Skip to main content

Ralsina.Me — Roberto Alsina's website

One Meter

If I learned one im­por­tant thing in col­lege (and I like to think I do be­cause oth­er­wise I wast­ed a lot of time there) that im­por­tant thing is how to mea­sure things.

You may think that you don't need to go to col­lege to learn that, and you are right, but the in­ter­est­ing bit, if I may sound like a so­cial stud­ies ma­jor for a few sec­ond­s, is how ar­bi­trary mea­sure­ments are. They are the one bit where all that "re­al­i­ty is a so­cial con­struc­t" in­san­i­ty is kin­da true.

Con­sid­er the dis­tance be­tween two places. ¿How far is my house from my moth­er's?

View Larger Map

Well, google says it's 447km away. But you al­ready know that's not true! If I were to go by, say, he­li­copter, or un­stop­pable tank, I may be able to take a some­what short­er path. Were I to use the Un­der­min­er's tun­nel­ing ma­chine, I could take an even short­er path.

The Un­der­min­er fol­lows the short­er, red line.

But all that is most­ly chang­ing path­s, so you may still feel some con­fi­dence that you know how far my mom's house re­al­ly is, ex­cept that we just may not be able to take a spe­cif­ic path, but the dis­tance is a "re­al" thing.

But ge­o­graph­i­cal, ge­o­met­ri­cal dis­tance is on­ly one way to mea­sure. There are oth­er met­ric­s, and they may be more or less valid. For ex­am­ple, my moth­er's house is 6 hours away by bus.

It's al­so U$S 60 away by bus, U$S 30 by car. Un­less I take my son with me, in which case it' U$S 120 by bus, but still U$S 30 by car.

And if I re­al­ly re­al­ly want to go there, it's an im­pul­sive de­ci­sion away, and i I don't re­al­ly want to, there is a whole lot of con­vinc­ing be­tween here and there.

And if I were as poor as I once was, then maybe it's in­fin­ite­ly far away be­cause there is no way to get there from here.

When some­one says "the world is small­er now" that's not metaphor, that's math­s.

Porn in Turkey: It's for Work Purposes

I have writ­ten a few days ago about some is­sues with SSL cer­tifi­cates.

This post will de­scribe the strangest thing I have done or work pur­pos­es in the last year, year and a half.

We get re­ports that users of Ubun­tu Pre­cise Pan­golin, in Turkey, are get­ting a SSL cer­tifi­cate er­ror. I sus­pect it may be be­cause there is a gov­ern­ment fire­wall there (the "Ha­lal In­ter­net") So, we try de­bug­ging it with them. And we get nowhere yet. So, I had the idea of try­ing to get a turk­ish IP ad­dress and de­bug from there.

I start­ed look­ing for a VP­S, could­not find any, then Rod­ney Dawes found a Turk­ish VPN provider. Which is weird in that a mil­lion Turks are us­ing VP­Ns to get out of the Turk­ish cen­sor­ing fire­wal­l, but hey, I will do things for the user­s.

So, I get that, I make it work, and then I de­bug. No er­ror. So, how do I know if I am be­hind the Turk­ish fire­wal­l? I tried to open a porn site, ex­pect­ing it to fail. But it did not.

So, ofi­cial­ly I saw like 10 sec­onds of porn while work­ing, for work pur­pos­es.

BTW: the cor­rect way to know is to try to ac­cess http://www.rolling­stone.­com

The Mongoliad: Book One (Foreworld, #1)

Cover for The Mongoliad: Book One (Foreworld, #1)


This, al­though writ­ten in col­lab­o­ra­tion by half a dozen au­thors, feels like a Neal Stephen­son book, and I will treat it as such. That means im­pos­si­bly high stan­dard­s, and it does not sur­pass all its test­s, but is pret­ty close in many.

In­cred­i­bly de­tailed, and *un­der­stand­able* fight sce­nes? Check.

Ran­dom words that send you to the dic­tio­nary? Check. (Why use ver­st?)

A page turn­er? Check.

In­ter­est­ing, mys­te­ri­ous char­ac­ter­s? Check. (I was half ex­pect­ing Enoch Root to show up: he does not)

I loved it and can't wait for book too.

Yendo Para PyCon

This is a short sto­ry, in span­ish, so if you want to read it, click here

Contents © 2000-2024 Roberto Alsina