Older blog entries for lsdrocha (starting at number 11)

Well, after a hard month (and year, for that matter), I think I'm getting closer to the end of a cicle.

I finally will graduate, after seven years. In 12 days will be my last exam, and then I just have to wait for the result, which may be published in a week or two.

About a month ago, all I was thinking was about jobs and a career after college, what would I do, where would I work. I even thought about a Master degree. Now I don't care not a bit. I can only think about the exam.

I just checked some things within the college administration, so no mishappens take place with my graduation, if I pass the exam.

I had thoughts about every single article posted here and some other things too, I'd like to remember those thoughts so I could publish, but for now, it is impossible.

One thing though, I was willing to start a research about indirect costs of both proprietary and opensource software in (and for) business solutions. It occured to me that indirect costs are the most difficult thing to analyze/evaluate when choosing one of above the solutions, once it involves training employees, (re)configuring systems among other things, and that can varies not just with the market itself, but depending on the human resources avaliable at each company. Also, indirect costs has more influences in long term investments than the direct costs.

This crossed my mind when I was reading something about MS solutions being cheaper than FS/OS ones in long term, and the linuxers bashes that followed, and I thought to myself that, in a Telecom company, the long term investment (indirect costs) would be extremily different that in a big Advogacy company, just because of the different types of people it would affect.

Anyway, more on that in 13 days. (I need one to rest, right?)

Spent some time reading the Apache manual, and one thing I can tell for sure, the more I learn about it, the more I love it.

My only frustration is being unable to convince as many people as I can to help me translate its manual. I can't just post my translations without some revision, so, for the moment, I'll have to keep the translated files with me, which sucks.

Oh, and I just read the GPL outlaw news salmoni posted in his diary.

Pretty scary, IMHO.

23 Oct 2002 (updated 23 Oct 2002 at 22:32 UTC) »

I just got home and I had a beautiful surprise. My mom got (out of nowhere) a Santana show on DVD. I'm a big fan of Santana, and my mom enjoy him too.

We don't have a DVD player @ home, but I told her that we could watch it in my computer. She asked how, with a bright little in her eyes.

A while ago, I was looking for a DVD player for Linux, I didn't find one right away, so I gave up and installed one for Windows. I don't watch DVDs in my computer anyway, so I setup one player just in case.

So, we watch half of the show and she almost cried. She was so happy to see it. It's so funny. For me, DVDs are just a "next step" from VHS. It is cool and I want a DVD player to watch StarWars and stuff, but is just a DVD. But DVD to her is like Sci-Fi. Is something from a very crazy episode of Flash Gordon.

I was very glad to see my mom so excited. Not just because she will help me convince my dad to buy a DVD, but because this kind of technology is so day-by-day for us (yes - for you guys too, and you know it) that sometimes we don't value what we have, just take things for granted.

Now I thinking how much responsability technology developers have and how much I want to take part of it.

Oh, yeah, and now I will seach more carefully for a good DVD player for Linux too.

23 Oct 2002 (updated 23 Oct 2002 at 18:43 UTC) »

I'm making the manual for two little softwares we have here at work. One is a (very simple) Delphi program that receive a plain-text file as input, process it and return flow and volume graphics. The second one is a LabVIEW (a National Instruments system for acquisiting lab. data) interface which is responsable for receiving the sign sent by our instruments and returning the plain-text file used in the Delphi program.

The LabVIEW program is kinda easy to document. First, because nobody here knows how to use it (and nobody wants to learn it too). Second, because it has a graphic interface, so I'll just take some screenshots showing the steps to do it and third, because I did this one.

The Delphi thing is more complicated. Is the first time I'm hacking Delphi, and from previous experiences with Pascal, I know I won't like it. Second because, before me, two other interns hacked up with it, so it is just one big mess.

I already wrote a HOWTO kind of document to help the labtechs use it. Is more like a step-by-step guide to the whole system, since they are not interested in detais on how it work, but only how to make it work. I know that because they told me.

The software documentation is something I struggled with my boss for a while. It's not like we make a lot of softwares ourselves (or use a lot of diferent ones), but we have like two or three of our own, and every time we have to update it is a great drama. For example, I'll be leaving IPT at the end of the year, so if I refuse to document the LabVIEW things I did, the next intern would have to figure it out by himself. I don't want to spoil the next one, but to avoid losing a week or two on updates.

I guess I should be happy them, since I'm doing something I was asking for.

22 Oct 2002 (updated 22 Oct 2002 at 15:00 UTC) »

Been using RedHat 8.0 for a week or so now, and I think I'll write something about it on PontoBR (a brasillian version of SlashDot).

Despite the fact that it lacks a menu editor for Gnome and the XMMS issue, I'm pretty glad to see a distro like this. As all Linux distros, it could benefit from a greater number of graphic configuration tools. That would make things a lot easier to newbies.

I convinced my mother to try using Linux. She read something about the Free Software philosophy on a little newsletter she signs and was talking with me about it. She's is the computer-illiterate user icon, since she only browser the net and plays cardgames on Windows.

I'm betting that she can do this on RH8 without any pain (since I think it accomplished the goal of having a very user-friendly interface). If so, I'll probably remove Windows from the other HDD and install one of the BSDs for fun.

21 Oct 2002 (updated 21 Oct 2002 at 15:04 UTC) »

I spent sunday reading Mark Lutz's Learning Python book. A very good book indeed. Very clear and direct. I loved it.

Today I brought my PC to work. I pretend to use, at the end of the day - of course, the (really) very fast Intranet we have here to do some CVS checkout. I'll update the apache-docs and I intend to checkout mod_python stuff, and start messing aournd with it when I found some spare time.

Obviously, I'll also retrieve some emails and stuff... Do some browsing. I can't resist a fast link.

16 Oct 2002 (updated 16 Oct 2002 at 14:18 UTC) »

Spend the last couple days using, tweaking and evaluating RH8. I still think it is great, but I already have some little issues with it.

I saw the XMMS problems fatal was complainning about, that XMMS in RH8 don't play MP3 (a solution can be found here). And I had some problems installing a little tool I use for college. Simple problems, but it could be hell for a computer-illiterate user.

Anyway, the Bluecurve theme is pretty cool. The interface is beautiful, clear and user-friendly. Personally, I didn't like the menu arrangement, but I just changed it, no big deal. I think RH8 have a little more graphic configuration tools for trivial stuff, which is great, since most regular users wouldn't do text-editing to setup stuff.

OpenOffice and Mozilla as leading applications is a great winner. Most regular-users I know use only internet and Office suites anyway, this would be great for them.

I think RH8 is very close to what a good Linux desktop should be. It's almost there. With a few more adjustments, we could have a great desktop Linux fitted for regular-users.

Just a thought; A good, user-friendly, computer-illiterate user design desktop Linux would allow grandma like users to embrace Linux. That's great, no doubt, and "power-users" could always switch to Debian or Slackware, if they miss "power-configuring". But the average user? That guy who does not know the Linux kernel, or what it means, but likes to tweak his computer, changing some of its settings (video, behaviors, etc). Would this guy adapt himself to Linux or it will become a computer-illiterate user?

14 Oct 2002 (updated 15 Oct 2002 at 01:50 UTC) »

Nothing big today. Yesterday I installed the RH 8.0 in my box, and liked pretty much. I think it is close to what I think it would be an optimal user-friendly Linux desktop. Perhaps, in a few days, I'll post here my opinion about it (let me play a little with it first).

Some random stuff:

Did some random certifications. Mostly people from PHP project and some others that I know from reading and evangelism. And some guys from Apache httpd documentation project.
My uncle will probably do a visit this week, so I prepared some C programs I made for College to show him. And I forgot to tell him about the patch/diff tools, that would be probably useful for him.

Today is a great day

I think I just got my first win as an Open Source Evangelist. A very meaningful win, at least for me.

Yesterday, one of my uncles called me for some help. It seems that his home-work PC was behaving in a very weird way (for a Windows box, of course). I tried to help, but by phone is very difficult. So we agreed I should drop by his work today to talk to him personally, and lend him an old Win98SE CD.

His computer got a virus. BugBear I guess. But I couldn't tell it for sure. He then asked me how I was handling the internet virus at home, and if I was having trouble with them. "I don't", was my answer, "I'm using Linux at home".

My uncle got curious. He said he was thinking of using Linux, but was afraid of not being able to do what he does, or send - via email - proposals in a format everyone could see.

Perhaps this is the best time to explain what my uncle do for living. He has a small company who makes measurement instruments, like pHD readers and stuff, from the design of a box, to the chip programming. Everything.

I answer his question. I told him that he could use Open Office, so he could still write/read .doc, .xlt and all MS office suite files. And he could still do emailing in the Windows way with KMail or Ximian Evolution.

But my winner was when I told him about gcc. He was already willing to see this "Unix Wonder" when I told him the advantages of working with the gcc compiler. For I guy that uses C and Assembler every day, this argument was irresistable.

Not to mention the financial aspect of the switch. He have about twenty employees (or even less) that actually use computers, so he won't have to expend tubes of money with training. Plus, he'll be free from MS-Windows/Office costs (upgrades, new OS, etc...). For a small company, this is a great deal.

I invited him to show up in the weekend to play a little with my Linux box. I'm pretty sure that the virus affected PC will be restored as a Linux box. A test one. And probably will leave it in his office for a while.

If everything goes right, with time, he'll be using only Linux in his company. And all his employees will be exposed to Linux too.

Not bad for an Observer, hah?

2 older entries...

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!