Older blog entries for esteve (starting at number 12)

14 Feb 2005 (updated 14 Feb 2005 at 21:56 UTC) »
Food for thought

I completed my reading of "Shadow Puppets" by Orson Scott Card. Now I'm reading "Kanji para recordar" (Remembering Kanji), I hope to learn some japanese, I like it's approach: don't try to remember systematically every kanji, just understand why are they written like that. E.g. "peach tree" is the "augury tree" (according to Momotaro story, the guy who appeared inside of a giant peach, preceding an augury) and "augury" is drawed from a "tortoise shell", since historically they used shells to predict future. So, to draw a peach tree, you would draw a tree and a tortoise shell, that's it!

*Spoiler Warning*

Mixed feelings about "Shadow Puppets": it's an OSC book, starring Bean and following Ender's Saga, that's great. On the other side... Bean became too mild, he has become a family guy, who desperately wants a son of his own and decides to marry Petra. C'mon it's Bean, the cold-blooded genetically modified lieuteniant who survived to Amsterdam streets when he was 4-6 years old. There are minor points that disturbed me: everybody seems to be a devotee -even Bean-, Aquiles seems to be a demigod and Peter is as stupid as he can be, but not as important as trying to redempt Bean and turning him into Ned Flanders.

All in all, I give it a 6 out of 10 stars. Not bad, but not as good as "Ender's Shadow" (IMHO, the best in the saga, even better than "Ender's Game").


It has arrived, finally. Tomorrow will be the day. A bunch of geeks are organizing a festival around free software at the University of Barcelona.

Ramon, Miquel and I are the nerds behind this, we are very excited about this, though it began as a stupid bet.

You will find workshops (Blender, Mono and Install Fest), talks (Creative Commons, Migrating to Free Software, etc.), hmmm... I think it's better if you visit our website, Jornada de Programari Lliure (codenamed geekfest)

We're planning to stream every talk and workshop, in Theora/Vorbis (preferred) and Divx/MP3 formats.

Get on Board, Lil' Children

Don't you hear it coming? Hiss hiss Choo choo! It's Ruby on Rails, making its way between so many web frameworks.

Struts is great in J2EE land, so it is Zope in Python world. However, if you love Ruby as much as I do, you have to give Rails a chance. And if you don't know Ruby yet... there's room for many a more! Get on board! :)

Ok, that's 'nuff, no more spam :) There's a drawback that I find particularly undesirable, if you plan to run RoR with mod_ruby you'll need to lower $SAFE to 0.

$SAFE levels are one of the greatest advantages of Ruby, you set it up (there are several levels with its definition, take a peek at Pikachu^WPickaxe Book) and the interpreter will stop you from doing insecure things. Essentially it is a way to dissallow the execution of untrusted code. It works this way: every object in Ruby has a "tainted" attribute, if you set it and you have $SAFE >= 1, that object will raise an exception, you'll need to "untaint" it to have access. It's very handy if you are doing web stuff, everything that comes from the user is tainted, so you'll need to check anything coming from the outside and then, untaint it. If you raise $SAFE your code will be even more restricted.

Nevertheless, I believe RoR will be the killer thingy that will give visibility to Ruby, everyone will hear about it soon. My impression is that it's already gaining momentum, sweeeeet :)

BTW, I'm now taking a look at Ruby Web Dialogs: use your web browser as a GUI, combine Ror and RWD and you'll get something really nice and innovative.

26 Dec 2004 (updated 26 Dec 2004 at 21:57 UTC) »
Romani ite domum!

I must confess, I hated Perl since I fixed a serious security bug[1] I found in the software that ran Barrapunto.com, a Spanish-speaking site that used to run a modified version of Slashcode, some years ago. alvaro did a great job at writing clean code, however Rob Malda et al are simply mad. Although alvaro missed to check user input.

Since then, I fell in love with Ruby. However Damian Conway is evil. fxn showed me Lingua::Romana::Perligata and changed my feelings towards Perl again. It's beautiful!

I saw myself remembering those boring Latin classes at high school. Learning how to decline "pueri" and trying to understand what the heck "dative" means.

You know, it's this kind of things that makes geeks be proud of themselves! "Why do we do this?" "Because we can, of course!"

fxn is a lucky person. If I'd seen L::R::P at the beginning of the course, he would have had to check all my exercises in Latin ;)

[1] That bug allowed me to post/delete stories and change permissions anywhere in Barrapunto.com, pretty serious, IMHO.

Music and stuff

Me First and the Gimme Gimmies, have released a new album. After listening to "Over the Rainbow (The Wizard of Oz)", "Don't cry for me Argentina (Evita)" and "My favourite things (from The sound of Music)" covered by these guys, you won't see things the same way. I hope this new album is at least as good as the last one (Blow in the wind).

Find a security hole, get a job?

Some days ago I found a security hole in one of the services that my university runs (UB - University of Barcelona).

I contacted them, and guess what: they listened to what I told 'em!

Well, the problem is solved and now I have a new job. The guy I approached was nice enough, to tell me there was a project to build a website for the catalan chapter of the World Year of Physics. It's just a two-week job, so it won't let me quit my other job (I'll talk about it another day) :( I hope to get a better one and kick it...

So right now I'm learning ASP.NET. I was given the choice to build it either in ASP or ASP.NET (I *do* hate ASP, it wasn't a framework but a nightmare), and since I never looked an ASP.NET line I decided to learn it :)

From what I'm seeing, ASP.NET is really cool, IMHO, Microsoft took it seriously (for the very first time, I guess) and made something that stacks up against J2EE. Java^WC# looks very familiar :>

I'm using Web-Matrix (not so bad), however I'll see if I manage to get mono-xsp running on my NetBSD box (BTW, NetBSD 2.0 will rock)

Good ol' Dilbert... Drop dead funny! ROFL

22 Sep 2004 (updated 11 Oct 2004 at 15:23 UTC) »

Yesterday, I talked to cerquide about my final project. He pointed me about some things he had in mind.

A special topic hooked me on: game theory and machine learning.

So, I couldn't wait for cerquide to send me some links and began to look for info. I asked the oracle and it gave me:

  • Machine Learning in Games and
  • Machine Learning, by Tom Mitchell

    Today I'll be buried in UB library, looking for Mitchell's book and others about the same topic.

    I'm tempted to call this WOPR and teach it to play tic-tac-toe against itself, I think I won't be able to resist ;)

    Would You Like To Play A Game, Professor Falken?

  • Books

    Finished reading Madrid en guerra, pheeww. Really exciting. Some days ago, I "borrowed" The Magic Circle from my couple's bookshelf, looks promising.


    Found a security hole at a travel site while looking for a cheap ticket and I reported to them. I hope they are nice people and won't give me rude response, if they don't take it seriously I will simply forget it all.

    Note to myself: ALWAYS doublecheck user input when writing code.


    Today was a very embarrassing day. fxn: I didn't meant to be rude and I apologize for looking arrogant. Also, my excuses to advogato community, I simply got excited for solving that puzzle.

    Esteve, you didn't even started your classes and you have already been warned by your teacher... keep on this way...

    17 Sep 2004 (updated 17 Sep 2004 at 17:28 UTC) »
    fxn: sorry. It wasn't my intention to spoil :( I'm deleting my last entry.
    17 Sep 2004 (updated 17 Sep 2004 at 17:28 UTC) »

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