2004-02-19 12:25

Spanish quotes in english books

This is something I run into often, and it really is a way to ruin reading. It's jarring.

Basically: no book in english ever gets quotes in spanish right.

For example, I was reading The Eldorado Network which is a silly but amusing spy-thriller book with subpar pseudo-Heinlein dialog, when out of the blue, I read this: "viva el muerte".

The book's first half is set on civil war Spain, and "viva el muerte" is said to be the motto of a company of moorish riflemen or whatever.


  • Noone who speaks spanish has ever proofread this book
  • That is not anyone's motto
  • It took me 5 minutes to stop feeling annoyed at the carelessness of the publishers and the writer.

You see, in spanish, almost every word has a gender, and you have to keep what's called "concordancia de género", let's call it gender agreement.

What does it mean? That when you use a word of feminie gender, you use feminine pronouns, articles, adjectives, etc.

So, well, muerte is feminine, and el is masculine. So, it disagrees, and it's a mistake no spanish-speaker could ever made, not once, not drunk, not drugged, not asleep.

Sure, there are exceptions, buth to avoid unpleasant sounds.

For example, agua (water) is f., so it would have to be "la agua" but that sounds ugly, so it's "el agua", just like in english you use "an" sometimes instead of "a".

So, it would have to be "viva la muerte".

There is a weird corner case in which "viva el muerte" would be correct, if there was a guy whose nickname was "muerte", since he's a dude, if you cheered for him you would say "viva el muerte", but that's unlikely.

And this happens in every damn book that has quotes from allegedly spanish-speaking characters, and 9 out of every 10 times, it's the same mistake, because english lacks the concept.

Annoying as all hell.

2004-02-15 19:15

Linux in the government in Argentina

This is something I have not read about much so:

Well, I teach Linux courses for several companies. In the last year or so, almost every course has one or two or five students coming from the IT area of some government office or another.

That includes local and national government, by the way.

Some of them are already on deployment stages on servers, a few even on desktops.

Here's what I know about this stuff:

  • There's no master plan. Every little place is doing its own thing, all in the same direction. That sucks a bit.
  • They are going to be in trouble. Lack of planning means people suddenly find their desktop is now Linux, for instance :-). That's not going to be too nice.
  • They will do it anyway: The governemnt can't buy a dead rat at a sale, much less MS Office
  • Being a semi-known Linux consultant around here is going to be interesting in 2004
  • Some people are peddling Linux and are clueless. Others are clued-in, but they are not the ones getting the boss's ears.
  • If you are in gov. IT, you gonna have to learn Linux quick.
  • Xandros is making a big push here: it seems some of the development for it is local (they are overselling the local share, though, but this is government, that was to be expected).
  • Red Hat and SuSE are not selling themselves too well in that area
  • Lots of stuff is happening, in the quiet. For example, it seems that several provincial Education Ministries are shipping all new computers to schools with Linux in it. Of course they probably get reformatted in 48 hours.
  • Most servers, specially mail/web/file servers should be switched to Linux before 2006 (this is mostly a guess)
  • Expect MS to offer a busload of free licenses to the government soon (a guess, too, but want to bet?)

2004-02-12 22:50

What´s going on

Been busy. Work is back in full throttle, so time for coding and blogging is low.

Hopefully, I will earn enough in the coming month to take it easy in march, then go crazy in april and so on.

This blog has been much more fun than I expected and I want to thank the guys at pyds for hosting it for free, they provide excelent service :-)

Life is good. I have been playing with a flyvideo2000 I will install for a client: sweet TV board. I think I will buy myself one.

  • It works with linux (after some learning, which is good, too)
  • MythTV turns it into a lovely recorder, TV, etc, except you need internet for it to work at all (or else it doesn´t get a channel list!).
  • For a few dollars I get another TV and VCR, which I don´t need but is cool anyway
  • With a little effort and some cool free code, it can monitor surveillance cameras, saving a client of mine from buying a digital recorder... and giving me some more money :-)
  • It has a remote that is supported by lirc (haven´t made it work yet) so I am supposed to be able to remotely control mplayer/kaffeine/whatever (even when not playing TV :-)

So, all in all, fun stuff.

The only bad piece is, I haven´t coded much (or at all), but I will get to it on due time.

2004-02-07 22:31

More fun with Ilan. (don 't read if you have flaming issues)

Warning: flamable.

It seems Ilan has found a feature some developer wrote, called referers log, and thus this blog.

Well, Ilan, I will make sure to follow this link so you notice this reply :-)

Since you intend to reinforce your dermal structure through exposition to high temperatures, let me be the first to assist you.

I am fully aware of everyone's right to criticism. In fact, I fully endorse it.

I also endorse my right to tell any critic that his criticism has the value of manure. Call it metacriticism.

And yes, a 10000 LOC piece of code is worth more than your lame patch. Want to verify it? Check market value of both things. You'll be amazed.

In other issues,

  • It's really a bad thing to use quotes on things that are not quoted, as you did. If you want to show emphasis, use cursive or bold, not quotes.
  • I am happy to challenge your notions, instead of challenging mine, because I think your notions are stupid. want details?

Your notions are stupid because:

  • You make the point in a condescending manner. What is that garbage about "better quality users"? if not condescension you would hate on a developer? At least the developers are providing value. You aren't.

  • Your project is tainted by paranoia. Noone is out to get you. Not even I am. I just don't suffer fools gladly.

  • TANSTAAFL. You get so called free software, but you still pay for it. You don't want to pay the price, don't use it. The price, Ilan, is that you have no control over it, because you didn't pay for its development.

    Oh, you may say, I am getting involved. I released Directory Free KDE! No, if you had gotten involved, KDE would have those directory references removed, not your patch that noone will ever use.

  • Your writing style is stupid, and an idea wrapped in stupidity is a stupid idea. I almost fainted with the reference to the "wonderfully subversive path". Stupidity.

  • You obviously have no idea of the effort involved in actual software development. I do. I know it so well, I stopped. You just have a chip in your shoulder and an attitude. Your ignorance drives your paranoia. Your paranoia drives your work. Your work drives nothing, because it's lame.

In your site, you say "thinking differently, thinking dangerously".

Amazing as it is that you ape a multi-billion dollar corporation's slogan to pretend to show your disconformism, I agree.

You think differently. You think wrongly, too, but at least yes, you think differently. As for the dangerously part... well, I suppose that if you are too busy thinking differently you may fall into a drain or something.

In short:

  • Your so-called software project isn't.
  • It's a patch, and it's a lame one.
  • Your attitude, if you saw it in a developer (which you aren't), you would dennounce. So you are also a hypocrite. (note: I am not. I fully enjoy flaming people sometimes , and support everyone's right to flame and be ornery at will).
  • Your impulse comes from sheer ignorance, paranoia and conceit.

I am happy to encourage you, Ilan, in your path. Please go and prove me wrong, by developing a much nicer KDE, and then making it the default in many, many distros.

On the other hand, I am willing to bet USD 20 that in six months you will have nothing to show.

Go ahead, make my day. Or at least earn me a dinner.

2004-02-06 18:05

Google fun!

It seems my Hinges and Integration article is the first result when you search for Hinges in google.

I should get a hingemaker to sponsor me.

2004-02-06 18:00

Memory is a strange thing.

At least for me, since I have very little of it.

Today I went to a meeting with a prospective client, and we were talking with two people, one guy, apparently manager of the company, and a girl, in charge of the security area.

Blah, blah, yes, I teach for peanuts, no, no, more peanuts, and so on, then she tells me, she knows me from somewhere.

La Plata... CACIC?

Ok, she had been, in 1996 or 1997, in the audience for a lecture I gave on hierarchical proxying, in a congress called CACIC, in La Plata.

She even remembered I was at the Universidad Nacional del Litoral at the time.

I just remember that I did give that lecture at that time, and that it didn't work out very well (I redid it the previous night because I lost my notes, it was a mess).

How the hell can she remember that? I have no idea.

2004-02-04 14:36

Just in case you thought I *was* a little rough...

Ilan, darling, you are paranoid. What you did is a patch. When you modify a few strings (my guess is about 25 of them), that's not a software project.

I also missed the part where anyone forced anything on your government (whatever that government is). Must be the power of the KDE guerrillas, subverting the countryside.

2004-02-04 14:29

So morons can use KDE, too.

Mind you, when I say morons, I don't mean the following:

  • those using Clarux are morons
  • people who don't like current KDE are morons
  • people who can't handle UNIX are morons
  • people who prefer Windows are morons
  • people who prefer Mac are morons

I am specifically saying that those who put in their webpage stuff like

Directory Free kde-libs and Directory Free kde-base have been released (screenshot). Both of these libraries have been modified to support higher quality users (emphasis mine)

are morons. Of a very high quality. Or at least they look like morons until they correct it.

On other news: those developers you clarux guys seem to dislike so much are the ones who wrote all the fucking software you are distributing, and they were kind enough to let you spend a weekend changing strings and two icons, then distribute it in such a stupid condescending manner from your website, which is, of course, powered by more software you got as a gift from developers.

Got it? Without those developers, you would be using ground plants to draw antelopes on the roof of your filthy caves, Clarux kids.

Now, that feels better. Or was it a little over the top? Nah.

2004-02-03 13:02

Cleaning the attic III: Cooperative MT Qt apps using GNU pth

This is something I wrote in March of 2000, about how to write a cooperatively multithreading app using Qt and GNU Pth.

Amazingly enough, I think it still may have some little value :-)

The syntax is probably wrong considering Qt has gone from 2.0 to 3.2 and Pth from 1.0 to 2.0, but it should work as a rough guide.

One funny bit: I had no copies of this. So, it's a good thing the Internet never forgets :-)

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