Older blog entries for federico (starting at number 186)

Mon 2010/Feb/08

  • Luciana was munching on sausage slices. She grabbed the curved end of one sausage, looked carefully at it, and exclaimed, "look, a little vault!".

    I guess that's what she learns in this house.

Syndicated 2010-02-08 11:52:00 from Federico Mena-Quintero - Activity Log

Thu 2010/Jan/21

  • So you live in an apartment? Permaculture for renters seems like a good resource. Grow fish and strawberries and a worm bin out of table scraps, in under 2m².

Syndicated 2010-01-21 10:24:00 from Federico Mena-Quintero - Activity Log

20 Jan 2010 (updated 20 Jan 2010 at 22:08 UTC) »

Wed 2010/Jan/20

  • "A Pattern Language", by Christopher Alexander et al, is the book that I have been preaching around with patterns for architecture and urbanism. See the full online version.

    (That online version is a bit weird; you have to click on the leftmost vertical frame to access the page for each pattern. Other than that, it seems to work mostly fine.)

  • If you are into that sort of thing, the Emergent Urbanism blog is excellent. It takes Alexander's ideas and tries to mathematize them, while exposing a plethora of examples and insightful results.

    You may want to read an introduction to that blog in its introductory essay.

  • And by the way, a lesson on usability based on these principles.

  • The New York City Department of Transportation has a very enlightened administration these days. See their new Street Design Manual for some great information about how to improve streets with gradual changes: geometry, materials, safety, bicycles, trees, pedestrians, etc.

Syndicated 2010-01-20 14:13:00 (Updated 2010-01-20 22:08:33) from Federico Mena-Quintero - Activity Log

Mon 2009/Dec/21

  • A note about hackfests

    If you are a proprietary software company and you don't employ all the world's experts in a certain domain, well, you are essentially screwed.

    But if you are a free software project, you can gather most of the domain experts at a hackfest, and be totally awesome.

Syndicated 2009-12-21 12:22:00 from Federico Mena-Quintero - Activity Log

Fri 2009/Dec/18

  • Dear lazyweb,

    I just started using Emacs 23 in openSUSE 11.2. Running this:

    emacs -fn "Inconsolata Bold 12"

    actually gives me Inconsolata, but definitely not Bold. Why? How do I make it Bold?

    (Inconsolata is a truly beautiful font for programmers, by our GNOME Emeritus Hacker Raph Levien.)

Syndicated 2009-12-18 12:54:00 from Federico Mena-Quintero - Activity Log

Thu 2009/Dec/17

  • This dialog greeted me when I updated my GNOME version:

    Volume FAIL

    "You won't have it. You won't have it. You won't have it. Just kidding, here you go."

Syndicated 2009-12-17 15:15:00 from Federico Mena-Quintero - Activity Log

Tue 2009/Dec/08

Syndicated 2009-12-08 14:11:00 from Federico Mena-Quintero - Activity Log

Mon 2009/Nov/30

  • I got a netbook, a cute little HP Mini, so that I can hack Moblin on it. The netbook comes with Windows 7. My first impression:

    Windows is a flicker/blingfest. Everything prelights and fades in and out. Everything has a tooltip that is unreadable because it disappears as soon as you move the mouse into the tooltip. Progress bars have a periodic swoosh-thing that makes me glance at them and wonder whether I missed something important.

    Everything has a right-click menu. Scrollbars have a right-click menu with useful options like "scroll up" and "scroll down".

    The Start menu has default entries that are ellipsized and you can't see all their text, unless you wait for the unreadable tooltips. Submenus and subpanes and everything seems to flicker in and out all the time.

    Norton this, Norton that. It makes you feel like you will be ass-raped as soon as you fail to satiate Mr. Norton's insatiable appetite for... mouse clicks or something.

    IE8 came with four or five toolbars. The stock one, the Norton whatever, the My AOL Search (!?), the favorites bar, and an extra helping of buttons that just seem to add clutter for no good reason. Mr. Norton got in the way of installing Firefox, and then asked for my email address so he could ass-rape my inbox, but I succeeded in fooling him.

    Maybe we should change free software's slogan to "we are not a constant pain in the ass, and we don't consider you a criminal".

Syndicated 2009-11-30 12:43:00 from Federico Mena-Quintero - Activity Log

Wed 2009/Nov/25

Syndicated 2009-11-25 15:02:00 from Federico Mena-Quintero - Activity Log

Mon 2009/Nov/09

  • Zeitgeist Hackfest, Monday

    The Zeitgeist team and yours truly are in an energetic hackfest in Bolzano, Italy. We are busy cooking the future awesome.

    Busy cooks

    Next door to our hacking room in the school, the Sugar people are having their own hackfest. Sugar has a Journal similar to Zeitgeist's, so we need to share ideas and if possible an implementation of the journal-of-your-stuff.

    We have three sub-teams within the hackfest: the Zeitgeist engine, the Tracker metadata storage, and the end-user GUI tools.

    Zeitgeist engine

    The core of Zeitgeist is a daemon that logs events that get produced as you work on your computer. When you open a file, that makes an event. When you view a web page, that's an event. Having an IM conversation, looking at a video, and playing music are all events.

    Zeitgeist logs these events and provides an API to query those events for useful purposes. The Journal, of course, shows you a stream of your most recent events. More sophisticated clients can ask the engine questions like, "what applications have I launched within the past week?", "what files have I used for the longest periods of time within the last month?", "which web pages did I visit while editing my-research-paper.odt?".

    Seif Lotfy, Ivan Frade, Mikkel Kamstrup, Alex Gabriel, Markus Korn, and Siegfried Gevatter are working on the engine. They are upgrading the format for the engine's database so that it can support more efficient queries, redoing the external API that clients can use through D-Bus to make queries on the engine, integrating support for Tracker as a metadata storage, and improving the contextual relevancy engine. This last bit is the magic that can tell you, "these are the documents/web sites/etc. that you used together while working on a certain project".

    Tracker as a metadata storage

    Zeitgeist would like to show you various useful things: the tags that you have assigned to a file (School, Work, Pr0n, Travel), the sources for email attachments or for files that you downloaded from web sites, etc. All of that is just metadata that needs to be stored somewhere, and in some well-defined format.

    Zeitgeist used to have a home-grown metadata repository, but it will be using Tracker from now on. Tracker is a metadata storage for RDF triplets. An RDF triplet is a subject/verb/object chunk that looks like "my-thesis.odt/has-tag/School", or "lolcat.jpg/was-an-attachment-from/$email_id". Those are just examples; the actual form of those triplets is formalized in the Nepomuk ontology.

    Gnome Activity Journal

    The Gnome Activity Journal is a prototype implementation of the journal idea that I presented during GUADEC last year.

    And they are closing the school right now, and we have to leave, so I'll tell you more about all of this tomorrow. Ta ta!

Syndicated 2009-11-09 12:02:00 from Federico Mena-Quintero - Activity Log

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