castanyes blaves

Random ramblings about some random stuff, and things; but more stuff than things -- all in a mesmerizing and kaleidoscopic soapbox-like flow of words.



standards are good

The EU is working with Sun to make the XML-based formats of Openoffice an ISO standard.



I prefer the radio than owing my own discotheque

When I say:

I don't have music/songs in my computer

people just stares at me like if I were an alien.

I hate to know which songs I'm going to listen. But if I hear a song I like in the radio, I feel great. It must be a problem I have with musical predictibility... Whatever.

In the ipod-era, I'm still hooked up to the music radios: I sync on a radio station I like, and simply listen what they give me.

No frenzy downloading and accumulating songs. No need for it. Just running streamtuner or the like, and listen to any of the shoutcast or live365 radio stations.


10 Nobel economists endorse Kerry

The endorsement, in the form of an open letter American voters, was signed by George Akerlof and Daniel McFadden of the University of California at Berkeley, Kenneth Arrow and William Sharpe of Stanford University, Daniel Kahneman of Princeton University, Lawrence Klein of the University of Pennsylvania, Douglass North of Washington University, Paul Samuelson and Robert Solow of MIT and Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University.

Kerry, in remarks prepared for an appearance in Philadelphia, called for “jobs that don’t just let you survive but let you get ahead. Jobs that let you pay your bills, send your kids to college, buy a house, save a little for retirement and go out to dinner or a movie every once in a while".



Sun's ZFS

Unlimited scalability:

As the world's first 128-bit file system, ZFS offers 16 billion billion times the capacity of 32- or 64-bit systems.

Uhmmm, that's a lot, isn't it?



Within Air Traffic Control there is an extraordinary camaraderie which surpasses self-preservation. There is a collective sense of responsibility for fellow controllers and their frailties. Each person knows what he can handle, or someone close by knows. Loads will not be allowed to build up to dangerous levels.

This is a concept that some people just don't get: you will be much happier at your work place if you contribute to create a charming and comfortable athmosphere.



and how Open Wireless is taken

in this case in Phily:


Open wireless

Very interesting way at looking why Internet is different from the broadcast model or the telephony model:

It's worth considering for everyone that uses Internet, nowadays, for more than emailing and entertainment.



The art of giving presentations

Rich Burrigde (Sun): To me, what makes a good presentation is something that is structured. It uses pictures as well as words. It combines the two together well. It doesn't drag. It's not predictable. It progresses. It makes a point. There were some great talks and there were um, some other ones.

Office suites support

Now that my mother has tried "this Linux thing", she is convinced that it works.

I was sitting at her side while she managed to get the spreadsheet migration with an example: writing an invoice. All went smoothly well. But then she asked:

I would like to have the column labels of the invoice printed in each page. I do that with "ecsel" using the "page stuff", but it's not here.

As I have never done that myself, I tried it scanning the menus of oocalc for a couple of minutes, but couldn't find it. Then I went to and searched for "invoice" in the oocalc forum index.

The first thread was: "How to print column labels?"

Wow! I only needed 1 minute to find the answer:

Go to Format > Print Ranges > Edit

...the second row of boxes is "Rows to repeat". Click on the button on the right of these 2 boxes and select the row you want to repeat (e.g. $1 will appear in the box), then click on the same button again to return to the "Edit Print Ranges and click on OK.

Now when you do a Page Preview your first row should be repeated at the top of every sheet.

This is awesome! If you are reluctant to try OpenOffice because of lack of support... well... first you will have to explain me which kind of support do you get from MS Office.

Openoffice customer support* kicks asses!!

*if you want to call it "customer" a zero-cost product



Two better than one

The Spanish government has sent a petition to the EU to include Catalan, Galician, Basque and Valencian as official languages.

The scientific community has always expressed their conclusions onto that Valencian is the same language as Catalan. But for political reasons, Valencian was given the recognition in Spain of being a different language than Catalan one year ago.

Now, with the petition to the EU, some political parties argue that the petition for Catalan AND Valencian is like trying to officialize the same language twice. Well, in this case, two better than one, if only to get it done and everybody happy!



The first time I buy a complete desktop computer that is cheaper than MS Windows + Office XP

I recently been ditched by a close family member who took an old desktop computer my parents used for the domestic accountability. That meant I had to find a cheap desktop computer that my mother could use for simple spreadsheet+internet use.

I looked for it at the usual places in Barcelona, and bought the cheapest brand-new desktop computer available: 390 euros (100 screen + 290 CPU+kb+mouse)

So my mother, knowing my phylosophical reasons to use only Open Source, took good care to told me:

Don't erase "ecsel" on the new computer: that is the only thing I need it for

Bear in mind that she doesn't know the difference between "ecsel" and "spreadsheet application".

I told here that a computer with MS Excel would be much expensive, and here I explain the reason.

Here, in Spain, is not unusual for the computer shops to stash the hardware they sell with all sort of pirated comercial apps. Usually MS Windows + MS Office is supposed to be included, but obviously, is usually either included in the price or a pirate version.

But in Barcelona, the shops now have a different market strategy:

Let's the neighbour's son* do the pirating, so we don't waste our time and concentrate in assembling more computers in less time

*the neighbour's son is a Spanish colloquial expressions for those who help you occasionally with their expertise, for free.

So the thing is that the shops may sell cheaper hardware and the neighbour's son does the pirating.

But also means that a 390 euros computer is just that, _the_ computer.

And also means that one _should_ go to the shop to buy WinXP and OfficeXP, which are charged slightly more than 390 euros. That, or infringe the law, bearing a patched eye, a hawk and a parrot in your shoulder...

But in 2004, the Open Source is really an option. So, after *clicky-click*-installing the whole Fedora Core 2 DVD, I actually have a desktop computer whose hardware is cheaper than the software I should have had to buy.

If only in Igualada you could have the option of buying the computer without pirate software... but that's a different story.



I don't mind sitting lots of hours in front of the computer

I was talking with an experimental geneticist in a party, and we where discussing about the comparison of wet lab genetics and bioinformatics.

She argued at some point that she would make a good bioinformatist, or at least, a good genetics theoricist:

I don't mind sitting lots of hours in front of the computer

Well, I only hope that when a potential employer interviews me in a near future, he/she doesn't asks me:

So, what did you get from sitting lots of hours, for years, in front of the computer?

Most of the times, as humans, we get too complicated. But sometimes, we oversimplify...


Joel - Not Just Usability

Interesting reading:

I always enjoy read written-down comments about something that you always "felt like":

Another social software success is ebay. When I first heard about ebay, I said, "Nonsense! That will never work. Nobody's going to send money to some random person they encountered on the Internet in hopes that person will out of the goodness of their hearts actually ship them some merchandise." [...] Ebay made a big bet on the cultural anthropology of human beings and won.

gnome-blog preconnect?

I lost my posts yesterday because I found that one needs to pre-connect the gnome-blog using the preferences menu,

Anyway, I never found myself writing too many interesting ideas on the same day.


never late to learn a new wget tip

authenticated http download:

wget --http-user=myuser --http-passwd=mypassword

Time-based release cycles are the key

While reading Murray comments on the next GNOME 2.8 release:

I can't more than insist of the big difference that it is for the Open Source community to switch to the time-based release cycles.

We have the great examples of GNOME, Fedora and others, that, IMHO, _because of_ the time-based release cycles, are kicking asses to other stuff at the same level. I think that even MacOSX 10.3 (Tiger) can be worried about the new FC3 on the desktop level.

On the other side, I was in the latest UPC Free Software Metting in Manresa, and Martin Michlmayr (unofficially) annonced that the Debian community would switch to time-based releases any time soon (after Sarge?).

If they do, Debian is going to be great (again).

So if I'm asked about it: time-based releases should be a MUST in any FOSS piece of software.

God I like gnome-blog!

Entries can be written gradually over the course of a day, popping gnome blog open and closed as you have thoughts to jot down and then posting at the end of the day

when is linux better than windows?

For example, when a non-techy asks you about an easy way to transfer 450MB of data from one windows machine to another computer 5000kms away:

KNOPPIX CD->mnt/hda2->netconfig->httpd->link

"Hi, I zipped your file and you can access it from"

That simple.


blogging from gnome-blog

I was reluctant to start a personal blog (I've been blogging about my PhD progress for about 2 years) because it wasn't yet as easy as I expected.

Now 2 things have changed since that:

(1) Google is now what a lot of people hoped they would get to be: an Internet-is-all-around organization

(2) Seth Vidal has done with gnome-blog what a lot of people hoped they would get blogging to be: one click away of my gnome desktop!

So thanks Seth and thanks Google!


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