Sunday, January 22, 2006

something new

I have been thinking for quite a while about where to invest some time studying new stuff (new for me, at least). The reason is that in my opinion a programmer cannot afford to stop learning new things, because our world is changing too quickly. Of course I'm not saying that one should run after every single buzzword, but keeping the habit of learning is IMO very important in general, and vital for a programmer.
I was just about to buy an iMac with dual intel core, for both experimenting programming for a true multiprocessor and for looking at OSX; I stopped mainly for a quite stupid reason... apparently there's no way to get the video output of my Windows XP into the iMac screen, so my choices were either to find space for the iMac in addition to what's already on my desk (impossible) or to work on XP just using VNC (that's no life). Oh... and 1700 euros were sort of a stopper too :-)
So I went for a cheaper solution... I'll invest time on linux, and I mean on linux as my only desktop system at home. I installed a Debian distribution and so far I'm quite happy with it; I got my NVidia card working with hw acceleration under X, a nice desktop (KDE), all peripherals working (including the video capture) and even win32 quasi-emulation (I compiled a win32 app I'm working on using bcc55/wine!). CVS/SVN and dvd playing, r/w access to my XP partition, firefox, thunderbird, VLC... everything is ok or almost ok. I had to pay basically nothing (just the work of freeing my very old 16gb HD with win98, and the risk of seeing what happens when XP boots from a secondary IDE HD). Now I've just to look for a replacement of the few applications I use (e.g. chess software, ms works). I'll need of course to use XP every now and then, and the solution is now changing the boot device in the bios.
One keyboard, one screen, two worlds.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

i want email back

The situation is getting absurd. I had been reported about this problem at work a couple of times but there the email traffic is huge, and some mistake every now and then may be should be expected. But my email traffic is ridiculous, and yet last night I got once again two private email bounced because of antispam and for reasons that make no sense.
Why does the world allow to idiots like (just for example) hotmail sys admins to throw away legitimate mail ? Why are idiots like them destroying the usefulness of the email service and no one is doing anything to try to save it ?
This makes me think that to make real progress IT is going to need to abandon the barbarian state that currently it lives in, to enter a social state. A condition where if you do a mistake you pay.
If a plumber even *unintentionally* does a mess with your bath tub and you get your carpet wet you can sue him to get a refund; but if an idiot but self-declared IT expert destroys your email *intentionally* the only thing you can do is moving to another provider so *may be* you'll be able from there to get your email through.
Freedom is something different.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

new year, new color; but why ?

Here we go. I decided to start 2006 with a brand new color for my homepage. I also added a specific section with my piano recordings (including a fake one!).

I always had a problem in finishing the musical pieces I start to study; for long I thought the reason was me losing interest once I saw that I could do it. However there is a very big difference between starting something and actually finishing it; but it's hard to push back the stupid question "why doing it" that keeps popping out all the time. "Why" is a question that has no answer; wasting time asking "why" is stupid as to any answer you can add another "ok, but why ?" in an endless sequence that takes nowhere. The key intelligent question is "How ?". That question doesn't rise an infinite chain of stupid questions because at a certain point you just do it.
How to do 3d graphics ? How to do video compression ? How to do text compression ? How to solve a quintic ? Those are meaningful questions.

So why I keep asking myself stupid questions ? :-)