Posts about Writing (old posts, page 4)

2009-03-08 21:07

I believe there is a problem

Yesterday I was spammed by a new age portal called Portalmico. The name is strange, since in spanish (their language) it means "Monkey Portal", but that the heck, after adding me to the Facebook group they wanted me to join, posting they are spammers, then leaving, I started to think...

What exactly bothers me about these guys? And decided to enter their portal and see what was awaiting me behind the gates.

Apparently these guys are heavily into 2012. However, they don't expect the end of the world, but a "cosmic awakening" and they call this event "important to the whole galaxy". This seems to be caused because of a peculiarity of the mayan calendar. Whoa. And I thought the guys at Stop, unix time! were overdoing it.

One would be tempted to ask, if mayans were so awesome, how come their civilization was such a mess? [1]

But that's not it. That's not what bothers me. Brainless adoration of poor people who did their best to live their lives 600 years ago is not such a terrible thing, (even if it is not the smartest thing ever). What bothers me is the credulity.

Let's see...

You will be hard pressed to find a post there that's scored less than 8 in a 1/10 scale, so almost everyone seems to agree that all these things exist/ are true.

In fact, the only thing that came to mind that noone there seems to believe in is hidden messages in the Torah and bigfoot, but maybe I just didn't look correctly.

So, I think I now know what bothers me. The lack of taste. If you believe everything, you believe nothing in particular. If you accept everything, you are not looking for truth. If you hold all things equal, nothing is special.

I find the perspective of a world where everything can be true, everything has the same value, everything is the same... desperate.

These people sound desperate. They sound like they are adrift at sea and try to hold to any passing twig, be it a crystal, a drowned continent, or a charlatan.

Dear fellows at portalmico: the only thing that make life worth living is people. Yes, people. Not god, not mayan prophecies, not angels. People.

Go out, meet someone, have a nice life. What happens after that, if it is to happen at all, will do so anyway. Be good to people, and trust that god (if he exists) is worth anything and will welcome you to his best condo, because if he doesn't... well, he was not really worth adoring anyway.

So, I think I come out of this diving into nonsense with a clearer, if a bit sadder mind. Yes, they are spammers. Yes, they believe childish fantasies. I hope they get better.

[1] Come on, 80% of skeletons showing signs of severe anemia? That's bad! See here
[2] "This process allows us to bypass the illusion of our tridimensional reality..."
[3] "... the lemurians lived in a frequency matching the Fifth Dimension (5D)..."
[4] "...cleansing and clearing can include memories and traumas from previous reincarnations..."
[5] From the dictionary: "belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact." . At least I think they mean that definition of faith. I surely hope they are not saying they have "confidence" in god?

2009-03-03 23:42

Blog readership statistics.

I am not sure if this is good or bad:


On one hand, I have more subscribers than ever, even considering when this blog was in planetkde (BTW: maybe I should add my pyqt feed there again? Nah, I don't qualify as "active KDE contributor")

The dip in the last three monts was because I just posted nothing, and now I am posting again, it's doing well.

On the other hand, I am at 50-some subscribers, which is a bit pathetic for a blog that has existed for over 9 years ;-)

On the gripping hand (Larry Niven FTW!) I am having more fun with the blog than I had in quite a while, so I would post even if noone read it.

And in case you are wondering what that peak of over 6000 reach (the average is under 100!) it's this. That post had over 12000 visitors. My second most popular story had only 3800.


Here's the most popular content in the last 2 years or so, selected from 783 posts (784 with this one) and 47 longer stories:

  1. 12228 visitors: Windows: My eXPerience

    So I wanted to see what windows looked like. Don't worry, I feel better now.

  2. 3797 visitors: Making Linux systems that don't suck. Part II

    A rant on cron and at. I never imagined this would be number 2.

  3. 2968 visitors: BOP: Ball Oriented programming

    I am rather proud of this one: a pyqt-based graphical, animated interpreter for FLIP, a language based on balls :-)

  4. 2888 visitors: Good News: Linux gives life to old hardware. Bad News: Maybe in some cases it shouldn't.

    Silly, yes, but a cool picture :-)

  5. 1870 visitors: PyCells: The Python SpreadSheet redux

    My second or third attempt at writing a toy spreadsheet using python. I have been at it for about 5 years, apparently.

    This is popular... even when the code it describes is based on a completely broken library!

  6. 1841 visitors: Squid authentication via POP or IMAP

    This was already about 4 years old when I started counting, so I have no idea how many visitors it really had. It is a handy script, I still use it sometimes!

  7. 1813 visitors: The Linux Booting Process Unveiled

    I really expected this one to be much higher. It's even linked from wikipedia! Every day it has 2 or 3 hits. Then again, the first 3 years are not being counted ;-)

  8. 1706 visitors: Queue Management for Qmail

    While the tool it introduces is lame nowadays, the ideas are sound, and it explains a real problem.

  9. 1548 visitors: Custom widgets using PyQt

    Very obsolete, noone should read that.

  10. 1505 visitors: How to make your own distro in 3 not-so simple steps

    Oh, this one. It is wrong. It gives bad advice. Yet noone seems to notice ;-) Not my best idea, not my best effort, still get email about it every month or so.

2009-02-06 09:34

This blog is over 9 years old.

On my latest disappearance, this blog turned 9 years old. I started it (in advogato, where you can still read it, BTW), on January 17th, 2000.

It is currently my longest-running project, since at the time I lived in a different province, have had several girlfriends (and a wedding), I had two or more jobs, started one company, went through about 9 presidents, and of course, there's my boy Juan:


BTW: his grandfather took that picture. Looks a bit dangerous, doesn't it? It probably was. But that's ok, there's like an inch of sand in case he fell. I need to talk to him ;-)

All things considered, awesome 9 years. I need to actually remember for the 10th aniversary.

2008-02-28 19:19

Me and the subte.

I moved to Buenos Aires (BA) almost exactly 8 years ago. For those who have never been here, let me tell you some things about it. It's large. Do you know Sao Paulo? A bit smaller. Much smaller than Mexico DF. About the same size as New York. Twice the population of the Randstad. About the same as greater Paris or Istanbul. So figuring out a way to move around it was important.

Vista dos Aires

The way most natives do it is by bus. There is a pretty extensive and efficient network of buses which will take you anywhere. There are maybe 150 different lines, but if you don't know the city, specially the place you are trying to reach, they are a recipe for getting lost, because you can (will) miss your stop and end anywhere else.


To make it worse, I get dizzy on buses. The braking and starting makes me really sick. I can control it, as long as I look out the window, or straight forward, and breath really carefully.

So, since I don't drive, and cabs are relatively expensive, I always preferred the subway, or, as it is called here, the subte. Plus, on trains and subways I can even read and not get dizzy. I always tried to live close to a station, I had almost one hour to read while traveling and we got along great.

The subte is pretty old. The first in Latin America, and still the only one in a few million nearby square miles. But it's also ... quirky.

For instance, I lived in Belgrano, close to the D line. Which had japanese cars. How did I know they were japanese cars? Well, they had all these things written on the windows in Japanese. Sadly, I can't find pictures of that, and in a recent trip I didn't see them, so it may be that after maybe 20 years someone decided to rub them off. That's a pity. I always imagined they said interesting stuff, even if they probably said "keep your hands inside the car, you idiot".

There's also the boletería-kiosco. A kiosco is a sort of mini drugstore, where you can buy candy, a soda, maybe a comb, or condoms. A boletería is a palce where you buy tickets to ride the subte. And in some places, you can do both things. Because they turned the ticket booths into kioscos.

El hombre del Kiosco

Tere is the line at Retiro station, in the C line. There's 4 or 5 boleterías. When you get there, often there's 40 or 50 people in line on the first one. And you can walk just beside them and buy a ticket in the 4th or 5th booth, where there's noone waiting.

And of course, a classic, the one every tourist sees. The A line. The original BA subte, opened 90 years ago or so... and still using the same cars. Yes, you can ride antique, wooden cars to work on that line. With incandescent bulbs on glass tulips. With manual doors (manual opening only, they close automatically with bone crushing force).

Empty train car

Sure, it's hot. There's no air conditioning, and BA can get pretty hot in summer. But it's nice in winter! It's fast, you can't get lost, and it's just so BA.

2008-02-19 10:53

Strange things I see: the roof statue of Carupá

Walking near the train station of Carupá, heading for a customer's I saw a rather shabby house in the industrial area, white and with green painted doors made of metal. And on top of it, standing as if about to jump, there's a statue of a chubby guy wearing a white shirt and black pants. Why is there a statue in the roof of that house? Why is it so creepy?


The awful picture is courtesy of my phone.

2007-11-20 14:51

Haven't had one of these in a while!

You start a blog, you like something another guy wrote, what do you do?

  1. Link and write a nice comment
  2. Add it to, have feedburner show it in your "Links of the day" feature?
  3. Copy the whole thing, including the name of the author, not following his very liberal license, ignore his request to fix it, and piss him off?

If you chose option 3, then you will get along just fine with this guy!

2007-11-20 13:02

New blog feature: Spanish translation!

I have decided to make this blog available also in Spanish starting yesterday.

Since it's generated by my own software called BartleBlog, that meant I had to implement everything so each post can have multiple translations.

And it's starting to work. You may notice several things:

  • Below the banner there is an "Available in English - Español" thing.
  • Each Post has links to the different translations for which it's available.

The location and styling of these elements will change, and they may be broken in different ways for a few days. Sorry about that.

There will also be a "Lateral Opinion en Español" RSS feed soon.

Update: here it is

2007-11-14 10:34

Lateral Opinion's greatest hits

Since this blog just broke the 100K visitors barrier yesterday (although it had about 150K more when it was, it's a good time to revisit some of the old stuff that was somewhat good.

So here are (IMVHO) the best ten things I remember writing in this blog in the last 7 years.

  1. Data-aware widgets in PyQt

    This article describes a cool (again, IMVHO) way to implement DB-backed apps using PyQt. It's short, working code and you end being able to create neat stuff. I liked it, noone else did.

  1. Be a good lamarckian froggy

    It has it all! Evolution theory (theories)! It pretends to provide insights into FLOSS! Movie-critic-like quotes in the comments!

    best blog i've read in a long, long time.

    —Aaron Seigo

  1. Rapid Application development using PyQt and Eric3 ... in realtime!

    An original premise, a semi-useful app written, got good reviews. I still like it, but sadly it's not a format that ages well, since you can't update the tutorial for newer versions of PyQt.

  1. Squid authentication via POP or IMAP

    It solves a real problem, does it elegantly, and I still am installing it.

  1. Shared: Narnia, The Da Vinci Code is Broken., Kong at dawn, Matrix Revolutions, Troy (not McClure), Double feature at the Electric

    I sometimes try to "review" movies in an oddball way. Please read them if you saw the movies. I think I made sense.

  1. Skeletons of stories that won't ever be written.

    I have no idea why I wrote it, but I still like it.

  1. The world cup and I

    Too sentimental, but hey, I did feel that way.

  1. Frodo as a Hacker

    The subtitle is "Shameless explosion of nerditude." and it is that. I am at the same time very ashamed of writing it, and rather amazed by it.

  1. The Linux Booting Process Unveiled

    One of my most popular articles. It's even cited as a reference on Linux booting in Wikipedia! (I edited it because they had the link wrong, though). It was even copied without atribution a couple of times.

  1. A Modest Usability Improvement

    Other articles had more links, more views, or more comments, but this article inspired the creation of two new apps that are much better than what was around before I wrote it, which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. So, check it out, then use Speedcrunch or Abakus instead of kcalc (or wincalc).

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