Getting included in Planet Ubuntu is proving to be quite difficult due to bureaucracy.

On one side, I’m too technical to apply for plain Ubuntu membership.

On the other side, given that all the work I do in my PPA (mostly backports for Hardy and Jaunty, but also some new packages not yet accepted in Debian) I do it on myself, with no external help, I don’t have a history of collaboration with other Ubuntu members/developers/MOTUs. Which means I don’t get any endorsement in my MOTU application.

In the end, I have the largest PPA in Launchpad, providing lots of backports for Hardy and Jaunty, but very few people know about it because I can’t blog about my backports in Planet Ubuntu. Weird.

This is a response to What Sun Should Do by Tim Bray

What Sun should do is making sell Sun products easy. Maybe in the US it’s easy to buy Sun through the reseller/VAR channel but it’s not in other countries.

For instance, in Spain none of the major wholesalers (Ingram Micro, Techdata and Esprinet) sell Sun products (they are not even in their product catalog!)

When we the VARs want to sell a Sun product to a client, we have to go through very particular wholesalers (it used to be General Electric Access Distribution, now it’s AVNet), with a very very poor service: you need to phone them and ask for a quote, and they may take as long as ONE SOLID MONTH to answer you. This is unacceptable and it’s the reason I have not sold any Sun product in the last 5 years, even though many times they were the best option: they took too long to answer and many times they configuration I was quoted was not the one I asked for. In addition to that, when GEAD was merged into AVNet, we were not contacted at all.

Sorry but with those extremely poor sales tactics, I’m not surprised Sun is doing so bad.

Of course buying directly from Sun works but that’s a very small market here in Spain: 90% of our business are SMBs and

  1. They don’t have qualify for a Sun Sales person, and/or
  2. They won’t phone Sun because they don’t want to deal with the intrincacies of IT: they rely on VARs and IT resellers

So Sun, here is my advice: help us the VARs and resellers sell your stuff and your sales will soar. Start an aggressive (and I mean REALLY aggresive) campaign among wholesalers, VARs and resellers, and clients will start buying Sun hardware, software and support contracts. Help us help you. We really want.

In addition to that, if you supported KDE4 as the default desktop instead of CDE or Gnome, I’m sure you’d sell more workstations among design and graphics departments: a designer who sees a KDE 4.2 desktop with all fancy effects and graphics, is a designer who truly believes that workstation is capable of doing Maya.

(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!.

Hoy publica El Mundo un artículo titulado Apostar por el bilingüísmo puede ocasionar un problema de tartamudez. El titular dice claramente que los niños bilingües son más propensos a ser tartamudos.

Pero, ¿es cierto?

Pues no.

Basta con leer el artículo para darse cuenta de que ni el periodista, ni los que han hecho el artículo, saben nada de Estadística ni Inferencia Estadística.

El primer error es la población elegida para el estudio: sólo niños tartamudos. Con ese punto de partida, es IMPOSIBLE y TOTALMENTE ERRÓNEO concluir que el bilingüísmo lleva al tartamudeo. Para poder obtener esa conclusión habría que haber hecho el estudio con niños tartamudos monolingües, niños tartamudos bilingües, niños no tartamudos monolingües y niños no tartamudos bilingües. De esos cuatro grupos, sólo los dos primeros estaban en la población elegida para el estudio. Esto, de por sí, ya anula todo el estudio.

Segundo error: sólo clínicas y hospitales públicos. Los padres adinerados llevan a sus hijos a clínicas privadas, así que la población estudiada son niños pobres y tartamudos. ¿Y quién suele encuadrarse entre los pobres tan pobres que ni haciendo un esfuerzo pueden llevar a sus hijos a una clínica privada? Pues los inmigrantes, claro. Que da la casualidad que suelen venir de otro país, así que hablan otro idioma. Eso explica el bilingüísmo de esos niños.

La única conclusión válida que se podría sacar de este estudio es que las familias pobres con niños tartamudos los llevan a clínicas públicas, no privadas. Cualquier otra cosa es errónea o malintencionada.

Es increíble que todavía se publiquen tantos artículos, en periódicos y en revistas de prestigio, que pequen de la falacia del tercer factor (“Cum hoc ergo, propter hoc”).

Para terminar, un ejemplo de un estudio muy antiguo que pecaba también del proper hoc. Se hizo un estudio y se vio que aquellas personas que compraban muchos zapatos, también compraban muchos libros. ¿Sería que leían mientras se ponían los zapatos? ¿Mientras esperaban en la zapatería? ¿Deberíamos regalar zapatos para “fomentar” la lectura, como parecía concluirse del estudio? Pues tampoco: es simplemente que quienes compraban muchos zapatos eran gente con dinero, así que podían permitirse comprar más libros. El estudio ni siquiera miraba si esos libros eran luego leídos: había mucha gente que apenas compraba zapatos, pero iba a la biblioteca y leía más libros que los “comprazapatos compulsivos”

Yesterday my girlfriend and I went to the movies to see Batman: The Dark Knight but it was not without trouble!

Instead of going to nearby cinemas, as we usually do, we went to the IMF Cinemas in Torrevieja (a 45-min drive from home) because their website lists the movie as being played in original version (i. e. English) instead of the dubbed Spanish version. In case you didn’t know, movies are dubbed in Spain.

First of all, signs to the mall where the cinemas are located are scarce, so we ended up near the seafront. As we had plenty of time, we took the opportunity to go for a walk. Not that bad, in the end, but it we had been tight on time we would have not arrived in time for the movie.

After asking for directions twice, we arrived into the mall. Surprise: traffic jam due to lots of cars and only one lane in each direction. Second surprise: each shop has got its parking and the parking exit is closed when the shop closes. Given that we went to the 22.00 movie, that meant we had no other option than going to the cinema’s parking, which was already packed (first time we tried to get in it was complete, 15 minutes later we were luckier and got a spot).

But I’m not writing because it was difficult to get to the shopping center or to park my car. I’m writing because I was lied: I went to see a movie in original version but the movie is played in Spanish!

Turns out if you want to listen to the movie in English you have to deposit 20 EUR and you get a headphone set. You tune channel 1 and after 5 minutes you give up. You give up because the audio track in Spanish is so loud (the loudest cinema I’ve been in my life!) it’s impossible to properly understand the English audio. That’s in case you put up with the glitches, static and interruptions in the audio. “Latest infrarred technology”? Don’t make me laugh!

Other than that, the movie is OK. I don’t understand so much fanfare. I’ve read reviews which compare it to The Godfather. Give-me-a-break. It’s not even close!

Si utilizas una distribución de Linux/BSD/etc con servidor X11 X.org (el 99%) y estás te ha afectado el bug 9763, que hace que para teclear ‘~’ (dead tilde haya que pulsar AltGr + 4 dos veces (en lugar de una), aquí tienes el parche que corrige el caso de la tilde muerta.

Para Ubuntu Hardy, hay paquetes en mi PPA

Y ahora, que alguien me explique qué clase de mantenedor es el de los mapas de teclado en X.org que cambia el mapa de teclado de español de España porque un usuario brasileño se queja de que cuando tiene puesto el mapa de teclado de portugués y está escribiendo castellano se le hace raro tener que pulsar AltGr+4 para que le salga la ‘~’ (que por otra parte, no hace falta para escribir el idioma, ¡es un carácter especial!). Grrrrr.

Every 4 to 6 months I have an idea for a new technology or a new application for an existing technology.

The company I work for does not invest in R+D and that annoys me, as I am unable to further develop my ideas without help.

Advised by a business-creation program, 18 months ago I removed some of the ideas I had previously posted here.

Now, after a couple of disappointments due to other companies patenting my ideas years after I had “invented them” -I guess they have discovered those thing independently, I’m not suggesting they have ever copied me-, and a conversation with Agustín Benítez of Fotón Sistemas Inteligentes Ejercicios Resueltos at aKademy 2006, I am reposting those ideas here. I hope they are still useful as prior art.

  • Wificast
    Use a wifi (a MIMO mesh network) to build your own TV or radio. No licenses needed. It could be integrated in DVB-T set-top-boxes at a very low cost.

    I started playing with this idea for the first time in late 2003 to replace autoguides and work as a GPS-like device uing low-emitting access points, whenever someone with a wificast-capable device is near the AP, the system is effectively working as a GPS system; read more about it in WifiGas). I even sent an e-mail to Seth Godin and he liked the idea.

    Unfortunately, I never applied for this patent (I did not have the money to pay for the fees and expenses associated with a patent) and now News Corporation has made public they will start to use this technology in 2007 in the USA.Read it.

  • Cremation DNA
    Very simple idea: when someone asks for cremation, store a partially-sequenced DNA. Very useful for post-mortem identification. Read it.
  • Multiplexing CAS and RAS
    Describes how to use base-band codification to improve memory-access times (hardware). Read it.
  • Snapshot System State Management
    Also known as “The Poor Man’s UPS”. Read it.

Visto que en España la costa mediterránea se termina y que la economía española depende sobremanera de la construcción y el turismo, propongo crear una nueva zona costera: el Mar Interior de España, a imitación del Mar Menor en Murcia (aunque el Mar Menor tiene origen natural).

La idea es muy sencilla: aunque Madrid está en una meseta, en general el interior de España está por debajo del nivel del mar. Además, esas zonas son económicamente menos desarrolladas que las costas (Euskadi, Cataluña, Comunidad Valenciana), así que sólo hay que comprar algunos miles de hectáreas de tierras, muchas de las cuales están abandonadas o semiabandonadas, y dejar paso al agua.

¿De dónde sacar el agua para este Mar Interior? Del Oceano Atlántico preferiblemente, porque el Mar Mediterráneo se está quedando sin agua, y tampoco es cuestión de acelerar la muerte del Mediterráneo. El lugar más factible por donde abrir la vía de agua es Andalucía, dado que Galicia, Cantabria, Asturias y el País Vasco son zonas montañosas, y no creo que Portugal permita hacer una obra de esta magnitud en su territorio para que luego se beneficie el vecino de al lado (España).

Como consecuencia de la creación del Mar Interior, los madrileños ya no tendrían que ir a veranear a Valencia o Cataluña: ¡Majahonda y Getafe tendrían playa!. Albacete pasaría a ser una isla. Toledo y Segovia, como tienen Patrimonios de la Humanidad, podríamos protegerlos con unas cuantas presas. Cáceres pasaría a ser una zona turística de primer orden, con apartamentos en la playa y todo eso. Transmediterránea tendría que cambiarse el nombre a Transmarítima, para que así le den la concesión del ferry Madrid – Valencia. Lo que ahora son estaciones de servicio en la autovía y la autopista pasarían a ser chiringuitos en la playa. Toda una revolución, oiga.

I am not a Microsoft Windows user, but 870 million people are. On January, 2007, Microsoft will release the newest version of its desktop operating system, christened “Windows Vista”.

Recently I have gathered knowledge Windows Vista will, by default, put the computer in a stand-by status when you will try to shut it down. You can check this by yourselves looking at this article (look at point 5, the second half of the page) on Computer World magazine (screenshot)

So, to summarize it: you will believe your computer is not consuming any power, but it will be wasting 25% of electricity. Now multiply this 25% by 870 millions of computers. Assuming each computer will consume 250-350 Watts (this is a pretty realistic value for a computer like the one Microsoft requires to run Windows Vista) and you have:
0.25 * 300W * 870Million = 65250 MegaWatts

I think we should immediately start a campaign for Microsoft to change its mind. We cannot afford such a waste of energy. In case Microsoft does not attend to reason, I think we should suggest people not to buy a Windows Vista-preloaded computer, but an Apple Macintosh (operating system: Apple Mac OS X) or a computer with the Linux operating system.

Update ENERGY STAR-labeled computers are required to power down to 15 percent of their maximum power use. So we will only be wasting a measly 39170 MegaWatts. What a relief!

I’m looking for an antivirus for a medium-size client (60 Windows XP workstations, 4 Windows servers, 1 Linux server) and hell if I know what to do.

Over the past three years I’ve worked with Panda (both the old antivirus and the new BusinesSecure), Kasperksy, Symantec, Trend Micro and McAfee antiviruses. Which is the one I liked the most? Absolutely no one. Everyone of them fails here or there: bad support, bad antivirus, bad or no antispyware, bad or no antispam, bad or no Active Directory integration, etc.

What I want to find is an integrated suite with at least these features:

  • Antivirus (of course!)
  • Antispyware
  • Antispam for the client workstation. Server antispam is not important for us, really. We prefer to run CRM114, SpamAssassin or alike.
  • Firewall
  • Backup, a-la Genie Backup, Cobian Backup, etc
  • Automated updates for antivirus, antispyware and antispam modules
  • Automated deployment of Windows, Microsoft Office, Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird updates (think of WSUS on steroids)
  • Full integration with Active Directory, including cluster mode
  • Certified for SAN, NAS and high-availability clusters

I guess that’s exactly what Symantec is going to do (at least, it makes a lot of sense after they bought Veritas), but I expect at least six to twelve months until they have such a product 🙁

The antivirus business is currently a “choose your poison” business. Lame.