Aquarium Blog

Friday, October 31, 2003

Extreme rhetoric

This is my comment to a very interesting blog piece by someone called Diego Dovall, that I found trough Scoble.

Diego,

I liked your little essay a lot. There are plenty of things to think about in it, and your writing style rocks.

I think you are right about Microsoft. I am among the ones that don’t hate them even when I don't like everything they do.

While my mother and my aunts are free not to care about Microsoft, I work in software, and I usually find reasons to care. I have been a developer working with Microsoft technologies for seven years, and I have sometimes been seen as a Microsoft zealot by my peers. I am not, I swear! As a friend of mine who programs in Java likes to say, I know that what I have with Microsoft is, to some degree, just a new form of Stockholm syndrome ;)

I am updating my resume right now, because I need to switch to another job. Sometimes, I must admit, I am a bit afraid to emphasize my specialization in Microsoft technologies. On one side, it is a great way to filter the best job proposals. But sometimes I feel that if I appear not to hate Microsoft enough, someone will paint an M$ sign in my forehead. On the other side, I know that if I say I hate Microsoft to the right people, I will get plenty of slaps in my back and the confirmation that I am among the good guys.

I have always made my best effort to keep a very balanced and sensible position about Microsoft and software technology in general. Every time I get to argue about these topics, I say: “Ok, let’s not talk about religious issues please; this is just technology after all”. But I usually get an overwhelming dose of extreme rhetoric anyway. It is so tiresome, and it makes it so impossible to talk about the facts!

This is Latin America here. Commercial software has always been too expensive for the average income, and hating Microsoft (or maybe just saying that you hate Microsoft) is just a matter of fashion among the IT staff in many companies. Many politicians are willing to sign laws to restrict the buying of Microsoft software in the Public Sector.

So, my point is: while ordinary people like us can still take whatever position about Microsoft, or not position at all, there is increasing pressure to narrow our choices.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

How many rectangle triangles do you know that have integer size sides?

When I was a child, some time after I have learned about Pythagoras theorem and a little trigonometry, I became completely fascinated by math. It is not to say I was brilliant in it. Even when I was probably above the average, the issue was that I was really fascinated. As expected, very soon I got the book "The Man Who Counted" in my hands. In the beginning it wasn't me, but my mother who read the short stories in loud voice.

I had of course some other people that influenced in my taste for math. Among them was my father, also one of his friends, Luis Fornero, and finally my first year math teacher in the secondary school, professor Nadal.

By the middle of that first year, my schoolmates already called me Pythagoras. As before, I think the issue wasn't that I was brilliant in anyway, but because I was fairly annoying. I got my fame for telling my fellows about some mathematical curiosities they didn't want to know about, like the golden section, the Fibonacci series, the Tartaglia's triangle, and some integer size rectangular triangles besides the classic 3-4-5.

During my years in the university my performance in math was also above the average (even when I didn't get above average scores in two of the exams I had). But by the time I already knew that I was just a computer programmer with a taste for math.

I am testing posting directly from Newsgator blogger plug-in. Wahoo!

Windows forms in angle brackets

XAML (pronounced zammel or something alike) seems to be related to what many (including me) had in mind in the old (and glorious) dotnet mailing list. I couldn't be more happy with it.

Finding my post about that idea in the list reminds me how enthusiastic I was in participating in the dotnet list. It was very exciting to be able to interact with people fully involved with .NET inception like Omri Gazitt, Brian Harry and Mr. Anders Hejlsberg himself!. However, now I regret almost everything I posted there, and I have the feeling that I was too naive and optimistic. Somehow I got the silly idea that I knew what I was talking about.

Monday, October 27, 2003

PDC 2003 on blogsphere

I am intensively following the PDC blogs since yesterday. Today Drew Marsh and Scott Hanselman blogs are very useful. It is amazing to attend the PDC through them. It is almost like being in the last row of seats inside the conference room.

Comments by Haloscan

Today I found about Haloscan blog comment system in The Scobelizer. What a nice thing! The fact that it is so easy to integrate in your blog makes me thing that everything else is going to be easy. It also makes want to (re)invent something useful to put in my template.

I think I have a long record of discovering cool things early and adopting them almost too late.
As with everything else, I hope I overcome my handicap with bloggin as I usually do with other things.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Heh, I am back...

Looking at the left pane in blogger's main page the title of a blog catch my eye: Figuraciones. Immediately I guessed this guy likes some of the same musicians as me (like Luis Alberto Spinetta), and probably some of the same writers (like Julio Cortazar). I spent around 10 minutes reading his blog. I don't know his name, I only know he is Argentinean like me, he lives in Buenos Aires (I never did), he seems to be younger (I was too), he seems to be studying philosophy or sociology (as I did for two years) and he likes Jean Paul Sartre (I do). His blog is in Spanish. His blog is way cool! It makes me regret a little my decision to blog in English.

I am playing with this idea: Besides his originality, this guy is at some point not to different in his decision three as I was in 1989. So if he does things differently (in example, he succeeds in his sociology studies or whatever he is studying, and he writes his blog in Spanish), then nobody will miss if I didn't. It is a very difficult "thinking/feeling" to explain: It's as if the Universe has been in balance all the time even I when I made those decisions. Add the feeling that I am less alone to this.

Matrix on IRC

Well, another post wont hurt. I found about the un-telligence test by googling on INTP and then going to Matthew Davey blog. He seems to be an INTP blogger too, and his blog is way cool. I have just found a reference to this "The Matrix on IRC" in his pages. LOL! I will finish tomorrow with it. I really need the sleep.

A different kind of intelligence

Here there is another, less serious test, The un-telligence test. And here are my results:

"You kick ass."

You have a knack for greatness. For the record,you are:

80% Un-telligent!
which is significantly higher than the current average of 60%

Here is the custom report of your personality that led our team of geeks to conclude (with confidence) that you are resourceful, sly, and guaranteed to get away with everything:

"The subject shows an astounding level of intelligence, and his sense of observation is one of his best qualities. Considering this, he shows a lot of potential, but that's only part of the equation.

"Finally, the subject displayed a great (and somewhat perverted!) sense of humor, a decent and respectable sense of morality, and a hot shot self-confidence. The balance of these three traits is important; high levels of confidence, medium levels of morality, and a good level of humor make for the strongest individuals."

Final Score: 80% Un-telligent


Now I really need to stop with this quiz madness. I have something better to do: sleep!

IQ

As expected the test was a lot of fun. I liked the unwrapped figures questions a lot. I haven't seen anything like that before. I made one very lame mistake, and I wasn't able to solve a couple of questions beacause of my lack of English mastership, but I still scored 127 which qualifies me to belong to the society. I wish I could ask Chris if the U$S 50 + that this costs really worth it. I guess his answer will be to invest the bucks in his book which is not a bad idea.

.NET Wonder

One of my favorite .NET bloggers lately is Chris Sells. He is so cool, just look at his face and you will see.

He seems to be so smart that Don Box's team only need to discuss with a natural size cardboard of Chris to help them find solutions for some very though software design problems ;) Those guys are all so much fun!

Mm... Do I look like I am flattering them too much?

Ok, here it says that Chris is actually a member of the International High IQ Society. Nice, I wanted and IQ test too... Did I tell you about this self-confirmation need? Already? Really? Oops, sorry man.

Last thing about this INTP thing, I promise...

The first time I head about this personality classification was a month or so ago when my wife Adriana met some human resource consultans that were working on her office. They took everybody in her office these and other tests and back at home, she tough me about it. My sister is a psychologist, one of my best friends of all life (sorry for not communicating very often with you, Ricardo) is a psychologist. I have been myself in therapy (for a short period of time, a long time ago, and I've never been crazy, ok I am not anymore, I swear ;) and I have read some texts that I would consider very "technical" in psychology. So, when I heard of this "too simplistic" classification I was completely suspicious of it. But after we arrived to the conclusion of what personality type I was, Adriana began to read some of the common characteristics of NTs. This one made me fall on my knees laughing: "When somebody express admiration for something you do routinely, you immediately get suspicious of his/her hidden agenda" (more or less). The descriptions went on and on, and we had a lot of fun. Of course I think there is a lot more in a personality than I, E, N, S, T, F, P, J, and I have seen some material online that looks too much like horoscopes based on the personality types. But I still think there is a lot of value in this classification. At least, since I learned I am an INTP I have discovered some things about my personal needs that seemed to be buried under meters and meters of extroversion disguise. Adriana and me have found our son to be introverted too and that has helped us a lot to set up the self-confirmation that he wasn't receiving from his extroverted teachers at the nursery school.

Next time I heard about it was next week in one (or many) of the .NET bloggers I usually read. They seemed to found about it almost at the same as me. And they found many of them to be ENTJs, which is supposedly also Bill Gates type. One of them suggested Microsoft should replace their current lengthily interview process with only the personality type. So if you are ENTJ, you can be a Microsoft employee. What a disappointment! ;)

Saturday, October 25, 2003

I want comments!

If I give somebody the address I think I will want to do more advanced things here, like collecting comments. I wonder which is the best way to do it. I think there must be some way for other bloggers to know when they are being referenced. Wow, this is a large new world of things to learn. Nice!

Still top secret

Which reminds me that I never told anybody but my wife and one of may coworkers that I have a blog. And I have yet to give them the URL ;) I am so shy! Ah, did I tell you that I am INTP? ... Oops, oh yeah? How many times already?

About the way I read blogs

I spend more and more time reading blogs when I am online. I realize that I am not using RSS or any special blog reader. I usually start in Google, from there to Don Box's Spoutlet and from there I follow the links. Sometimes it is not Don Box, but some other .NET developer inside or outside Microsoft. A couple of years ago, when .NET didn't have a big presence in blog space, I used to start from Dave Winer's Scripting News. There I knew about Scoble, which I still love to read very often. By the way, I have lots of fun reading Don Box, Chris Sells, Chris Anderson, Miguel de Icaza, and many others. It is always refreshing and self confirming to sink in a world of geeks. That is something I unfortunately can't do very often (that is outside my family cause my wife is a geek, just not a computer geek, and my son happens to be also a geek, but he is only 2 years old now;). I am almost sure I am the only blogger in my block, I am the only blogger from in my original neighborhood, I am the only blogger in several square km, I am the only blogger among my friends, I am probably the only blogger I have ever met.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Hey, I am Debian!

At least I am not Windows Me ;)
You are Debian Linux. People have difficulty getting to know you.  Once you finally open your shell they're apt to love you.
Which OS are You?


Office 2003 launch

I went to Office 2003, SBS 2003 and Exchange 2003 launch a couple of days ago. The event itself was rather flamboyant. They mounted it to look like some kind of military operation: "Operation Workplace Freedom". Almost every Microsoft employee was wearing uniforms, marching, shouting orders, obeying... Disgusting. Ok, maybe I am being too INTP ;) It was, after all, a marketing event to cheer up Microsoft partners. I like the products themselves a lot, and I really like what Microsoft does for their partners. I think the company often struggles not to betray their partners and developers, even when they are so fierce with competitors. But I hate it when they make difficult to tear up the marketing stuff and get to the real meat. I'd love to go to the PDC that's it, but I can't. Or maybe this guy is right and PDC doesn't worth it? Nahhh, no way.

Hey! So far blogging feels great

I have been in continuous brain dump for two hours and I have lost sense of time. And I still have something else to say! But I have some other goals to pursue today.

Out of luck with Debussy

Just checked some online bookstores and I cannot find "Claire de Lune" or for that matter, any other Pierre La Mure book. Are they considered good books? Do I care? I only found that Peggy Lee got the rights to produce a movie based on "Claire de Lune" in year nineteen seventy something and worked on the script for more than two years. I wonder if I had ever heard anything by Peggy Lee? Is she considered a good singer? Is there a biographic novel about her? Do I care? ;) I am sure she wanted to play Gaby in the movie. Looks like Peggy Lee didn't have Salma Hayek's luck (I know Salma doesn't consider herself lucky, but I think she is).

About my taste for artists biographies

I know, both movies are based on true lifes of outstanding artists. I realized that I liked this kind of stuff when beeing a teen I read "Claire de Lune" by Pierre La Mure. I can't remember who put that book on my hands. Was it my mother? All I know is once I declared I liked Claude Debussy music a lot, I got the book, and I loved it. I wonder if I would like to read it again. I haven't heard "La Cathédrale engloutie" in years and I don't remember when was the last time I finished a novel, only that it was Kundera's "The Unbearable Lightness of Being".

Frida

The next movie was "Frida". Lots of pain and fun. The movie was simply gorgeus for me. I can see why Salma Hayek worked so hard on the project and I am glad that she got it right with the director. Not only the story is great (a true love story between a toad and a pave), the acting is really good (Salma is great, Alfred Molina is credible, and also are Edward Norton, Ashley Judd, Geoffrey Rush, Valeria Golino), the movie even shows something new and significant (at least for me) with the 3D paiting effects.

The Pianist

I saw two very nice movies in the last days. First was Roman Polanski's "The Pianist" . Probably the saddest movie I've seen in my life. But also beautiful, very well acted, and in the end, a "hope booster". In 2003, hate, war and genocide are still matters of this world. I spent the next day thinking how would I feel if my son had to pass hard times like those. I know I would do ANYTHING to avoid it.

12 days without blogging

I knew it were going to be difficult for me to keep a blog when I began. But I am still here.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Top ten reasons I started my own blog?

Well, I still need to think about it, but here are a few:

1. I want to practice my written English. I guess I could write my blog in Spanish, but that would take half my motivation away.

2. Lately I spend more and more time online reading blogs. I am beginning to feel the need of participating in the conversation. I am the kind of person that could never keep a blog. When I write email, even a quick reply, I usually review what I write at least five times. Many messages don't get sent at all, and sometimes I am left with the feeling that what I wrote should have been avoided. When I talk, it is the same, only that I have to decide faster. It is a refreshing challenge to do what I wouldn't normaly do.

3. I have heared that Microsoft is hiring every guy that has a blog, works with Web Services and knows .NET. The downside is that you need to be kind of super expert in those matters, and you need to be an ENTJ or at least an INTJ personality type. I am just a beginner with .NET and Web Services, and I am definitively an INTP type. I guess most INTPs in Microsoft triple my I.Q. and work in the Theory Group at Microsoft Research. Anyway, now I know that it is just a matter of kissing the right person to get in ;)

4. Once in a month or so I have an opinion about something that is not related to computer technology at all. It can be about some music I like or dislike, about a website that I found, about some political event that scares me, something I saw in the street or even more rarely, a book I want to read. I like the idea of keeping track of my thoughts, so I can remember who I am, moreless.

5. I live far from my parents, far from my brother and sister and their families, far from many relatives and friends I love. I live far from almost everything but my son, my wife and some new great friends. I thought that writing a blog could help me get more together with those people, but I am not sure this will work. At least they will have some fun reading it translated to Spanish by Google or Altavista.

Well, I cannot think right now of reasons 6 to 10. At least it is a start.