On Kids and Linux

OK, I admit, I'm trying to build a Windows® free household, and use nothing but linux (slackware). Just this morning, before I went to work, my little boy wanted to peep at the PC. On turning it on, and running a game (Childsplay), he promptly pointed at Tux, and said "Wingwin!"

Hehe. Cute.


In times of need...

Usually, I'm a cynic, especially in this day and age, where everyone is so connected, and yet so apathetic (most of the time) to other peoples plights.

This, however takes me to the thread linked to the title. Good samaritans all (heck, I learned most of my linux from lurking their Unix forum), and willing to lend both arms, both legs, and a neck, should the need be great enough.

This is the second time (that I know of) that they are actively chasing after phishing scams.

OK. Vigilantism isn't exactly high on my "Honorable Deeds" list, but look at it this way... the frontier we all explore that's called the net, is a high-tech non-space where "new" is the norm, and trust is the currency we all barter with. Unfortunately, the ne'er-do-well's of cyberspace have been taking advantage of that trust since the "Great Commercialization".

And in countering these things, I find what the people who are are giving more than a little time and effort in trying to warn other people, and taking steps to counter these things to be very highly commendable.


More Reading Ahead!

My quest to relearn programming has just begun in earnest! I was originally trying to relearn C(++), but feel too burnt out to really understand the subject matter once over. So, I decided to check out new horizons (since I haven't done any serious coding for some time, anyway). So, I took a look at Ruby and at python. I must say, I am impressed! These two have an elegant (for me) syntax, that's easily understandable. Most definitely a jump in the right direction for me.

As an aside, I'm also studying SQL right now. What for? Well, way back when, SQL was more along the lines of black magic for me. Well, not exactly black magic, but actually more like voodoo... I just couldn't figure the darn thing out. But then again, seeing as I was looking at DB's during the time of DOS (now theres a single user OS, if ever there was one), it just didn't make an impression on me. Now that all will change. So, I got a book, SQL: Visual QuickStart Guide, 2nd Edition, which covers mySql, PostgreSql, Access, Oracle, SQL Server and one or two others (so sue me! I just started reading it the other day). Cost me all of PHP590 (thats what, $11 or so?), considering it's list price is $24 plus shipping!

One last thing to work on... I wonder if my previous school will take me back in? After all, they did -eherrmm- request me to find educational fulfillment at another institution... oh well... one at a time.



After my stint at existential angst yesterday, it seems I'm currently at a crossroads. Then again, I suppose fatherhood does that to a person. But I digress...

Anyway, a wave of depression has been running after me for quite some time already, which caused that outpouring of (admittedly bad) poetry. So, I do what I always do when I want to stop bouncing off of walls.

I go to random pages in my browser history. Which, surprisingly, took me to "Sam, Meet Hand..." It's a short, one line entry in the blog of another FOSS nut (like me).

Now, I don't claim to be a heartless man, nor am I a cheesy marshmallow regarding sentimental matters... but hey, I'm a dad...

A single dad to boot.

It's a big pain seeing your kid sick. Much more painful when he recovers and then relapses. I understand the worry and the fatigue. I understand the incidental problems that creep up alongside the pain. I understand. Which is probably why I keep coming back to that post.

Maybe someday, I'll get to meet that family... and say, "Chesco (that's the name of my son), meet Sam. No hitting. Have fun." =Þ



In the mirror a reflection...
The reflections is a dream...
The dream is an illusion...
Of Immortality...

Reality going nowhere...
Expectations set too high...
Returns a bitter taste of fate...
A wish to touch the sky...

Drums beat in tribal rythm...
In blood, runs through my hands...
Disappearing in an instant...
Draught of life for sand...

Hear the trumpets blaring...
A herald for your cause...
Follow now the rabbit...
A heart in his fur-lined paws...

Awake in fear from dreaming...
In hate, then learn the truth...
In anger, learn the difference...
In sorrow, learning moot...

No difference in just living...
No point in going on...
No value in understanding...
The call of a sirens song...

Listen to the drumbeats...
Of blood both lost and gained...
Follow now the rabbit...
If what you seek is fame...

Look into the mirror...
Tell me what you see...
Describe to me reflections...
Of Life and Death to be...


Finally Fixed to My Liking

Finally. After a significant amount of time (having a one year old around really curtails my tweaking time), I finally have my installation to where I'm actually contented. Heres a screenie:

Yes, I know, the matrix theme has been done to death, but like i said, it's now at a state where I can use it without getting too much of an urge to tweak everything. Anyway, the theme is systemx from freshmeat. The transparent terminal in is an eterm stripped of the scrollbar, button bar and borders. WM is fluxbox (from slackware 10.2). Outside of that, I also have qhacc, a piece of personal accounting software that I like, theres also catdoc, for when I don't want to use OO to read MS .docs (especially when I'm busy on CLI). And my favorite system monitor, torsmo.

Now that everything is nice and tidy, time to reinstall... hehehe... I made such a mess (I have no idea how many kernels I have in there) of getting it right, that the whole filesystem is inundated with useless directories, configurations, and lost symllinks. Instead of chasing them down, I'm just going to save my ~/, parts of /etc, my kernel .config, and wash everything down with a nice, old-fashioned nuking.

China + Linux = Yay!

A large spike in MS's marketing scheme? According to the article this blog links to, China is adopting linux on a fairly large scale

According to ’s Ministry of Information Industry (MII), almost 70 percent of all software purchases last year were of Linux-based products. Meanwhile, provincial governments, installed 45,000 desktops with Linux operating systems.

Now I wonder, what the MS reaction to this would be? China sure as heck isn't a tiny slice of market the way they're making Korea out to be.

And on a side note, Korea is also pushing for linux


Forming a Body Out of Thin Air

Just recently, the volunteers of the Software Freedom Day Philippines celebration met up to discuss what would be (we hope) an organization to truly spread FOSS in the Philippines (true grassroots penetration, we hope). As of this time, the main thrust of the discussion was the long term plans, as well as organizational structure of the group.

The core group that met agreed on (quite possibly) the most important aspect, which was that decisions should be made by general acclamation, and all decisions are to be made by consensus (Democracy, anyone?). After all, the current members became what we are now because of what happened before.

Originally, during the planning stages of SFD Philippines, all decisions were made only after a vote... and so, we decided to carry on that tradition. No benevolent dicators in this one. However, as of this time, the vision and mission is being hammered out, and decisions to be made regarding incorporating the body as a non-profit organization.

During this time, we also agreed that a website for the group would be a Good Thing®, which I have decided to donate. There are already volunteers for content producers and site maintenance. All thats left is the domain name, for which I've asked Software Freedom International as to whether we could use "Software Freedom" as part of our name. After this week ends, and if I get no reply, the question of the name, of course, will have to be raised again.

Anyway, if anybody wishes to volunteer, the title is linked to our current mailing list (which is currently under Google Groups), just give us a shout-out. We need all the help we can get. It's a relatively low volume list, so you won't get lost in the messages.


More SCO Cruft?

It's really weird how one entity can throw out smokescreens and silliness for years on end trying to prove something that they apparently cant. Note that I said apparently, though. But through all this time, if SCO really DID have a case against Big Blue, shouldn't they have shown it years ago?

You have to give credit to their corporate spin doctors though... They've managed to stall for time over and over again. Although, some things do come to mind as to why they're stalling...

  • They're hoping for a buyout.

  • They're hoping for a settlement.

I say number 1 because, SCO, whose business has been struggling for some time already, would probably prefer to be taken into the fold of another company, rather than throwing in the towel.

I say number 2, on the other hand, because... you can paint your own picture with number 2, cant you?

After all this time, with nothing but smoke and mirrors around, SCO's credibility isn't exactly all there anymore... as a matter of fact:

"Viewed against the backdrop of SCO's plethora of public statements concerning IBM's and others' infringement of SCO's purported copyrights to the Unix software, it is astonishing that SCO has not offered any competent evidence to create a disputed fact regarding whether IBM has infringed SCO's alleged copyrights through IBM's Linux activities."

-District Judge Kimball

With all the moves SCO has done; with no concrete evidence to support any of their claims; after all this time and chicanery (since a buyout doesn't seem likely anymore) number 2 sure looks like what they're aiming for.


On Google and Open Source

I've always known that Google was an open source shop for the longest time. However, when rumors about a Google OS, and an online Google-Sun desktop suite (squashed under this article), I started having second thoughts... A Google empire, alongside the empire of Redmond... a scary thought indeed.

However, it was pointed out in this eweek article that no such things are happening.

"Google has no plans to release an operating system or an office suite."

They do support open source projects quite a lot (many of them in-house projects), like Open Office... and one of their recent additions was the developer of GAIM, to do further work on Google Talk.

Google... a benevolent giant?


From the Home Front

After weeks upon weeks upon weeks of figuring out how... I give up... It seems that my old Compaq 1201 really only has an 800x600 resolution... I've been up all night (for several nights) hacking the damn thing to smithereens (except for one nuking session, when I upgraded to slackware 10.2)... I cry uncle... I'm stuck at 800x600x16@60.

Oh well... I've run on machines with even less resolution... and anyway, since I do most work from the terminal, it doesn't really account for much, but I could use the extra screen real estate for when I do fire up X. Hmm... although, I still have to figure out how to get that trident framebuffer device to give me an 800x600 console yet...

But on another matter, the folk of SFD Philippines are finally getting together, and getting a host and a domain name (courtesy of moi, for the first year anyway). Hopefully, we can start the next year strong with more of that grass! ... errr... grass-roots advocacy that isn't getting much in the way of help from the governement here. I have to ask the folks as to what exactly they envision the organization to be and where we will go and what we will do. These are The Questions That Need Answering, and today, I ask. And from there, we move forward.

Hopefully though, we can keep together, and get the good word of Open Source out to the masses.


MS's stance on the cost of software...

This just made me laugh!

According to MS, Africa - of all places - doesnt need free software. Here in the Philippines, where the per diem income is just under $5 (roughly $150 per month), people can barely afford to buy computers, much less the most well known peice of software on the planet (which can cost up to 50% of a low cost machine). What more with Africa?

As the ZDnet article I linked to referenced, the yearly income of the average African is $160! How are they supposed to buy software that costs, oh, I dunno, $100?

Their argument? Expertise. Let me see... in the Philippines alone, I have met and spoken with Computer Science students who are even less tech literate than my own mother... and these people are being taught what, VB, .NET, and several others from the same line.

I know this looks like an MS bashing post, but lets get real here. Expertise (or lack of it) is the same for both camps, and both are doing their best to get their product out. Unfortunately, it seems that the best (and most effective) weapon for this is more FUD from their PR machinerey.


New MS Licenses?

It seems that MS is introducing three new licenses for their code... namely:

What does this mean? I have no idea... and even less as to what the future may hold. But the fact that they're finally opening up (some) of their code to peer review is a Very Good Thing indeed.

However, the big question is, what about Windows?


Google + Gaim

While we all know that Google launched it's Google Talk service, and that Gaim is one of several IM clients that can utilize it, it seems that Google went one step further, by acquiring Gaim. It's an interesting step by Google, specially now that theres an IM "war" between the three largest IM services, namely AOL,Yahoo, and microsoft (you'll have to forgive me if I didn't get the MS URL right, as it's been years since I last paid it a visit). Anyway, this, right after MS and Yahoo announced that they'd start sharing their userbases and getting their respective message suites talking to each other (and leaving AOL out in the dark).

Considering that the userbase of MS and Yahoo alone goes into the (tens of) millions, and AOL has a steep climb in front of them. Googles diving headfirst into this foray looks more like an insurmountable task. Muddying up the waters even more is this acquisition. Google has an ace up it's sleeve? Or they have a different road map ahead of them? Only time will tell.

Rembember Startrek?

Not that this post is about Star Trek, but rather, something that was mentioned in Star Trek IV... Namely, transparent aluminum. Apparently the US Air Force managed to whip up a bunch, and found that

"The substance itself is light years ahead of glass," he said, adding that it offers "higher performance and lighter weight."

Nifty? Yes.
Useful? Definitely.
Expensive? Maximally.

As some guys on slashdot have calculated, to replace the windshield of a Hummmvee with this material could cost anywhere from $16,560 to $24,840.


On Connectivity, Networking, and Getting Around

I've been an active poster in one forum (and a very inactive lurker in several more) and, good news, looks like the TipidPC grand eyeball-slash-christmas party is going to be a big one! Imagine, one of the threads anounced that they were looking for a location where they could fit several hundred members and a lan-party setup (BYOA, of course). Well, as long as theres going to be some internet access, I guess I'll manage...

Then, there was the PLUG seminar last Saturday (101505). I got in late (around lunch time), but 'twas all good... Lots of laughs with Clair and company (too bad I'm too much the loner to really mingle)...

It's not really clear to many as to the why's of attending these kinds of functions. Well, for the seminar, Knowledge Transfers are always good. Even better when it's free. But what else is to be gained? The term is networking (and I don't mean multi-level marketing).

An large network of contacts is always a good thing. Whether close and warm, or distant and professional, a contact is one thing that a person cannot do without. Although, as I did mention, I didn't exactly mingle outside of the people that I already knew, but, hey, that's just me. Watch and wait. I have time until the next time, to start being the social butterfly needed to build bridges and connections at those events.

Speaking of connectivity, that's probably the main cause that got me into linux in the first place. Connectivity. What with all the interoperability that is being built in, and the openness and warmth (in general) of the people in this culture. Although, I do have to admit, I have yet to see a windows user acutally gush about their utilities the same way linux users/fans/fanatics/zealots do. I wonder if there was ever a study about that?


Something interesting... Or maybe not...

I was just going over some news that I view regularly, and I came across this editorial of sorts about how much technology has affected us. While it's more personal in perspective, I quite agree that technology does have its place in society, but not in every nook and cranny. So, like the author said, please take things down a notch.

And then, Open Office got delayed! But all for the better, as it seems there was this one major flaw in its graphics routines. Apparently, bug i55330 makes graphical elements go awry. They did take this time to plug in more bug fixes as well (some minor inconsistencies).

On the other hand, IBM is donating a large part of its Rational code to the Eclipse Foundation. Very good news for Open source indeed!

On the other side of the realms of tech, apparently, Microsoft is going to give Windows XP some "gadgets" that were slated to be included only in Vista. Interestingly though, these gadgets are things the Open Source community have been enjoying for a long time.

And finally, if you think you have trouble about setting your priorities, then the Peruvian government has got to have some major issues.



Jesus Christ! I've been too far removed from doing any programming or scripting for far too long. I never thought that doing

#include <stdio.h>
printf("Hello World!\n");
return 0;

could give me a hard time (did this on my slackware laptop, of course). Actually, doing it last night took me all of 30 minutes, trying to remember how the damn thing went. And typing it here? I'm not sure if I did it right either. (So please feel free to flame, because I deserve it.)

This does prove to me, however, that I need to get my act in order. And fast.

Although, I think I'll just skim C/C++ at the onset of my reviewing, and check out python first. Maybe ruby as well. Those two sure as hell piqued my interest.

Any suggestions on what I can work on during my relearning???


On Linux, Communities and Belonging

I've always been a Slackware user. For the longest time, it's been the only distribution that I used. Well, okay, I used Ubuntu for a while. While I enjoyed Ubuntu's ease of use, there was just this something that I was looking for.

I guess it's because that I'm a do-it-yourself'er type of guy. I really don't like it when I have no say on what's going on from the onset. Not that I'm saying that Ubuntu isn't good (it is!), it's the lack of choice at the onset that probably turned me off (not to mention Gnome). Ubuntu is prepackaged with what the developers feel that a typical desktop user would need. Most notable of which are:

Which is all that your typical user needs. I forget which multimedia player was included, but like I said, I only used it for a little less than two weeks. And this was the Warty the Warthog release, which was a little rough around the edges (okay, okay, I ran Hoary for about a day, but that was about it).

Anywho, what really makes me wonder is (ease of use questions aside), the Slackware community is all but invisible! And yet, in the months that I've been monitoring the rankings on Distrowatch (since last year), slackware never goes up or down. It's always steadfast between rank 8-10. To me, this just shows that the slackers are out there, but the question remains, in that Where are they?

Rolling back to Software Freedom Day, I remember meeting some fellow slackers. Security freaks, and more of the loner types (well, so am I).

Could it be possible that Slackware users are indeed loners? In all this time, I've known two slackers personally, maybe another handful from online, but the rest? It seems everyone and their brothers are on Debian, or Redhat, or Suse or Gentoo (or their derivatives, if available).

I'm not griping. I'm all for the freedom that F/OSS gives to it's users. It's just that I wonder. Where are they?

That the Slackware community is active is not in question, after all Linuxpackages is alive solely because of the contributions of Slackware users. Also, the official Slackware forum is located at Linux Questions. But still, the feeling of community is somewhat missing.

On occasion, the Ubuntu community makes me envious. From all appearances, they're one of the most dynamic groups of people around. Mostly friendly (I have yet to find one that isn't), and very active everywhere. Much like the Debianites, from which the fount of Ubuntu doth swelleth.

So, I therefore conclude (and until I otherwise manage to disprove it to myself), slackware users are loners. Much as I'd like to participate in the workings of other communities, I've already laid down my stake with slackware. And I guess, after the longest time, it's time to give back.

Now, where did I put those programming books?

Just to backtrack a little though, it's not that I don't like Gnome. It works well enough for what it needs to do. It just doesn't suit me. I still find that either fluxbox or enlightenment do well enough for me.


On Death and Dying

Less than 10 minutes from this posting, I found out that my stepfather (the father of my younger sister) died. No news yet as to what cause - just that. He died.

I don't really remember much of him. He came into my life when I was about 13 or 14, when I didn't really give much of a f*ck about much of anything. What I do remember was that he made me laugh a lot, which says a lot about that man. Few things truly amuse me, even to this day.

It's said that of any industry, clowns have the highest suicide rates. I wonder if it's true that the people who most make others laugh are actually the loneliest people around.

My stepfather was just halfway through to 60, going on 23, the way he was living.

But, yes. I assume that he was lonely. Very few people liked him (I have no idea why), and those that claimed otherwise took advantage of him (he was rich, prior to his becoming alchohol dependent).

But again, I never really knew him. I knew him for less than a year. After which point, the family had to move, and I was shuttled over to an Aunt. They went to live together. Last I knew was that he was over his bingeing days, and was trying to come clean.

I didn't know him. I really didn't. I wish I did.

Now, I can't.

Due to some violently reactionary factions in my office. . .

I decided to take off the image of a blossom on the bottom right.

Sheesh. I've always been a firm adherent of the Japanese ideal of minimalism (okay, the things I like don't exactly spark of minimal, but I'm talking about aesthetics here), and the blossom down there quite relaxes me. It wasn't very obtrusive, and fit the color scheme quite well (except for that cyan bit at the footer of every post). Unfortunately, I did receive some exceedingly violent reactions, so I've decided to remove it for my peace of mind.

Critics. Sheesh. Maybe we should hang them alongside the lawyers as well...


Talk About Coming Up Short....

I was just ready to pick up a domain for myself, and was ready to order from goddady. Earlier this afternoon, I was bean-counting, and left just enough on my debit card to cover the cost of a domain ($8.95+.25 cents). On computing, initially, i had just a little more than the necessary amount (which is just perfect, just in case things go awry), at which point, I started arguing with myself as to what domain I'd get.

Anyway, some hours later, I finally decided, and lo and behold, the exchange rate went against me... =( I came up 2 pesos short! (grumble, grumble).

Guess I'll just wait till the next payday rolls around. Then I'll pick up the domain and the space at the same time.

grumble, grumble, grumble...


Some updates, some changes, some fun

Had to roll back to the old looks for this blog, otherwise, it looks unwieldly on anything less that 1024x768 resolution, although I did increase the width of the posts, which may be tantamount to the same thing...

Anyway, for the things that have been happening...

Firstly, put another cybercafe notch in my belt. It's the second lanshop that I've fully converted to linux and OSS. The first two was rather easy, as the owner was more inclined towards open source, and actually wanted to run a pure open source shop from the beginning (he says he'd have loved to do it himself, but he freezes on the command line).

Next, after the migration, I actually managed to pay off some outstanding bills! (no extra for me...=( hmmppp!)

And after that, I spent the whole day out with my son. Just him, me, my wife and the malls (not that we actually had anything to spend...)

Now, I'm getting some proposals to, well, propose to some educational institutions to migrate to open source as well... (are cash signs popping out of my eyes? *wicked grin*)

All in all, a rather quiet week. Look's like the laptop will have to take the backburner, as I need the desktop ASAP. Oh well, this clunk old Compaq still has some life in it.

Oh, and just an interesting bit that I found, MS actually borked longhorn. It's just plain interesting that they actually came out and admitted it.

Oh, and I need glasses. My migraines are starting to kill me (you'd have migraines the size of microsoft, if you stared at a monitor at least 15 hours a day).

Anyway, that's it for now!


Things That Go Bork in the Night

I spent the last two nights migrating a friends shop to linux. Since we were pretty much just flying by the seat of our pants, we planned to make One Perfect Install and just copy the image over to the other 10 stations. Since the other boxen were identical copies of each other, it was a feasible idea.

So we made the One Perfect Installation, which took us the better part of 4 hours. Then, while imaging the Perfect Installation, thunder and lightning flashed in the toilet, the beer in our bottles started boiling, and the light started fading (no there was no power outage). And then, a sound....


It was hideous I tell you. Nothing can compare to the sound of a bork in the night. Especially if its a rush job and it happens after hours and hours of tweaking and getting the exact functionality you want, this sound will make your skin crawl...

Well, while overly melodramatic, it does make its point. No one wants things to go bork, specially in the middle of the night. But at least, we managed to finish the next day (after another two borkings though, one bios failure, and one corrupted drive). All in all, it was a good experience (rewarding too - cha-ching$$), and I got the install routine down pat.

Now, in updating linux nvidia drivers, I find that after installing the driver, the quickest way to update the xorg.conf is to run xorgsetup (as root of course).

Step by step, its go to init 3 (or 1, whichever you prefer) run the nVidia Installer, accept the TOS, and then no to the first question, and yes to everything else. After that, xorgsetup, and yes to everything. Ater that, vim (yes, I enjoy vim very much, thank you) /etc/X11/xorg.conf, and go to the line that says Load "dri". On that line, hit dd, escape, then :wq [enter]. Restart X (by going back to init 2 (if Ubuntu) or 4 (for Slackware) or 5 (for everything else), and everything is smooth as silk.

As for winex (can't call it cedega, because it's a precompiled tarball without point2play), Counter Strike runs amazing. Install HL (licensed, of course) using winex from the command line (it was winex3 for me), then the update, cs patch and the podbot addon. Start with winex3. Under the video settings, switch over to openGL, and to whatever resolution your card/screen can handle. I must say, I have never seen CS work that smoothly under windows.

Well, the 10 units didn't give much of a problem, took me, maybe 30-40 minutes per machine (excluding OS installation time of course) to configure. I'm still working on Warcraft, and some talks are ongoing regarding some wildly popular online games developer and the shop owners.

I know, I'm barely coherent. Lack of sleep does that to you. You know how it feels. Admit it. Especially you, yeah you, the shop owner.

Anyway, anyone needs an assist in migrating? Drop me an email at jdevilla (at) eperformax.com, and lets talk turkey (Metro Manila area only, please, outlying areas only by agreement).


The Price of Knowing

So this is the price of knowing. With all the raids going on, and everyone migrating to linux (well, a lot of cybercafe's anyway), it was a pleasure to start teaching newbies and welcoming them into the world of linux. Hell, I practically had a whole thread to myself at the forum I frequent.Unfortunately, the tenet that "You give them a hand, and they'll take your arm" is true.

Over the past few days, answering question upon question regarding linux, I was having fun. Eventually though, I notice that:

  • they're not googling

  • they're not listening (or reading, as they case may be

  • if they don't hear an answer they like, they get angry

  • Yeesh, now I understand why some of the veterans of the ATU forum at BBR are so cynical or such curmudgeons when it comes to giving advice.

    Over the past week, while not overly repetetive, it's all too obvious that they're long on enthusiasm, and short on patience (re: reading, research, blah). I've actually asked the mods of TPC on the requirements of writing an article for the site. Not that it'll do much good. However, if anyone does actually read that part of the site, then at least, I'll know that some of them are actually doing their job.

    If only other peoply would read the Asking Questions How-To by Eric Raymond, then maybe, just maybe, we all would have an easier time.

    Hehe, I remember the thread for the cybercafe owners. I think one idtiot tried to about 5 distro's in three days. Why? He wanted one that ran exactly like windows. And then, theres this other one on the linux thread, who is so obviously sponging off, and not even bothering to do research.

    Hell, I'm getting tired of it. But I know I won't be stopping the teaching that I'm doing. I welcome everyone into the open source fold. But if you take up too much of my time or resources, I'd just as happily kick you back out.

    I won't claim that I'm a genius with regard to linux. I just know my way around. But if you can't be bothered to learn by yourself after a few pointers, then you should learn not to bother me as well. There are many, many more who want to shift, and even more willing to take an effort to learn. These are the people I like to teach. Shout-outs to shadowblaster, drahcir-16, and many others that have needed minimal handholding after only a few cries for help. These are the folk that will go far in the linux world.

    note: If you want to view the thread at the site linked to this post, you'll have to register. It's free, so thats not a problem. However, if your native language doesn't include tagalog, that will be a big problem.


    Aftermath of Software Freedom Day

    Software Freedom Day was a blast!And the aftermath? Well, let me see...

    The night before the event, my laptop (currently a celeron 800 Compaq 1201t) decided to crash, and trash my xorg configuration. Spent a few hours that I would have otherwise dedicated to compiling stuff that I was supposed to be demoing instead. I managed to get the darn thing working again, but at 4 in the morning, my body decided to crash as well.

    At seven thirty a.m. (call time was 8 am sharp), I woke up. Ran to the event, and basically, spent a few hours just trying to keep awake and to wake up some more.

    At 9 am (event start), the DSL connection finally got installed. Lo and Behold!, my laptop didn't want to connect!!! (and i was to demo internet applications!!!)

    Well, anyway, i managed to get the darn thing running after about 15 - 20 minutes. Embarassing, to say the least.

    Anyway, the rest of the day passed rather uneventfully (except for this gay dude in my demo room, who was asking if it was okay for him to browse porn sites. Told him it was okay with me, and that he should ask the rest of the crowd first.)

    Clair had a smashing success with her demo, with the crowd huddled all around her. And she was talking about a topic near and dear to her heart (emacs).

    Mike Balcos (otherwise known as mikeb or mbalcos), founder of Slugphils ran in a bit late (after lunch, he had classes to attend) and we had an interesting discussion about OSS in the Philippines. Then wakizaki (Chris, also part of SLUGphils) was there too. Zealots for the cause, i must say. But hey, they love what they do, and are doing what they love. What's more, they love their slack! =Þ

    JM Ibanez came in after lunch as well (he had some tests, I believe). Not entirely sure what he demoed there, as I was a bit tied up with mike. It was an ineresting chat, always connected with OSS, but ranging quite far and wide. AFAIR, the latter part of JM's afternoon was spent trying to get Clair's Laptop back in working order (we have no idea what went bork that afternoon).

    Oh well, that end's one part of this years' interesting events for me. I wish I could attend the Linux World Conference, but sadly, I'm in need of a laptop more than the attendance of a conference.


    Current Events

    MS ROCKS! NOT! Well, actually, they do. With what they and the BSA are doing (trying to stamp out piracy and all). With all the raids happening, well, a large number of cybercafes here in the Philippines are starting to migrate towards Open Source. Virtually all of them would be happy to get even just Counter Strike running (which should, be a simple matter with cedega).

    Let's see, what else has been going on... well my bank account is actually growing (see right sidebar), and theres actually a spare 2 grand in the bank. It's a first for me, to say the least.

    By the way, I got a nice bit of backpack by Jansport A lapstation, worth about 7 grand here. Absolutely a beautiful piece of work, if ever I did see one.

    Fits my laptop quite well (an old presario 1201t, clunky, but still usable), is practically armored, and holds a ton of other stuff inside. One of the bigger downsides? It weighs a ton! But I love it!

    Anyway, going back to the cybercafes, well, with all of these people starting to migrate, I see a possible business venture setting these people up. Unfortunately, without a desktop to work with, I can't really tweak cedega to my hearts' content (this here lappy of mine only has a trident cyberblade video chip).

    Well, that can come after Software Freedom Day rolls around. I'm definite that quite a number of the owners will be visiting to see how things work. Right now, I really am enjoying teaching new folk to the beauty of linux (no matter how stubborn they may be), despite the fact that I've practically had to ram the line "Linux is Not Windows" down their throats several times already. It's all good. Make no mistake though, I am not a guru, nor a wiz. Not even knowledgeable. I'm also still a noob (but then again, in linux, it's all just a variance of noobdom. No one can really claim to know linux inside out, left to right, and top to bottom). I just enjoy sharing what I learned.


    Curiouser and Curiouser....

    I was just going over the blogs of some people that I met. I must say, a blog does indeed provide some interesting insights into people you hardly know. Well, I know them somehwat from the PLUG mailing list. I just wish I actually had as much time to browse what other people are thinking and planning (as much as one actually plans on a blog).

    If you'll look at one of my earlier posts Clair is one of the first to actually read up on what I've been doing. Thank you Clair!

    On a side note, clair is also into linux, and is an emacs fanatic (I hope you don't mind, Clair =Þ). Seems to be a sweet girl (and everything I've been reading from posts in the PLUG mailing list seems to point that way), very bubbly and vibrant. The one time we met is making that assumption of mine solidify.

    JM, on the other hand (I'd link you to his blog, but I'm currently not inclined to move around, although I did browse through it a bit before) is a quiet kind of guy. Hard to judge. Quite technical (I think, YMMVVM) from what I remember. But like I said, he doesn't talk much. Although, he does remind me of one of my friends back in high school (they look so very much alike). Outside of these rather subjective observations, I have no other idea as to what kind of person he is.

    Well, these two are the only ones that really got stuck in my mind (as their blogs are the only ones I have located) who are part of the SFD group (well, anothers the head honcho of the group, Sir Rick of course, but then, he was the first one that I got in touch with, and I don't think he has a blog) prepping for September 10. If you have no idea as to what SFD is, check the right sidebar.

    If by any chance, some Filipino's happen to stumble on this blog, I invite all of you to attend. It should be fun. And spread the word.

    Another Long Slow Day

    I don't normally bitch about being bored. I find that there's a lot to do and a lot to think of, even when I'm staring at a blank wall or sitting on a rock. But right now, I am utterly, totally, and absolutely bored!

    So, I'll just do some math here instead....

    Hosting costs: $59 X 56.29 php=3500 php.
    Domain: $8.95X 56.29 php= 800 php.

    What will I use it for? Well, I've finally made up my mind. I'm going to get a shared account from surpass first (the OC-5 plan). You can use two add-on domains on top of the one for yourself. 5 gigs of space, with 100 gigs of bandwidth. After a few months, and at least one client, I upgrade to their OC-10 ($159/yr) plan.

    Or, even better, I'll get my reseller from Lost In Space Hosting. I like their support (even though it was presales). Very corteous, and very accommodating. They were actually offering me a month of free trial time with no money down (well, they'd have my card on file if I did like it, but that's beyond the point). Yes, definitely. Surpass for my personal projects and hobbies, then lostinspace for my reseller "sideline".

    Tie up with this group of designers, give them access to one of the add-ons (domain is their problem, not mine). I'll host it for them, for free, relatively speaking. The condition is, if they get a client, they push me forward as a hosting provider. They get paid, I get paid, the client gets what they want. Everybody is happy.

    For the other add-on domain, I think that I'll have one of my forums migrate over there. Pinoylinux is currently being hosted at probards. They're not bad. But I'd prefer that we have our very own place to call our own. Don't you think?

    And for myself? Well, a blog, some mirrored OSS packages (like fluxbox!), and I don't know what else. What can I put up on my own site?

    Ah, well... whatever it is that I do put up... I know I'll like. Why? Because... I put it up. It's not just for me anyway. If I actually do make money, it'll all go to my sons savings account, and to maintain that little slice of business.

    I know, I know. I don't talk about my son. That's because I don't want to . My son is my life. It's private. It's mine. What we do, is for us. For me. For him. While I have him, nothing matters. It's all that counts. He's all that counts. Nothing more, nothing less.


    Hosting Reprise

    After more thought and several exchanges with support, I have come to the following conclusion:

    1. I don't have the money to take on two hosts.
    2. I want this to work.

    Lostinspace hosting provides a bigger bandwidth pipe than Surpass hosting, but is also a bit pricier. The lowest reseller plan I saw was at $12.50/mo for 5 gigs of space, plus 150 gigs of bandwidth for LIH, as opposed to 10 for 3 gig space and 30 gigs bandwidth for surpass at $10/mo.

    The big thing for Surpass, though, is that they will provide you with a separate hosting plan for free that is equivalent to your reseller account. So, if I get the basic 3/30 plan, I have 3/30 to sell, and 3/30 for myself.

    Decisions... hmmph... which one?


    Okay... I've finally chosen...

    Where to host. I just cant beat the price given by surpasshosting. $10 a month for . . . well, check their site. I just love the features. And then, for the domain, i go to godaddy! $13.something-or-other for a year, and it's private registration to boot.

    Now, to finally figure out... what in the nine hells am I going to put up? I was thinking of putting this blog there... and then, I also want to mirror some open source apps that I do like. Then, on a subdomain, probably sponsor a few up-and-coming starving (yeah right) web designers that I know. They're good. They just haven't been given a real opportunity yet. If I remember right, their site is at somnotikroom.tk. Just check it out.

    Now, as to what projects to mirror... well I can't do any of the distro's (although I'd really love to mirror slackware!) The downloads alone will kill my bandwidth... I could do the kernel.... but again, same problem. Hmmm... I wonder if Fluxbox needs a mirror? I really like that! Hmm... think... think... who do you think needs mirrors...


    I'm Sick!

    and Tired of work!

    hehehe... just kidding. I actually like my job, despite all appearances and claims to the contrary. But I really am sick right now. I must've caught my sons' flu. Feels like my head is stuffed with wool, and I can barely understand my customers emails (now, I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing).

    Good news though, Software Freedom Day is coming up. I'm both nervous and excited at the same time, being part of the Demo Booth team. I've been using linux for long enough, but I did have a rather longish hiatus without a home pc and all for a while. Oh well, good thing all I'm demoing are web apps (like firefox, ftp paraphernalia, chat clients, etc. etc.) It's going to be on September 10, by the way. Just check out the wiki for other details. It's updated on a more or less regular basis.

    *I wonder when the next IM meeting will be held.*

    Now, I wonder if I can ask my dad to foot the bill for a home pc first, and get the laptop second? At least I'll be able to toss in some linux time, and start polishing up my (few) rusty linux skills.


    Surpass Hosting

    Now here's a sweet deal if I ever did see one. Only problem I have now is how to pay. Time to get that debit card with a mastercard logo (I am not using a live credit card online!)
    Let me see.... $15 a year for the domain, $6 a month for the space (and look at that space and bandwidth!). Initial expense of roughly php1,000, and a monthly of php300... good. Very Good indeed.
    I start getting that host next month.... host this there, and a few other projects as well. Probably make a mirror for something or another as well.
    Oh... and the biggest plus is they're using linux hosts! WOOT!



    What host to use?

    I have no idea. While I fully support Filipino companies wholeheartedly, it's kind of hard to pick one. Like, take www.dragweb.net for example. I like the pricing and the payment options. Unfortunately, it's been around since March of this year. Hard to trust an entity without a track record.

    Then, theres www.techhive. com. Looks better, plus the site of a friend of mine is hosted there as well (www.halfproject.com). But the pricing is kind of steep for me, and they only have an annual payment scheme.

    Of course, I can pick an international host. But credit cards aren't exactly the easiest things to apply for here. Been trying to get myself one since I don't know how long.

    Now, you might ask, what would I host? Well, there's this blog for one. And then, I'd like to put up a small repository of linux (what else?) apps that I like and use regularly. And of course, there are some side projects I'd like to do, and having a host would definitely make it easier.

    Now, how to choose? I could of course compare pricing, and features, etc. etc. etc. But I think I'll do it the scientific way.

    Eeeny, Meenie, Minie, Moe....


    The Calm Before the Storm II

    Usually, I'm thinking deep, philosophical thoughts when I have nothing to do. Not so this time. Usually, I'm thinking about why things happen, what I could have done better, and what I should not have done. Not now.

    Today is different. Today is unique. My mind is blank. I am totally devoid of interest with anything. Not Linux, not Living, not Money, not even the debate as to whether words actually sound as they spell... I am empty of all concern.

    That's not good.


    Maybe I just need a beer.

    Maybe I need a life.

    Scratch that. I do have one. It's complicated, always topsy turvy, and never follows a regular pattern on anything. But it's a life.

    What more can I ask for?

    (*well, a lot actually, but that was a rhetorical question.*)

    The calm before the storm...

    It's always like this before the holiday season comes in (better known as the "ber" season here in the Philippines). Theres practically no work to do (not that I'm complaining that much). And then, when the holiday shopping rush starts, thats when things go all haywire.
    Can you imagine recieving over 100 emails an hour? And then, have practically 75% of those emails come from irate customers? It's not a picnic. And then, after about a month of about 1,000 emails a day, it starts piling up, and Up, and UP.
    It feels godawful when you know you're working triple time to catch up with the workload, but the wokload seems to be going 10x as fast! Coming to work with 500 email's waiting, and then leaving with 1500 waiting. It's just not fair. Last time that happened to us, we finished them all off by, oh let's see... 3 months after the holidays? Bloody nightmare.
    But it's payday today. And that alone make things feel better. Now let's see if we can save something up for the holidays, so that I can honestly say "Happy Holidays!"


    'Nuther Boring Day at Work

    Interestingly, when theres nothing to do here, I can find absolutely nothing to do or read on the net. And when we're swamped, that's wehen I remember to research this, read up on that, find out about something else.... *sigh*

    Interestingly though, I found this...

    Intel Corp.’s first dual-core chip was a hastily concocted design that was
    rushed out the door in hopes of beating rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD)
    to the punch, an Intel engineer told attendees at the Hot Chips conference

    Full story can be found here.

    Just goes to show that sometimes, leading the pack for too long, the one in the rear will bite back eventually.

    Good thing I was considering an AMD for my desktop. And even though its not going to be a dual core processor, at least its 64 bits. And I did a costing on it. A standard generic ATX case (found a nice one with 10, count 'em, 10 drive bays), video card (I'm not a gamer, so I'm happy enough with an FX5200), 80 GB Hard drive (I was thinking of springing for a 200), motherboard (Epox), processor (AMD Sempron 2500+ 64bit), 1 GB of DDR 400 (2X512), a Combo-drive (lite-on most likely, haven't made up my mind yet), a 15" LCD monitor and the minor peripherals will cost just a little shy under 35 grand (roughly $600)good enough for me. I don't need the speed bost of dual channel memory, and any of the rest that makes a really high end machine expensive. All I need is future proof.

    So what do I do now? Get the Desktop first or get the Laptop first? I must ponder this, as these are Very Important Questions that require Much Deep Thinking.

    It's Her Birthday!

    Yeesh, how stupid can I get. I totally forgot that it was my wifes birthday today (yes, the same person stipulated in item one of my previous post).

    And to think I actually greeted her last night, but forget on the day itself. Oh well. Anyway, heres a picture of her....

    It's not the most flattering picture of her available, but the others shots are scattered in my about half-dozen email accounts, or other places that I no longer recall.

    Obviously, the kid is my son, when he was about 7 months old.

    Well, happy birthday to you!

    Life Sucks seven ways from Sunday...

    1. I'm on my own (me and the wifey don't live together no more).
    2. I have absolutely nothing in my bank account!
    3. I have debts all the way up to here!
    4. After almost three years in the contact center industry, I'm still an agent!
    5. My previous company owes me six months of Social Security remittances.
    6. After earning triple the country average for almost 3 years, I still have the same clothes.
    7. I have no life to speak of.

    Well, for number one, I won't bother to expound. Just take it as it is. Although, at least, we're still on good terms.

    With regard to savings, well, look to the bottom right, under the to-do list. That's a target. So, hopefully, I'll actually have something by years end. But then again, after paying for number 3 and buying the things I need, there probably won't be anything left.

    I'm still a rank and file agent. Go figure. Well, sith happens... I just hope things change for the better this year.
    As for social security, I kinda doubt that I'm ever going to see those six months of remittances. After all, that company filed for bankruptcy 2 years ago, and then, set up another company under a different name. Can you say Fly by night?
    I'm not a fashionista myself, but I sure could use some new clothes (especially for work). My wardrobe consists of the clothes I used to wear while I was still very active in the musical underground.
    As for no time, well, that's something I can do nothing about. Actually, I do have a life, after all, I am raising a toddler. But as for the thing called a social life, I have none. And nothing even close to resembling a night life. But it's okay, I don't care. I have my son, and that's what's important. Even better if me and the wife can get together again, though.


    I Want, I Want, I Want...

    a lot of things. Aside from the laptop and the desktop (as you can see on the sidebar), now I'm thinking of getting a host to serve up this blog (not that blogger.com doesn't do it well, it's just that I'm a do-it-yourselfer kind of guy).

    powweb.com looks kinda okay. $7.something per month, for 5 gigs of space and 300 gigs of transfer (although it's kinda fishy). But if they've been around since '99, they must be doing something right. Time to ask some contacts.

    Anyway, time to start saving up for my hardware... one desktop (AMD64!!!) and one laptop!

    Now the costing for one desktop + one laptop = OUCH!

    Oh well, one thing at a time. Which should I do first? Targeted budget for December of this year is about $1,000 (roughly PHP 50,000). That should do for one. But what about the other?

    Tough decisions. Specially since these are probably the last toys I buy myself. After this, everything I earn gets put aside for my son (of course! Who else?)

    Luckily though, the sempron 64 just got released, and its retailing for less than $100 a pop here. Looks like I can actually afford it, and an LCD monitor. =D Goody, goody.

    Well, the hardware has to come first, then I'll need broadband (who doesn't really? Specially in this day and age). After that, I get some hosting, and finally start talking about what I'm constantly thinking about. No, it's not sex. It's linux (but the former isn't really ever far from my mind... *evil grin* (Hey, I'm a hot blooded male. I don't think there's anything wrong with my admission to a weakness for the fair sex...)


    A Day in the Life of an E-Mail Rep

    How many times have I had to tell a customer exactly what he/she needs by parroting what she's already read on our website?

    Jeesh... sometimes I really wonder, how in the nine hells did the US become a superpower, what with the apparent disparity in IQ levels...

    Not to disparage Americans though. They're some of my favorite people. Unfortunately, working in a support position, it seems that you'll find all the dull knives in the drawer (more as a rule than an exception). Of course, there are always some stellar geniuses writing in with more questions than I have answers or know or care to find out (who in the nine hells would be interested in the particle output of item X or the brightness in Candelas of product Y?)


    Thats my day. Everyday. Non-stop emails from the brightest of the bright, and the dimmest of the dim.

    On the bright side, at least this job does pay me almost triple the average (I believe that was on my last post), plus the incentives. And this job being what it is, I have a lot of research work to do, which means that the net is wide, wide open for me. =Þ

    At least this day is about to end already.

    And payday is at the end of the week. WOOHOO!

    Time to start saving up for them PC's (one desktop, one laptop). Target is roughly $1000 by December.

    Another Day, Another Dollar....

    or lack of it anyway.... lemme see... average income here in the Philippines is roughly $150 a month, cost of living per day (per person) is about $2, and then there's rent. Oddly enough, for a half-decent apartment, it's anywhere from $75/month (I wouldn't guarantee your health in an apartment like this though, unless you find one out in the boonies like I used to), all the way up to $400+++ (but these ones are coool!). I can't afford this one though, considering that I'm earning roughly the same amount ($400). More hunting to do over the next few months.

    Speaking of $$$ (or in my case, PHP, and no, its not the scripting language), I have to start saving up for that laptop (I'd like a Mac, but its too bloody expensive here). Maybe something in the $1,000 range would be nice. I found a few, but the money's not there yet. And to top it off, I need a Desktop as well (I can probably slap one together for $500 or less). Preferably a 64 Bit Athlon. But a high-end Pentium 4 will do (maybe 3.06 gig?) Of course the monitor has to be at least a 15" LCD (17-19" preferred).

    OS to be installed? Slackware of course! Ain't nothing comin' between me and my slack!

    Unfortunately, before everything else follows, the plan has to go around with more $$$. I need to save up about, lemme see... roughly PHP 75,000 - PHP 90,000 ($1500-$1700) to get everything in order. I guess its crackers for lunch for the next few months...

    This is the laptop I'm considering: Compaq NX6120

    Its a Compaq NX6120. Lots of bells and whistles for under $1,000.

    But I'd really love to get this: Price? oh, just around $1500...
    Acer Ferrari
    Guess the image I grabbed wasn't so good. It's an Acer Ferrari. Beautiful piece of work, and there's a new one that's made of carbon fiber!

    Unfortunately, the damn thing has an ATI Mobility graphics chip onboard. ATI just ain't my thing. And ATI doesn't play well with linux either. Oh well.

    I can still dream about it though. Maybe another time (or if Acer comes out with a unit using nVidia for graphics...)

    Starvation city, here I go!


    I cant believe this....

    I never thought I'd be doing a blog before. Just goes to show how life is. But then, I never thought I'd get a mobile phone either.

    Anyway, a journal here is just as good as a journal anywhere else (like the one I carry in my pocket everyday). Can't help it. I just have to write. And working with a PC the whole day, well, I guess it was just a matter of time.

    Let's see, what am I doing now. Laptop to save up for, save up for my kids schooling, as well as a college fund (he's only a year and a half old right now). Then of course, a decent apartment, etc. etc. etc.

    Things would be easier if my wife was around though.