Linux is Continuously Evolving!

Today I decided to write about Linux and its evolution. You see, I am a Linux user. Unfortunately at work there are some restrictions that translate into a single sentence: you can't use Linux. I don't know why, but that is life. At home and in my Thesis I only use Linux. Why? Well, because it is free, it is stable, it is fast and it is easy to use once you have it configured. In fact, lately it is even getting easier to configure it, but thats not the goal of this post.

I have laptop that is almost making 6?? Well, either 5 or 6 years old, I can't remember exactly when I bought it. Facts are that I installed Linux in it the very day I bought it. At the time I left the windows that came with it in a different partition, but something like 3 years ago I realised I didn't have any free disk space. You see, it came with a 20Gig hard drive. Windows had 5 and with all the digital photos, videos and projects was screaming for more disk space. So, 3 years ago I simply deleted the Windows partition.

Facts are that since I installed Linux on it I never needed to reinstall it. I'm using Gentoo and I installed version 1.4 and have been upgrading ever since without problems. It even survived an hard disk upgrade because 20Gig isn't sufficient for everything I want to keep on it. So I bought a 7200rpm 80Gig hard drive, copied everything over using tar, swapped disks and it was up and running.

Things I like: well, I'm surprised with Linux from time to time. My laptop is getting faster and I'm not counting the speed upgrade of the hard drive because that one was hardware related - by the way, I definitely recommend it since little things like start-up time were cut by half. Today I even have the beginnings of shadows and transparency effects in my desktop and the best thing is that when these effects go stable my 6 year old lappy will handle it with its GeForce2 Go.

Why the entry? Well, I usually don't work with the touchpad. Like many people I have an external USB mouse. But I knew that the touchpad had support from some advanced things like scrolling (if I drag at its right limit or bottom limit). Windows had this. When I installed Linux the driver was the Synaptics driver, but my touchpad was an Alps one. Today I decided to take it for a new spin and see if anyone had ever tried to make it work. Fact is: its working!!! Horizontal Scroll, Vertical Scroll, you name it. Thank you guys and keep up the good work. I'm already giving something back by submitting bugs, trying to reproduce bugs and help others configuring this, but when I finish the Thesis I'll start giving back code!!!


What I wanted to do...

Today I found blog that follows the lines of what I wanted to do. It contains many little hacks or tricks to make something that is way cool for the end user simple for the programmer. You can find it here. It also has a nice tree index if you're looking for something specific.

This blog contains some of the things I would like to be doing, if I had the time. Well, in fact I have the time because the time I should be investing in my Thesis I don't. Why? Well, I would say lack of motivation or of writing something that should have been written a long time ago. Maybe I should just swallow this frog and write it out of hanger... Yes, lets just do it!

In can you are wondering "Swallow this frog" is an expression that Portuguese people use. When is it used? Well, when you're doing something you don't like but that you must. And since frogs are ugly and in Portugal they aren't part of a standard diet we call it swallow a frog.


My First Article is Getting Publish

If I haven't told you before, I'm telling you now: I'm making a Master Thesis. This is a Master Thesis at the old Portuguese levels, that is, for the rest of the world it is like I'm making a second Master Thesis.

Well, names ans systems aside, I'm making a Master Thesis. As part of that Thesis I wrote a while back an article for a conference. Well, the article was accepted and I ended up presenting it in the conference.

I though the story ended there, but no. Today I received an email inviting me to have my article published in a technical magazine. Of course I said yes: it's something to put on my CV and a good compensation for the nights I lost writing it.

The crazy part is that GMail marked the message that contained the invitation as SPAM! I was lucky that my Thesis Adviser also received it and asked me if I was going to send it. I was completely in the dark. I'm not saying that GMail's SPAM marking is bad. In fact, this is the first time it failed and I would probably catch it in my usual SPAM scanning. I usually scan the titles of the messages and until now all off them had something about Viagra in it...

Well, I sent the article and I can't wait to by the magazine. I wonder if they will send me a sample?


About Life and its Purpose

Today I had an enlightening experience that I think will change my life.

I usually start my day reading too many blogs from the web. These blogs range from technical articles and news, to jokes, movies, you name it: it's my "Inbox of the Web" - like someone from the Google Reader team said.

Everything was running as usual when I step upon a very long blog entry that I actually read. Why? Well, although the blog should be about Java, among other things, the entry was dedicated to a quadriplegic that had passed away. What captivated me in the log was the description of all the things that person had done after the skying accident that forced him to move in a wheel chair. He leaved is life to the fullest.

You might think: what the hell does it have to do we me? Well, that person actually programmed. How? Well, he used a stick in his mouth and typed one key after the other, very patiently. Although this shows the type of person he was, it wasn't this fact that caught my attention. What caught my attention is that he didn't let is condition stop him in any way from doing what he wanted.

Today I have many things that I would like to do. These things include making computer software, but I also want to do some crazy things. For instance: I think it was a couple of years ago that I bought a BTT (one of those all terrain bikes). A few weeks later I actually picked it up and went to a mountain and made an all terrain quest. I wasn't alone, but still we managed to get lost. It was prone to happen since we didn't had any map. This coupled with a bull (yes, a bull, like the mate of the cow) in the middle of the road and finishing following a paved road after descending for 4 kilometers of what used to be a road made the day unforgettable: it was an adventure.

I also want to go back and start swimming again, but I keep giving myself the excuse that I don't have time: I have to finish my Thesis. Facts are that even telling myself that I haven't been able to finish the Thesis either way.

And all this leads to what? Well, its time I take the example of someone and start taking control of my life. I can't let things affect me. If I'm unable to write the Thesis maybe its because I'm not swimming like my body is asking me to. In fact, even my mind sometimes asks me to.

With all that outside of my system I think its time to make some changes. Probably even making a change in my look. My parents have been crying for this one for quite some time, since I'm one of those that wants to feel comfortable in their close, no matter if they are old or if I used the same pair of pants the whole week.

Lets see what happens, if this is just a discharge of what I read today or if I actually change anything in my life. Either way, I'll starting writing about my life more often. It is a little strange to write about my life on the web, but it helps. And if this entry helps someone change their life also then better yet.