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
My friend Mancha is teaching an entry-level computer course in my old school with Mono. He is currently using Monoppix as a distribution, but he would like to use a purely Gnome-based environment instead of the current mix of applications.
If anyone knows of a Gnoppix-like system with a full Mono suite please let me know.
In his latest blog entry Mancha details his adventures cleaning up his keyboard a must-read if you understand spanish.
I asked my friend Mancha about the similarities between Turkey, Lebanon and Mexico. It turns out that there was a large immigration of Turkish and Lebanese people into Mexico, and they shaped the early Mexico City and they were easily distinguishable in the 1920s and 1940s.
The tacos-al-pastor which have their equivalents in Turkey and Lebanon did indeed originate in this side of the world and was exported to Mexico with the immigrants (the way its cooked is on a gigantic pile of meat). There are two big differences between the Turkish and the Mexican versions: the Turkish version is made with some kind of lamb meat, while in Mexico we use pork. In Turkey they simmer the meat on tomato sauce on top of a pita-like bread, while in Mexico adobo is used as a spice. They tend to serve this on a piece of bread, we use tortillas.
In Lebanon they wrap the taco for you: you do not have to do the wrapping yourself, it comes pre-wrapped. The tradition of the lemon juice is also used here, and just like Turkey they give you a small jar with lemon juice next with your meal. In Mexico we just leave lemons cut in pieces on the table.
Yesterday I did a presentation for the Lebanon Linux Users:
Lebanon Linux Users Group
We later went to Virgin Records in downtown to pick some books and movies, the anti-Syrian protest is camping right next to it, in Martyr's Square:
Anti-Syrian Camping Site.
At the Rafik Hariri's burial place, people have been leaving messages:
Lebanon Linux Users
Dick Porter pointed me to a comment from the Daily Telegraph:
"Sir- Sandy Pratt's pollack recipe (Letters, Mar 9) brings to memory a suggested method for cooking camel meat, which I saw hanging in the Arab souk in Hebron some years ago. Take a lump of camel meat and a stone of equal size. Place in a large pot, bring to the boil and simmer gently. When the stone is tender, so will the camel be."
Everyone is raving over this technology over at Planet Gnome: Colorization Using Optimization.
Posted on 10 Mar 2005
Had a great time in Istanbul, my hotel was conveniently located in a street in Beyoglu: packed with restaurants, coffee shops and tons of people walking up and down the street.
As usual, my plane got delayed and canceled so I lost my first day in Istanbul. Instead, I got to enjoy everything that the CDG airport has to offer: from toilets to airport food and ten euro per hour wireless internet access.
Currency in Turkey used to be measured in millions, but they have now removed six zeros from their currency:
My first meal was here:
Peter from Linux Tecnolojic, Pinar and Gamze from Novell Turkey:
Peter, Pinar and Gamze
Customs in Istanbul are surprisingly similar to those in Mexico City, to the smallest details. The most interesting one is that people put lime juice in most things.
My talk on Saturday was about Gnome and Mono. I showed a couple of applications at the end of my presentation, and I regret forgetting about showing Beagle. It would have been a nice demo.
While jetlagged one night, I finally figured out how to make the IBM T42p go into standby mode and recover from it without leaving the screen blank. To do this, just add "acpi_sleep=s3_bios" to your kernel command line.
Then the `powersave --standby' command will work. After the first time you standby, the powersave daemon seems to get stuck waiting for some helper process to finish, and wont work again. So am using a miggy-script of magic that does something like `powersaved restart', followed by some magic sleep command, followed by the standby command.
The last day of the conference we had a big dinner with the Gnome Turkey group, here are some of the members:
Gnome Turkey group
On Sunday we went for a walk: Enver and Sezgin were my guides. Just like Mexico, they sell very cheap freshly squeezed orange juice on the streets:
The Blue Mosque entrance:
Hagia Sophia, the church turned mosque, just in front of it:
Next to those two mosques, visitors can visit the underground roman cisterns:
I arrived last afternoon to Beirut from Istanbul, a very short flight, only one hour and thirty minutes. I went straight to sleep as the couple of days that I spent on Istanbul were intense.
Later in the afternoon, Hisham from the Lebanese Linux Users Group picked me up and we went for a walk of the city. The stores that you find in Beirut are very much like those you would see in any other major city: Body Shop, Starbucks, McDonalds, Zara, KFC and even a Buddha Bar; All the big names car dealerships, hotels and so on. The only difference is that you can only read half the signs.
They sell a thing called "White coffee" which I enjoyed very much, and it is just transparent water with some flower-like flavor.
I woke up very late this morning, recovering from the jetlag. In the reception, people were watching the pro-Syrian gathering in down town Beirut, which looked huge, and clearly was the place-to-be today. Now I can have a better story to tell next time the question of `Where were you the day of the pro-Syrian demostration in Beirut?' pops.
Walking to the Etoile.
The taxi dropped me off about a kilometer away from Place de L'Etoile where the event was happening. Most roads were closed to cars.
Just like in Turkey, people are incredibly friendly, and they would try very hard to speak to me in either english or french. One of those guys volunteered to translate the signs and what people were saying over the loud speakers, and hanged out with me until the end of the day. Just like in Barcelona one in every five people you meet is a Jordi, in Beirut the same happens with the Mohammeds. I have met three so far.
Hizbolah called for today's protest, it was a protest in support of Syria and against resolution 1559. Hizbolah is a popular resistance movement that emerged in Lebanon as a reaction to the Israeli invasion of 1982. Although Israel withdrew from Beirut, the army remained in occupation of the south of the country. The resistance eventually drove the Israeli army out of Lebanon in the year 2000.
Hizbolah grew out as a resistance movement, but today is also a political player and has a few seats on congress.
At the event.
People in the city told me that the 1559 not only called for Syria to back out, but also for the Hizbolah militia to be disarmed. Me, being scared of anything remotely looking like a weapon could not agree more, but let me explain.
Although the 1982 invasion was aimed at neutralizing the growing strength of the PLO as a political force instead of conquering Lebanon, those at the protest today do not necessarily see it that way. They repeatedly said that Hizbolah keeps Israel away from Lebanon (Here is the Reuters coverage).
Syria entered Lebanon for the first time invited by the then president of Lebanon and by a mandate of the Arab League, to stop the civil war that had erupted in Beirut. They got themselves tangled into the civil war, and were basically powerless to stop the invasion in 1982. They have remained ever since and its the source of the current split opinion.
At the event.
The protest was like any other protest I have been to; you could smell some marijuana being burned, people with tons of signs everywhere, fairly packed, difficult to navigate and people chanting slogans. All I could understand was `Yala, Yala', which roughly means `Go go'.
I could not reach the center. All of a sudden, it turns out that just next to where I was standing they were setting up the podium for the main speaker. In a building barely twenty meters away. First soldering it, and covering it up with a white blanket of sorts:
Half an hour later the main speaker showed up:
After the event was over, I was invited to dinner and to play pool. I had some tasty thing that is very much like a Taco al Pastor in Mexico, but they use bread instead of tortillas. Not only they did not let me pay anything (at the pool place, the dinner, the taxis), they also paid for my taxi to return to my hotel. I also got an invitation to see my now friend Mohammed in the south of Lebanon once Maria arrives:
Like in Turkey, the way to cross the street is to wait for a space between the cars and to jump into the street, hoping that the car will stop. Only later in the day I noticed that this was not like Mexico, where people do this when they see no cars coming. In Beirut there are no traffic lights (or at least I have not seen any so far).
This pricing picture at the pool place probably gives you a taste of the city:
Maria's flight to Beirut is delayed; She will be showing up later in the afternoon. This means that my Gnome/Mono presentation will have a hard-stop at 6:30pm.
Currently F-Spot nor ImageMagick on my machine have support for RAW images. I made the mistake of shooting about 20% of my photos with that, so am going to have to wait until I get back to figure out how to decode them.
Posted on 09 Mar 2005
Kevan Barney just pointed me out to this award that Mono received from Developer.Com's 2005 Products of the Years: .NET Tool/Add-in of the Year and also the reference on the article ``.NET Ecosystem is a Wonderful Place''.
Congratulations to all the Mono developers!
As I was preparing my presentation for this afternoon at the University, I got a call from Robert Fisk, which just arrived in Beirut. Laura and myself will be having dinner with him later in the week.
Robert Fisk wrote the book Pity the Nation which is the best book I have read in the last year. Not only its packed with hundreds of stories of people during the war in Beirut.
George McGovern, presidential candidate in 1972, wrote about Hunter Thompson.
Posted on 05 Mar 2005
Posted on 03 Mar 2005
Tomboy has been updated to work with Mono 1.1.4 (Mono's 1.0 C# compiler allowed for invalid code to be compiled).
Eugenia put together a large list of Gtk#/Mono-based applications.
If you are using Mono from SVN you can use `xsp2' to try Lluis' latest work on supporting ASP.NET 2 features: dynamic menus, trees, master pages and the beginning of the grid control are in now.
I have updated NPlot/Gtk# to the latest version of NPlot, the tarball is here
Larry has been doing a lot of work in making F-Spot smoother, now it is possible to quickly browse through pictures in full-screen mode. Also importing of images into the library is faster than ever, F-Spot takes only a couple of minutes to bring 6,000 pictures into the library now.
I got four gigabytes worth of compact flash cards and two digital cameras for my trip to Istanbul and Beirut. The problem is where to backup all this data.
I have seen that there is a plug for the iPod that downloads compactflash images into the ipod. This is almost ideal (I can use my old ipod). But are there other things I should be looking at for backing up photos while traveling?
Send your recommendations to email@example.com.
Been busy moving the Mono Web Site to MediaWiki, following the footsteps of the Hula project.
A Chomsky talk excerpt: "Nuclear Terror at Home":
There's a document called The Essentials of Post Cold War Deterrence that was released during the Clinton years by the Strategic Command, which is in charge of nuclear weapons. It's one of the most horrifying documents I've ever read. People haven't paid attention to it.
The PDF to the above document is available here.
RMS has some interesting comments on his blog about Hugo Chavez (president of Venezuela).
The World Social Forum in Brazil this year had Hugo Chavez as one of the speakers, it was packed:
At the Chavez Presentation.
Posted on 27 Feb 2005
Since I was in the neighborhood, I decided to swing by Beirut and Maria Laura is meeting me there a few days after. The local Linux user group is setting up a small presentation at the American University.
Posted on 25 Feb 2005
With Mono 1.1.4 we shipped our first VM with the support required to implement sandboxing. We have yet to deploy all the attributes on the libraries to have a useful sandbox for users.
Update: Sebastien has posted a third article on the sandbox.
In Mexico the federal government is doing everything on its power to avoid the most threatening candidate to the incumbent party to run. They are doing this by using a loophole in the election process which will prevent the candidate from running for office. The story has been developing for a few months, and a summary of it is available here.
President Fox and a judge from the supreme court have been caught conspiring against the candidate (Andrés Manuel López).
Erik added me as his buddy on the Amazon insta-ship program so I do not have to pay for shipping and handling for 2-day delivery.
Its been a crazy last couple of days.
Posted on 23 Feb 2005
New York Times on their staged "Daily Show": "By my count, "Jeff Gannon" is now at least the sixth "journalist" (four of whom have been unmasked so far this year) to have been a propagandist on the payroll of either the Bush administration or a barely arms-length ally like Talon News while simultaneously appearing in print or broadcast forums that purport to be real news."
"The money that paid for both the Ryan-Garcia news packages and the Armstrong Williams contract was siphoned through the same huge public relations firm, Ketchum Communications, which itself filtered the funds through subcontractors. A new report by Congressional Democrats finds that Ketchum has received $97 million of the administration's total $250 million P.R. kitty, of which the Williams and Ryan-Garcia scams would account for only a fraction. We have yet to learn precisely where the rest of it ended up."
More on the uncovering of Jeff Ganon: here.
Bill Maher video
Nat at Work.
From diffstat for the last month of Mono activity on the SVN repository (excluding deprecated code):
mcs: 1847 files changed, 122176 insertions(+), 23168 deletions(-) mono: 323 files changed, 14845 insertions(+), 6360 deletions(-) total:2170 files changed, 137021 insertions(+), 29528 deletions(-)
Geoff describes how to run your Windows.Forms applications on OSX here. The short story: you must use the new `macpack' tool to create an OSX bundle.
He also has a screenshot of Alexsander Olk's new color dialog here running on OSX.
Posted on 20 Feb 2005
We finally released Mono 1.1.4 and Mono 1.0.6. With this release we are recommending users to switch to the 1.1.x branch, as our automated testing and regression suites are much better than they ever were on 1.0.6.
The runtime is faster, smaller, leaner and we have fixed many bugs and architectural problems that were hard to backport to 1.0.6.
Programmers that have only been using Mono, and have not tested their code on .NET should keep an eye open for a few problems that might be exposed with the stricter 1.1.4 runtime:
The full release notes are available here
The performance difference is very visible on web-based applications. Our documentation system for example is now instantaneous.
We have also started distributing DB4Objects from Mono's web site. For those of you that are missing ObjectSpaces, you might find db4o not only interesting, but faster than what ObjectSpaces could have been.
We have included Paco's prj2make on the latest release of Mono. prj2make is a tool that produces Makefiles from Visual Studio or MonoDevelop solutions. Specially convenient if you download some random code from the network.
This is the first release that ships with the security sandbox infrastructure, Sebastien has the full story.
Last week SHA1 was broken. Because of this Sebastien is trying to get users to vote for incorporating SHA-224 into the Framework, see the details here. Mono users can use the Mono.Security stack that ships with this and more.
Installers: The folks at RawByte.com have been kind enough to package Mono with an installer that will work on all Linux systems. Many users love this, specially those without Red Carpet or Yum, as they only have to download a single binary and they get the whole system setup: Mono, all the class libraries, Gtk# and XSP. Like our Windows installer.
There are two downsides to using the installer: for those using distributions with package management, the installer wont register Mono on the system, which means that third-party components that depend on Mono will still want RPM packages installed (or people have resorted to use the --force parameter for RPM). The second downside is that this ships a Mono configured for the smallest common denominator, so speed will suffer as Mono does not use the __thread-based local storage and has to go through a slower (but backwards compatible) system.
Hula's launch has been very successful. The Hula Channel is very active: people contributing patches, ports and various folks interested in the dynamic web interface are hanging out there. There is plenty of energy there.
We are planning on following Hula's plan to use MediaWiki as the main page for the site, because updating the Mono web site has always been a bit annoying.
Also, many people read Jamie's posting on Hula and miss-understood that Jamie was actually praising Nat's final direction on Hula, so there are plenty of comments along the lines of `Jamie slams Hula' and `They are clueless, we are not'.
Being very interested in politics, I see this phenomenon as an interesting window into the human soul: if these very smart technical people have problems understanding a post like that, what does that say for people trying to discuss and debate the finer points of public policy?
Posted on 19 Feb 2005