Older blog entries for nymia (starting at number 409)

2 Jan 2002 (updated 2 Jan 2002 at 11:16 UTC) »
Borrowed Laptop

Managed to borrow a laptop and finally got to enter a journal entry for today. Overall, things have been fun and enjoyable, with nothing happening one the computing front. Might get into it next week though.

Muchissimo Gracias

Spent the New Year here at the Bay Area, visiting the in- laws. Celebrated the New Year by having the Media Noche.

Id Animii

Stumbled into something interesting about the Latin word 'anima.' Will continue collecting information about the idea surrounding it.

Argentina

Been following the news about what is going on in Argentina. A lot can be learned from how it ended that way. It might serve as a warning sign for the third world. I would greatly appreciate if somebody here could point me to a discussion site where I could read opinions about it. Spanish and English is fine though, think the Argentine language is much better and more meaningful to read.

MSCS

Talked to my folks about the idea of taking the MSCS course this year. Got a negative on that one, might get support if I take Law though.

X Grammar Support

Thought of setting up a maintenance support shop for dead languages having 10 to 30 year-old legacy apps. Got the idea from a guy who got a contract about maintaining old code. The guy basically wrote a new compiler for the old code. It now runs on new hardware and a different OS. Cool.
27 Dec 2001 (updated 27 Dec 2001 at 20:32 UTC) »
Venite Adoremus Dominum

Been out for several days, mostly spent the days celebrating the season. Don't know exactly when I'll be able to start coding again, perhaps by Jan '02.

Domum Deum Videt, Oravit

This season is definitely something I must follow. It's already the tradition. Escuchemos los viejos voces.
PostgreSQL

Spent some time defining tables and sequences. Created a database for a application program we wrote back in 1993. This one is really interesting because it captures the requirements of a detergent company. It was originally written in xbase with some oracle tie-ins. Actually stumbled into the backup copy and wondered if it can be resurrrected under PostgreSQL, this time, it will run on a browser.
19 Dec 2001 (updated 19 Dec 2001 at 06:51 UTC) »
NewOS, MenuetOS

Spent some free time reading the NewOS VM code. Also played around tweaking the code, compiling to see how it would turn out. Looks OK so far.

Also spent some time reading MenuetOS code ( run32), figuring out the steps in getting the graphics mode up. Also looked at the other steps how sound, floppy, disk and mouse work.

Thought about the pros and cons of having to support both real and protective mode, thinking access to the BIOS might not be a bad idea. I suspect it would make the code fit in a 1.44MB floppy.

Latin [ 1 ]

It's been over five years now and I'm still struggling in Latin. WinLatin helped a lot, though it didn't allow me to become fluent yet. Guess I have to put more effort into it.

Guavac

Spent some time reading the parser code. Noticed the fine engineering that went into it. I admit the guavac team made a very good job coding it.
15 Dec 2001 (updated 15 Dec 2001 at 14:52 UTC) »
Dried-Up Well

Finally accepted the reality of having to let it go after trying many times. I guess it's the times. Better move on.

Demutualization

Got a letter from our 401K provider stating their intent to demutualize. Now, my worries have reached a new high after realizing my position will probably shift from stable to high risk. My bad, what is happening here? Is this a meltdown? What will happen to those who are bound for retirement? Hope they manage it well.

Practice Website

Been spending a lot of time building a simple website . Managed to create a site devoted specifically to a small community (OFWs) scattered all over. Might spin it off to a real interactive site if it turns out positive.

NewOS, MenuetOS

Spent some time figuring out VESO 2.0 in run32.asm, thinking it can be ported to the NewOS code. Might take some time to figure it out though.

Labor, Capital & CEOs

Been looking for and collecting information on why the hell a lot of laborers are still getting pink slips. Will definitely figure it out soon enough. Think Karl Marx and Adam Smith might have some ideas behind this phenomenon.
Corporate libertarians maintain that the market turns unrestrained greed into socially optimal outcomes. Smith would be outraged by those who attribute this idea to him. He was talking about small farmers and artisans trying to get the best price for their products to provide for themselves and their families. That is self-interest, not greed. Greed is a high-paid corporate executive firing 10,000 employees and then rewarding himself with a multimillion-dollar bonus for having saved the company so much money. Greed is what the economic system being constructed by the corporate libertarians encourages and rewards.
--Korten
Shocked

Got shocked after stumbling into this cartoon on Arabnews.

Reply

Hey mbp, that's an interesting link.
10 Dec 2001 (updated 11 Dec 2001 at 07:39 UTC) »
Crossing Over

Just wondering how John Edward could feel presence of souls. Currently collecting information about it. But some say his methods are quest ionable.

Made me wonder how society's gays and lesbians end up in the afterlife. Know what? it ends up all the same.
The message that did come through on all NDEs was the message of 'love'. [2]
Here's another article about crossing to the next.

But the real crossing over seems to happen everyday for people who want to change their lives.

Goto

Thought of implementing a feature that would allow control to jump from one procedure to another. Would that make sense? That would be an interesting experiment though.

Reply

I response to tk's. I write a lot of things, mostly to myself. Sometimes I post it and sometimes not. The one I'm writing is definitely for myself, it's only a paper about observations and comments based on those observations. Though the paper I'm writing may have some value, I personally think they don't have any value for the simple thing they're just collected from the Net, aggregated in simple paragraphs.

About the 'smashing' thing. I just found it on the Net and posted it there, thinking that the idea was closest to the one I was writing. If I had written it, it would be written in another way. Not like that, but since the idea was there, I had to take to save some typing effort. You were correct on your comments and I agree to it. The article was a bit radical and not mainstream, IMO. Some people will definitely get offended though.

Regarding the seed, I think writing logically is a way of planting seeds. In my case, I write to see if I'm logically correct and post it somewhere in the Net. Good ideas grow given the right situation. Existence of an idea about Linux in the Third World is enough to be called a just cause. Resulting in the realization of something, maybe a Linux-like implementation of an internet enabled device. To begin it, a cause must exist.

Some comments on tk's article. By removing the ideal, man is basically left with nothing but his environment and a set of instincts. Where does reasoning fit in? Does that mean instincts are capable of reasoning?

Ideals cannot be separated from man for the simple reason it is part of man, inherent. Though some men can successfully hide and train men to behave based on instincts, that doesn't mean an ideal is eliminated forever. Men may act based on instincts, but the urge to reason out and form complex structures in his mind will always be there. Ideals, whether we like it or not, play a large role in the formation of structures. It provides man how mental structures become physical. Though instincts provide that as well, however, ideals provide more.

Regarding RMS and ideals, to me, it seems more likely RMS has placed emphasis on ideals and the environment, completely ignoring the instinct of gathering food to provide for self-sustenance. IMO, that is another example of imbalance that only certain persons can adhere to, completely losing a large part of being human, capable of living, thinking and surviving in a given environment. A pseudo altruism replaced what used to be a way of earning a living, as a result of the 'free' cause.

RMS, being the uncompromising one in the FSF cause, IMO, is only promoting a trust system based on source code. While RMS would like to see a world filled with GPL'd software where code is free, he is, in another way, rejecting some parts of the trust system based on money which most of us (working in proprietary code) heavily depend on.

It may look anti-FSF, actually, I just don't agree on the one aspect of clear cut separation of GPL'd and proprietary code.
9 Dec 2001 (updated 10 Dec 2001 at 00:44 UTC) »
Linux In The Third World

Been looking for information to justify the presence of an internet enabled device for farmers in the agricultural sector. After spending two hours, I finally stumbled into it.
There is now a project with Rapa Lopa, Al Alegre and others on providing e-mail and internet access to small farmers in different parts of the country. A major purpose of this effort is for them to know market prices around the country. This way they are not completely dependent on price quotes from middle men. They can counter with price quotes from the markets in the cities. Who needs this information? Corn growers Bukidnon and Cotabato need to know before they sell to middle men. Cut-flower growers in Cagayan de Oro and Davao need to know the market demand in Manila and Cebu. Fishermen in Pagadian and General Santos need to know market demand for tuna or shrimp in Manila restaurants. [1]
This could be ticket in connecting the smallest farmer to the ultimate buyer, eliminating the middleman. I think this framework will work in third world countries. It could be the answer to the never ending saga of price manipulation.

Only the cheapest solution will work in this kind of environment. No small farmer can afford spending $200 for an XP box. It's very clear how the next couple of years will be about the growth and expansion of Linux in these types of regions.

Now, if only Linux can be dumbed down, things could turn out much quicker, IMO.
E-Commerce thus accelerates the social disruptions that have already been going on. If the industrial revolution created massive flows from countryside to cities, changed feudal relationships to worker-capitalist relationships, brought about communist revolutions, etc. what might be the shape of a future created by e-commerce? An acceleration of a process which has already been going on:
C Compiler

Currently working on the C grammar, figuring out how the parse tree will finally look like. I might use one struct with tons of union within it. Think it's much easier to put all of them there. The ADT will probably easier to maintain that way though.

Reply

In response to tk's entry , tk raised very good question of which I have no answers. There are a lot more things to consider too complex for any individual to solve. I don't know, actually, I'll just continue looking for more information until I create a good paper supporting the idea.

Those questions tk raised will be answered, not today, not tomorrow, but it will eventually get answered. These farmers will see how these devices will work for them, not against them.

One thing is for sure though, it will take years, maybe centuries to make it all happen. But it must start now, seeds must be planted, like a mustard seed planted in a fertile soil, so to speak.
It is time we stopped making excuses for the backward and fetishizing the stagnant. We need to help these people. If that means smashing a few cultures which are little more than 20th century, Southern Hemisphere versions of Vikings, so be it. How we smash them is the subject of another column. [1]
8 Dec 2001 (updated 8 Dec 2001 at 07:48 UTC) »
Birth Of The Unix GUI Hacker

Spent some time figuring what type of hacker would be needed to take Unix or Linux to the masses. After stumbling into a webpage, I realized a new kind must be born.
The hacker would agree that smoothing the Unix learning curve for Windows users wouldn't hurt, as long as this "smoothing" does not restrict the Unix hacker. Ultimately, the traditional hacker is unconcerned with what goes on in the arena of the girls, suits, and lusers. At this point, the Unix culture becomes bifurcated -- a new kind of Unix hacker is born, the GUI-oriented Unix developer. The traditional Unix hackers will stay put in their command-line, character-mode world, while the new Unix developers will enable the extension of Unix to the new world of potential users. Unix does have a chance in the platform wars (measuring vigor in terms of number of users, not technical merits) -- not by completely eliminating the old hacker's UI, the Unix shell, but rather, by adding a higher-visibility developer community: a new kind of Unix developer who is adding a Windows-like UI and opening up Unix to the masses. [1]
This person is well-versed in GUI terminology. Will speak words differently from a normal backroom hacker, with a personality that can get any ordinary everyday user hooked into the Unix GUI in a short period of time.

IT Job Market Implosion

It looks like the well is about to dry up. Might as well start figuring the alternatives. Queried several jobs banks and all I got was very disappointing numbers. Tough times indeed for software developers. People at headoffice say the market is slow and will be slow in the foreseable future. Now I'm not so sure if I can continue with what I have been doing for years. I'm going to miss it if I'm going to shift to another type of work. Maybe it's just a way of letting go and moving to another kind of job. I'll definitely be programming, but, it's going to be a little different though. There's one word to describe it and it's called Famine.
6 Dec 2001 (updated 6 Dec 2001 at 10:38 UTC) »
The Great Linux-Windows NT Debate

Stumbled into another interesting site. One thing I noticed about it was the type of users belonging to NT and Linux. I'll not mention them here for obvious reasons. I would be preaching to the choir in that case though.

Linux And Philosophy

Here is another interesting site. Not really recommended for those who aren't into philosophy.

A Timeline of Western Philosophers

Don't even try clicking on it.

Innate Things

I have strong reasons to believe algorithms are not patentable simply because it will prevent further discoveries from happening.
Noam Chomsky has proposed that grammatical structures, though not ideas, may be innate. [1]


Designing the Linux for the Masses

Click the link if you believe Linux is for the masses. Otherwise, hmmm, scroll down?

Flip-Floppers

Currently gathering information on who were/are these personalities in both Linux and Windows that committed "Flip-Flopping." I'll post it next time. Well, here are some of them: 1, 2

Linux, Open Source, Free Software and the Philosophy of Ayn Rand

If you believe that the total triumph of the GPL would mean the death of programming as a profession, click here

The Modern Crusade

Warning: don't think of even clicking it if most of things you see on TV are good and cool. This one will definitely bring you down. If you know what I mean. If you don't want to see dead kids, don't get in. History is repeating again, I guess.
5 Dec 2001 (updated 5 Dec 2001 at 11:01 UTC) »
Par adox of the Active User [1]

Stumbled into an interesting article about users and their behavior. It looks like the future will probably be not that different since our current behavior dictate what tools and devices are going to proliferate in the next decade. With that in mind, I might as well hope things will improve incrementally toward the common good.

Does that mean the gap between Unix and Windows will widen enough to create a set of reality for each? Will users be forced to choose between Unix and Windows way of doing things? The answer might be found in the Paradox of the Active User, IMO.

With the emergence of a global network known as the internet, users who were disconnected before, or as I might say marooned on an island, suddenly became connected by a bridge called the internet. Resulting in the emergence of a conflict between differing standards. Things like keystroke and mouse behavior suddenly became an issue. Each camp with its own way of performing a task are now going head-to-head against the other. It looks like a huge battle is raging, actually it is, with no clear winner in sight.

Will this battle rage until a single standard emerge? From the looks of it, I think the winner will be the one with the most soldiers (users that is). The statement below show Windows users outnumbering Unix.
One key finding: Since similar research was conducted in October 1994, Windows has replaced Unix as the predominant computer operating system for those browsing the Web. [2]
Would new tools coming from a minority camp enough to change the Windows population, significantly increasing the Unix side? I don't think that is possible given the human irrational behavior. So, the word compromise comes to mind here as stated by a Unix HCI expert from SUN.
So what do we expect our future user population to look like? Probably some mixture of both types of user, plus a few complete novices who will start computing with GNOME. Will the mix be biased in one direction? If we have our way, yes, computer users worldwide will abandon Microsoft wholesale and take up GNOME instead. But realistically it will probably be a slow ramp, with the percentage of Windows users growing gradually. Given that there really is UNIX under the covers, and the various UNIX tools are probably not going to evolve towards the Windows keybindings, I would recommend that we compromise.
[3]
Again, the Paradox clearly asserting itself in this situation where new tools must follow old ways.

A lot has been happening around this issue. One being how these differences can be reconciled in one package. But it seemed these efforts are being met by strong criticisms. Statements made by this one clearly say how some developments in Linux are misdirected.
The great irony is that just as Microsoft is bolting on more and more network features onto it's paper-centric PC system, the Unix world, which has already figured out how to operate in a networked environment has forgotten its heritage and is struggling to recreate the tired old desktop suite on Linux. While Linux may need the equivelent of Word to grow in today's desktop market, it's ludicrous for them to forget all the tools needed to operate in a networked environment. Unix users have already done all the intellectual heavy lifting in this area, and should port that thinking to the GUI instead of creating shadows of paper-era applications. [4]
Personally, I think the last comment missed something and I will not mention them here, though there are grains of truth in there as well.

While it is true both camps are slugging it out, they both seem to be going on the same direction. Could it be possible the path to the destination has already been taken by the MAC-OS? I don't know, I never had a Mac in my life and won't be having anytime soon though. Maybe they already did?

To arrive at a conclusion, several points come to mind:
  • Produce imitations of popular tools.
  • Eliminate documentation by making applications user- friendly.
  • Wrap tools in a standardized way, like adoption of CUA
  • Literally produce a tool any 7 year old can instantly use.


Winterspeak.com

Here's another place I stumbled into. Zimran's views seems to be mainstream except for some items that I consider "radical." While I don't mind some of his views, I do find some of his claims somehow lacking strong support.

401K

Looking from here, it looks like I can finally say I was right to move all of them out from the aggresive growth into the stable category. Next step is figure out when is the right time to get aggressive again.

The Changing Face Of Capitalism

Been theorizing lately about how capitalism will be undermined and re-tooled to fit the next global economic step. Currently collecting information, nothing conclusive so far. I'm hoping the end result of this research turns out well.

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