The mexican fiasco

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I spent the whole day at home working on my IS238 TMA. Getting bored with adobo and other tomato (insta-mix based viands included), I decided to have a mexican meal parade. I grabbed half a kilo of ground pork (beef is too expensive here, costing as much as 30 euros per kilo), some tomatoes, a small head of lettuce, a texmex mix, a bag of salted nachos and a pack of soft tortilla wraps. I did not find any grated cheddar so I opted to go with grated mozarella since I figured it is also a hard cheese. Bad move but not a complete disaster. I also picked up 1.5 liters of coke to complete the extravagant parade. More or less I spent 10 euros which is not bad since this will be enough to last me 3-4 meals.

The plan was to make the ground meat based stew as the base for the nacho dip and filling for the burritos. So I chopped up some garlic , onions and a few of the chili peppers (siling labuyo, the taiwanese variety) that I bought from the asian store a month ago.

DANGER!!! Cover your nose with a cloth when sauteing the chili pepper. Putting it in hot oil will make the capsicum evaporate which produces a burning sensation on the sinuses and makes you want to sneeze worse than ground pepper does. When will I remember this lesson? 🙁

Ok, back to the pot. In goes the garlic and onion, then the ground pork. Add tomatoes when the pork has been browned then added the tomatoes and texmex mix, some salt and pepper and let everything simmer for a while.

Apartment lesson number 1: The range hood is not enough to absorb the smell of the tex-mex mix. You need to open the windows. WIDE!

Then it started to rain. Hard. I had to close the windows because water was getting in. Now the studio type apartment smells like it was sloshed in jalapeno pepper. But any filipino would tell you it smells like a certain anatomical crevice of a “5-6er”.

Overall, the nacho dip was ok. Just dont use mozzarella on top of the dip because it melts but does not disintegrate. Then I forgot that I left the softdrink in the freezer and it was nearly frozen. I placed it the sink and immediately unscrewed the cap. I was expecting to get a fine spray of cola but what happened was my first viewing of a slurpee rocket! 😀 A cork-sized frozen cola rocketed upwards up to eye-level.

One word describes it: COOL!

I need to get back to my TMA and eating nachos. I will do the burritos tomorrow.


The talk of the (geek) town

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Google has launched its own IM and Voip service and it is free! Wait scratch that, it is not just free but without annoying ads! Like it’s Gmail service, google-talk is still in beta but if you already have Gmail then you can use that to sign-in on Google-Talk.

Google-talk is based on the Jabber framework so you can use other IM clients to chat with Google-talk users. Google even provides an inital list and their capability/availability matrix. Too bad you can only use the talk functionality when you use the official Google-Talk client.

The client is pretty slick (and mine is pretty barren at the moment). You can enable the “friend’s list” to include everybody in your contacts list but if you are like me then that list contains 400 entries and I dont want them to be listed in the talk client. I wish there is an option to limit that to Gmail contacts but according to Google help center the people you most frequently ‘communicate’ with will appear in the list. Even if this people dont have Google-Talk, you can still use these contacts for sending email. You just have to click the gmail envelope across their names. Now if only you can specify which browser it uses because I have mine defaulted to IE as required by the office.

The hype on this service is pretty high and since it is still in beta stage then expect some problems now. I suggest waiting till most of the furor settles down. And since it is still in beta, the functionality offered by Google Talk is rather sparse and Google would need to add more features that is at par or better than the ones offered by current IM providers before it could sway people to their fold. Knowing Google, this is already planned so all we could do is wait. And watch for those saying Google is evil since this is another ammunition in their argument bank. 😀


David shows its ugly head again

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Who remembers or has even heard of David, the supposedly ingenious Filipino project that will enable Linux to run windows executable?

The first time the news of it came out only the ‘uninitiated’ bought it. Most ‘techies’ I have come across all cocked an eyebrow and muttered ‘Wine?’ SpecOps Labs insisted they did not use any Wine code but no techie worth his salt is biting. Why should they? To them David is nothing but vaporware that is going to rip the Wine project because it won’t give proper credit to where it is due. Bad move because it will only generate bad press.

Anyway, when I received this post that SpecOps is hiring again, I thought that it was amazing that David still survives until this day. I only became aware that SpecOps has generated (again) bad press from the local OSS scene again by being quoted in a news item that there are no sufficient local talent that will sustain the development. Only this time SpecOps has admitted to using Wine code.

And then I got wind of the this blog which is links to other criticisms that project David has already accumulated.

The new item said that David is already nearing completion. Let’s wait and see but I am not holding my breath.


Bottomfeeder out, Zempt in

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Good riddance Bottomfeeder, I have already found what I would replace you with when I am in windows. Zempt is currently not available in Linux but according to some reports (I did not subscribe to their mailing list and I cannot find information on their webpage) it will be available in other platforms as well. If it does not then drivel is still there.

I cant say that I will miss bottomfeeder because it was more temperamental than I am. Good thing I am a web-wanderer or else I would not have stumbled on Zempt. And it is not based on .NET which is good since I dont need to install additional libraries.


Exasperation on Distance Learning


This is my reply to a recurring trend on my experiences with being a distance learner at the University of the Philippines Open University. This was triggered by the recurring theme of not getting enough time slice from the faculty-in-charge(fic), especially for an information system project…

< rant mode on />

Another thing that confuses me is that the course guideline talks about masteral research and the likes but the course catalog description is

        IS 295a   Information System Project I (2 units)
                    Design of an information system 
        IS 295b    Information System Project II (2 units)
                    Implementation of an information sytem 

I know we are masteral students but that description is misleading. In my opinion theses are over-rated since it only proves you are specialized in one aspect of a field. That is the reason why i picked this program, both because i can manage my time and not do a thesis.

At this point in time, introducing an ‘innovative’ addition to the knowledge tree is a tough act considering that almost everything has already been done and tried. You dont believe me? Then try wading through the site. Almost everything is done at least two ways.

One more stumbling block is that you have to have an organization as your target user and you have to get your proposal approved by your adviser/committee as well. I do not know if that is just me but i have a hard time explaining to a prospective sponsor about the course proposal and then just find out it will be rejected afterwards. Getting them to at least spend the time to evaluating my request for ‘sponsorship’ is hard enough that transforming this into a chicken-and-egg (err. organization-or-adviser in this case) scenario is downright frustrating.

I can only imagine the paperwork piled on top of the FICs but these is already bordering on the absurd. They should have instituted a screening process that only students with pre-approved proposals are permitted to enroll in the course, that way the time of the majority is not wasted waiting for the second coming of Christ.

I am already thinking that we are getting what we have paid for. We paid for an ‘inexpensive’ program and look where we are: a bunch of students trying to find our bearings while being guided by overloaded fics who barely have time to spare for distance-learning students. Prof. Anacleto once told me that he has a personal theory on why the MIS only has 1 graduate so far. I think I also have mine: reality erodes idealism. Bok Apao and the rest who already dropped out are proof of that.

< rant mode off/>


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