Meta-Personal FAQ

A FAQ about myself. Idea shamelessly stolen from Fernando Massen. I just hope you all think “copying” is most sincere form of appreciation. :)

Update 2007.01.15: It seems Andrew Tanenbaum also has a personal FAQ.

Update 2008.09.03: Lots of small updates, not in the time they happened.

Update 2009.03.11: Some more updates.

Update 2010.05.06: More updates after I returned to Brazil.

    Real Life

  1. How do you spell your surname?

  2. “B I A S O N”. Yes, people tend to write it with “Z” and “M” most of time. The original name is “Biasion” and we (the family) are still trying to get our dual nationality. Also, we are somewhat related to Massimo Biasion.

  3. Born Where?

  4. Taquara, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

  5. Living where?

  6. Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. That’s about 80km (50 miles) from Taquara.

    Update 2007.01.15: Now in Sydney, Australia.

    Update 2010.05.06: And back to Brazil since Nov/2009.

  7. What kind of music do you listen?

  8. Almost anything. My playlist have some French dance songs, some Japonese and Portuguese metal, some Brazilian rock, some German melodic metal, some American indie, some British progressive rock… lots of stuff. I probably just don’t hear Brazilian “sertanejo”, “pagode” and punk rock (very popular these days).

    Just to show some examples, I was (and still am) a long time 80s songs fan. Some day, Podre showed me a song from Avantasia and, after that, I got really hooked into melodic metal. From Avantasia I got (the obvious) Edguy, Nightwish, Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica and some others. Then, after years listening to melodic metal, I came to Indie with The Killers and Melodic Rock with “Last Autumn’s Dream” and some others. Finally, I got hooked into Ayreon due The Human Equation and a little of Pink Floyd and got down into progressive (and people who know me long enough would recall that I said I couldn’t like progressive…).

    Edit 2007.01.15: And always there is my Last.FM profile.

  9. Favorite Artists?

  10. Oh, they change from time to time. Edguy still plays a lot and I just got some hooks on Pink Floyd and Ayreon. Also, I’m a long time fan of Information Society and Def Leppard.

    Edit 2007.02.11: add Rush to the list, thank you very much.

    Edit 2009.03.11: After this long without anything Brazilian, I realized I miss Chico Buarque, although I never was a fan (and I bet this missing feel will go away when I hear something.) Also, realized that “Artists” sounded better than “Bands”.

  11. Gigs?

  12. (Added 2009.03.11) After moving to Sydney, going to gigs became easier, yeah. Before coming to Australia, I saw Edguy and Nightwish live. After that, in Sydney, I saw Crowded House, Joe Satriani, Cyndi Lauper, The Police and Def Leppard.

    Update 2009.04.01: Adding The Who to the list.

  13. What about movies?

  14. Movies come and go. Sometimes you like a movie for some reason, then someone else explores the theme further and your “best movie” just changes. But I have some long time favorites, like The Untouchables and Hero. Also, I share a perk with my mother and a really like the movies done by Pixar.

  15. Sports?

  16. Well, I did Jojutsu (not to be confused with jiujitsu) for about two months. As any martial art, you have to come with a complete different philosophy when trying to learn it, something I didn’t manage to do (but I plan to do some other martial art in the future).

    Also, on my last job, me and my co-workers played soccer once a week. We played for about two months two. And now that I’m moving to Australia, I plan to learn how to surf (on real waves, not the internet).

    Update 2008.09.03: Last year I joined thousands of people doing the “City 2 Surf”, a half-marathon like race from Sydney Centre to Bondi Beach (about 14km) and “Sydney 2 Gong”, a cycling race from Sydney to Wollogong (around 92km.) This year, I’m doing the “Sydney 2 Gong” again (and I just didn’t race the “City 2 Surf” this year ’cause I had a very bad flu.)

    Job

  17. What do you do?

  18. I like to think I’m a coder, someone who really likes to write computer programs.

  19. How long are you doing that?

  20. I got my first computer when I had 11 (on a MSX) and did my first computer course when I had 10 (around 1986). I’ve doing programs on my spare time since then (I had a lot of programs laying around — including the ones I did on college –, but I lost all of them when my hard disk crashed).

    Professionally, I’m a programmer since 1994.

  21. What have you done professionally?

  22. On my first job, I worked with Clipper. I did some fairly big systems with it. When the company changed the development area to Delphi, I did some research about integrating it with MySQL and did manage to admin the servers.

    Next job I had I worked with C, doing a large backend system. This backend system involved an architecture and several “business rules”. All data was stored on an Oracle server (including several thousand queries to retrieve the data) and I did wrote several queries to retrieve data, around hundreds of tables with hundreds of thousands of records. Some co-workers said I wrote some “monster queries”, due the amount of tables involved in the request. Also, we did some jobs on Windows using MFC, writing “not-so-low-level” drivers (Well, the system itself had an hardware abstraction layer, so we didn’t deal with the hardware directly) for a controlling system.

    Update 2009.03.11: I really did wrote SQL queries by hand joining 12+ tables. And I LOVE IT!

    Update 2006.11.08: Oh, by the way: I hated working with MFC. Give me STL and I’ll be a happy C++ developer.

    Update 2006.11.12:: On my last job, I worked with C++/HTML/JavaScript developing CGIs to configure routers. So, I kinda worked with “embedded” devices, although all the back-end was complete (all I had to do was some calls to the already done internal system and everything was ok). There wasn’t anything impressive, to be honest. The fun part was being part of the quality process the company was doing, the Brazilian version of the CMMI (called MPS.BR).

    Update 2007.01.15: On my current job, I’m working with Python, on a backend to a new concept of social networking and media sharing.

    Update 2008.09.03: Some changes: First, the Python server I was working on was replaced by a Ruby server (started from scratch) and I moved to UIQ/Symbian development. Later, I moved to iPhone developer, which is way better than UIQ.

    Update 2010.05.06: And, since I’m back to Brazil, I’m working with PHP/HTML/CSS/Ajax/jQuery. No Python, unfortunately.

    Update 2013.03.07: Since November last year, I’m back working with Objective-C and Python.

  23. What do you like to work with?

  24. Almost anything. I just don’t like to do the same thing over and over again. If I have to throw myself into books and write a lot of prototypes, then I’m on the right track.

    Also, working with Python is a “plus”. :-)

  25. When you are going to Australia?

  26. That’s the first real FAQ. The story is this: I got a job offer to work in Australia, developing server code using Python, on a company called TILEFILE. So, answering the question: I’m still “on hold” waiting for my visa, and I need the visa to ask for the plane ticket, which will finally have a date. So far, the only answer is: I don’t know, it’s up with the Australian immigration office.

    Update 2007.01.15: Just to point that I’m in Australia since 2007.01.02.

    Update 2010.05.06: Returned to Brazil in Nov/2009. Can’t really recall the day but it was around 27/28…

    Academic life

  27. High School?

  28. Escola Evangélica Dorothea Schäfke, in Taquara.

  29. College?

  30. Unisinos – Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos.

  31. Did you graduate already?

  32. No.

  33. Why?

  34. Uh, long answer. Try to keep with me, ok?

    I’ve finished all classes, all I need to finish now is the final thesis. Unfortunately, I’ve tried it twice and failed. The first time I pick Support Vector Machines, an area inside Artificial Intelligence, but the mathematical background required to understand how things worked were simply overwhelming for my poor brain (and I know it sounds bad saying things this way, but I can point that a physics teacher also tried to understand it and also failed).

    And my mind fails to remind the second project.

    Update 2007.01.15: The only thing I remember from that is the teacher that would be my tutor dropped the idea when the semester started, so I ended up without an idea and without a tutor.

    After those two attempts, some friends and I decided to close a server we kept and some people didn’t like it. So, as far as I know, I’m now persona non grata inside Unisinos. But I’m trying to over come this some way and do another final work, this time on the User Interface area (including some ideas about Programmmer Interface, a.k.a. API).

    Update 2006.11.08: Since I’m moving to Australia (or, at least, I hope so), I intend to complete my BS degree there.

    Update 2010.05.06: To be clear here: It was in the plan to return to Uni once I had a stable life, but no-one can call your life “stable” when you can be sent back to some other country for some reason. Since my visa was temporary, I didn’t pursue my BS degree there. Now I’m back to Brazil and no idea what to do.

    Virtual Life

  35. Why ‘slow’?

  36. Short answer: because my connection was the slowest of all people on #os/2, an IRC channel for OS/2 users.

    Long answer: When my official operating system was OS/2 Warp, I joined an IRC channel for users, called #os/2. That time, everyone who wanted to connect to the internet had to use dial up. Unfortunatelly, my telco and ISP sucked a lot, and I always had the higher lag (sometimes also called “latency”) of all people on the channel. Due that, I changed my nick from “Warper” to “slowest”. Later, as “slowest” sounds a lot strange, I changed it to just “slow”. It was just before going to college and, there, everyone known me by that callsign. And yes, “slow” always has a lowercase “s”, no matter what.

  37. Can I find you on Orkut?

  38. Probably yes, but I won’t see it for about a month. I’m not using it as some people that keep posting scraps back and forth for hours.

    Update 2006.11.08: And here is my profile.

    Update 2009.03.11: If you check the link above, it won’t work. I removed my account on several different social networks. Too many of those.

    Update 2010.05.06: The profile is back. Call me weirdo.

  39. Can I find you on another social service?

  40. Maybe. But don’t count on it. It is better to send me an email or IM or something like that. Jabber (also used by Google Talk) is the preferred way.

    Update 2006.11.08: Just for the curious: I have profiles on Gazzag (as “slow”), Multiply, last.fm, LiveJournal (currently, it is just a mirror of my blog), MySpace, and Styx (Brazilian community site for professional networking), although I barely use them (I needed for something and never really completed the profiles).

    Update 2007.01.15: Well, the last.fm profile is update from time to time…

    Update 2008.09.03: I now keep the list of social networks and related things on the sidebar of this site.

    Update 2009.03.11: MySpace shouldn’t work anymore too. Forgot to mention LinkedIn.

    Update 2010.05.06: And yes, I have a Facebook account, but I’m not sure if I’ll keep it after the recent privacy changes. Also, getting bored of Social Networks again.

  41. And what about a MMO?

  42. Well, yeah. I’m playing GuildWars and you can find me there, if you try. Currently, I’m part of the “Shadow Knights of Baltazar” (SKOB) Guild, playing with characters with the surname “Tombstone” (sorry, but I can’t recall all the names. As far as I remember, I have a “Shaeera Tombstone”, necromancer/warrior [stupid build], a “Lydia Tombstone”, elementarist/necromancer [actually, a pure elementarist], “Tara Tombstone”, a dervish/monk and a ritualist, whose name I just forgot). Also, I’m in the American Districts, but I’m not sure for how long.

    Update 2007.01.15: And yes, they are all girls. Not that I think I’m a girl but, if I really need to stay hours looking at some virtual butt, I would like it to be a female butt.

    I used to play Ragnarök on the Brazilian servers, but it got boring pretty quickly (not to mention the childish attitudes around).

    Update 2008.09.03: I also joined the ranks of those who play World of Warcraft (I have characters in the Firetree and Kirin Tor servers), but I cancelled my account recently (it was getting boring.) I’m now playing Eve with a character named “Salutan”.

    Update 2009.03.11: After a while without playing EVE, I started a new character called “Kaldurian”, making him military instead of industrial. Missions are lot more fun that just mining.

    Update 2010.05.06: Ok, let’s see… EVE should be dead by now, since I canceled my credit card and didn’t pay my subscription renew. I moved my main character from World of Warcraft to Dreadmaul and became the 9th best geared paladin tank for some time (according to WOW-Heroes.) Again, since i moved, my old credit card canceled and I didn’t renew my subscription. I may return to the game, but I’m not sure when.

    Update 2013.03.07: Since August 2012, my only MMO of choice is Guild Wars 2. My account there (which is tied to every single character I have) is “julbia.9642”.

  43. Why do you list “Jabber” as first method of contact?

  44. It is simple, it is supported by several clients, has an open protocol and it is faster than email.

  45. Don’t you use MSN?

  46. Yes.

  47. So why it isn’t listed?

  48. Because I got tired of all the drops and failures and lost messages and error messages. Really, not even SameTime (a protocol developed by Lotus) on a bad day could suck so much.

    Edit 2007.02.12: If you really want to talk to me over MSN, drop me an email and I’ll send you my username.

  49. Why GPL? Why don’t BSD or something like that?

  50. Quite philosophical question, but I believe we don’t live in an equal society, where everyone has that feeling that their actions affect the lifes of everyone around, and that propagates forth, all around the globe (yes, it is the mytical and utopical society Star Trek has). GPL forces collaboration, even when people don’t want to collaborate. And that’s something I really would like to see: people collaborating with me to improve my toy programs. BSD and other licenses don’t have that.

    And before you come here and bash me saying “GPL has less freedom”, I’ll say “if it fine to you, good, release your works under BSD. I’ll keep GPL, thank you very much”.

    Update 2009.03.11: Well, release under whatever license you want. I’ll keep GPL (updated to version 3) to my personal projects.

  51. What was/is CScience.org?

  52. Some friends and I, a long time ago, decided to create a server to hold college works, to force some teachers to change works every semester. Also, we wanted something completely unrelate with the college, so we could do whatever we want. I still recall Peter wanting to create a part called “Talk to the hand”, where people would complain about stuff and never get any answer.

    The real first kick came from Hades (Felipe Balbinot), which build the server and configure it to run some PHP-based forum and a mailing list.

    CScience kept growing up, with several people joining us, even teachers. Then, one day, we looked at we got and saw that it was being used the college as an official way, something we really didn’t want it to became. So, we closed everything and moved along. Unfortunately, some people didn’t like the move and several of us have some bad marks on our foreheads.

    In the beginning of 2006, Maiko (warning: link down. Keep reading to understand why) revived the server, configuring Mambo to run some news site. So far, we don’t have much, but it is back now.

    Quick update: And down it goes again. Maiko just informed me that the old computer died and, so far, we believe it won’t survive.

    Update 2006.11.12: In case you didn’t noticed yet, CScience.org didn’t come back and all the stuff I got there never appeared again. That’s because I still didn’t get any information about the server and I’m assuming it when for the land of dead computers. Also, that’s the reason I have a “slowhome.org” domain now.

  53. Why so many links to Wikipedia?

  54. Because it is a great service, has lots of information, sometimes it is even better than Google and I paid US$ 15 to them. :)

    Update 2009.03.11: That donation was in 2007 and I never did another (*ashamed*)

    Update 2013.03.07: Donated again last year (and probably again before that, but I can’t really remember).

  55. How many computers do you have?

  56. Only one. All my life it was this way, except for a short time when I had an Athlon 2100+ and a ThinkPad 390E. My first computer was a MSX, produced by Gradiente, called HotBit. I still have fond memories of it. That computer died when one lightning hit our television antenna (and the computer was plugged on the TV). Later, I got a 386, then upgraded for a Pentium (the first ones), upgraded to Pentium II and, finally, upgraded to Athlon XP. While I had this Athlon, I bought a used ThinkPad 390E, which died some years later. Then, feeling that both Athlon and ThinkPad couldn’t provide the power I needed to hack everything I wanted at the same time (yes, I like to run several programs at the same time and see them clashing against each other for control), I bought a Dell Inspiron 9300. My only regret with this computer is that, when I was selecting its configuration, I bought just 512mb of RAM. And I got a keyboard with the Spanish layout, as it was delivered to my dad in Costa Rica. I still plan to fix this sometime, but the Brazilian branch of Dell doesn’t offer any support for the Inspiron Line.

    Update 2007.05.03: I think I’m, actually, not a computer person, but a gadget person. I have a PSP, a Palm T|X and a N800, which I carry with my on my backpack, always. I really like the idea of having simple devices to to things instead of carrying a big, bulky notebook on your back.

    Update 2008.09.03: In the end of 2007 I bought a MacBook Pro, so now I have two computers (I still have the Dell Inspiron.)

    Update 2010.05.06: When I moved back to Brazil, I only brought the MBP; the Inspiron is sitting on a box in Australia waiting for me to get it back (not sure when.) I bought a N900 which, although is labeled as “smartphone”, I believe it is really a small computer.

    Update 2013.03.07: Right now, a July-2011 MBP, an iPhone and an iPad. Does the last two count as “computers”? Dunno, but they are more powerful than the Inspiron I had in 2005.

    Update 2013.11.07: Bought a new laptop (a for-games laptop) and got my iPhone and iPad stolen. So now I have a G1511 and a Galaxy S4.

  57. How many operating systems you worked with?

  58. I had installed on my personal computer MS-DOS (from 3.3 to 6.x), a version of Cisne (a Brazilian MS-DOS clone that allowed running two programs at the same time), OS/2 Warp 3, OS/2 Warp 4 (they had some of the best programs I know and one of the best communities to be part of), Windows 3.11 (yes, it isn’t a real operating system, just a program launcher, but whatever), Windows 95, Windows XP (just to play games, the Windows platform managed to degenerate all their programs, they are just a bunch of useless visible options), several Linux distributions (Conectiva Linux, on different points, even when they were Conectiva RedHat Linux; RedHat, Slackware, Gentoo, OpenSuSE and, finally, Ubuntu) and, once, I played with FreeBSD.

    Update 2008.09.03: OS X.

    Update 2010.05.06: Can I add Maemo on it?

    Update 2013.03.07: And what about iOS?

  59. With so many *nix operating systems, do you have any favourite window manager?

  60. Well, when I used computer with limited resources, I liked Blackbox, till the community mentality that “every feature is crap, we need to remove those that we already have”, I changed to IceWM. I was really amazed of how it was small in resources and how many features it had. I’ve contributed patches to both this projects.

    Later, on the Desktop Environment era, I switched for GNOME. At that time, both KDE and GNOME sucked, but I thought GNOME sucked less (in my opinion). When GNOME 2.x came out, it also had a “every feature is crap, we need to remove those that we already have”, I thought it was, actually, a good thing: although they removed visually some options, they were hidden inside their configuration back-end. Also, good default options also were good choices. And, in the end, I liked the GTK+ themes more than the QT/KDE ones. :)

    Update 2007.01.15: just to point that the options GNOME left hidden are the ones you almost never ever use.

  61. And which distro do you use?

  62. Right now, I’m using Ubuntu, just because is the only distribution that have complete and working packages of GNOME.

    Before that, I used Gentoo, but got tired of 1) have to use outdated software when not using the experimental packages and 2) have constant problems when using the experimental packages.

    And, before Gentoo, I used Slackware, because it didn’t have any package management, so I was free to hack the system the way I wanted.

Update 2013.11.07: My now favorite Linux distro is Fedora. The way GNOME 3 is designed fits my personal workflow and Fedora seems to be one following the upstream changes more closely.