Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Two articles that prove that Linux is here to stay

... and why Windows will eventually but gradually meet it's demise :-),1738,3574,00.asp

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

job candidate interview and car alarm troubles

I was asked to meet someone for lunch yesterday. He is a candidate for a programming job at Solution Grove. Caroline sums him up as geeky and I tend to agree. He's had teaching experience, java experience and more importantly a willingness to learn someting new like OpenACS.

We met at Italianni's. I was hoping it was going to be quiet as it's a tuesday. Boy, was I wrong. It was jampacked filled with people by the time we finished.

A few minutes after the meeting, as I was on my way to the parking lot, I fumbled for the car alarm remote and was shocked. The screw may have somehow slipped and the mechanism inside the plastic casing was gone.

It was extremely embarrassing. I had to prove to the guard that the car was mine. I showed him the keys and the car park ticket. I was able to stop the sound by opening the hood and disconnecting a wire but that did not allow me to start the car. Fortunately, a nice gentlemen knew how to disarm the system and did so for me. I offered him a reward for his trouble but he declined. Very nice fellow.

The first thing I did afterwards was to replace the whole alarm system. There was no way to get a new remote as the current system does not support programmable frequencies. Even worse, if someone had gotten the mechanism from the original remote then they would have been able to open my car.

The new system cost me about P2300 but it seems worth it. It uses a very bright blue LED, nicer remote and best of all it has an emergency disarming feature. If I had lost the remote but if I still had the key, I could disarm the system by (1) opening the car with my key (2) press the brake pedal as I did the following (3) put key in ignition on ACC (4) turn it from OFF to ON 10 times.

I now keep that manual in the glove compartment of the car ...

Lesson learned :-)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Free Guitar Tabs

One of my fondest memories of high school was with a guitar.

I remember it quite vividly but not vividly enough to remember the song, the day or all the exact details, just that it was practice for mass.

I graduated from a catholic high school. We have mass every now and then to celebrate certain events in the church calendar. Again, I can't seem to remember what it was.

A class was usually picked to host a mass. I beleive our class was chosen. It was my 3rd year in high school. Being host meant our class made the preparations, chose the songs, lead the readings and, of course, the singing. This particular celebration was particularly important, it seems, because our values ed teacher gave us the period free to practice the songs.

One song was written with chalk on the blackboard already.

I remember looking out the window that day. In my minds eye I can see the grasses in the vacant lot on the other street, they were brown and dry, it must've been a hot, sunny and lazy afternoon. The weather was probably getting to everyone because no one was practicing.

I must have been crazy because I asked a friend to play the song on the blackboard with the guitar with me. He was hesitant at first but after some convincing he agreed. It was a crazy idea because I am not exactly a very good guitar player. I knew the chords but strumming was all I could do.

Luckily, that was all the song called for, strumming.

I just started playing the chords with him. I do not know why and I can't exactly remember how but I found myself strumming the chords and singing in tune ... and everyone in the room was singing with me. My writing probably could not do justice to what I felt while I was in that moment. I remember the feeling well because my best friend at the time was smiling at me and loooking at me like I've never seen him look at me before, as if I was doing something incredibly different or amazing. Probably the better description is something "out of character".

Sometime during that, I had wished that the song did not end but when it did, I remember that it ended loud and everyone was happy.

Anyway, we did not have the internet back then. We had to get the tablatures and chords from magazines and song hits. Today, in the age of informaiton, they are freely available and downloadable from the internet.

the concept of an "Unconference", and I did not misspell

The single most important variable to the equation that will make this a success is when passionate and knowledgable people who have something in common come together and meet. It's almost natural. It's amazing.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

my Athlon X2 is now officially yesterday's big news

Just barely six months after I got myself an X2, Intel decides to ship dual cores that beat the crap out of them. Sigh ....

Vmware and Ubuntu, my virtual cpu is losing ticks

I have been having problems with Ubuntu 6 on vmware recently.

I run a virtual machine where all my current web development projects are installed and running. The web files are exported to this virtual machine thru NFS.

Just this week the NFS client on my virtual machine would complain that the server has stopped responding and connection is timing out. This caused my web applications to hang and the web server to just stop serving pages.

I noticed 2 things.

(1) the date and time on the virtual machine kept getting out of sync with my host operating system

(2) I saw a weird log entry that said that my "...CPU is losing ticks, checking if CPU frequency has changed"

Almost everytime my web applications hung, it woud be because NFS stopped connecting and in almost all cases I saw both symptoms.

After losing some hours over this, I found an article over at the VMware knowledge base about it.

What ended up fixing it for me was:

(1) make sure vmware-tools was syncing time with my host operating system

(2) added the "clock=pit" to the kernel bootup parameters.

I run Ubuntu 6.06 with a server kernel. I meant this virtual machine to be a server so no X-windows or any such GUI is installed. That turned out to be a problem with configuring vmware-tools to sync time with the host OS.

It seems the solution to that one was to edit the .vmx file for the virtual machine and setting tools.syncTime to "TRUE".

Update : Interestingly, technologies like speedstep and cool n' quiet can also cause this problem. Check this article out. Try turning off speedstep and/or cool n' quiet from the BIOS and see how it works.

Time for new headphones

My head phones of 1 year and a half have snapped, literally.

It's a labtec worth P1000.00. Does anyone have any idea on how to salvage them ?
The mic and headphones still work great. Its just that I can't put them on my head anymore.

New DSL Modem

My old modem was a speedstream. The new one seems only to be branded PLDT (my service provider). Underneath I read Model No. PL-DSL2.

This is what my old modem looked like.

My worst nightmare came true ... dial-up.

My worst nightmare came true this week. I went back to using dial up internet.

It was the wind. There was a lot of rain too. The real culprit, however, were the power fluctuations. Since last week friday up until the middle of this week, we've had at least one power outage a day.

Last saturday, there was one in the morning. I was not at home when the power came back. I was at the new V-mall shopping center at greenhills buying a telephone set (more on this on my next blog).

My brother turned on the power strip and the UPS. The router turned on, my pc was brought back to life but the modem remained off. My brother called me on the cell and told me the bad news.

I asked him ....

Did you try a different power outlet ?

Did you turn on the switch ?

Did you make sure the power cord is plugged in right on both the modem and outlet ?
... but to no avail.

When I got home, I checked the device again myself. As if to resuscitate the dead, I shook it and tried all the things I had asked my brother to do over the phone, but to no avail.

Henceforth I was on dial up and my worst nightmare had come true.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

To watch or not to watch ? that is the P350 question.

It's a long weekend in the United States, they're celebrating independence day. My Boss is out camping and I'm guessing with the lack of support tickets since friday evening, most of our clients are out too, making the most of it.

So what to do on a long hopefully uneventful and quiet weekend. My first choice was to hop myself over to the recently opened SM Mall of Asia and watch Superman Returns on Imax.

The mall is just 30 minutes away from the house via the coastal road. I've been there thrice. While it seemed humongous on my first visit, it somehow did not feel that way on my subsequent trips. Maybe it's because you start to remember where all the shops are, where to go and how to get there.

As it turns out, tickets for the IMAX experience is P350 per person. Stingy as I was, I asked "what's so special that I have to pay P350 for a movie ?". Apparently, you get to sit on a lazy boy and some 3D glasses. What ? No free pop corn :-) This blogger thought it was worth it, though.