2004-06-07 17:13

Good news, Bad news

Good news: It seems I have been accepted to teach a PyQt tutorial at akademy.

Bad news: a kitten I had adopted last monday died on saturday night. She was a sick kitten, and had a respiratory infection. Antibiotics helped for a few days, she looked very happy on friday, but on saturday she woke up weaker, and nothing I or the veterinarian did helped.

She died on my lap that night.

I am a grown up, and I had only had her for 5 days, so this shouldn't be important at all, but it is :-(

2004-06-04 21:51

Late congress report

Last week, I gave a conference [1] about KDE in the first free software congress of Argentina.

I can't even remember how many "first(whatever)linux" of "first(whatever)free software(mumble)" events I have attended. one of these days, I expect to attend a second, and in a decade or so a third, but it seems orgnizing one of these things, even when they work nicely, is tiring work.

This one was organized by Usuaria, a non-profit for computing diffusion [2] , and they had some interesting sponsors, including Red Hat, Sun, and Microsoft.

Yes, that Microsoft.

Sadly, I couldn't assist the conference by the MS executive, because I missed about half of the congress for work.

My KDE stuff was shown at a smaller room, about 35/40 people. Since there was very little time (45 minutes) and I wanted to keep some for Q&A, I mostly showed simple stuff, like DCOP, some of the new apps, like Quanta.

I spoke a lot about rather the philosophical thrust of KDE development, how KDE tends to search for a technological solution to the UI problems, on the grounds that later, when everyone is using the API, if the UI changes and the API doesn't everyone wins.

Nothing special, really, and not one of my best ones, so my earlier nerviosism was warranted ;-)

I attended some other conferences, I remember one about comparing MTAs (he called Qmail difficult, so I didn't like it much ;-), one about Free Software economics by a guy from Maastricht [3] which was quite good.

Another one was by a Novell executive, who spoke about J2EE and .NET from a free software perspective.

Or rather, spoke about J2EE for a while, then mentioned Mono because he was running out of time ;-)

I met my third KDE developer! [4] Pupeno was there. Pupeno: you look like a younger, redheaded RMS. And your pants made me dizzy.

I couldn't tell you that personally. I like them :-)

I could tell this was a Linux even because hlf the people there had longer hair and/or longer beards than I do, when in regular events it's unlikely 10% do.

Met a few of the old fellows from my LUG in Santa Fe, one of them seems to enjoy suits now ;-)

But I bet since a few paragraphs above everyone is still having the word Microsoft bouncing in his head.

Yes, they were a sponsor. Further: they were, by far, the largest one.

I got a Microsoft pen, a copy of Unix Services for Unix, a brochure, and a canvas bag with Microsoft's logo embroidered.

Said bag is now the bed of my new kitten, Nini, which I adopted monday (but that's another story).

UPDATE: Someone who was there reminded me that I also got a box containing a fairly nice tukey sandwich, a brownie, and a small bottle of coca cola, so, thank you, Microsoft!

And no, I didn't have to sign anything to get the sandwich, not a NDA, not a license, and no, it wasn't wrapped in a bag saying "if you open this bag you agree..."

[1] Is there a less pretentious word in english for this? In spanish I say I give a "charla" which means a conversation, a chat. Of course in english that's not right.
[2] No, I don't know what they do, although I gave classes in their classrooms for 6 months)
[3] Where D'Artagnan died (if he had existed, of course)
[4] Yes, I have only ever met three guys involved in KDE development. That makes one every 1.5 years.

2004-06-03 10:22

There goes Captain Beto, through space!

Here is a new realtime PyQt tutorial. For those who have not seen the first one, here's the main idea:

  • I decide I want to write something
  • I write it (somewhat) quickly.
  • I write a description of what I am doing, as I am doing it, and slap some timestamps.

In this particular instance, on a discussion at the dot I had to open my mouth about how writing a spatial file manager is easy.

Well, here's a piece of one. In particular, it's a sort of simple spatial file browser since it doesn't manage files at all, but it's a start ;-)

2004-05-27 11:13

Silly description of internal state

As mentioned before I am speaking about KDE today in a congress.

I always get very jittery when I have to speak to an audience. Which, to someone that teaches 3 or 6 3-hour classes a week, is pretty stressing.

On one hand, I am pretty sure I can speak about the life of crabs for two hours and have the people thank me on the way out. I am pretty good at this.

On the other hand, I have a tendency to underprepare when it's a once-off affair (like today).

I don't like using slideshows, so I just hook my comp. to the screen and start speaking.

I don't have notes.

I don't have a set of points planned.

So, every time I speak, it is a different thing. Which is good. But it makes me very nervous.

What will happen if today I fail to figure out what to say? What happens if I come 20 minutes short? Well, nothing happens, I just stretch the Q&A section a bit and let them go get free food earlier.

But it still makes me nervous.

2004-05-26 22:01

Damnit, lost my ranking!

This site is no longer an important resource about hinges, says google. :-)

If that makes no sense for you, read this and maybe that

2004-05-26 20:36

What is flexibility

Ok, a rant.

A word you see a lot on the free software (whatever) circles, is flexibility.

In particular, people always like to say how a certain program, or operating system, is flexible.

For example, some people say gentoo (or GNOME, or KDE, or fvwm) is flexible.

Poor misguided souls. They should say they are configurable.

Flexible doesn't mean configurable!

A flexible program will handle many different conditions without user intervention (or with minimal intervention). The metaphore is that flexible objects are bent with minimal force.

Kudzu (or Knoppix's hwconfig) is flexible.

Recompiling your kernel to statically link a new driver is inflexible.

If you think that just because you can manually reconfigure your system into a bazillion different configurations, your system is flexible, then you surely agree that marble is flexible.

After all, you can turn marble into many different statues, all different!

No, silly putty is flexible, because you can shape it into different forms easily and quickly and with little effort.

If in order to change the ink settings on your printer you need to create a new printing queue, or print to a file and perform a magic incantation with a .ps file, your printing system is not flexible.

In fact, the only remotely flexible printing system on Linux is CUPS. The rest are rigid, inflexible and bad at their work (at least the ones I know).

If in order to access a device someone tries to use you have to reconfigure your system, or download more stuff, or hunt for a driver, or rebuild your kernel, or recompile applications, your system is broken.

If you think that your system is flexible just because after applying force to your system it performs, you are wrong. Your system is rigid, and you are the flexible buffer that is adapting, it's like a bakelite rod wrapped in rubberfoam. And you are the foam.

You know, when you take an inflexible object and you try to make it adapt to something, it breaks. That's why inflexible software is broken so often.

Since almost everyone has this silly idea about what flexible means, I will probably start using malleable or plastic instead.

Thank you very much, try the veal, I'll be here until thursday.

2004-05-24 21:49

Strange w3m screenshot

I tried the w3m text-mode web browser. It suddenly started displaying images inside my konsole window!

How the heck did that happen??? Not even the w3m webpage suggests it can do that :-)

And yes, that's just a plain old konsole (it works on xterm, too), and I am running w3m-0.3.2.2-5

2004-05-23 17:03

Aggregate all KDE/Qt blogs!

Someone wih good bandwidth should do it.

Like Planetgnome, only about something interesting ;-)

2004-05-23 16:50

Double feature at the Electric

Sometimes, on saturday afternoons, I am a cheap bastard. When that happens, I go to the Electric.

The Electric is an old cinema, that shows two movies (usually 6-month old releases) for $4.50.

That´s 4.50 as in pesos. Roughly 1.5 Euros. As I said, on saturday aternoons, I am a cheap bastard.

The programmer there is probably a crotchety old geezer who has seen 89000 movies in fity years, but the pairings he comes up with are a thing o beauty.

Right now, you can see Secret Window with Taking Lifes. Or Hidalgo with a Denzel Washington movie. Or Startsky & Hutch with Master and Commander (!?!)

I chose the first menu, armed myself with a radioactive-yellow drink called Pomelo Neuss, and prepared to see Mr. Depp get weird.

I had read rather bad reviews of both movies, and was surprised to like both of them.

Secret Window

I must confess I have read almost everything Stephen King published (noone has read everything he publishe, including him), and liked, when younger, a lot of it. I hadn´t read this one, though.

It´s a unusual movie. The opening through-the-mirror shot is damn good, and makes lots of sense in the end.

Depp is a disturbed individual. Here he plays a crazed person.

Taking lives

It features Angelina Jolie´s naked breasts. That´s an automatic two-star movie at least. It´s also not a bad thriller, although it has enough plot holes to drive a truck into them.

The double feature (spoilers)

Amazingly, both movies are about the same subject. In one, a man contains two souls, in another, a soul so dislikes his human vessel, it reformats it into others through murder.

The clinical term for the first case is schizophrenia, for the second there isn´t one because it only exists in fiction.

The idea of a person loathing himself so much he wishes to become someone else appears for example in Les Miserables. Here we have Jean Valjean as a psycho.

Jean Valjean is shown goodness by a priest, and decides to become good, and he becomes a respected man, then he is shown evil in law, and becomes a father, and a fugitive.

Here, the assassin is shown contempt by his mother, and becomes a hermit crab, changin human shells, becoming someone else for a few years at a time, over and over.

And Javert is played by Jolie, looking damn good in discrete white blouses and black suits (she should keep dressing that way).

In Secret Window Depp is harassed by himself, and ends the movie by embracing his other personality, and is, in the end, thoroughly happy with himself.

As you can see, the characters in both movies are victims of self-esteem issues, of different kinds.


I am writing this on a public computer, and the keyboard is sticky. In particular, the d often fails. So, some letters may be missing.

2004-05-21 23:12

New Stylesheet

Ok, so I touched it a little.

If anyone hates it too much, or it's broken somehow, let me know how to fix it, since I have no idea about CSS.

I think the code snippets look a lot better now, and specially, thanks to Georg's tip, they don't screw the layout anymore.

One weird thing, though (not really related).

Apparently, long ago, I knew how to put the source of the item on a post (see here, the Source KDE Dot News part).

Either the option is gone, or I forgot how to do it. Even if I edit that old post, I can't see where it is.

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