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Ralsina.Me — Roberto Alsina's website

I got a new set of keys

I got my­self a key­board from BenQ to­day. I had bought one for a client yes­ter­day, and it's just too cute to pass. It's rough­ly a note­book key­board, on­ly US­B, and thin as a crêpe :-)

It has very nice touch, and it's... well, small and cute:

/images/benq.jpg

You can read an in­ter­view with the big boss at BenQ here , which is weird in that east­ern-guys-are-very-d­if­fer­ent way.

Funny.

Thanks to http://jmhodges.pycs.net/weblog/ for the link :-)


You're The Dic­tio­nary!
by Mer­ri­am-Web­ster
You're one of those know-it-all type­s, with an amaz­ing amount of knowl­edge at your com­mand. Peo­ple re­al­ly en­joy spend­ing time with you in very short spurt­s, but hang­ing out with you for a long time tends to bore them. When folks re­al­ly need an au­thor­i­ty to re­fer to, how­ev­er, you're the one they seek. You're an ex­cep­tion­al spell­er and very well or­ga­nized.
Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyra­mid.

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.

Ob­vi­ous­ly:

  • 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.

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?)

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.