As much as I love technology for it’s own sake (yes, I know it shows), I love it even more when you use it in real world situations and it just fits.
Case in point: last evening we (at our home) and another couple (at theirs) needed to talk in order to discuss some strategy and business. There where four of us on two homes, each home has an ADSL connection (from different providers, by the way) and has a NAT setup.
We had a iBook on each side and I had my USB webcam (with the required software installed) connected to the iBook.
All it took was for us to fire up iChat, start the (one way) video conf and we spent an hour just chatting as if we where all there. If the other party had a webcam it would have been better but hey… ;-)
So in effect it is voice conferencing in a totally convenient way, you just put the iBook down and talk away.
What a great technology. What a great use for it.
While I’m a big fan of instant messenger both for personal and for professional use, the current state of affairs can sometimes lead to some quite absurd situations.
In order just to be able to communicate in the way with everyone I want or need to communicate with, I now have 8 different accounts in a total of 6 different services.
Madness, I tell you!
Sorry to mislead you this is not that kind of a post.
In fact it is quite literally about shocking events. As in static electrically shocking.
It is a fact of life (well, of my life at least) that sometimes I go through some periods when I’m quite electric. Meaning that I can’t get in or out of my car without getting shocked when I touch it. Sometimes it even gets worse and I get shocked while touching other objects or even people, but the car is a sure fire way of knowing I’m in one of those “electric moods”.
For a few days now I’ve been like that and, sure enough, I’ve already picked up all the protective habits I slip myself into when this happens. This is not a deliberate effort, but I do hate getting shocked and so my head starts instructing my body to just defend itself without triggering any real awareness of it.
So now I’ve gotten to the point where I always get out of the car without touching it in any way while exiting it, then I touch the outer paneling of the door with my hand. But not in any way, oh no! You see, I’ve already decided that to touch it with the middle section of the fingers is the most painful way, because the finger “joints” (right word?) really hurt for quite a while after the shock. So I either touch it with the tip of the fingers or with the back of the hand. And in a quick slapping or brushing way to get it over with ASAP.
I’m actually adapting to the fact that I do get electric shocks and I’m researching the least painful way of going through it and I’ve never even been fully aware of it. In fact , I’ve just became fully aware of this this morning. Funny how the mind works, heh?
Chegou hoje o pacote com a série 5 de Babylon 5.
Comecei a comprar as séries em início de 2003. Foram dois anos à espera que as cinco séries fossem lançadas.
E agora, o que é que uma pessoa tem para ficar à espera do lançamento?
Ah espera, os Harry Potters, os Terry Pratchetts… Bom, parece que a minha vida afinal vai continuar a ter sentido. Falando do ponto de vista do consumidor inveterado, claro! ;-)
A while back I mentioned I have been contemplating change. This was a (as of yet) conceptual exercise and it applied to my professional life.
But life has a funny property about it. Change happens!
So now, while not disregarding my contemplations entirely, I’m presented with the opportunity of change on a whole different level.
I may be on the brink of moving.
The (prospective) house is great, the timing is right, the values are amazingly even more right, the conditions look perfect…
I’m starting to get suspicious because things are just going too great. You know when it feels like everything is just right and even the stars are aligning in just the right way? Yeah, I feel spooked too.
But then that’s just what’s happening. Let’s see what the next few days bring about.
Oh but of course there’s a down side to it. We just love our current home, so it will be hard to leave it.
Having said that, there is even a chance that it may end up in the family anyway, so it will be even easier to part with it, knowing it will be in good hands and we may be able to visit once in a while. ;-)
The new version of MT and MT-Blacklist haven’t been deployed for 24 hours yet and already I’ve had dozens of attempts at spamming my site silly.
Let’s see how long this holds until I may have to finally decide to forgo comments altogether.
Anyway, since interfering with the comment-flow of my readers is something that disturbs me, I’ve made public a page detailing the comment policy on NunoNunes.org as a whole (which applies most strongly to Nowhereland at this time).
It’s the least I can do…
It was the end of a long friday at the office. Everyone was getting ready to go home. There was almost only us at my department in there and only a few other people from other departments around.
Someone decides he is too tired to continue working and, as the other people continue doing the kind of things you do on a Friday evening (which don’t require too much attention otherwise you’ll just screw something up just before the weekend, and we all know what that means), the conversation starts to drift towards the musical realm.
Someone brings up the memory of an old 80’s song. A bad 80’s song. The guy who has stopped working still has his Mac turned on and has this huge music collection just at his grasp.
So he finds the song and starts playing it. Only his iBook speakers aren’t all that powerful and some people want to listen to it without having to come over to his desk (this is all open-space but we are quite a few so there is a lot of space between us).
Well, it just so happens that I brought my old 4.1 speaker set (complete with subwoofer) to the company a long time ago and I too have a Mac. So I just look for the music he is playing on his shared list (iTunes rocks, you know?) and play it on my bad-ass speakers.
And now everybody on the department gets to listen to it. The people on the other departments also get to listen to it, but not too much as there is a cabinet barrier between us and I haven’t turned it up that loud anyway.
But then something starts to happen. This song reminds someone of another, even worse one. And he gets it. And it gets played on my speakers.
And it goes on and on until after a while we have the speakers blasting bad 80’s music, we are all joking around as if in a party, people who have decided to leave for home an hour ago are still there enjoying it and we have covered everything from the likes of Modern Talking to Sandra, Lionel Ritchie, Samantha Fox, Rick Astley, Bananarama, Falco, Nena, Stevie Wonder… You name it, we probably listened to it!
And every time a new song starts to play people are just rolling with laughter and trying to remember all the other songs this one reminds them of.
We even had a couple of friends chiming in, via IM, with suggestions, once they found out what we where doing at the office.
I did get some work done in the meantime, sure, but it was one hell of an evening and a great time.
But you want to know the thing that scares me the most about this? While nowadays I have to write everything down because I have a terrible, terrible memory, I still remembered almost every single song we listened to. And I could name the group or song that someone was thinking about given the song name, the group or even by listening to them hum it, on an instant’s notice. How crazy is that?
I guess al those garage parties I went to as a teenager did leave their mark after all…
After a bit of work on performing a somewhat esoteric upgrade, Nowhereland is, once again, open to comments.
Now for the not-so-good news: since I can’t live with spam, I had to take measures against it which will sadly also impact the legitimate users.
From now on I will only allow direct posting from users who are authenticated via TypeKey. Users who do not wish to authenticate using this service will have their posts held until I can look at them and approve them by hand.
I intend to approve everything as long as it is not spam. Well, almost everything, this is my weblog and I will exercise discretion while moderating the more “extreme” posts, but you get the idea. I apologize in advance for the delay this will introduce to your posting experience, but I just couldn’t live with hundreds of spam posts every 3-4 days. And believe me it was that bad!
In fact, after the upgrade to MT3 I put the site on-line to try out a few things before installing the MT-Blacklist plugin and guess what? In those 15 minutes the site was up with no protection (but with every post moderated) I was hit with 26 spam posts. I didn’t post anything new, so I didn’t ping any aggregator or anything. I just put it online again, that’s it!
Well, I’ve installed the Blacklist plugin, I’ve changed the comment CGI’s name, I’ve added extra fields to the comment form, I’ve done all that was practical to do on a short amount of time. Now I sit back and watch what happens.
Let’s see if this is enough. After all this isn’t exactly a high-profile weblog. I’m hopeful. But carefully so.
Let the games begin. Again!
In the company I work for some types of requests for miscellaneous things arrive through the ticketing system. In fact everything should be sent by this channel but this is not my point now.
Some requests are quite common, others are more rare, some are trivial to respond to and then some are a real pain to accomplish.
I’ve just got one of the latter, it really is a time waster and involves lots of really unpleasant log-licking.
But my point in all of this is that you know you are doing something either very right or very wrong when a ticket like this starts with the following sentence (translated from Portuguese): “Hi there. I’ll gladly accept every insult you will send in the reply to this ticket once you’ve read it :)”.
Just so you don’t think I eat small children for breakfast, the smiley was his not mine! ;-)
The good news is that the migration of the hosting service of the pm groups is over (mostly).
The not-so-good news is that we lost the ability to have dynamic content on the pages, so the page we (me and Paulo) where planning to put up won’t be possible to do after all.
So now we have to decide weather to do a simpler, static page, create the page somewhere else and upload it regularly (cronjob type of thing, of course) or just drop the hosting offered by perl.org and just host the site on my own server.
This last option doesn’t appeal to me because my site is hosted at my home and I have this understanding with myself that when the line comes down the site goes out and no big deal about it. For my personal site this is OK, but I’m not so conformable about doing that with a site that is supposed to belong to “the community”.
The roles on this relationship are, unfortunately, quite well defined. It goes like this: Europe loves Apple’s products and hates it’s policy towards Europe. Apple must surely love Europe’s money but hates having to work at it’s distribution there.
So how do we have in Portugal? Well, it’s bad. Real bad. And it’s been like that for ever. When I first bought my iBook roughly a year and a half ago I had to get it from a friend who had connections and could find me one. I couldn’t get it with optional components and had to get them separately. But even getting things like an airport card and a portuguese keyboard were quite an adventure.
Needless to say that when new models came out and people around me tried to get them it was also a painful process to watch.
After a year and a half you’d expect things to be gradually improving. After all we now have an Apple store in Europe so Apple must be trying to do the right thing… You would expect.
And maybe they are but definitely not at an acceptable rate. Not by a long shot.
After some wait, and again with a big stroke of luck, I was able to get ahold of a 20’ iMac G5 recently. I had to wait a while but in the end I got it in what passes in Portugal for a very timely fashion (read: I didn’t have to wait 7 or 8 months for it). The problem is that my iMac has a hardware defect and since there are no iMacs for sale in this country I can’t trade it for a good one. So I’m stuck waiting with a faulty computer on my hands or with no computer at all. Great choice, huh? I’ll get back to you on this when I actually start trying to deal with it, I haven’t had the heart to do it yet.
But this was for a standard hardware configuration. All the wait, all the hundreds of backorders are for standard hardware configurations. Because when you come to built to order computers you add injury to insult and have to deal with the type of thing that Rui is dealing with right now.
Ridiculous doesn’t even begin to describe Apple’s way of treating Europe in general and Portugal in particular.
So Cupertino, can we please, PLEASE! give you our money?
Not a bad weekend altogether…
As I intended I did do lots of programming, not enough, but when is there enough time anyway?
Didn’t actually get to finish porting the weblog to MT3. Ricardo pointed out that MT3 does very well with plain MT2’s templates and, of course, he’s absolutely right, the thing is that I’ve messed those up so bad that now it will take me a bit longer. Still, no big deal, I’ve just been more absorbed by other stuff so when I get around to it it should be quick enough.
I slept quite a bit, which was part of the plan and quite necessary. Also on the relaxing front I was still able to catch The Incredibles at the theatre (when I though for sure I was doomed to only see it on DVD later on). What a great movie. I thoroughly enjoyed it and not only because of the technology (something which has already been beaten to death in every other blog so I won’t go into here) but also because of the sheer entertainment value of the story. What a cool old 007-type story. very funny indeed, it had me in stitches quite a few times. Just was I was needing!
Had some unexpected news this weekend. Not bad news, mind you, just unexpected.
I’ve been contemplating change. It seems to be something that comes up more and more often nowadays so it must mean something. More on that later too.
How’s this for a secret-ridden post, then, he? :-)
Maybe it’s just me being dumb, but I’ve yet to find a way to get 5.1 sound out of the iMac. I expected to find lots of USB or even FireWire sound cards out there but none seemed to support the Mac.
This is exactly what I wanted: a way to use my current 5.1 speaker setup (which I’m wasting on my PC at home since it became only a server) on my iMac G5 for my gaming pleasure.
Kudos to Melo for finding it.
After the holiday season’s echoes have finally died down I’m in for a full weekend now.
First off there will be a good old coding marathon. I’m just so incredibly far behind on schedule for a project I have, it is just pornographic. The fact that the customer isn’t all that mad about it doesn’t even make it any better. I’m mad enough as it is.
Then there’s the weblog. I’ll finish up the transition to MT3 this weekend for sure.
This should keep me well occupied for the next two days.
Update: One more thing I have to do: get plenty of sleep. I have been kind of lacking it lately and today’s splitting headache must be a product of that. Please don’t talk so loud.
Some quickies for you today.
The comments are still frozen. I will go the Movabletype 3 way, it’s just easier that way. I have a test prototype up and running but I still have to figure out which plugins to add and the anti-spam strategy I’ll use (by the way, thanks to Pedro for pointing out this excellent piece of advice, and just in time too!). Then I’ll have to deal with the templates to get the look that I already have for my site and I’ll be done.
There are some upsides to this process, not the least of one being that the guys over at PT geekBlogs have been asking me for an ATOM feed from my blog to integrate there for some time now and I haven’t had time to do that yet. Now with MT3’s template for ATOM feeds I’ll get it for free. Real soon now guys, thanks for being patient! ;-)
Process them the way you want to.
Import them into iPhoto.
Make a slide show of them in iMovie. Make it interesting with some animation, some nice captions, and so on.
Get some great music from iTunes and stick it in the movie.
Open up iDVD and master a DVD with one or more of these movies.
Burn the DVD.
And now for the fun part: even though you know right from the start that this is going to work, there’s something quite magical about the moment when you take your first ever DVD, load it into your dumb living-room DVD player and voilá —just like every other DVD you’ve ever bought. There is animation in the menus, there are menus. The movies are flawless. It just works! And the effort spent in it was mainly directed at choosing the pictures, ordering them, choosing the music… In other words, the time was mainly spent with the content, not with the technology. This just rocks my world!
I’ve been listening to some podcasts lately to get a feel for the whole thing.
I know I’m a latecomer to this trend but I just couldn’t be bothered with it until NetNewsWire started sending the casts directly into my iTunes. What can I say, I’m lazy…
My reaction to it is rather curious in fact: while I tend to like to read more personal blogs and less “formal” ones, in the podcast universe I feel quite diferently. I find the IT Conversations podcast to be a very good listening experience but things like the Loft405 or the Evil Genius Chronicles are best read than listened to. I really don’t know why that is. Funny, heh?
Well, everyone is talking about it so why not join the crowd?
I’m watching the keynote now and I am at about a quarter of it (just about to go into the iLife bit which, quite frankly is the part I’m most interested in) and because real life took over yesterday (condo meeting the whole evening… sheesh!) I really am not aware of what went down. Apart from some major highlights which Melo couldn’t help himself calling me about, that is.
So until now this is basically what I think of it:
This weekend I was just this close to finally buying iView Media Pro, because iPhoto just doesn’t cut it for me, but then I decided to test it out some more (I still want to try out some things). Now I find out that this decision might have been a lucky break because I’m told I will be amazed with iPhoto.
Well, let’s see, back to the show then.
That’s it then, I’m turning off comments for the whole weblog until I decide and implement whatever mechanism I will put in place to stop spam.
They won, hurray for them.
If you have a weblog of your own and wish to contribute anything you can still use the trackback mechanism (if I don’t start getting spammed that way, of course) but other than that sorry, no luck.
Yes it is sad, very sad indeed.
I will eventually settle on some way to deal with this and I hope it will be as little intrusive as possible. I also wish I could tell you that in a day or two everything will be fixed but I know myself and we wouldn’t want to turn me into a liar now would we? ;-)
I am really, really sorry about this. Not that this will affect many people but on a principle I hate having to do this. But then my time is much to valuable to spend chasing spam comments all over the weblog.
The upside of this is that now I know I won’t get the same comments I get every time I post something about spam comments, telling me to read the documentation and to use mt-trackback and so on even if I already stated time and again that yes, I have every single bit of possible protection in place short of upgrading the software version.
Hum… So there is a silver lining after all! :-)
After the bad news some good ones to try and maintain the balance. (But I’m still really put off, do you hear me Apple?)
Even with a measly 512MB of RAM the G5 already lets me fully experience and enjoy a few things I had given up on on the iBook.
I have tried it with some 1000+ photos and it was faster than iPhoto both in importing the photos and later in managing them, managing their meta-info, arranging them and so on. I need the pro version instead of the “light” one because for me Canon RAW support is a must and even managing these behemoth files it is amazingly fast.
A keeper then.
Then I tried looking at iMovie again for a pet project of mine.
I don’t do “home videos” or any of that stuff. What I do is take lots of pictures when I’m on vacation.
The kind of pictures I don’t count as “photography” per-se but as vacation pics. You know what I’m talking about.
And after the vacation is over what do I do? I make a selection of them in iPhoto and if any poor soul (most likely family) asks to see the vacation pictures I just put the iBook in front of them (or connect it to the TV) and play the slide-show until they collapse of boredom or the slide show ends (whichever comes first).
Some time ago I had this idea that it could be nice to make a movie with the pictures, put some music in the background and maybe try not to bore people to death (not so much anyway). The thing is that after importing some 20 pictures, some of them with effects (Ken Burns, of course) :-) the iBook started freezing at each mouse click so I abandoned the idea as not practical.
Enter the iMac and whoa!, not only did I make two movies with 7 to 14 minutes duration (and I made them really fast) but I also did a DVD project with them, all really easy and I’m now ready to burn the DVD (which I’d have done had I not spent my entire DVD-R stash making backups of my pictures).
While I’m not going to be a regular user of this kind of applications I’m definitely won by the power and especially the simplicity of them. And yes, I know things like Final Cut are way better then iMovie but for my purposes iMovie still cuts it. If and when I out-grow it I’ll look into Final Cut.
This is probably what I do most on any of my computers: program. And for me programming means (for the most part) lots of terminals running vim (often many instances of it, one active and others in the background but hits is not relevant here), so screen real-estate is a big issue for me.
And guess what: I can now have something like 6 terminal windows open, a browser window and some other random things (like iTunes and so on) and see it all at the same time! Now this is programming nirvana.
First off, the title was shamelessly stolen from a friend’s blog.
And it applies perfectly! :-(
My shinny new iMac G5 20’ has a display problem which apparently is quite common. My computer’s problem in particular is the brightness dropping after a few minutes of uptime and there is no way to get it back to the normal level.
Now this doesn’t prevent me from using the computer but it is a big ergonomic issue and I most assuredly want to get it fixed.
“Well then why haven’t I?” you may ask. And I’ll answer you. The best way to deal with it right after the purchase is to just swap the computer. Only in Portugal there are no computers for sale! All the stocks are empty and there is no way to know when we will have them for sale.
So if I decide to trade mine I’ll just be left iMac-less for God knows how long! :-(
And so I endure it and wait for the Apple gods to decide to look at this part of the world and send some iMacs our way and then I’ll try and get it fixed.
And you know what’s even sadder? In the USA Apple is simply sending people the replacement part and the users are fixing their iMacs themselves thus keeping their iMacs with them all the time (as described in the forums I linked to above). Now I’m trying to imagine this happening in this our country of Portugal.
Well, I may be just being too pessimistic, but I don’t see it happening in Portugal. Not at all, which will mean some time without the iMac.
The only thing that keeps me a bit cheered up is that when it comes to Apple’s support in Portugal, their partner (Interlog) has left me and many other people happy with them in the past so I’m hoping for some more of that. One can only hope…
Can someone please tell me what the prize for being the first off a plane is?
I know there is one, without a doubt, because every-time a plane I am in lands everyone just jumps out of their sits and sometimes even before turning their cell phones on (imagine!) they take their luggage out of the overhead compartment and get ready to leave. Those who were not quick enough just stand on their sitting spots, all curved up, with their backpacks all set on their backs and then… they stand there. And stand. And stand. (Remember, most times the “fasten your seatbelts” sign was still on when they jumped for their luggage as if jumping for dear life). And after quite a few minutes of waiting the doors open and the people near the exits start leaving and guess what? The people in the middle of the plane are still there, still standing like dopes, still waiting. The ones on their sitting spots are still bending with the weight of their packs on their backs and contorted like hell to fit in there.
But they do not sit, they do not budge. In my mind I hear Gandalf saying unto them “You Shall Not Sit”. (It should really be thou but that’s Hollywood for you).
And then, predictably, when the ends of the plane start getting devoid of people, then these people start to leave. After everyone who was closer to the exit has already exited the plane.
So I just know that there must be a prize for the first one to get off the plane and I have a strong suspicion that the people closer to the exits must be the ones who get this prize but the prize must be so good that lots and lots of people just have to jump off their sits, before the engines are even turned off, and stand there crowding each other for such a long time in hopes of maybe by some obscure and unnatural phenomenon being able to pass everybody on their way to the exit and get there first.
Only I’m a really simple kind of guy and I’ve never felt the urge to join the dope race and so I just sit calmly until I do have enough room to stand up and get my things and exit the plane at my own pace. Therefore I’ve never even known what the big prize is. Can anyone satisfy my curiosity? Or is it best that I don’t know, lest I join the crowds next time?
We’re back at home after four days in England (yes, England because this time around we spent a day out of London, more below).
Three days were spent in London. Sweet London, I love that town. I have absolutely no connection to it. No family ties (that I know of but It would be really farfetched), no friends, I’ve only been there the first time when I was almost 20 years old, so there are no fond childhood memories, but still I feel so much at home there it is startling. I wonder why that is…
After new year’s eve Tuxa got a whole lot better (her voice took a day off but at least she could get out into the street and stroll around) and so we could watch the new year’s parade and visit all the other places we so love.
We even got out at night one day (fully equipped for the cold which struck all day on sunday) and took some fine pictures to prove it. A shame about the cold as there was a very good busker near the Thames that night and I would have enjoyed sitting there and listen to him play on his sax for a bit but for us it would have been madness. Of course we did meet the usual assortment of (usually very young) girls with a very skimp attire who seemed to be pretty impervious to the cold, but that is always the case in the cold countries, us in full winter gear, up to our eyes in warm clothing and some of the natives wearing something I only wear at night in August in the Algarve.
And speaking of buskers, my favorite buskers were at it again in the same place I caught them last time: Covent Garden. This time I decided to buy their CD so now I know what they’re called, it is The Metropolitan Ensemble. Their performances are quite unique, totally out of the ordinary, they play around with the music and the people in a show of what I think demonstrates true love for the music. I bought the CD not so much for the musics but in the hope that it will remind me of that place and those people from time to time.
Then there was Oxford on Sunday. It was my first time there and I can tell you this: If I had ever studied at Oxford I think I would have enjoyed my studying so, so much more. We did visit a couple of colleges and while we where only permitted to see a small fraction of it, the atmosphere, the buildings, the gardens, the rooms, the architecture… It is just overwhelming, so beautiful, so peaceful, so inspiring…
Definitely a place I would have liked to spend some time at.
And now I’m tired so I’ll end my ranting here. Oh and as for photographs, this time I decided not to lug my big camera around because it is heavy and I’ve been there many times before anyway but of course I still took Tuxa’s small camera and shoot lots of pictures anyway. I just can’t help myself! :-) So there will be pictures, in time. Keep watching this space.