Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lacrimosa

En atendant Ubuntu

There is aboutone month to Lucid Lynx.
In the meanwhile it seems that the video configuration on my laptop is totally chaotic at bot time. The native resolution of the screen is 1280x800 but often (about 30% of the cases) at reboot the resolution is set to 1024x768 and that looks horrible on my screen.
I have tried to understand the behavior but I hadn't been able to.
So I decided to make a hack to fix the resolution to 1280x800.
1. I have run the command Xorg -configure and I got a file named xorg.conf.new that I moved in /etc/X11 under the name xorg.conf
2. I have launched the xvidtune command during a session that booted right and I have displayed the current settings by pressing "Show" button. The current settings were displayed on the terminal from that I've launched xvidtune.
3. I have edited the file /etc/X11/xorg.conf and I have added the following section at the end
Section "Modes"
Identifier "Custom"
ModeLine "1280x800" 71.00 1280 1328 1360 1440 800 803 809 823 -hsync -vsync
EndSection
4. I have edited the section "Monitor" to look like:
Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Monitor0"
VendorName "Monitor Vendor"
ModelName "Monitor Model"
UseModes "Custom"
EndSection

5. Saved the file and restarted

Now on any reboot I get the default 1280x800 resolution.
Still I am not quite happy with the remaining question of why the resolution is not set correctly at boot time. I'll have to investigate it on my own.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hackintoshing again

I succeeded to install 10.6 on a Dell XPS 1330.
For sound I've used VoodooHDA. NVidia 8400GS was discocvered by default - QE works. Bluetooth operational. Camera is recognised as iSight hence also Photobooth works
Network and wireless are not working.
Next step is to jailbreak an iPod Touch (or enroll in Apple's Developer Program) whichever is fastest.

Monday, March 29, 2010

What I've read lately


1. Ursula K Le Guin - The Left Hand of Darkness
I was captivated by the story and the almost credible ice world imagined. The characters were quite well presented and the story told in a very nice language. The narration had some logical discontinuities but overall it was quite enjoyable.


2. Pascal Bruckner - Mon Petit Mari
I do not like Bruckner much. For me he just wants to show off in a genuine French way. Still his work has some profound touches and explores difficult themes. This book is bitterly funny. The efforts put by Leon into being a father for his family against his odd height are heroic but sadly unsuccessful. I was a nice weekend reading.


3. Dino Buzzati - The Tartar Steppe
A book for my current state of mind - it seems the I sometimes act as Giovanni Drogo. I dream of a great destiny, a fight in that I will demonstrate my value but instead I got only the sad Tartar's steppe.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Music for Weekend


I love Perlman's interpretation. I have recently listen to Hillary Hahn's and I found her to be too fast.

And another one:


Baba Yaga!

16th March post followup



As I have expected - they did not took me.
However it was cool to go there and to solve their puzzles.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Razvan

I have discovered that Razvan Pocaznoi is back online!
I found his blog by pure chance (googled for him) http://razvanpocaznoi.wordpress.com/
When I'll see you on twitter?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Matthew 25 - The Parable of Talents

The Parable of the Talents - Matthew 25,14-30

14 "Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them.

15 To one he gave five talents[a] of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.

16 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more.

17 So also, the one with the two talents gained two more.

18 But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.

19 "After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.

20 The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'

21 "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

22 "The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.'

23 "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

24 "Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.

25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'

26 "His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?

27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

28 " 'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.

29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.

30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

---

Incredible or not this parable might be seen also in project/risk management.
The case of the servant with only one talent. He represent the low cost - low investment centre. As he does not have the courage of investing and risking he lost everything. The other two - risked more but won. He risked nothing and lost everything on long term.

In my company we have just had an opportunity to prove ourselves. The management did not want to take risks. Somehow they have buried their talent (aka played safe). It could have been a hard project but it could have been also the baptism of fire for many developers in a real-world project.

Sadly, as the times are tough, I am more than curious of the Master's reaction.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring

The Spring has finally came.
After the Equinox I have just heard a nightingale singing near my window.
I was going to post a video of Vivaldi's Spring and I couldn't decide which one I liked more. The punk faced Nikel Kennedy's passionate playing or the majestic interpretation of Anne-Sophie Mutter under HvK's direction. So as haven't recorded the spectacular nightingale I've heard I decided to post this:

Back to mainframe?

After the micro revolution when 8 bits machines revolutionized the IT, IBM and Microsoft did an excellent job in democratizing the PC platform. It is without doubt them who made possible and affordable the personal computer.
Now after about 30 years the mainframe is striking back again. It's new incarnation is now the cloud.
I agree that clouds are beneficial for some situations - but pushing more and more from desktop to cloud will have some unexpected consequences on the long time.
The one I fear the most is the lack of privacy - the contents of the cloud can be easily controlled by some organizations while they cannot do anything to your PC's disk if it is well protected from the net. Also one can be easily tracked down in the cloud.
I am quite sure that the internet was not really meant for this. Internet was meant for collaboration and openness over standards, not for greedy takeover of user's data.
On the long time the server market will divide between a couple of strong producers and a couple of strong buyers because most of the clients will buy cloudware instead of increasing their CAPEX to buy hardware. This is not beneficial for the market nor for the final user as the result might be not the most adapted to its needs. Also the applications will evolve quite strangely and they will rely on the cloud more and more. The fun of low-level programming will go away.

Resist the cloud! Make hardware and food reserves!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Valentin Gheorghiu



I have learnt that today is his 82th birthday!
Happy birthday maestro!
His interpretation of Beethoven's 14th Piano Sonata ("Moonlight") made me continue the 4 year piano lessons I was taking in that period.
Altogether with Hans Eckart Schlandt, Stefan Ruha, Aurelian Octav Popa and Dan Grigore - he was one of the frequent names in my vinyl play list of the 1987 - 1991.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Decaying Blog

Looking back on some old pages of my blog I have seen that some of the links and images are no longer available.
I felt a little bit disappointed but even internet changes and URLs start pointing to nothingness.
That's quite zen... http://nothingness or http://decaying

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Google interview



I had today my Google interview in Dublin.
It was tough. As I have given all my programming exams in the same day.
Five interview rounds. Each one with its set of problems.
Frankly I have expected to write more code than I wrote.
Finally I wrote - a bit of Python and C.
I have to tell that the problems are not so complicated as countless sites describe them. They are fair and if you are not a "non programming programmer" they can be done.
All people I met were smart and not aggressive towards me. They knew their stuff well. From coding to system administration they were true professionals.
I am not too optimistic on the outcome, but hey, it was like gymnastics for mind (and I got to visit Dublin).

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Men Who Stare at Goats



Bitterly funny.
Clooney made a role comparable with the ones in "Oh Brother, Were Art Thou" and "Syriana".

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Le Concert



As the other movies of Mihaileanu this one explores the intricacies of the human relations in the same sunny-sad register. The same surprising mix of Russians, Jews, Gypsies, morons, geniuses are playing along on the sound of Tchaikovsky's Concerto for Violin No. 35.
Without any doubt - a must see.
As for the music:

and

Nice trick learnt from Solaris

I have been testing Lucid Links lately. Because I had some bad experiences with alpha software I decided to make the same trick that Solaris is doing with it's 'LIVEUPGRADE' partition.
I have installed two identical copies of Karmic Koala and I have upgraded one of them to 10.04.
The /home directory is on a separate partition and can be mounted by both of them.
In this way I am able always to boot a backup system in case that the unstable alpha is crashing (and it was the case with the latest kernels/plymouth/gdm).

Friday, March 5, 2010

A story

Five monkeys were in a room that contained a table in one corner, and a banana hanging from a string in the middle of the room. The monkeys figured out that if they dragged the table to the middle of the room, they could climb up and grab the banana. So they did. As one of the monkeys quickly hopped up and reached for the banana, hidden compartments in the walls suddenly opened, releasing high-pressure cold water that knocked the monkey off the table and drenched the other four monkeys.

They quickly learned that whenever one of them climbed on the table, all of them were soaked with cold water. They realized climbing on top of the table was a bad idea. Unbeknownst to the monkeys, the high-pressure cold water hoses were disconnected and removed.

The next week, one of the five monkeys was removed from the room and replaced by a new monkey. The new monkey saw the table and the banana dangling from the ceiling. Realizing that the banana was there for the taking, the monkey headed for the table. But fearful of being drenched by the high-pressure cold water, the other four monkeys pounced on the newcomer and beat the tar out of him. Every time the new monkey got near the table, the others beat him up. Soon the new monkey no longer went near the table.

By the third week, another of the original five monkeys was replaced by a new monkey. And like the monkey the week before, the newest member of the group tried to get near the table to move it over to the banana. Once again, the others beat up the newest member of the group. Even the first new monkey joined in.

Each successive week, one more of the original monkeys was replaced. The same thing happened every time; when the newest monkey attempted to get near the table, the others joined in to discourage him.

By the sixth week, not a single monkey was left from the original group. Not one remained that had been squirted with cold water. But when the newest monkey headed toward the table and tried to reach the banana, the other four monkeys “trained” him by beating the tar out of him.

If you could ask each monkey why it was beating up the new monkey, each probably would say, "I don’t know, that is just the way we do things around here".

This story has a lot to do with corporate culture, development practices and so on... The sad part is that in many organizations there is no smart monkey to question the processes and habits. This is why any people suffer injustly. The succes of some companies is based on the fact that they have "smart monkeys" who think outside the box and do not rely on empirical knowledge.
Critical and creative thinking is the true source of progress in all the fields.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Word Clouds

My tag cloud on delicious:

vs what I write on blogspot:


It is quite a difference.

Different mindsets

I have just wandered on the office hall.
It was interesting to see that in the engineer's offices there were magazines as "Communications of the ACM", "Dr. Dobbs", etc. while in manager's "Money", "Biz" and so on.
Two completely different worlds in the same building.
The only way to make management(especially the pure non-technical or degenerated technical) understand problems is to translate the technical difficulties into money. Here are two nice articles about this:
http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?TechnicalDebt
and
http://sonar.codehaus.org/evaluate-your-technical-debt-with-sonar/

Monday, March 1, 2010

Typo?



Maybe a cut&paste error. What is the idea to work in Australia and have clients all over Europe?