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Posts about nerdness (old posts, page 4)

Como ser un nerd en argentina y no morir en el intento

This is a span­ish-on­ly post, it makes no sense for any en­glish-read­er­s: it's about how to buy elec­tron­ics in Ar­genti­na.


Intro

Ser un nerd en Ar­genti­na tiene mu­chos prob­le­mas. Uno de el­los es que los pre­cios que nos quieren co­brar por casi cualquier chiche elec­tróni­co es ridícu­lo.

Otro de los prob­le­mas es que el 99% de la gente no sabe co­mo hac­er para que no les afa­nen de esa man­er­a. Y ojo, no hablo de con­tra­ban­dear, hablo de us­ar tus dere­chos y tus re­cur­sos legales. Aclaro: no soy abo­gado, si sigu­ien­do es­tos con­se­jos vas pre­so, es cosa tuya, yo di­go lo que creo que es­tá bi­en nomás.

Así que es­ti­ma­dos lec­tores, acá es­tá mi guía para com­prar chich­es sin ten­er que em­peñar un riñón (que tam­bién es ile­gal, ya que es­ta­mos).

Lo primero que nece­sitás es pa­cien­ci­a. Al­gunos de los mecan­is­mos que te voy a con­tar ll­e­van uno o dos meses, o re­quieren co­lab­o­ración de ter­ceros. Pero bueno, so­mos nerd­s, re­solver prob­le­mas es lo nue­stro.

Chucherías Chinas

Ten­go un boni­to mi­cro­sco­pio de bol­sil­lo de 80x que me com­pró mi es­posa. Cos­to? $90. Es un juguete buenísi­mo, re ed­uca­tivo, y cuan­do tenía 6 años hu­biera da­do la fig­u­ri­ta difí­cil (era la tarán­tu­la) por uno de es­tos.

Cos­to en chi­na? U$S 9.39, con en­vío gratis

O sea, la mi­tad. Y co­mo sale menos de U$S 25, de he­cho es le­gal traer­lo por correo y no pagás tasa de ad­u­a­na.

De to­das for­mas, prob­a­ble­mente no ten­gas que ir a la ad­u­a­na porque....

Tip

Cosas chi­cas == no prob­lem

Nor­mal­mente los pa­que­tes de menos de medio ki­lo casi nun­ca se quedan en la ad­u­a­na. Ese don­gle blue­tooth de U$S 1 te va a lle­gar a tu casa.

Pero ponéle que pagás la tasa. Con tasa y todo, son U$S 15, o sea $60. Si pasás por la ad­u­a­na a ve­ces y no te mo­les­ta hac­er co­la un ra­to (ll­e­vate un li­bro)....

Pero es aún mejor. Porque en http://DealEx­treme.­com tenés un mod­e­lo de 150x por U$S 12! De he­cho, tenés 36 mod­e­los de mi­cro­sco­pios!

Tip

El mun­do es grande

Com­prar las cosas di­rec­ta­mente sig­nifi­ca ele­gir de una var­iedad muchísi­mo may­or de la que tenés acá. Sumále que enci­ma es más bara­to...

Por ejem­plo, en http://al­iba­ba.­com hay al­go así co­mo 35000 vende­dores de tablets con An­droid. Al­gu­na te va a servir ;-)

Aho­ra bi­en, supong­amos que te de­cidiste y te en­car­gaste al­go de Chi­na o sim­i­lar, qué tenés que saber:

  • Guardá la "fac­­tu­ra" que te dá el sitio, y la URL del pro­­duc­­to.

    La fac­­tu­ra suele ser un HT­M­L, im­primí­­lo. Cuan­­do re­tirás en Ad­u­a­­na lo nece­sitás. No lo muestres de en­­trada! Só­­lo si te lo pi­­den.

  • Andá dis­­puesto a pa­­gar. Es al cuete dis­­cu­tir. Tené en cuen­­ta que aún con lo de la ad­u­a­­na es bara­­to, y no te ha­­gas mala san­­gre.

  • Si vas tipo 10:30 suele haber poca gente.

  • Andá tran­quilo, ll­e­­vate al­­go para en­treten­erte porque en una de esas ll­e­­va un ra­­to. Igual hay sil­las, que se yó, no es la muerte de nadie.

Tip

It's a gift!

Casi to­dos es­tos sitios tienen al­gún ser­vi­cio de "gift". Te sacan el pre­cio y to­do lo que ha­ga que parez­ca una com­pra por in­ter­net. Au­men­ta la prob­a­bil­i­dad de que llegue a tu casa di­rec­to.

Cómo Pagar

La más fá­cil es Pay­Pal. Si tenés tar­je­ta de crédi­to es triv­ial.

Tip

Hablá con nerds amigos!

Si no tenés Pay­Pal ni tar­je­ta in­ter­na­cional, pero conocés al­guien que tra­ba­ja para el ex­te­ri­or, es muy prob­a­ble que esa per­sona ten­ga sal­do en Pay­Pal que no puede sacar. En Ar­genti­na, con­ver­tir Pay­Pal en dinero es muy caro. En­tonces se puede lle­gar a un acuer­do: se lo pagás al 95% del val­or (o lo que ar­reglen) tu ami­go tiene la plata, vos tenés de­s­cuen­to en dealex­treme o donde sea.

Tam­bién podés hac­er la com­pra con la tar­je­ta de un amigo/­pari­ente y pa­gar­le a él en efec­ti­vo.

El amigo que viene de afuera

Sí tenés un cono­ci­do que vi­a­ja al ex­te­ri­or con reg­u­lar­i­dad:

  • Podés com­prar en USA y que te re­ci­­ba y traiga las cosas.

  • Has­­ta U$S 300 (si el que vi­a­­ja es ar­­gen­ti­no) no se pa­­ga ad­u­a­­na. Se pa­­ga el 50% por en­ci­­ma de esa cifra.

  • Si es un ex­­tran­­jero que trae una cosa propia "en uso" y te la vende acá, no creo que ten­­gas que pa­­gar im­­portación (no es­­­toy se­guro)

Veamos un ejem­plo!

  • Una HP mi­ni com­pra­­da acá: $1999, o U$S 500

  • Com­pra­­da en US­A: U$S 329.

    • Pa­­­gan­­­do ad­u­a­­­na con fran­qui­­­ci­a: U$S 345

    • Pa­­­gan­­­do ad­u­a­­­na ful­l: U$S 495 (ahí no con­viene ;-)

Tip

Los pro­duc­tos HP tienen garan­tía in­ter­na­cional

Los Dell por ejem­plo: NO. Así que ojo, com­prá una mar­ca que te dé ser­vice en Ar­genti­na. En el ca­so de Dell tenés que com­prar aparte una garan­tía que te sir­va acá. Vos sabrás si te bancás ten­er una note­book sin garan­tía (yo sí, si es bara­ta ;-)

Pero que te pare­cería ten­er la mis­ma net­book por U$S 180?

Bueno, re­sul­ta que HP (y to­das las em­pre­sas) venden pro­duc­tos "re­fur­bished" o sea rea­condi­ciona­dos. Nor­mal­mente no te vas a dar cuen­ta de nada, tienen un rayón mín­i­mo, o al­go así. Hoy la mis­ma net­book es­ta­ba a U$S 179.90. Nor­mal­mente salen más o menos la mi­tad. Y vienen con garan­tía.

Y fi­játe que la HP mi­ni por U$S 180, pa­gan­do la ad­u­a­na ful­l... cues­ta el 54% de lo que sale la nue­va acá. Eso es ne­go­cio.

Tip

La en­tre­ga es al­lá

Nor­mal­mente las com­pras de re­fur­bished hay que hac­er­las en US­A. Por eso lo de que tiene que ir al­guien a recibir­la.

Al­ter­na­ti­va­mente hay ser­vi­cios de reen­vío de mer­cadería, pero no los he us­a­do y no los conoz­co.

Al­ter­na­ti­va­mente, Ciu­dad del Este (Paraguay) es­tá muy cer­ca de Ar­genti­na. Y es muy bara­to com­prar elec­tróni­cos ahí. Y tenés los U$S 300 de fran­qui­ci­a.

Pero hay más! Un ciu­dadano paraguayo que visi­ta ar­genti­na puede traer cier­tas cosas con cier­tos límites. Hay que hablar con él y co­or­di­nar!

Si no conocés a nadie... bueno, andá de paseo a cataratas! Pasala bi­en! Y com­prate una cá­mara o lo que sea en la ex­cur­sión a Ciu­dad del Este.

Accesorios

No com­pres ac­ce­so­rios orig­i­nales. Por ejem­plo: la batería orig­i­nal de re­puesto de mi eeePC 701? U$S 110, 3 el­e­men­tos. La "trucha" de 6 el­e­men­tos? U$S 40.

Tip

Es ile­gal im­por­tar cosas que se ench­u­fan

To­do lo que se enchufe a la pared tiene que ho­molog­a­rse y creo que es ile­gal traer­lo. Si al­guien tiene un car­gador para su propia note­book por ejem­plo, supon­go que es le­gal (así me hice de un car­gador para la eee)

Conclusión

Ojalá sir­va de al­go, si tenés más tips pone­los en los co­men­tar­ios!

Why we are here.

Warn­ing: rant ahead.

Yes­ter­day the gov­ern­ment of Ar­genti­na an­nounced that they are giv­ing way 3 mil­lion net­books to stu­dents. They al­so an­nounced that they are giv­ing them the op­tion of Ubun­tu or Win­dows 7.

There was, of course, the typ­i­cal re­ac­tion from the FLOSS side: why are they giv­ing Win­dows to the stu­dents when Lin­ux is bet­ter? It's un­fair that the gov­ern­ment pays for Win­dows!

I am here to tell you to grow up and stop be­ing a ba­by. I am here to tell you to stop treat­ing oth­ers like ba­bies.

I think I can do this be­cause I am im­mune to crit­i­cism from the FLOSS crowd: I am a mem­ber of that crowd. I have an awe­some FLOSS pedi­gree, I have used noth­ing but Lin­ux for over 15 years. And I have a thick skin and I don't care much what oth­er peo­ple say, in prin­ci­ple, un­less they give me good rea­sons to care. And I am telling you to stop com­plain­ing.

I am telling you that if the on­ly rea­son to use a spe­cif­ic piece of soft­ware is be­cause it's cheap­er, you are ac­cept­ing that piece of soft­ware suck­s.

I want peo­ple not to just use Lin­ux, I want them to want to use Lin­ux. I want them to wait anx­ious­ly for the next re­lease of Ubun­tu or Fire­fox or what­ev­er.

And the first step to­wards ex­cel­lence is want­ing to be ex­cel­len­t. If hav­ing to pay noth­ing for Win­dows or Ubun­tu there is a cer­tain­ty that Win­dows will win, then Ubun­tu freak­ing sucks and needs to im­prove. Peo­ple are not adopt­ing it even if it's free? Then some­thing is wrong, and fig­ur­ing out what is im­por­tan­t.

But even more im­por­tant than find­ing the miss­ing piece is know­ing a piece is miss­ing. Open source has grown com­pla­cen­t. It's grown self right­eous. It's be­come ado­les­cen­t, sure of its awe­some­ness and im­mor­tal­i­ty.

I don't be­lieve in many things, but I do be­lieve in free will. I be­lieve that peo­ple are not mo­ron­s, I be­lieve that if they pre­fer Win­dows, it's be­cause it does some­thing bet­ter, and I be­lieve that what­ev­er that is (and I don't re­al­ly know what it may be), it can be found, and can be im­proved, and can be re­placed, and oth­er things can be added, and peo­ple will want to use the bet­ter prod­uc­t.

And if they don't... well, at least we fought an hon­est fight, and we did our best, and we (hope­ful­ly) had fun in the pro­cess, and pushed the en­velope, and cre­at­ed nice things, and the users are bet­ter off in the end even if our ba­bies are not the cho­sen ones, be­cause we raised the lev­el of ev­ery­thing.

For ex­am­ple, be­fore Lin­ux, Win­dows sucked much, much more than it does now, and I think many of those im­prove­ments were be­cause of Lin­ux, and I am hap­py that to­day Win­dows users have a OS that does­n't stink.

I want free and open source soft­ware to be used be­cause it's awe­some, not be­cause it's cheap. Awe­some and cheap I can live with. Just cheap? That suck­s.

And the con­stant "they use win­dows be­cause they don't know bet­ter"? That's pa­tron­iz­ing and con­de­scend­ing, and very, very an­noy­ing. And if it an­noys me, who is not the tar­get of the lame con­de­scen­sion, trust me, it an­noys the crap out of Win­dows user­s.

Grow a spine, get your ass­es in­to gear, start mak­ing awe­some stuff, kick ass with qual­i­ty. That's why we are here. Not to be the cheap­est date in town.

PET: English Translation Issue 1 has a date

Be­cause it worked on­ce, let's do it again. I have just set a com­plete­ly ar­bi­trary, and prob­a­bly too ear­ly date for the re­lease of the first eng­lish Is­sue of "PET: Python En­tre To­dos" mag­a­zine.

The eng­lish ver­sion is called PET, which means "Python En­tre To­dos: Eng­lish Trans­la­tion".

It will have the same con­tents as the first span­ish Is­sue and... it will be the last Is­sue done like this.

From now on, both ver­sions will be pub­lished at the same time, if we can.

So, there will be a very short gap be­tween the eng­lish first Is­sue and the sec­ond one (less than a mon­th, we hope).

So, stay tuned

I'm a nerd, but I Have a Cheap Phone

I just got a new phone be­cause my old one dis­ap­peared. I got a Sam­sung Star, which is not a smart­phone, but what they call a fea­ture­phone, which seems to mean "it does a lot of things but is cheap, can on­ly be cod­ed in Ja­va and does­n't run an­droid".

Here's some of the fea­tures of this baby:

  • Touch­screen, 400x240

  • Fake GPS (gives you a 400 me­ters ra­dius of your lo­­ca­­tion. Good enough for me in the city)

  • We­bkit-based brows­er that works sur­pris­ing­­ly well (it comes with the LGPL as a doc­u­­ment and you can't delete it :-)

  • Ac­celerom­e­ter

  • FM ra­­dio

  • A 2GB mi­cro-SD card

  • 3.2MP cam­era (takes video at 320x240).

The cam­era can take de­cent pho­tos in good con­di­tion­s:

Foto0005.jpg

And it even has some "ad­vanced" fea­tures (by which I mean: things my cheap ded­i­cat­ed cam­era does­n't do), like smile shut­ter and panoram­ic shot­s:

Foto0018.jpg

Oth­er that that... well, it's a phone, what can I say. It was "cheap­", which means "it costs more than I want to pay for it, but less than the al­ter­na­tives".

So, how am I tak­ing ad­van­tage of it...

First: I have not had a de­cent pock­et-­sized ebook read­er since my last Clie died. So, I looked for soft­ware to do that.

It turns out that the world of Mi­dlet­s, as fea­ture phone apps are of­ten called, is aweird place, where things are quite hard to find for the unini­ti­at­ed.

There is a sort of "app shop" at http://get­jar.­com but it's by no means com­pre­hen­sive, and of­ten things are quite hard to find.

Af­ter lots of look­ing, I found a good (I may even say very good) pro­gram called Fo­liant. Here's their home page, rus­sian on­ly ... it's weird, my favourite Palm ebook read­er, Palm Fic­tion al­so has a rus­sian-on­ly site!

Of course, the fonts sucked (way too large) but it turns out you can con­vert TTF fonts us­ing this tool so I am now back to the love­ly Droid Sans I am used to.

An­oth­er nice thing about the new phone is that it can ac­tu­al­ly play me­dia (yes, my pre­vi­ous phone was so crap­py it did­n't even play mp3). But... not ev­ery kind of me­di­a. For au­dio, just use mp3. For video... it's a bit more com­pli­cat­ed.

Here's the short ver­sion:

  1. Con­vert us­ing Hand­Brake, ffm­peg MP4 video, AAC au­­dio.

  2. Al­ways use the .m­p4 ex­ten­­sion, the phone is not smart enough to know what a .m4v is.

  3. Don't make the video larg­er than 320x240.

Num­ber 3 is a prob­lem. For ex­am­ple, you may have a video in a wide screen for­mat, like 640x272, which is a 2.35:1 ra­tio.

The ob­vi­ous thing is to cap the width to 320, and that would give you a 320x136 video.

Well, that's wrong. What you should do is find the right height, keep­ing as­pect ra­tio, for a 400px width. In this case, that would be a 400x170.

But you can't use a 400x170 video! which is why you will use 320x170, and on play­back tell the phone to stretch it and ig­nore as­pect ra­tio. And voila, 400x170 and the cor­rect as­pect ra­tio.

The dif­fer­ence? 320x130 has on­ly 41600 pix­el­s, while 320*170 has 54400, which means you get a 30% bet­ter pic­ture.

Yes, it's tiny (3 inch­es) but it looks pret­ty sharp, and de­pend­ing on the kind of ma­te­ri­al you are watch­ing, it work­s.

UP­DATE: Fo­liant is bet­ter than I thought, once you get the Sam­sung-spe­cif­ic ver­sion. It's fullscreen (no sil­ly soft but­ton­s) and the screen ro­tates au­to­mat­i­cal­ly us­ing the ac­celerom­e­ter. It's a plea­sure to use, and the UI is very nice.

Spain is much bigger than you think!

On the news to­day (the news­pa­per is Tiem­po Ar­genti­no, sor­ry about the un­read­able pho­to):

Foto0012.jpg

It says "In Spain it amounts to less than 340 thou­sand cus­tomers a mon­th, or 0.006% of the to­tal".

This is talk­ing about cell­phone user­s. Now, how many cell phone users are there in Spain?

Ac­cord­ing to this news­pa­per, 340000 are 0.006% of the to­tal, so... 5 666 666 667 (aprox­.), there­fore, Spain has rough­ly one cell phone for each man, wom­an and child in the world.


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