FOSDEM ended yesterday and here I am sitting at Charleroi Airport (also known as “Brussels South”, quite a misleading name given that it’s 80 Km from Brussels).

I have already passed all controls, check-in and everything. While I wait for boarding, I am watching the shameful spectacle of airport personnel (let me reiterate that: airport personnel, not Ryanair’s) enforcing RyanAir’s 10 Kg cabin baggage limit. According to RyanAir, they want to minimize the weight the plane carries to use less fuel. So far, so good.

Here is what I have seen: people who do not carry any baggage (very few, they have probably checked it in because it exceeded size or weight), people who are below the 10 Kg limit and people who are way over it (and have been told to check luggage in). I am OK with those cases.

There is still a fourth case: people who are slightly over 10 Kg.

I’ve seen a woman whose bag was 10.15 Kg to be told to pay 20 EUR to check her bag, or go back to the RyanAir desk to check-in the bag. She opened her bag, took a scarf, put it on and now the bag matched the weight limit.

Yes, RyanAir is charging 20 EUR/Kg for hand baggage from 10 Kg on. What a rip-off.

A couple of East-European girls were about 1 Kg in excess each. They put a couple of extra jumpers on and now baggage was under 10 Kg.

Many people were about 1 Kg in excess. When they were told their suitcase better got lighter or pay 20 to 40 EUR. Most of them just took something (camera, food, slippers, whatever) and put in the pockets of their coats. Fortunately, RyanAir is not charging for body and clothes weight (yet?).

In all those cases the plane will end up transporting the same weight and RyanAir won’t get one more dime, so why RyanAir? Why are you such a shameful company? Why are you enforcing ludicrous and pointless policies? Don’t you know after passing the control everybody just put everything back into the suitcase? Of course you do.

So after watching this ridiculous spectacle go on for a while, I had a devious idea: let’s organize a fat people conference and fly them all over to and from using RyanAir. Further, all of them should carry exactly 10 Kg hand baggage.

CModuler is a CMake module generator. I was fed up with copy & paste, search & replace over and over again 90% of the time.

Version 1.0 (AKA “CModuler Meta”) provides only very limited functionality: it will create finders (modules of the form FindXXX.cmake) for libraries consisting of only 1 library. CModuler-generated modules support debug/release configurations.

Here is an example of a CModuler-generated module for finding Sqlite3: FindSqlite3.cmake

You can download CModuler from Gitorious

Like CMake, CModuler is licensed under the BSD license

NB: The comments in this blog do not work due to a hosting issue

Todo el mundo habla de la Ley de Economía Sostenible.

Más concretamente, todo el mundo habla de la “patada en la web“, la blogosfera está que hierve y los internautas indignados.

Y sin embargo, nadie dice ni mu de que se elimina la deducción por vivienda, que supone 1500 EUR al año para nuestros bolsillos.

¿Se gasta usted 1500 EUR al año en CDs y películas en DVD? Yo no.

Maniobra de distracción magistral del Gobierno, ni Goebbels, oiga.

ACTUALIZACIÓN: Me dice Pablo que no tiene efecto retroactivo, los que tenemos hipoteca actualmente seguiremos pudiendo desgravar.

The open source sniffer and network analyzer Wireshark 1.2.1 is now available for Jaunty. It is not possible to build it for Hardy without severely crippling it or risking bad behavior due to limitations in the stock kernel in Hardy (2.6.24).

At work we are using the GStreamer backend to Phonon to play video from an RTSP source transparently. Turns out they fixed a lot of bugs and a nasty memory leak (more than 8 MB leaked every time you opened an RTSP media source!) in GStreamer 0.10.24, so I backported/packaged it for Ubuntu Jaunty. No Hardy backports this time, though, too much work and we are not deploying on Hardy.

GStreamer summary: libnice 0.0.9, GObject introspection 0.6.5, GStreamer Core 0.10.24.3, GStreamer plugins base 0.10.24.3, GStreamer plugins Farsight 0.10.12, GStreamer plugins ffmpeg 0.10.8.2, GStreamer plugins good 0.10.16, Python GStreamer bindings 0.10.16.3, GStreamer plugins bad 0.10.14, GNonLin 0.13, Farsight2 0.0.14, GStreamer DBUS service 0.1.17. I also rebuilt the latest versions GStreamer pitfdll plugins, GStreamer mpegmux, mpegdemux, mp3 and GStreamer plugins ugly against GStreamer 0.10.24.3.

While I was waiting for all the GStreamer stuff to build, I also packaged NVidia driver 190.32 for Jaunty (and the nvidia-settings utility).

I tried to backport PackageKit 0.4.9 or 0.5.2 to Jaunty because KPackageKit 0.4 is broken (it won’t uninstall packages when it finds a “Conflicts” in a Debian package you are going to install; apt-get and aptitude do this fine). In the end it was too dangerous: after backporting and packaging a lot of stuff, I ended up in udev 147 being incompatible with Jaunty’s default kernel (2.6.28) due to a missing type definition (__u32). I could have fixed this in udev but I was feeling too much in the bleeding edge: I had backported PolicyKit 0.9.4, udev 143, debhelper 7.3.15 and usbutils 0.82. Too many too dangerous changes and now the udev fix? I’d rather not.

Although I removed by backports of packagekit, policykit, udev, debhelper and usbutils (they were up less than 12 hours), so much work had its bright side: I noticed xulrunner 1.9.1 was broken in Karmic due to missing NSPR pkg-config info. The new version required sqlite 3.6.16 and NSPR 4.8 and they are now available for Jaunty, too.

¿Soy el único al que le parece que Europa VII, del último álbum de La Oreja de Van Gogh, se parece peligrosamente a Space Oddity de David Bowie? Temática (perdido en el espacio sin posibilidad de rescate), melodía, partes de la letra, etc. Hasta los toques de guitarra. En fin…

Europa VII: vídeo, letra
Space Oddity: vídeo, letra

Am I the only one who finds Europa VII, from La Oreja de Van Gogh‘s latest LP, is a bit too similar to Space Oddity by David Bowie? Topic (lost in space without any chance for salvation), tune, some passages of the lyrics, etc. Even some guitar bits. Hmmm…

Europa VII: video, lyrics (in Spanish)
Space Oddity: video, lyrics

So it seems we are in the middle of the worst financial crisis we have ever faced, which was also led to an economic crisis. In addition to that, nobody knows for sure what to do to fix our Economy. Great.

Here is my proposal: require cheap-labor countries (China, Guatemala, Indonesia, etc) to give their workers the same rights and benefits they do have in our countries (European Union, USA, Canada, etc). If they don’t, heavily tax importations from those countries.

Why is that measure the solution? Read on.

This single change will for sure:

  1. Increase the production costs in cheap-labor countries
  2. Increase inflation in Occident, which now faces deflation
  3. Create jobs in Occident, as cheap-labor countries will be not-so-cheap now
  4. Create jobs in cheap-labor countries, as it will put an end to 12-hour and 14-hour workdays and require an average of 1.5 to 2 workers to perform the same work they do today
  5. Create a middle class in cheap-labor countries, thus creating “good” jobs in those countries (i. e. not just manufacturing jobs)

Not only that: this change is 100% ethical and just. Let us no longer exploit Third World countries in our benefit.

Is this protectionism? No, it is not. It is justice.

Will this destroy jobs in cheap-labor countries? No, it will not. In fact, as we would have cut shifts in half, it will create lots of new jobs in factories. Furthermore: by creating a middle-class in those countries, we will be creating a whole new kind of jobs: the same ones we have now in Occident.

Why heavily tax those importation from those countries unless they abide by this rule? Because it’s the only way to force them to abide

Won’t this make Occident’s situation even worse? Won’t this create inflation? Yes, it will create inflation. Which is exactly what Occident needs now, because Occident is facing deflation and that is really bad.

When this measure is finally adopted by every country, currently-cheap-labor countries will not be so competitive, thus creating jobs locally (i. e. in Occident). Until they do, tax them!

Will this ever be implemented? I don’t think so. A decision like this must be taken in the World Trade Organization context. It may take ten years to reach an agreement. Problem is, Occident will not be able to contain the hemorrhage for more than a year. Either the WTO fast-tracks this decision, or Occident is doomed for the next 10 years.

(English version at the end)

A lo largo de los últimos años he tenido alojado este dominio en un proveedor americano que funcionaba relativamente bien. Aunque algunos correos llegaban con retraso y tenía la sospecha de que algún correo se perdía, por falta de tiempo no había cambiado a otro proveedor. La semana pasada cambié a Google Apps for your Domain. Así, a bote pronto, veo que he perdido centenares (posiblemente miles) de correos en los últimos años. Si me has escrito y no te he contestado, no es porque sea un maleducado: simplemente es que tu e-mail no me llegó. Si me escribes de nuevo, prometo contestar.

The last few years I have hosted this domain with a ISP form the USA which worked acceptably. Although some e-mails arrived with some delay and I was suspicious some mails were getting lost, I was too short on time to find and move to another ISP (hopefully, one which would not have those problems). Last week I moved to Google Apps for your Domain. Now it’s confirmed: I have been losing hundreds (maybe thousands) for mails in the last few years. If you wrote me and I did not answer, it’s not that I’m ill-mannered: it’s just your e-mail never arrived. If you write me again, I’ll answer – I promise!.

On November 4th, the US Presidential Election was held. Once more, we were remembered of the President of the USA is not chosen directly but indirectly by the Electoral College.

I, like most Europeans, think the Electoral College method is extremely unfair. Take for example California: 55 Electoral Votes (that’s 11% of the total Electoral Votes), 17.3 million registered voters. One candidate might win the Election in that State by a single vote and still get the 55 Electoral Votes, which means 50% of the voters are totally ignored.

So, I took the data the USA Today newspaper published in their website and calculated how the Electoral Votes would be distributed if the 2008 Presidential Election would have used the D’Hondt Method. Here are my findings:

OBAMA MCCAIN
ALABAMA 6 3
ALASKA 1 2
ARIZONA 5 5
ARKANSAS 2 4
CALIFORNIA 34 21
COLORADO 5 4
CONNECTICUT 4 3
DELAWARE 2 1
WASHINGTON DC 3 0
FLORIDA 14 13
GEORGIA 7 8
HAWAII 3 1
IDAHO 1 3
ILLINOIS 13 8
INDIANA 6 5
IOWA 4 3
KANSAS 2 4
KENTUCKY 3 5
LOUSIANA 4 5
MAINE 2 2
MARYLAND 6 4
MASSACHUSETTS 8 4
MICHIGAN 10 7
MINNESOTA 6 4
MISSISSIPPI 3 3
MISSOURI 5 6
MONTANA 1 2
NEBRASKA 2 3
NEVADA 3 2
NEW HAMPSHIRE 2 2
NEW JERSEY 9 6
NEW MEXICO 3 2
NEW YORK 20 11
NORTH CAROLINA 8 7
NORTH DAKOTA 1 2
OHIO 10 10
OKLAHOMA 2 5
OREGON 4 3
PENNSYLVANIA 12 9
RHODE ISLAND 3 1
SOUTH CAROLINA 4 4
SOUTH DAKOTA 1 2
TENNESSEE 5 6
TEXAS 15 19
UTAH 2 3
VERMONT 2 1
VIRGINIA 7 6
WASHINGTON 7 4
WEST VIRGINIA 2 3
WISCONSIN 6 4
WYOMING 1 2
TOTAL D’HONDT 291 247
TOTAL ELECTORAL COLLEGE 364 162

Obama still wins, but instead of a 364 vs 162 advantage (202 votes), he only has a 291 vs 247 votes (44 votes). Given that 270 Electoral Votes are needed to be President, the D’Hondt method would make a fundamental difference.

It is interesting to note that even thought the other candidates (Nader, Barr, Baldwin, McKinney and Paul) do not win any Electoral Vote using the D’Hondt method with the current vote count, one can safely assume this is because voters knew very well with the Electoral College method Nader, Barr, etc had no real chance of winning. If the Election method would be changed to the D’Hondt method, or any other proportional method, Nader, Barr, etc would have the chance to win some votes, and more people would have voted for Nader, Barr, etc.