Thursday, 6 November 2008

Stuff to keep in mind (part 1?)

Internet Argument It's easier to be an asshole to words than to people Courtesy of xkcd (#438)

Monday, 8 September 2008

HP Laserjet P3005d

We have acquired a new HP Laserjet P3005d printer at work some months ago, to replace an aging HP laserjet 2300dn which was consistently jamming on duplex jobs. The new printer just doesn't feel as good as the older one though... Anyway, there are some notes about problems I've found with it for reference.

CUPS, driver and advanced options/booklet printing

The printer was conected by USB to a Debian GNU/Linux server. With the 2300, running the setup allowed one to choose "client setup", tell the URI of the printer and have it just work out of the box with all the resources enabled. Unfortunately, this option isn't available in the 3005 driver (maybe HP people want to sell more network modules for the printers?).

To work around this issue while getting advanced options, such as booklet, working, one needs to install the printer as if it was connected on the computer, and create a new "local port" with the printer samba URI as "name" when asked about the printer port. (If such advanced options aren't needed, following the steps on the samba howto to install the printer driver on the server works well).

Strange printing anomalies after changing the toner

After replacing the toner with a new one, there was some horizontal bars and strange bubble-like stains on the printings. Took some time to figure out that the basic mandate of the computing would solve this one: just turn the printer off, give it some small time and turn it back on.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

How to NOT make a web form

The 2009 trainee's program of the multinational Unilever are open. As I've graduated recently, and heard some people say very good things about employment there, I've decided to apply myself.

With that in mind, I've followed the links on the Unilever page to the register myself. This brought me to an interesting web-based form, apparently designed by Cia de Talentos, an recruitment agency around there: Instead of using standard html selection boxes (ie, select elements), they just got creative and decided to reinvent the well using input elements and some "nice" down arrow images, on which you can click to get a "lovely" popup on which you can select you choice, which then gets dutifully copyed back to the input. Of course, they also set the choice's code on an hidden input element, presumably to easy their parsing later... Oh, and some of them even have the proper code, using select element, commented above them (for easing of legibility, I suppose...)

Now that I've let everyone anxious to see such beautiful art of the web programming, I'll let you see a snippets of the code:

<input type="text" name="Text_CodPais_cand" size="30" value="" onFocus="SetSav('SavRegioes'); SetSav('SavCand'); mudaFoco('Nome_cand',-1)" style="color: #0000FF; background-color: #EEEEEE; font-size: 8pt; font-family: verdana; width: 260px"> <img src="img/SetaCombo.gif" align="absmiddle" onClick="SetSav('SavRegioes');SetSav('SavCand');setCmb('un país', 'CodPais_cand',-1,280,260,0,'Nome_cand',-1)"> <input type="hidden" type="text" name="CodPais_cand" value="31">

I haven't really parsed all of their javascript (it's long, messy...), but it seems to make some "clever" stuff like create the full html of the popup using document.write.

They also seem unable to keep track of your language around the multipage form, so I also had to guess some Spanish stuff to be able to fill it fully (and got wondering in what language I should fill some fields also... settled on keeping everything in Portuguese.

To make this long history short, the main lessons I would take from this on the top of my head:

  • Never ever make a fake select by using input and img. If you think it's the solution to your problem You're doing it wrong. Trust me, You'll look foolish, and some moron (or not) with so much time (or not) will make sure to tell the whole, lazy web on his blog.
  • Keep the language of your web pages consistent.
  • Be careful if you're going to outsource something. Some times people might notice it wasn't you which has done the foolish thing, some times not. Independently, they might chose to do business with you, or might think you aren't worth it if you can't even get a simple webpage done right. Either way it will damage your image if someone does something so messed up in your name.

Just for the record, in this case in particular I've chosen to register myself anyway; as I've got some really good references about Unilever. But I'm worried if this is the competence to be expected from their IT sector (which is also the sector I would work) - even if this wasn't their doing, there should be someone watching the quality of their outsourced work...

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

College Finished ^_^

I've finally graduated from college course recently (something like a month ago, actually). I've made a four year technological graduation course on Data Processing at the São Paulo campus of FATEC, a somewhat renowned public college around there.

The course itself is, as the name (which was recently changed) suggests, a bit outdated. It's purpose is to teach IT with focus on how it's used on the real, work life, and is partially successful at th at, even though an update to more modern technologies (such as better coverage of OOP practices in place of the over-emphasized structured analysis) would be good. As with every graduation course, it shows the tip of the iceberg, and the students need to learn the rest by themselves. No news on the teachers side also: a few very good teachers, some average ones and some really bad ones, besides a few which are so bad that calling them teachers should be a crime.

The strongest point about FATEC, and the reason that its name stay high even though the course itself isn't anything above what I believe to be the average is, in my opinion (and of some others I've talked about it) the students themselves. The high competition on the entrance exams, plus the hard classes of math right at the start of the course, makes sure that only people intelligent enough to handle themselves and learn whatever they need (plus a few flukes, of course) graduate.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Accident at the Barra Funda Metro Station

About two hours ago, there was an accident in São Paulo's Barra Funda Metro Station. I can't say I really know what happened, but it seems that an user (a women apparently) fell on the rails and was run by an incoming metro (or got some body part stuck between the platform and the incoming, most likely moving, train). Either way, by the actions of the metro agents, I would guess the victim has died from the accident (they where trying to make the rescue operations fast, and them clearly got stopped with the hurry, as if there wasn't anything that could be done anymore). Considering that the services where restored fast, without time to any kind of forensics, I would guess the victim's body wasn't too much lacerated; but all this are just speculation as I didn't see (nor wanted to) the accident scene.

I have seen some interesting things about the operations, though:

  • They seem to call this kind of accident of code A
  • All the medical stuff was behind a locked door. It took some time (at least one minute and a half) to one agent get there with the key, while there where already other agents waiting
  • Worst of all, one of security agents hit an user which tried to take a photo (or more specifically, the user's camera). Even if taking a photo in such circumstances might be of debatable taste, this reaction seems completely unacceptable in a free, democratic country which should mean people has press liberties to report whatever happens.
  • No news outlet seems to report this kind of accident; everything seems to be done in order to keep those hidden. This might support some theories I've heard that these are frequent.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Hardware failures...

The Bad:

When I got to work today, I've found our server (white box with Debian etch responsible for networking, files, printers, etc) powered off - most likely the UPS' battery didn't survive a power outage during the night. When I turned the server on I was greeted by all those nice lines telling me I had a hard disk problem.

The Ugly:

Instead off marking the disk showing the read errors as bad, the RAID stack (device mapper?) somehow concluded the "good" disk of the RAID 1 array wasn't synched and kicked it out...

The good

The bad sectors did take only some unimportant collectd status files with them. After some poking with dd trying to force the HD to redirect the bad sectors, the read errors vanished and the Reallocated Sector Count didn't increase according to smartctl, which seems like a good signal.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Book: The Servant

Last week I've got the portuguese translated version of the The Servant book (the title was adapted to O Monge e o Executivo, which would translate back to The Monk and the Executive).

The book brings a lot of principles which seem to be incredible useful to leading people on this new world, where the people aren't seem (or shouldn't be seem) as discardable, easily replaceable pawns. Even though it focus is on leading, some of the principles of the books can also be applied to more general relationships.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Manga: Karekano

Volumes: 21 (original size)
Rating: A
Strong points: Character depth, useful life lessons
Weak points: Drawing could be better, some times it's hard to identify the characters

Karekano is a classic series by Masami Tsuda, whose manga has been published in Brazil - one of the best ones, IMHO.

For those who don't know, it's a shoujo based on the history of Miyazawa, a girl who has always made everything to keep an apparency of "best student". She had no problems with this until she meets Arima, which not only shows to be a natural top-spot holder, but also ends up uncovering Miyazawa secrets (but also has its dark secrets).

The history goes around those two characters and their friends; what makes it a great manga is the depth to which each character is modeled. Even though it's all exaggerated for comic purposes, anyone who stops to think about the history will probably identify himself with some traits of the characters (and likely find out acting like that isn't really a good idea). To summarize in one line, it's a life lesson disfarced in a comedy.

For those who have watched the anime, the manga doesn't hold it's main flaw: There aren't big senseless retrospectives on every episode/volume. The history also goes on a lot after the place where the anime ends.

Highly recommended for shoujo or manga fans in general (and to those who throw their life concentrating only on studies and the other "serious" things).

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Moving and resizing partitions

Earlier today I've migrated all the data from a 80 GB HD to a new one of 250 GB. It was a pleasing surprise to see how far the support for these kinds of things have gone.

The old HD had 4 partitions: The first two for Windows XP on NTFS (not my computer...), the third a small linux swap and the last a ext3 root partition for ubuntu.

The process was quite simple: Set the jumper on the new (samsung) HD, as the motherborad has one of the VIA chipsets without support for the 3Gbps models, connect both of them, boot with an ubuntu live CD, dd everything from the old HD to the new one, disconnect the old HD, boot with the live cd again and finally expand the partitions on the new HD using gparted.

The big surprise came in the last step above: I really didn't expect resizing NTFS partitions through Linux to work, and it went flawless (actually, I had a small glitch on resizing the ext3 filesystem, which forced to run resize2fs by hand with the force [-f] flag, as it kept asking for fsck).

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Notice to parents: Please take care of your children

I've been getting more and more irritated by a trend which seems to be developing down there on Brazil (and in particular São Paulo): People have children and don't take care of them; allowing them to do whatever they want.

To illustrate, yesterday I was passing by Higienopolis Avenue (on one of the most rich Bairros of the city), and three women were talking happily while the son of one of them demonstrated how stupid he was by kicking a public trash can!!! Of course, I've approached them and asked them to make their children stop.

Now, WTF guys! It's common sense. If you've children, you're responsible on educating them. You have to teach your son why he can't go around kicking things. If you can't make it or don't wish to spend your time on it just don't have children. Period.

PS: Whenever you go to shopping, please don't let your children roaming around and hitting other people while you eat also. This one is even more wildspread...

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Sosaku Gueidan Requios

Yesterday, I've watched an eisa/taiko/shishimai presentation by the Sosaku Gueidan Requios, a group from Okinawa which came to Brazil as part of the comemoration for the 100 years of the Japanese immigration. Along with the singer Hidekatsu Kamei, also from Okinawa, and some local groups, they've made a great show.

Highly recommended ^_^

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Anime: Naruto Shippuden Movie

Episodes: 1 Movie
Rating: D
Strong points: None
Weak points: weak plot

It's a known fact that I'm not a fan of Naruto, but even I got really surprised on how they did manage to mess this thing up. This movie is about some stupid guys which are trying to ressurect a (very human looking) monster, which in turn would raise some ghost army (made of golems, not ghosts...) and pwn1 the word.

Of course, there is one Miko (priestess) which can seal this guy away. Only one. In the entire word. And no one ever thought on teaching the jutsu (technique) to someone else (and they say free software bus factor2 is bad...).

And then, to add insult to the injury (hope I got this one right), Konoha just sent the lamest team of Shinobi (ninja) — aka the Naruto team; this time lead by Neji — to escort such irreplaceable person to the ultra dangerous place where she would have to confront and seal the monster's soul. Mix some cliché about premonitions and the old "is there a predefined destiny?" stuff and you got what the movie is about.

And that's all. Not even the fights, which sometimes are good on Naruto, are worth this time. If you really need to watch anything which has Naruto on the name go ahead, otherwise I'm sure you can find better things to do.

1: pwn is a computer/leetspeak slang to defeat, dominate and similars, derived from own. See more on wikipedia.

2: bus factor is the number of persons which need to be hit by a bus to kill a project.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

More RAM 2

Note to self: Whenever adding RAM, besides looking for the correct count on POST, it seems to be a good idea to see also on kernel's boot logs if the kernel found and can use all the available memory.

In this case, I had to recompile the kernel with HIGHMEM enabled. Well, the kernel I had running (2.6.18) was starting to get old anyway, so now I've got, which seems to be the latest one on which the nvidia binary drivers will compile.

Friday, 9 May 2008

More RAM

Just added 1GB of RAM on my desktop, which had been crawling with 512MB; just 'cause there should be at least one good news even on bad days.

Hopefully Eclipse will be usable now.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Anime: H2

Episodes: 41
Rating: D

H2 is an old sports anime (from 1995, according to AnimeNFO) which tells the history of three baseball fanatic friends and their quest to go to the Japanese national high school tournament.

The history is mostly your average school sports anime, and it just ends early without really telling what happens. It's not unwatchable, but there are certainly more interesting animes out there.

BTW, even though I'm thankful by the efforts of the ILA fansub team for the release, I must advise anyone who watches it to take the subtitling with a big truck of salt.

Monday, 14 April 2008

libgda3 3.0.2-4

This new Debian release of libgda moves gtk-doc and related packages back to build-depends-indep, and add some makefile logic on debian/rules to detect if gtk-doc is installed (looking for gtk-doc.pc) and enable or not documentation (re)generation on-the-fly.

Of course, I've also been bitten by the sha1 checksums on the changes files, as I had a new version of dpkg-dev and an old devscripts/debsign installed. It took me some time to figure how to fix this one.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Anime: Tsubasa Chronicles Tokyo Revelations

Episodes: 3 OVAs
Rating: B
Strong points: Characters depth
Weak Points: Drawing could be better on a anime from CLAMP

Tsubasa Chronicles tells the journey of Syaoran, Sakura, Kurogane and Fay as they travel around different words to collect the memories of Sakura, which got scattered during an enemy attack against the Clow Kingdom. On the first two TV series, they visit a lot of worlds, recover some of the feathers which hold/represent Sakura's memories, and meet an amazing amount of characters from other CLAMP animes.

Even though the TV series gave some small hints, tips and insights around the characters histories and objectives, the Tokyo Revelations OVA series finally dive in to tell in more depth why all of this is happening, why each of the characters fight, what they hide... This was certainly very welcome, as they took a long time to get to this interesting part of the history.

*** WARNING: spoilers below! ***

It was pretty sad, however, to see what has happened to Syaoran. Watching as he fought with all he got for Sakura during the TV series, even though she wouldn't remember the moments the two shared togheter, was very inspiring. Now the true Syaoran got the half of his hearth which was on the clone Syaroan back, and all this strong feeling Syaroan had seem to have gone — it seems the true Syaroan is right when he says those feelings were somehow developed by the cloned Syaoran; however it seems to be gone, and the cloned Syaoran acted really bad after losing the half heart...

Now, if it's going to have a continuation (I think/hope so), and if CLAMP is going to follow the cliché route, I would guess at the end they will confirm the feelings indeed came from the clone Syaoran, which somehow developed a personality by himself, and he will get these feelings back somehow in the middle of some crazy fight (most likely after being touched by Sakura tears or somesuch). Them they will likely live happy forever. Or so the story says, but if it gets to that, one has to think: could someone like (clone) Syaoran really live happy knowing what he has done against Fay, which has given him such support?

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

libgda3 3.0.2-3

Earlier today I've just made my first package upload to the Debian archives (and no, this isn't an April 1st. joke :P). It was a debian revision of libgda3, with the following changes:
  • Updated the section of the doc-base file. For future reference, recent versions of the doc-base package install a list of valid sections on /usr/share/doc-base/data/section.list. BTW, there is an impressive number of packages which need to update their doc-base files, which is a very simple change.
  • Updated the copyright file with a cooler machine-readable one; added some copyright info which was missing (about the GFDL'ed docs) and made lintian happier by using proper copyright lines
  • Added a patch to fix an ia64 failure on the documentation building process (Thanks again, Steve and Chris).
Now the bad news: The building still fails in ia64... and I have no idea way. Below is an excerpt from the full build log:
Writing ch18.html for chapter
I/O error : No such file or directory
I/O error : No such file or directory
runtime error: file file:///usr/share/xml/docbook/stylesheet/nwalsh/html/chunker.xsl line 202 element document
xsltDocumentElem: unable to save to ch18.html
I'm not sure when I'll have time to try debugging this, so any help would be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Anime: Shigofumi

Episodes: 13
Rating: C
Strong points: Original plot
Weak Points: Slow start, strange ending

Shigofumi's main character, Fumika, has the job of delivering letters which dead people can send to the alive ones, which are called "shigofumi".

The first episodes show Fumika doing her work, and somewhere by the middle of show it starts to enter in some interesting details of Fumika's life: What is her past? Why she's the only "postal worker" which ages, as all "postal workers" are already dead? What are her relationships with her father?

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Blogger and comments

To my surprise, I've recently discovered that Blogger doesn't defaults to sending the comments to the blog owner (ie, myself) by e-mail.

This means I've missed a lot of good feedback during my SoC project last year. Thanks for everyone who has posted comments, and sorry for not noticing/using/answering them before.

/me wonders if it's time to think about moving to some other blog platform... maybe a free one...

Sunday, 23 March 2008

H2O ~Footprints in the Sand~

Just finished watching the last episode of the H2O ~Footprints in the Sand~ anime.

H2O's plot goes around the main character, Hirose Takuma, which is blind but gets to see (or not? ...) thanks to the powers of wind's spirit Otoha; Kagura Hinata, whose family is the most influent on the village and Kohinata Hayami, whose family is hated by everyone.

Takuma undertakes the hard task of making everyone on the village get around together, while also fighting against his dark past.

At first, it seems to be one of animes with average story and pretty graphics which are getting somewhat common. However, the plot gets more interesting and full of twists (and WTF moments) later.

Recommended watching :)

Oh, by the way, I've watched the 720p fansub from the BakaWolf and m.3.3.w guys. It's pretty high quality stuff, thanks guys.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Dear Itautec,

Please don't glue the processor on the heathsink with tape.


PS: If you ever get something like this, take the processor/heathsink out of the socket before trying to separate them, or you might end up pulling the processor out of the socket with it locked (like I did), which means a lot of bent pins.

PPS: It was an ancient computer (Itautec Transglobe 1001; AMD K6-II 450), they most likely don't do it anymore - I guess it would mess the heat dissipation on modern processors. Anyway, I don't think it was a great idea back then also...

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Mennoch the Devil

I've finished reading Anne Rice's Mennoch the Devil (released as just Mennoch in Brazil... I guess devil is a word too strong by here...), the fifth book in her Vampire Chronicles. I haven't read The Tale of the Body Thief yet, so some references where a bit puzzling, but it was readable nevertheless.

The book was very interesting, particularly Mennoch's version of the history of the creation (it probably can be quite offensive for the religious though). Roger's history also wasn't bad, but I feel that Dora's could've been better. I find her reactions after getting the veil to have been very strange and out-of-character. I also wonder if Lestat shouldn't have accepted Mennoch's proposal...

All said, I would recommend the book to anyone looking for a good fictional history which haven't problems with some blasphemy and have already read the previous book. For those who haven't, I would recommend reading them instead, as it would make more sense and AFAIR* they are better anyway.

* For the non-initiated, AFAIR = As Far As I Remember

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Debian bits

  • I'm now a Debian Maintainer. Yay :)
  • New releases of libgda3 and libgnomedb3 were uploaded. On both of them, I've added the Dm-Upload-Allowed, VCS-* and Homepage fields, updated the standards version and fixed FTBFSes on BDFH's dirty chroot, along with some other minor bugfixes.