October 31, 2004

Unexpected downtime

FreePgs experienced an unexpected downtime the last two days. All directories were deleted, luckily I had backups.

I'm on again!

October 27, 2004

100 facts against Bush

Are you still undecided if you should give your vote for Bush or for Kerry?

Well, look over these 100 facts and 1 opinion and don't even think of giving him your vote anymore!

This list contains many facts why the Bush Administration is one of the worst possible ones for the US. And every fact has links to official or media sources which prove their point.

I can't remember that there have been so many anti-president campaigns and actions and projects for any other previous president before... I hope this is not for nothing...

October 26, 2004

OS04 impressions and illness forecast

Sorry for not posting immediately butattending OS04 took until late in the evening and after that I didn't think about blogging.

The OS04 was quite interesting and one of the best things of all was the keynote from Jon "maddog" Hall. In general he compared programming with creating art, how he came to programming free software, how he came in contact with Linux and lots of small anectodes from his life. The fact that his speech took three times as long as planned (90 instead of 30 minutes) and nobody really cared about that speaks for itself.

Later I watched the presentation of the Irrlicht Engine, an open source realtime 3D engine written in C++. The real cool stuff about it is that it is possible to open and display a Quake III level and be able to float through it in roughly 5 lines of code. Whew...

Next point was "Soft Migration" where a nice lady spoke about how to migrate business applications used in companies to open source alternatives. She had good points about the migration but later she got lost trying to explain why it is bad when a state founded "knowledge center" tries to help the open source community and that it is good when a private company would do exactly the same. For me it seemed that she had a simple impression from how the economy and community interactions work. Almost too idealistic...

Moagg was next on my list, a cave-flyer game project created and programmed by one of my work colleagues. Looks fun!

In the next unit we hear about what to take care of when you replace your Windows NT Primary Domain Controller (PDC) with a Samba server. Easiest way works with three clicks in Suse Linux.

Staying in the same room after that talk brought us to "Quality criteria in software projects" by Dr. Klaus Schmaranz. He talked about a large scale EU-pushed project which failed not because of technical but because mainly of management incompetencies. This failure could have been prevented when the management would have recognized some well-known software project guidelines which are already existing almost thirty years...

The talk almost seamlessly continued with a presentation of Extreme Programming and its pros and cons from the view of the referee. Was followed by an active discussion of how extreme programming could be applied in common corporate environments. The referee was quite surprised by the feedback which he isn't getting from his studends normally. Well, thats the difference between theory and practice ;)

This last talk ended at about 19:00 and altough there were still points on the list but I decided to skip them...

All in all it was very interesting event, and I'll look forward attending the OS05 next year.

I also found other impressions from the OS04 on the net: Alfie's OS04 report

October 21, 2004

Computer nonsense

Today my mail computer was changed. Instead of a 800MHz/256MB AMD K6 machine I now have a 2.8GHz/512MB P4 which enables me to wait for the global Exchange server ten times as fast as before. Yeah!

But my development machine is still unchanged at 800MHz/384MB AMD K6.

Since I'm not permitted to switch the purposes of both machines but only to boot a second OS on the Mail machine (loosing my ability to read mail) . I found following half-legal solution: 1.) grab one of our VMWare packages and install it on the Dev-Linux on the mail machine 2.) boot the corporate image inside the VMWare

This should enable me to read mails AND develop software on the high-performance machine.

Well, but first I have to install Linux on it....

Open Source Conference

Tomorrow I'll attend the OS04 Open Source Exhibition.

I'll visit some of the lectures but especially the ones about Software Quality and Extreme Programming.

October 15, 2004

Random stuff

Just some random pieces thrown together: - had no chance to see the third debatte of Bush vs. Kerry yet, waiting at home on video tape - lots of work in the next few weeks, several releases and very tight schedules, I have doubts if we make them all without slipping schedules - again trying to rip Wikipedia down onto a DVD. Content is larger than 4.7 GB, so I'm using HTMLZip to compress the files. Causes much pain, because slow and can't write compressed file over original one. Have to hand-carve batch-scripts for >500.000 files and work around all intermediate errors - creating a DVD containing all my aeon-old games which lie around on dusty diskettes and in old backup-zipfiles on my HDDs (really old games, like Dune or WarCraft 1) including latest patches,updates and even lots of emulation-stuff. Lots of effords when digging for the latest edition or patch of >10yr. old games

October 12, 2004

80 ideas for a better world

I stumbled across a site called Aroud the World in 80 Ideas which presents 80 ideas how to improve economic and social systems. Complete with practical examples around the globe.

I just surfed through some of the ideas but found them to seem practical for many systems.

For example Idea 78: The invisible voucher suggests bringing up an "internal market" through creating some rivality between state education places. Oversimplified summary: Parents can send their children to the best school in their opinion, schools get more money when they can attract more children. So, naturally, the schools try to get better and better to get more money.

I think all of our politicans should take a look at those ideas, perhaps they find something which could be practical for us too. It has to be practical a bit because it already worked somewhere else...

October 11, 2004

Thinking about jobs

In the company where my brother works there are rumours coming up about relocating the whole production to Slovenia. Nothing official yet but the rumours are causing many thoughts around the company... Only a prototyping factory should stay here with a few workers left.

I really have no doubt that my bro' is one of the highly competent people who will stay at the current location but he thinks without doubts that the decissions who can stay won't be based on the competence of the people.

On my side I again thought a lot about how it would be to switch employee. A switch of a colleague caused that.

Well, dunno exactly what holds me left at my current company but it surely has something to do with my colleagues and with my feeling for responsibility. I want that our customers can rely on what they bought but I have some doubts that my fellows can compensate my leaving fast enough. It's not that they aren't clever enough it's just because I have burdened responsibility for so many areas on my back. And in a few of that areas I'm the only knowledge-holder in company...

October 7, 2004

Compare your election candidates

I stumbled across two great sites on MSNBC News which offer interactive and regulary updated comparisons of the two top presidental candidates: - Where do they stand? - Election scorecard - Extensive Overview (high bandwidth recommended)

These two provide great information on both Bush and Kerry and on the current state of the election race. Check 'em out!

October 6, 2004

Strange management intentions

We have some trouble with a customer not paying its bills for a project.

So our management had the idea to introduce some limitations during a maintenance update of another project with that customer without telling him what we are up to.

I don't think that this is a good idea and can make the customer quite upset if he realizes the next morning after the update that in the logfiles lines like "Limitation reached" are appearing and disturbing their operations.

This is certainly not good for our companies reputation.

There has to be another way but who in the management level wants to listen to a simple developer...

October 2, 2004

Go Kerry, go, go!

I'm so glad that Uncommitted Voters Give Kerry Nod.

I almost thought that he fell behind G.W. in the last time but these news let me hold my head up.

Yeah, hope for the civilized world still exists!

Good support from Targa

Two days ago we got the defective notebook back from support.

Everything works as expected, no problems at all. They changed the mainboard and performed a Bios- and DVD-Burner-update.

My first tries with Knoppix 3.6 are somewhat successful. It seems to support the power-saving features but I failed with suspend/standby/hibernate. Reboots when coming back from those modes...

Well, perhaps things go better when Knoppix is lying on the HDD and not running from CD.