Nutty week

The first sign that there was something wrong was when I bought my DS. I mean, it is a good portable, the games are fun, but I have a portable already and plenty of games. Desire won reason. But I didn’t pay too much attention.

Also, I didn’t pay too much attention when the CTO invited everyone to go in the City2Surf and I said “yes”, even when I didn’t know what it was about. Again, I didn’t pay too much attention when they finally explained to me that it is a 14km race in Sydney, and when they asked if I would run or walk, I said run. Yet again, I wasn’t paying attention when I asked my personal trainer to train me to win the competition.

Now I’m paying attention. And I’m fucking hating myself.

Inspector Gadget

From left to right and top to bottom: Nintendo DS, Nokia N800, Sony PSP, Sansung SGH-X660, Palm T|X, Apple iPod. And I carry all them on my “gadget backpack”.

And I almost forgot to put the iPod in the photo, probably because it is the thing I use all the time and it is weird not seeing me with that (well, mum once said it was weird seeing me without my iPod…).

How to easily spot a dragger

Remember when I called some “developers” draggers? Well, here is an easy tip to spot one: they say C is a bad language for compilers. I guess the best language to write a compiler is one that is near the machine code, but hey, some people may not agree. I would agree, though, that C is not very good to write a parser (which seems what the guy wanted to do, in the first place) because C is not a state machine (but you can easily write one, if you have the will.)

So, when someone starts blaming a language for his/her lack of ability to change code, you know you spotted a dragger.

Skype for Linux must be the hugest pile of crap in the planet

Here at work we decided to use Skype as the default communication IM for the whole company. Two days ago I decided to try the new beta ’cause, honestly, the interface looks horrible on a GNOME desktop (maybe not so much on KDE, because Skype uses Qt). So I downloaded the newest beta.

The result? Groups are gone, the main menu is going and you can’t hide offline contacts anymore and there are some options that simply don’t make sense for normal user (Transports? What’s that?). I thought it was something wrong with my installation, so I went to their forums, just to find that this is gone because they rewrote the thing from scratch. Honestly, I don’t think that switching between Qt 3 to Qt4 means “you need to completely rewrite all your code”.

But, then again, today I read an article were you can read that the complete rewrite was done because they wanted to add video support. Now, were the hell you need to drop an interface when you need to add something in the engine behind it? Ok, maybe the interface don’t have the space to put a video, but that doesn’t mean you need to drop everything and start from scratch.

Honestly, the problem is not that “we had to add video support”. The problem is that now their team is bigger and a lot of guys there are like 90% of the developers around: they can’t read code from someone else. Joel Spolsky pointed this before: it is easier to write code than read it.

And, on top of that, I can say: there is nothing proving that rewrite code makes it better. Honestly, I think it makes it worst (and that’s the same opinion Joel has): you are dropping several years of bug fixing and you are just adding new ones.

PS: If one of the Skype guys want to prove me I’m wrong, do this: GPL the previous version. So everyone would see that the code was bad for a start.

You knew it would happen

Microsoft pursues Red Hat Linux deal. Honestly, I think RedHat would never sign such deal. They employ most of the kernel hackers and they always were more engineers than money-people.

On the other hand, RedHat is not Fedora and if they sell their product to the corporate staff, which would feel safe if they said “you are safe from Microsoft patent portfolio”. It will be a real fight inside between the sales people and the engineers…

Web 2.1?

Today I was thinking about this new generation of “Web 2.0” sites when something struck me:

Have you ever realize how things are becoming increasingly easy to talk about yourself? I mean, look around:

  • Blogs, although exist for decades now, were the first “web 2.0” thing, as any user could add information (well, not in a “2.0”, but anyone can add comments — almost). Blogs are a place were people can post their point of view.
  • Twitter, also called, “micro-blogging application” is a tool to let people say what they are doing;
  • Orkut (not 2.0 yet, but I want to make a point) is an application to people show their friends; Facebook seems to be the next generation of such social networking, allowing people to plug more stuff about themselves;
  • People post links on Del.icio.us, showing what they find interesting;
  • With last.fm, people can show what they are listening;
  • YouTube let people show their videos to anyone;
  • RSS can be a wrapper around anything else.

Now, take a step back and look again: who are they? I used this word on everything in the list, but take a closer look at my links, specially under the “Myself” list. Yes, I’m using every one of the above and mostly to talk about myself. And today a friend asked me if someone cared about what he was doing, which, actually points to everything above: Do anyone care about what I think? Do anyone care of how many friends I have ((not to mention that you can have lots of friends but only a few would help you get out of deep shit))? Or what I’m listening? So, why keep it going?

The thing is, the answer for all the questions above is “maybe”. Maybe my mum would like to know exactly what I’m doing right now; maybe my co-workers would like to know what I’m thinking; maybe my friends ((the real ones and those that just hang around) would like to know what I’m listening.

And those are the mysteries of the web 2.0…

The worst part of reading a Tolkien’s book

Yes, this is the first paragraph of the book “Children of Húrin”. Yes, I’m typing the book. Yes, each thing that is not black it is a link which goes to another page; yes, it is a wiki. Yes, it looks pretty stupid, but I guess it is way easier to read something when you can understand easily what the fuck that word means (it could be an adjective [Eldar are the first elves in the middle-earth, IIRC], a name or a place).

PS: And no, not everything has a definition in the end of the book… :/

Things I’m not sure I should buy (but deep down I want to)

  • Mac: yes, a MacBook (or PowerBook or whatever is the name of the day). I mean, I really not attached to the Mac OS X, although I want to check why so many people like it so much (and, if I really don’t like it, I can still run Ubuntu). What impresses me is the hardware, actually: no other laptop have so much battery juice as any mac laptop (and it looks like Apple is working on a new version which should have an even longer battery life). But I have one Dell and it does everything I need; unfortunately, at the same time, it is stupidly heavy and not easy to carry around.
  • DS: Another gadget to my list. I have a PSP, I don’t play it too often, but I really like the games I have (ok, I really like Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai and I’m not playing the other games I have, like Tomb Raider: Legend and Ridge Racer). But the idea of having Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training, Pokémon [kill me for that, but I really like the game] and Meteos really excites me (I’ve played the first and the last, one some friend’s DS).