I found this article on the fear of flying from Robert Fisk fascinating: After what I've been through, it's no wonder I have a fear of flying:
A tutorial on C# in a Wiki: here
Posted on 07 Apr 2005
Progress on the OpenOffice/Mono front, here is a screenshot from the OOo/Mono team: Sample C# program running in OOo.
Posted on 06 Apr 2005
Loved the article of Joel on Picking a Ship Date. As usual, he has various entertaining stories to make his point.
Both Red Hat and SUSE have their Linux distributions shipping every six months (Fedora Core and SUSE Professional) which in my opinion burns too many developer cycles on testing, quality assurance and documentation. Except for a few fairly obscure developer features each distribution is hardly distinguishable from the previous version.
Maybe its a good thing that these features are released on a six-month based schedule, but in my opinion they are not as important as they used to be. In the early days of Linux the the a.out to ELF migration or the libc5 to glibc migration would have every Linux user running to download the latest distribution.
A few interesting quotes:
If you have a lot of validation and unit tests, and if you write your software carefully, you may get to the point where any daily build is almost high enough quality to ship.
On reasons why you might have to change your release date, I found this painfully funny:
Or maybe a new version of the Linux kernel is coming out soon with yet another all-new system to implement packe filtering;
On new software releases that are not worth upgrading to:
Corel PhotoPaint and Intuit Quickbooks are particularly egregious examples of this; they have a new "major" verson every year which is rarely worth buying
I have a similar feeling with my Linux distros; I tend to stay with my current distribution for very long periods of time. Literally, only when forced to upgrade through dependencies I consider an upgrade. Maybe am no longer a sophisticated user.
On teaching and hackers:
But mostly because I'm a pedantic windbag who can't resist the opportunity to teach a little lesson to the younguns who think that a compiler has to generate machine code.
Based on your age you will either call this an evil hack (if you're young) or an elegant hack (if you're old);
Interesting read on blogs, IM, presence, wikis and our humanity on Adam's blog.
Mitch Kapor comments on the recent Groove acquisition from Microsoft, Mitch said something interesting:
The challenge now is whether Ray and Groove, which represent forces of architectural innovation, can have a successful impact at Microsoft, which after all, is a large (58,000 person), middle-aged (30 year-old) company. It's hard to know whether the loss of nimbleness due to size and age is a greater challenge to Microsoft than is open source.
I have finally started looking at Microsoft's Indigo, and am disappointed at it for various reasons, maybe I will write something about it later. In the meantime, I started to learn about ZeroC's ICE which seems more useful as a basic RPC framework.
Posted on 05 Apr 2005
A more comprehensive article is available on Zmag.
Posted on 03 Apr 2005
Jon has authored SharpMusique: a port of PyMusique to C# on Gtk#.
SharpMusique is a very useful tool, but in addition Jon is shipping a C# binding ("VLC.cs") to the VideoLan library. VideoLan is a cross platform media framework, so this is quite convenient for folks developing cross-plaform media apps with Mono.
The only mistake of the afternoon was allowing Nat to test drive SharpMusique while I was logged in.
An interview I did while in Turkey: here.
Scott Ritter, the weapons inspector that predicted that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has written a new article Sleepwaling to Disaster in Iran.
I enjoy reading Helen Thomas as well, her latest piece is: Screened Audiences, Fake News Promote Bush Agenda.
The day after my return from Beirut, Duncan and myself took a cab back home late at night. The cab driver was a Lebanese which overheard our conversation and suggested the book Asad of Syria: The Struggle for the Middle East.
Someone had recommended this book before. So far, the book has been excellent, non-stop reading. I am giving it five stars in Amazon.
Amazon keeps findinding ways of emptying my wallet. First the free-delivery service, and now they have added a list of books referenced by any given book. A feature that I have been properly abusing.
Posted on 02 Apr 2005
I answered a few questions for Howard Wen from O'Reilly on Mono, it covers some of the progress that we have done recently, the interview is: here
Posted on 22 Mar 2005
Francisco, one of Mono's key contributors lost his son in Iraq yesterday while he was on a patrol operation.
Our sorrows are with Paco and his family.
One of my pending email was a follow up to an email from Paco to his son a few days ago. Paquito was looking forward to come back and continue composing music and continue his graphics design work. He was composing and mixing music from the barracks on his spare time.
Update: Corrected the link above.
Posted on 21 Mar 2005
Lluis has a nice summary of the progress in MonoDevelop.
Posted on 19 Mar 2005
Coming to Beirut was a revelation, because it is completely different from what you imagine. I consider myself informed on the Middle East and on its political situation, but I was still a little bit scared of visiting Lebanon.
In the Corniche.
Edd and Yuyu both e-mailed me and told me that it was worth visiting and they eased my fears. Then I talked for a few weeks with Alaa and Hisham from the Lebanon Linux Users Group and they answered all of my pressing questions on Beirut.
Laura in the Corniche
Turns out that Beirut today is a very safe city just like any other american or european city. What makes the trip interesting is the new language and arabic scripts.
I went to Beirut after reading Robert Fisk's Pity the Nation. The book is similar to reading The Thousand Nights and a Night, it is packed with stories that span roughly fifteen years in the life of Lebanon and the civil war.
I got a haircut in Beirut. My barber asked me what I was doing there. `I am here because I read Pity the Nation' was my standard answer during my trip. He then said, ``I used to cut Mr. Robert Fisk's hair in the 80's during the civil war, he and the others staying at the Commodore Hotel''. He gave me his business card.
While in Beirut, we had the pleasure of meeting with Robert Fisk for lunch:
Laura and Robert at Lunch.
I had attended one of his lectures at MIT a few years ago, being a fan of his writing. But meeting him and Victoria for lunch was a pleasure, not only we had a great conversation, but the conversation had so much information that when I got back to our hotel I took pages of notes on what I had learned.
I told Robert the story about the guy who cut my hair, and showed him the business card. He said `Oh, yes, I remember him; I have now a new barber'.
Posing for the camera.
Our friends in Lebanon told us repeatedly that visiting the Sabra and Chatila camps was dangerous. We asked Robert about it, and he said `Nonsense, I go there every week' , `you should go; do you have plans this afternoon?'.
Robert arranged for his driver to take us there, for Mohammed to show us the camp, and for drinks later that evening at his appartment. He only warned us that we would not be able to sleep after the visit. He was right.
At the Entrance.
Victoria left us at the entrance of the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps in the hands of Mohammed. Mohammed and his sister are the sole survivors in his family from the 1982 Sabra and Chatila massacre.
At the entrance
At the Sabra and Chatila Refugee Camps.
Palestinians refugees living in Lebanon can only work in the refugee camps. The camps are bounded, they can not expand their surface, so families grow their housing by adding a new floor every once in a while as a gift to newly-weds:
Vertical Growth in Sabra and Chatila.
In addition to the work restriction, new legislation in Lebanon forces palestinian families to sell any property they own to a Lebanese if the owner passes away, they can not keep the property.
At the Entrance.
We accepted two tea invitations after much insistence, and we had dinner at Mohammed's place.
There is some limited internet connectivity in the camps, we saw one room where people were playing games and using the web, but no more than six computers.
At the Palestinian Youth Center.
We are back in town from our trip to Lebanon.
Sunset at Byblos.
Massi has posted a long explanation on how to improve Mono's SSAPRE implementation.
Posted on 18 Mar 2005
Mokhiber and Weissman's book On the Rampage: Corporate Predators and the Destruction of Democracy is a book with individual stories that illustrate the unbounded power of corporations today. A must-have companion for anyone who enjoyed the movie "The Corporation".
Posted on 11 Mar 2005