinFS can do. If it turns out not to be all that much adopt ZFS (ouch).
3- U-N-I-X C-O-M-P-A-T-I-B-I-L-I-T-Y L-A-Y-E-R (or SFU done right, or cygwin in a companion CD).
4- Gui-less version. With option for graphic administration from remote desktop or even trough a web browser. This would be a great selling point for Application, Web, DB and File servers. And for low-end servers too.

Ok, so most MSCEs would be left to dry without point and click. But the good ones would adapt, and the best ones won't tell the difference (if it can't be scripted, it can't be done, right?)

Friday, March 02, 2007

A week in song titles

Ramble On Led Zeppelin
BES Photo's winner this year was Daniel Blaufuks, a multimedia artist who also does some photos.

Not surprising at all. As someone way more "in the know" that I noted earlier, this was very likely the worst BES Photo ever.

If you take some time to go around a couple of blogs and Flickr pages, you'l find many talented photographers, but hey, their name isn't Blaufuks or Themlitz or Ideafix or any of the other weird names that seem to be a pre-requisite to enter the competition for Portuguese artists.

By the way, the photo on my blog's title is a self portrait by Kay whom i rank at nr. 2 on my favorite artists list, right after Dali and Trent Reznor (incidentally, if you didn't get this joke, you might be reading the wrong blog) and is here with her consent. The logo underneath it is from the "Art is Resistance" movement.

In Memoriam Rodrigo Leão & Vox Ensemble
I finally managed to give my Macbook a 1G memory upgrade, and it is worth every penny. If your stuck with the default 512 Mb, your missing out. Good does get better.

Simultaneously, a work colleague humped his (newer model) Macbook a full Ghz (to 2G) and notes that the performance improvements are even more noticeable. So todays Haiku is "Grab RAM if you can. OS X surfs graciously in deeper waters".

There There Radiohead
This week on Digg a story gained some momentum again (the original is kind of old) about how 199 out of 200 CS Majors can't program. This just proves that a degree can be a display of educational excellence, but doesn't hint at all on competence.

Dead cat on the line (Diamanda Galas cover)
I had almost forgotten about these...