Today my Amazon.com wishlist hit 1,000 books. It’d cost about US $30,000 (roughtly 22,000 EUR) to buy every book in the list. Most likely, I won’t be able to buy all those books unless I win the lottery and a) I have enough money to spend on books, and b) I buy a facility to store them all.

The worst of all (actually “the best” to me) is that there is no single book in that list I don’t want to read even though I already have a stockpile of books I own but have not had time to read on the shelves sitting next to me.

If I’d had to classify them, about 40% of the books are computer-related: systems administration, software development, vintage computers, etc. Another 30% are popular science books, people who know me know I really love popular science and most of the books I read are science books. Management books are my next target, to most people they are boring but that 20% of my wishlist makes an interesting read and what you learn from them, you can apply not only to company management but to everything in your life. A remaining 10% of the books are about miscellaneous topics: music, biographies, emergency medicine, etc

Of course you can buy me some books: you only have to pay for them and Amazon will kindly deliver them to my home :-).

For almost 4 years I worked for a small company, Venue Network, as a Systems Administrator. At the beginning my job meant dealing with Windows 2000 Server and Windows 2003 Server systems. As time went by I was able to introduce Linux and FreeBSD servers in some clients, saving them money and us hassle. The last 18 months there I barely touched Windows systems: the increasing demand for Linux and the storage-hungry users led me to focus on SANs and NASes and Linux. I still did some very specific (read: complex) work on webservers, but that was the exception as I was already overloaded with work.

One day at the end of October 2006 I received an e-mail from another company saying they read about me in the aKademy 2006 site (I gave a conference last year) and would like to know more about me. I sent them my phone number and the next day we talked on the phone for about 20 minutes: they wanted me to work as a C++/Linux/Qt developer. I told Jesús (the CTO and one of the founders of the company) I had never had a developer job. The most ressembling job I had held was a summer internship in 2002 as a multimedia script writer but I didn’t think that qualified. I was not the person they were looking for. He insisted and we arranged a meeting for next week at their offices. Truth is I thought Jesús was crazy and I would be wasting his time and mine, but I agreed. How could I possibly have a job as a C++ developer? It had been years since I programmed in C/C++ and I only developed in Ruby and as a hobby (Ruby, QtRuby, Rails, etc). My visit to Arisnova went very well: Jesús was full of confidence I would be able to do the job and he was so convicing even I started to believe it (actually he was so confident I tried to hand him my resume and he declined the offer :-O)

Would it work? Venue Network was a tiny company where I held a very comfortable position and I already had earned my medals, I did not need to demonstrate anything anymore. At Arisnova I was going to start from scratch!

Fast forward to May 2007.

Turns out I accepted the offer and I have been working for Arisnova for 4 months now. My main job is porting our Integrated Platform Management System from Windows to Linux (auxiliary libraries, middleware, applications, everything). This software manages ships (frigates, corvettes, etc) and has been in use on Windows for several years now, ships have been sold for several countries and they all are very impressed with the software.

We use a lot of open source for the IPMS: Qt, Boost, ACE, ZeroC ICE, OpenSceneGraph, Lua and the list goes on. As the building blocks were already cross-platform, the port is being easier than everybody expected (including me).

The main innovation coming with the Linux version is the movement to KDE: the Windows version depends on several ActiveX components for video, documentation, videoconferencing and some other features. Obviously ActiveX do not work on Linux, so the first thing you think is we would need two different branches of code or a hell of a lot of #ifdef‘s. Not! (sorry, I couldn’t resist). Thankfully, being a KDE bigot is going to benefit our IPMS: KDE4 is multiplatform (Linux/Unix, Mac and Windows), therefore we will be making extensive use of KParts and almost every new technology KDE4 features: Phonon, Decibel, Strigi, etc (by the way, GNOME is not even close to this). We will also be using CMake.

As the port has progressed at a faster pace than we expected and we’d like the KDE4 to be quite stable when we invest our time, I have some time to fiddle with other things. Something I am looking at for the third version of our IPMS, which is currently in its inception, is Flash. Is it possible to integrate Flash in a desktop application (our GUI) and make it feel natural for the user? Will we need to embed a WebKit/Konqueror/whatever component as a "proxy" between the application and Flash? I don’t know yet, but I am currently investigating every lead: dlopen, libflashsupport, XEmbed (which has pretty easy to use since Qt 4.1).

Summarizing, I am very happy I moved to Arisnova: the job is interesting, I am learning a lot, people are nice, I am performing way better than I (and everybody) expected and I see exciting challenges coming. Thank you guys!

It’s been five and a half years now since the Twin Towers attack and Osaba Bin Laden is yet to be found. As time goes by, more and more is known about the ties between the Bush family and the Bin Laden family and how the Bin Ladens were let go without any questioning right after September 11th.

I, therefore, have come with a new hypothesis trying to explain why nobody has found Osama Bin Laden after more than five years of search.

Say the Bushs fucked the Bin Ladens in one or more than one of their common business. Say the little Osama did not take it too well. Say the little Osama is using the muslims to act on his behalf without the muslims knowing.

Essentially, it goes like this: the Bush family played some dirty tricks on the Bin Laden business and Osama wanted retaliation. How to get retaliation against a so powerful “enemy”? Use someone without him knowing. The muslims were the perfect target: there had already been some itch between the USA and the muslim world for many years before Sept. 11th, 2001. Osama Bin Laden disguises himself into a radical muslim cleric and calls for the Jihad against the USA with great success. Most probably the plan was to leave the radical muslim world after the WTC attack but it was so successful, so compelling for many muslim and anti-USA people, that he could not just disappear on Sept. 12th and he is forced to keep acting, to release some speeches on tape from time to time to feed the followers of this radical-Osama.

So, in summary, why haven’t we found Osama Bin Laden yet? I think it is because we are looking for the wrong Osamba Bin Laden. We are looking for a long-bearded Osama Bin Laden, one which is wearing a jallabah and a turban. But according to my hypothesis (which I can not proof), we should be looking for an occidental-looking Saudi Arab, one who dresses just like a rich French or British man would do: Armani suit, most probably without beard or moustache of any kind, doing business here and there and keeping himself far apart from muslims. He might even be pretending to be a Christian or Atheist. I make this proposition to the authorities: go and try to find that Osama Bin Laden, I am pretty confident you will find him.

One more thing: if my hypothesis is correct, Osama Bin Laden might have tried to use other useful fools before the muslims (Hugo Chavez/Fidel Castro, radical jews, the Chinese, etc.) but none of them dared to conduct such an attack on the USA.

… even though it was Dec 23rd!

This year my friends and I will not celebrate the New Year all together. This year only a handful of us will be together at the same place: some will be in London, others in Cuenca and a few will be with their family or far away due to work or studies. It was to be the first year since 1995 or 1996 and it was a sad first time.

Fortunately, my friend Ángel had a very good idea: have an early celebration of 2007 New Year’s Eve. Yesterday we dressed like it was Dec 31st, we cooked, had raisins and even weared party favors for the revelry 🙂

Izquierda: Irlanda – Derecha: España.

Izquierda: "You are a lynx" – Derecha: "Estás hecho un hacha"

Izquierda: todo el mundo capta el significado y lo cojonudo que es usar ese desodorante – Derecha: Ni un 1% de la gente capta eso de Axe – ser un hacha

Cuánto dinero gastado en imagen de marca para que la ignorancia lingüística de un país lo eche todo a perder 🙁

Some people have a lot of things they’d like to do, but I only have one and it looks probably naive to most of you.

Here it goes.

If I be rich, I would set up a foundation to promote Science for the average man (AKA popular science). Making scientific knowledge accessible to the average Joe is of capital importance: make Joe understand what what happens around us and what scientists are doing and maybe 10% of Joes would pursue further knowledge, therefore becoming scientists themselves.

I am particularly interested in Mathematics and Physics, although I do not disdain any subject which could be tested by the Scientific Method. That leaves Psychology, Sociology and the so-called “Social Sciences” out (btw, I’m still trying to find what “science” there is in “social sciences”, no pun intended).

Every 4 to 6 months I have an idea for a new technology or a new application for an existing technology.

The company I work for does not invest in R+D and that annoys me, as I am unable to further develop my ideas without help.

Advised by a business-creation program, 18 months ago I removed some of the ideas I had previously posted here.

Now, after a couple of disappointments due to other companies patenting my ideas years after I had “invented them” -I guess they have discovered those thing independently, I’m not suggesting they have ever copied me-, and a conversation with Agustín Benítez of Fotón Sistemas Inteligentes Ejercicios Resueltos at aKademy 2006, I am reposting those ideas here. I hope they are still useful as prior art.

  • Wificast
    Use a wifi (a MIMO mesh network) to build your own TV or radio. No licenses needed. It could be integrated in DVB-T set-top-boxes at a very low cost.

    I started playing with this idea for the first time in late 2003 to replace autoguides and work as a GPS-like device uing low-emitting access points, whenever someone with a wificast-capable device is near the AP, the system is effectively working as a GPS system; read more about it in WifiGas). I even sent an e-mail to Seth Godin and he liked the idea.

    Unfortunately, I never applied for this patent (I did not have the money to pay for the fees and expenses associated with a patent) and now News Corporation has made public they will start to use this technology in 2007 in the USA.Read it.

  • Cremation DNA
    Very simple idea: when someone asks for cremation, store a partially-sequenced DNA. Very useful for post-mortem identification. Read it.
  • Multiplexing CAS and RAS
    Describes how to use base-band codification to improve memory-access times (hardware). Read it.
  • Snapshot System State Management
    Also known as “The Poor Man’s UPS”. Read it.

I actually loved this movie by David Lynch.

The Straight Story tells the real story of Alvin Straight, a 73 years old man with a quiet life in a small country town (Laurens, Iowa). When his brother gets seriously sick, he decides to put away their differences and visit him after many, many years. So, alone, riding his lawnmower and towing a littler trailer, he begins a long journey through hundreds of miles, just to see again his brother, even if it’s the last thing he will ever do… Based on a real story.

There are some very emotional moments, like the dinner with the hitchhiking girl: When my kids were real little, I used to play a game with them. I give each one a small stick, one for each one of them, and say "you break that" and of course they could, that’d be easy. Then I say "tie the sticks in a bundle and try to break that". Of course they couldn’t. Then I’d say " that bundle, that’s family".