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.


This is huge news

Google Talk's got a new gig. Google and eBay have signed an agreement around text-based advertising and "click-to-call" advertising, in which Google Talk and Skype will power voice calls between customers and merchants. (Read the full press release here.)

Just as exciting are our plans to explore interoperability between Google Talk and Skype, making it easier for our users to chat with one another. This is just another step in our commitment to interoperability via open, industry standards.

Lewis Lin

Product Marketing Manager, Google Talk


Frets on fire

Good Lord! I seem more like an elephant than a human being playing the guitar-keyboard...


About Google Notebook

I use it a lot to save part of webpages I am visit. For example, when I have my lunch at work, I may browse a few websites for news. But I prefer to read some of the in-depth articles during the weekend, so I copy them all to Google Notebook.

It is also great to compose a website from sketches of Wikipedia or other similar sites. For example, if you want to plan a trip during the weekend, you can save some information about the signtseeings of the place, restaurants, museums that you are interested, and save them all in a new notebook using Google Notebook.

I truly think that Google Notebook is great. If only would integrate more with Google Pages... that would be awesome.

PlayStation 3 tackles world ills

The PlayStation 3 is released in November

The spare processing power of Sony's PlayStation 3 (PS3) will be harnessed by scientists trying to understand the cause of diseases like Alzheimer's.

Sony has teamed up with US biologists who already run the distributed computing project, folding@home (FAH).

The project harnesses the capacity of thousands of PCs to examine how the shape of proteins, critical to most biological functions, affect disease.

FAH say a network of PS3's will allow performance similar to supercomputers.

With 10,000 machines joined together the researchers calculate they should be able to do a thousand trillion calculations per second.

If that was achieved it would be nearly four times as fast as the world's most powerful supercomputer, IBM's BlueGene/L System, capable of 280.6 trillion calculations per second.

Complex problems

Distributed computing is a way of solving large complex problems by dividing them between many computers.


The cell processor is at the heart of the PlayStation 3

256 billion calculations per second

2.5MB of on-chip memory

Able to shuttle data to and from off-chip memory at speeds up to 100 gigabytes per second,

234 million transistors

The Cell's hard sell

Volunteers download a piece of software that uses their PC or PS3's processing power when it is idle.

In this way small packets of data can be crunched by individual PC's, before being automatically fed back over the internet to a central computer where all of the results can be viewed together.

The method is already used by scientists examining millions of simulations of how malaria spreads to look for ways to control the disease.

Other groups are searching through thousands of hours of radio telescope signals for signs of extra-terrestrial intelligence.

Biological processes

The FAH uses distributed computing to examine protein folding and how it maybe linked to diseases. The way in which proteins contort underpins almost every biological process.

When they do not fold correctly they can cause diseases such as Huntington's, Parkinson's disease, and many cancers.

However, scientists still do not entirely understand how or why this process occurs.

To try to gain a better understanding, scientists need to simulate the complex folding process.

However, although a fold may take just ten millionths of a second (10 microseconds) in the body, it takes far longer to simulate on a computer.

An average PC would take all day just to simulate just one billionth of a second (one nanosecond) of protein folding, and 10,000 days to simulate a complete fold.

Dividing the problem up allows the researchers to speed through many more simulations.

Advanced gaming

The scientists hope the arrival of the PS3 will take this research up another level.

Sony has demonstrated a piece of software that will run on its PS3 when it is launched in November.

The PS3 has a powerful processor known as a "cell", which will run up to 10 times faster than current PC chips.

A graphical interface, also being developed between Sony and FAH, will eventually allow users and the scientists to look at the protein from different angles as it folds in real-time.

The new interface takes advantage of the PS3's graphics chip, designed for advanced gaming.

The application is currently undergoing tests and is expected to be finished by September.

When finished, the scientists say they will be able to "address questions previously considered impossible to tackle computationally".


Microsoft fixes flawed bug patch

The original patch caused problems for many businesses

Microsoft has re-issued a security update after it was discovered that the patch introduced a bug of its own.

The original patch was issued to close a loophole in Internet Explorer that could be used to hijack a PC.


(no comment)


Last-exit 2.0 keybindings


P - Play/Stop

N - Next

L - Love track

H - Hate track

+/-/0 - Change volume and mute

Escape - Hide to tray


and other spanish radio stations europaFm RNE1 SER



Cadena Ser Linux

mplayer -playlist mms://



A small application to benchmark and crash test GTK themes: the "GTK

Theme Torturer" [1]. It was first aimed at testing and profiling the

OLPC theme, but it was designed to test and make all GTK

themes/engines suffer. A lot.

Everybody loves screenshots, so here they come first:

It mainly does two things:

* For each of the most common widget types [2],

redraw/resize/create/destroy the widget many, many times (you can

adjust the number of iterations with the "Torture level" slider, hin,

hin). The torturer will provide, for each widget type, a detailed

report of time measures it has done (thanks to Federico's widget

profiler infrastructure) for widget creation, mapping, expose, etc.

With this torture test, it is also easy to detect memory leaks since

the widgets are created/destroyed lots and lots of times.

* Call each of the existing GTK paint functions (which the engines

implement themselves) with unusual parameters (and even, with all

queerly possible weird combinations of strangely unusual parameters),

to make the engine crash. Of course, the report is detailed enough so

that you can see which set of parameters caused the crash, if any.

A report was posted (sent to people at OLPC [3] and Ubuntu [4]) with

benchmarks of several GTK themes: OLPC, Clearlooks, Human (Ubuntu's)

and HighContrast. The benchmark itself is available as a spreadsheet

[5]. It has time measures and ratios between themes; see also the two

emails ([3] and [4]) for a short analysis.

[1] You can get a tarball at

[2] If you need more, just ask and I'll add them faster than you can

say "GTK Performance List".





stats on flights around the world!


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