For a while I have been using wordpress. Actually paying for it every year. And not really using it. At the same time I’ve had a VPS where I run a few things, going mostly unused for years, so I thought (long time ago) that I could just use it to host my blog, but I never felt in the mood to maintain a full wordpress installation, let alone keep up with the vulnerabilities of PHP.


Depending on how much time you want to spend in Cambodia, there are a few things that are a must. Probably one of their nice beaches, Phnom Penh, the capital, and Siem Reap, where you can see the truly amazing temples of Angkor Wat. This is Angkor Wat, if you are interested ;-). A post about it soon. If you have a month or so you can spend time visiting all of the south and some remote parts in the north, which is not very much explored and, apparently, has many nice places to go.

Phnom Penh

Anywhere you read about Phnom Penh, it is described as a dangerous city. Scams, aggressive tuk-tuk drivers, bag snatching and bag razor attacks. The list is long. Not including the spoilt kids from wealthy families who have body guards carrying weapons with them. Yeah, scary stuff. However, I didn’t actually find anything like this. It looks like a nice city. A bit too hot and humid, but people are generally friendly and tuk-tuk drivers are not too much pushy, just your usual South East Asian tuk-tuk driver.

Mekong Delta

To finish up my stay in Vietnam I decided to take a Mekong Delta tour during three days ending in Cambodia. These tours are very common in Saigon where you go for three days (two nights) and then you come back to Saigon. Anywhere you walk in Saigon you’ll find a travel agency where they advertise them. I don’t know if there are different types of tours, but I would generally avoid them if you are thinking of going yourself.

Don't stay at Nga Hoang Backpackers in Saigon

This post is more about balancing karma on the internet than any other thing. Well, also to provide some advise to people who are thinking of going to Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City. While I was staying in Saigon last January I stayed at a hostel named Nga Hoang because a friend I was meeting up with was staying at this place. I had a bad experience with this hotel and got really really annoyed, even more when I found out what they did a few weeks later.

Images from Saigon

Not technically Saigon The art of siesta Eyes… More siesta In a way like Hanoi, noisy, effervescent, hot and humid, bubbling during the Tet Holiday in January, this is my view on Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City…

Mũi Né

I arrived to Mui Ne from Dalat using the Easy Riders early in the afternoon and chose a room close to the old village. Mui Ne got famous among tourists recently, apparently. It is a long beach strip in southern Vietnam, famous for its winds, which attracts kite-surfers, and the different dunes around the area. The old village is quite picturesque, as it is a fishing village and has lots of boats in its harbour, which makes for nice pictures.

To Dalat and then Mui Ne

From Nha Trang we decided to visit Dalat, which is up in the Vietnamese Highlands. It’s a bit of a change compared to all the other places I’ve been in Vietnam as it is further inland and 1500 m above the sea level. The central highlands is a plateau that borders with Laos, Cambodia and other southern provinces in Vietnam. It also changes as it has a year-round cool weather due to its altitude.

Flickr and Getty images

Yesterday I had this surprise on flickr. I got an email from Flickr HQ saying that 5 of my photographs had been chosen by a Getty Images Editor because they think they could sell, so they’ve invited me to open an account on Getty Images with, initially, these images so that they can be sold. If they sell them you get paid a royalty. Not much, but I find this very exciting.

Experiencing Nha Trang

We arrived to Nha Trang after a bit of a horrible train trip. I was travelling with Marielle, a swedish girl I met in Hanoi who I met again in Hoi An. We were going in the same direction and so we decided to have the same itinerary to make our trip more fun. We decided to take the train because it’s way more confortable than using the bus and we both had had pleasant rides on trains in Vietnam before.

Hoi An

Hoi An is this little precious town which was initially a fishers village and now has become a full tourist attraction. It survived the war fairly well, and now it’s regarded as a lovely destination for tourists. Part of it is the small size and traditional atmosphere you see here (French style). And mainly, too, because it has around 450 tailors who will make suits and other clothing items for you in a matter of days.


Only spent a day and a half in Hué. I somehow didn’t particularly like it. I have this theory about liking a city, where , when you don’t like a particular city, it has to do with your mood during those days. And I don’t know about you, but my mood changes a lot during this trip! :) Or maybe, it was the welcome I got when I arrived to Hué and went for a stroll… I was on my own on this city and I joined an organised tour to see the city.

From Ninh Binh to Hué

I really don’t know any more which day it is now. I mean, I know the number, as I base my bookings on that. I also know when my visa is expiring. But I don’t know if it’s a Thursday or a Sunday. Not anymore. I guess this is what happens when you are doing pretty much every day the same thing and there are no ‘weekends‘ That’s what happened to me when booking a train from Ninh Binh to Hué.

Ninh Binh

I was hoping to go south seeking warmer climates and different scenery, but Amy and Mike recommended me to stop in Ninh Binh for a couple of days to explore the area as it supposed to be pretty. They were right. The city itself is like 3 hours south of Hanoi by minivan, with not much in it and not many foreigners. They come usually on a day-long trip so they don’t usually stay overnight.

Halong Bay

Who hasn’t heard of Halong Bay? Or who hasn’t seen a picture of Halong Bay? Well, I had, and I had felt fascinated by it, its ghostly waterscapes, so much that I wanted to visit it badly. Having seen amazing pictures on the internet had made my desire grow stronger. I just wanted to take my camera with me and shoot away at the amazing scenery, hoping to have great weather and perfect images, combined with a nice stay in the area.

Hanoi, crossing the street

If you guys have been to Vietnam, you’ll know that traffic is chaotic and that there doesn’t seem to exist any kind of traffic rule. Well, the rule for crossing the street among the millions of scooters passing by is just walk, at a steady pace and don’t stop. They’ll see you and they’ll avoid you. Sounds scary, but it’s easier than it looks like. An example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kn1TpFCWo8s

Images from Hanoi

street eating The famous Water puppets! Crazy Traffic _ More Crazy Traffic_ Street eating II Noisy, alive, chaotic, commercial, Hanoi won’t leave you indifferent. Rich with street food, dangerous for the driving, crossing its roads is an interesting experience. Will come back.

China after China

So, I don’t really know why I chose to visit China in the very first place. I was mildly interested in it, but never had a massive interest in it. Maybe because my friend Pablo went there in March last year and he liked it. Maybe because it’s an exotic location which doesn’t see as many tourists as other places. The fact is that I chose Hong Kong as the first destination in Asia (not having been in Asia before) so that my first experience would be a bit westernised and I wouldn’t suffer too much from the cultural shock.

From China to Vietnam

I’m typing this sitting on a soft sleeper train, in the dark, on my way to Hanoi while a chinese guy is snoring next to me, as it’s 20:44 and I definitely don’t feel like I want/can sleep. Today is January 2nd. (yeah, I know, this is late) My time in China is over and my Vietnamese visa started on the 1st of January for 30 days. From Guilin there are different ways by which you can get into Vietnam.


Yangshou is this little town south of Guilin which is famous because of its fantastic landscapes, the Li river and because it’s a climbers’ paradise. To get there you can take a bus that takes 1 hour and a half. Or you can get a tour through the Li River, which is what I did. With this they pick you up from your hostel, drive for like an hour and then you get on a bamboo boat for another hour, then another bus to Yangshou.

Dog Food

So, you guys know that the Chinese (at least on some parts of China) eat about everything, no? I’ve read that in Guangzhou, Cantonese cuisine, they eat ‘everything that has four legs but a table, everything that flies but an aeroplane and everything that swims but a submarine’. So, yeah, anything really. They eat dog food. I got to realise this on my first day in Guilin when I saw a guy on a motorbike carrying three dead dogs on the back of the motorbike.

The Longji Rice Terraces

If you are in Guilin there are many tours that can take you to the Longji rice terraces, called like that because from the top they resemble a dragon’s back (longji = dragon’s backbone). It’s in the mountains and apparently it’s extraordinarily beautiful in spring. Not so much in winter, but anyway, I already know the drill. Some minorities live here like the Yao ladies. They are not the only ones, you can find some other minorities there as well.


I came to Guilin because some people told me that it’s very nice and has beautiful scenery They also told me it’s an interesting city. So why not?. I decided to stay here for a few days before going to Yangshou, a small town which has an amazing scenery. it’s also a climbers’ paradise, it seems. The whole area is made of karst hills and caves that look like the set of a fantasy film.

Arriving to China, what Guangzhou looks like

Arriving to China. I left Hong Kong and jumped on a train to get me to Guangzhou (广州), a big capital close to HK (12 million people). This was my first experience and it was not so nice as I arrived in the evening during the rush hour. Grabbing the underground is madness. The trains are overcrowded and the only way to get in or out is to push people like there’s no tomorrow.


Having been told that I should definitely visit Macau given its proximity to Hong Kong, I booked accommodation for a day in Macau and a ferry ticket. The ferry takes approximately one hour from Kowloon so you can get there in pretty much no time. According to wikipedia, Macau was given back definitively to the Chinese as a S.A.R in 1999 after agreeing on it a few years before. Located around 60 km from Hong Kong, it lies on the western side of the Pearl River Delta, bordering with the Guangdong province in China.

Around Hong Kong

There are a few spots around Hong Kong that are worth visiting. Or it seemed to me. One of them is Lantau Island, going up to see Tian Tan Buddha. You can go up there with buses or a fancy cable car. Some of these cars have a crystal clear ground so you can have a nice view during the trip. It’s actually not that impressive as once the novelty wears off you no longer look down, to be honest.

Exploring Hong Kong

Having fought jet lag enough to keep myself up for just the right amount of time, I decided to stay in Hong Kong for a few days so that I could have a look at this city and also be able to fully recover from jet lag. The areas that I have visited include Kowloon, Lantau Island, and Hong Kong island, including a visit to Ocean Park on the other side of the island to see what it was about.

Writing while travelling

As I don’t have an internet connection all the time and also because I prefer to be doing stuff while I have free time, I’m writing most of my blog posts while I’m travelling on public transport as a way to kill time. So expect a few blog posts soon on the same day :-) Will keep you posted!

Landing in Hong Kong

It’s been two weeks since I embarked on this trip, arriving to Hong Kong on the 14th of December and haven’t had time to blog much about this, so let’s see a bit of Hong Kong action here. I arrived semi jet-lagged (as I happily managed to get a couple of hours sleep on the plane) I jumped on a bus to Kowloon where I met Aurélien, a Belgian guy who was moving to Australia and decided to take a look at Hong Kong for a few days.


I haven’t said anything here before, only on my blog in Spanish [http://blog.roncero.org if you are curious], but two weeks ago I embarked on a trip around the world. Well, not exactly around the world, but starting in Hong Kong, then moving further south through South East Asia to reach Australia, New Zealand and then the United States before going back to the UK. My idea is to see a bit of this world, as I mainly know Europe and the USA.

From Adobe Lightroom's keywords to Flickr's tags

I’ve had Adobe Lightroom for a few months and still I haven’t really mastered even 10% of what it can do, so now I’m on a serious mission to learn about it and use it to publish my photos on flickr, as well as organise my growing collection of photos. This post is about something I’ve just learnt which probably you already know about, or you can google around, so I’m offering this to my friends who I know follow the very few posts I write here and who occasionally use Lightroom and flickr (or not so occasionally).

Keeping useful information with you

Back in the day when I was studying at uni, I would carry with me little notes on anything that I would happen to be studying at the moment. Little summaries of what I was studying such that I didn’t have to open a book and read about it in case I just wanted to refresh my memory. These days, with the overflow of information about anything compter-related I attack the problem in a similar way, although in a more techie way: I usually keep text files with important information about the matter.

Starsky and Hutch

{% img center http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6085/6083475477_d1d5b875d5.jpg Starsky and Hutch %} I want one of these. Can I have one?

My feeling lately in the mornings

{% img center http://img.metro.co.uk/i/pix/cartoons/nemi/Nemi1006_600x194.gif I would have chosen death instead %} Except that I haven’t smashed the phone… yet.

Using a password manager with Dropbox

If you follow recommended practices you should have a strong and unique password on every single website (or service) you visit or use, so that access to the rest of the other services is limited if one of your password is guessed or captured in some way . While this all very well, it’s quite hard to do in practice. We are either lazy and tend to repeat same passwords all over again in different websites or we just try to use variations of a few passwords so that we can keep them in our memory .

Helena Amor photos

This is a simple blog post to introduce my friend Helena Amor, who’s trying to get into photography professionally. She started a few years ago with photography as a hobby and now she’s exploring it in a more commercial way, where she wants to dedicate her efforts and time to build a career around it. She’s mainly being taking portraits as she’s been doing for the last few months for actors and actresses, etc.

Easy way to stop the annoying popups from snap.com

Get annoyed by them? Me too. A lot. And it seems you can’t disable them by using their interface. Or at least it doesn’t work for me. Hot to fix this? Well, just like with any of these things, they usually load a javascript file. So, let’s just not load it: First of all, edit /etc/hosts and add a line like spa.snap.com: sudo vi /etc/hosts which should end like: spa.snap.com Better now!

Social Engineering at Work

I’ve never had social engineering done at me, but recently there was this guy who phone me by directly calling MX Telecom’s number. He said he was calling from DHL and that he had a package to be delivered for me. He wanted the name of two other people who would sign the delivery report in case I was not there. I complied and later a colleague told me that this is most likely a recruiter collecting names from the companies.

Amdocs buys MX Telecom

So, the company I work for, wammux, has been bought by Amdocs, the super mega corporation that owns openmarket, in order to merge us with them. The deal has been $104 million in cash !!! Don’t really know how that’s going to affect us. We shall see. More information about Amdocs in wikipedia.

Alan Wilder live with Depeche Mode at the Royal Albert Hall

Tonight I had the honour to attend a Depeche Mode concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London. It was a special night (not that they usually perform at the Royal Albert Hall, usually The Wembley Arena or the O2) as they were performing for a charity, Teenage Cancer Trust. So I got there by chance as Luis (many thanks), a friend from Spain who had an extra ticket. he’s spared it with me in exchange of accommodation in London.

The effect of temporary tables on MySQL's replication

The other day I needed to set up a new set of MySQL instances at work what would replicate from an existing node. I was setting these up because the master node is running out of disk space and is very slow. Usually, when you need to restore a database you do it in three parts: Install the binaries Load the initial data from the most recent MySQL backup. Set it replicating from one of the nodes by specifying the binary log file and position from which you want it to replicate (which usually corresponds to the day you took the backup).

My personal review of T-Mobile's Pulse

Last month I bought a T-Mobile’s Pulse running Android by a bit more than £80, quite a bargain, considering that it’s a Pay as You Go phone. Not that I wanted to use it as my main personal phone, but because I wanted a second phone where to receive crap sms from work, and also because I wanted to play with the Android platform. So, I’ve used it for a month, and I’m not happy.

Tired of remembering complicated passwords?

My colleague Mat showed me a nice little trick today. Say you are bored or tired of using different password in all your websites you use, or maybe you don’t want to use the same password on these sites. Simple and easy if you use a Linux computer. You only have to use, and more importantly remember, simple words or combination and a little command in the shell to generate a really difficult to guess password.

XFS and barriers

Lately at work, we’ve been trying to figure out what the deal with barriers are, either for XFS or EXT3, the two filesystems we like most. If you don’t know what barriers are, go and read a bit on the XFS FAQ. Short story, XFS comes with barriers enabled by default, EXT3 does not. Barriers make your system a lot more secure to data corruption, but it degrades performance a lot.

Nice Firefox and Thunderbird themes

I’ve found two themes for firefox and thunderbird that I’m so pleased with them I have to promote them a bit :-). They are Charamel and Silvermel created by Kurt Freudenthal. I discovered them thanks to Chewie. So, what I like about them is: Works with newer versions of Mozilla firefox and thunderbird (Including version 3 beta 4) It’s got really nice colours and a nice layout. It works fine under linux and Mac OS X.

Monitoring data with Collectd

I’ve been using collectd for quite a while just to monitor the performance of my workstation. I’ve tried other solutions (cacti, munin, etc) but I didn’t like how it all worked or the graphs it created, the amount of work required to have it working, or any other reason, finding collectd to be overall a good solution for my monitoring needs (which are basically graphing and getting some alerts). I like it because it generates nice and good graphs (among other things): But what I like the most about it is the architecture it’s got for sending data and its low memory footprint.

Reload a page in Safari. How difficult it can be?

I have been really annoyed for a while trying to find the reload button in Safari 4 under Mac. I just didn’t find it, but it seems I was completely blind and they’ve placed it in a place where you wouldn’t expect it. Just the right hand side of the address bar. What genius though it would be a good idea to change from where everyone assumes it is? Yes, I know Cmd-R.

Little surprises in HTTP Headers

Last week I move a blog I’ve got in Spanish to wordpress.com. Basically I really like wordpress.com and I believe it’s really worth it in terms of freeing my time from administering a wordpress installation and keeping up with the security fixes etc. And today, having a little bit of time I was tweaking my old website to redirect to the new site using an HTTP permanent redirect header. This is what I found in the HTTP headers: [golan@mars ~] % HEAD http://roncero.org/blog/ 200 OK Cache-Control: max-age=260, must-revalidate Connection: close Date: Thu, 15 Oct 2009 21:35:09 GMT Server: nginx Vary: Cookie Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8 Last-Modified: Thu, 15 Oct 2009 21:34:29 +0000 Client-Date: Thu, 15 Oct 2009 21:35:09 GMT Client-Peer: Client-Response-Num: 1 Link: ; rel=shortlink X-Hacker: If you're reading this, you should visit automattic.com/jobs and apply to join the fun, mention this header.

Google Wave Invites

I’ve got two invites to Google Wave that I’m happy to give away. The first two persons that leave a comment including their email address (which will not be published) and their website, will get them :) Update: The invitations are gone.

Apple's iPhone Mail Client sucks

My work mate Matthew Galloway has just found why Apple’s iPhone Mail Client sucks a bit. Interesting.

BeThere rules

I generally like my ISP, BeThere, they are nice, offer a good internet package and they are friendly with techies. This is another reason why I love them, they publish problems with their routers on their blog and how they are going to fix it. Whether having issues with the router it’s not nice, I like this approach where they admit the fault and show that they are taking the necessary steps to fix it.

Apple Converted

Over the last few months I’ve acquired a few items from Apple. Namely and Mac Book Pro 13”, an iPod Touch 2nd gen (which came with the Mac Book Pro and I’m reselling, probably) and an iPhone, with O2. I’m quite pleased to be honest. It might be that I’m getting older but I’m lately not so apt to be continually fighting configuration issues and stuff with Linux (which I haven’t erased from my life.


For those of you who might have come here everyonce in a while you might have noticed that this blog is now hosted in wordpress.com, which would enable me to pay less attention to hosting my own wordpress and keep up with the security fixes. Not that I update this blog too much, but well, less work for me. Every link should work, even considering the URL schema has changed a little bit (removed the /archive/ bit), but it’s handled perfectly.

Tricks to diagnose processes blocked on strong I/O in linux

There’s one aspect of the Linux kernel and the GNU operating system and related tools in which it might be lacking behind, specially with kernel 2.4 series. I’m talking about I/O accounting or how to know what’s going on with the hard disk or other devices which are used to write and read data. The thing is that Linux provides you with a few tools with which you can tell what’s going on with the box and its set of disks.

Installing From Source, The Easy Way

Installing software in any unix-like operating system these days has become very easy. Package managers such as dpkg, the one used by Debian or Ubuntu, take most of the hassle by dealing with all the dependencies and intricacies that modern software has nowadays. It’s just a matter of getting the package that some hard-working and/or generous developer has made and install it in our system. It’s straightforward compared with how things were a mere few years ago.

Modifying a live linux kernel

Before reading this, I just need to say something: I’ve no idea of linux, I’ve no idea of programming, I’ve no idea of computers… Everything you read here might have been invented, so, please, do not reproduce what I write here. If you do, bear in mind that you do it under your own responsibility. In fact, what is a computer anyway? The other day we were having issues with a box that was used as a NFS box among other things.


Some time ago I discovered Multitail, a tool for displaying in a tail-like fashion any kind of information. I works by splitting the console window in many parts and displaying the info you want on each of those screens, whether it is tailing a file or the output of a command via a ssh session. It also has coloring support (which you can extend using regular expressions) to tailor your needs.

Firefox trick

Try this in firefox: Go to any page with lots of images. Delete the URL bar Substitute it with: javascript:R=0; x1=.1; y1=.05; x2=.25; y2=.24; x3=1.6; y3=.24; x4=300;y4=200; x5=300; y5=200; DI=document.images; DIL=DI.length; function A(){for(i=0; i-DIL; i++){DIS=DI[ i ].style; DIS.position='absolute'; DIS.left=(Math.sin(R*x1+i*x2+x3)*x4+x5)+"px"; DIS.top=(Math.cos(R*y1+i*y2+y3)*y4+y5)+"px"}R++}setInterval('A()',5); void(0) Press Enter and enjoy!!! :-)

How to monitor packets from a remote interface in real time

I was trying to debug a connection to the internet that should be controlled by tc, the tool linux uses to do traffic shaping. The scenario is this: All outbound traffic through one interface using a specific IP port should not block the rest of the traffic. Some other ports and protocols are given priority (ie: interactive traffic using ssh) But it was failing. tc is quite complicated to get it properly working.

Last FM

I first knew about internet radio by listening to Soma FM back in 2001 or 2002. It was pretty cool by then. Lately I’ve been using Last FM quite a lot. I find it quite nice the way they have everything set up. They have a nice mp3 player with which you can listen to the music they are constantly streaming. Not only that, you can listen to different kinds of music at any time, searching it by artists or by music tags.

More on setting a subversion mirror repository

A few days ago I wrote about setting up a subversion repository using svnsync. On that entry I was using svn+ssh authentication, but there are some gotchas to take into account to avoid having a security issue.If you recall correctly, we had a unix user with which people will access the repository. If we haven’t taken any extra protection, that means that anyone that has their ssh key on such a user’s ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file can log into the system.

Speeding up trac's response time

I’ve been trying to speed up an installation of trac over the last few days. The web interface took ages to display each of the directories or files within the subversion repository. But this one wasn’t too big. The only change to the subversion repository is that we started using a vendor branch imported into our main repository using svm So, after a few hours trying different solutions, and reading trac’s source code, I think I got where the bottleneck was.Well, it was http://www.sqlite.org/download.html which was causing the bottleneck.

Setting up a subversion mirror repository using svnsync

With the new version of subversion 1.4 you have a new tool called svnsync with which you can maintain mirror repositories quite easily. I’ve been working on one at work and would like to share with you my findings in case it interests anyone :-) Understanding the problem In order to have a mirror repository, it is important that commits only happen on the master and then they are synchronized to the mirror using the svnsync program.

How to become a unix guru

Just read this on the irc channel #netbsd on freenode. Found it funny :) <alphawaves> how can I become a unix guru? <alphawaves> is it only possible? <sqweek> do you really want to? <alphawaves> uhm y eah i try to several years * AccessExcess has quit (Remote closed the connection) <sqweek> do you still want to after i tell you that aside from general understanding it requires rote learning of countless quirks and inconsistencies between tools/distros/systems?

Mini tutorial on gdb

Thanks to Matthew: gdb --args program/to/debug --whatever break Foo.c:532 # to put a breakpoint at line 532 of Foo.c run # to run it, until it hits that line bt # to display the stacktrace (backtrace) frame 2 # to change the stack frame you're looking at list # to list the sourcecode for that stack frame step # to step into the next command for that frame next # to run the code to the next command continue # to continue onwards print bar # to print the contents of variable bar printf "%08x", bar # standard printf for bar delete 2 # to remove the 2nd breakpoint Obviously, you need to compile things with -g as an argument to GCC.

in a perfect world

Read at http://bash.org/?203815 In a perfect world... spammers would get caught, go to jail, and share a cell with many men who have enlarged their penisses, taken Viagra and are looking for a new relationship. Wouldn’t it be nice? Yessss

Playing with web services

Some of you may know that I run a website for displaying the temperature in Seville which has many visitors, mainly from Seville. I’ve run that website since 2001 and it is actually number one when you perform a google search on temperatura en sevilla. I find it quite useful. Eversince I have implemented various related services, basically playing around in my free time. Some of them are a RSS service and a jabber service (which you can subscribe by adding sevillatemp@jabber.org to your jabber application - even Gtalk -).

Moving to London

Well, it was time to leave Brighton and move on to something different. Boredom, lack of internet and sleep has been a constant over the last couple of months. Finally, I found a job in London and moved to it to, well, start something different/new. Moving all my stuff from Brighton to London has been a bit of a pain in the ass. I had way too many things to move.

Extreme Temperatures

It seems that Seville holds the record for extreme maximum temperature in Europe. I found out accidentally reading the wikipedia. As sometimes the wikipedia is regarded as not being trustworthy (as anyone can change it), I wanted to look for an official website and found one at the National Climatic Data Center (from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration ) in which it is confirmed. But, as some might think that the 19th century is too far away, have a look at this graph from 2003 in Seville .

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User-Centered Design

Following my last post about human-computer interaction, I am going to talk a little bit about User-Centered Design which is a methodology to achieve a good human-computer interaction. So, what is User-Centered Design… A design method User-Centered Design (UCD) is a design methodology that is about designing interactive technologies to meet users’ needs. We can divide it in four stages: Understand users’ needs Establishing requirements Prototyping Evaluanting designs Its key characteristics are: Understand users and their needs Focus on users early in the design and evaluation.

Human-Computer Interaction

So, as I said in a previous post, I am taking a course on Human-Computer Interaction, a subject that deals with almost everything that involves our everyday lives. Who has not used a mobile phone? a computer? a vending machine? Even a simple elevator, that would seem to most people unrelated to computers, has to do with HCI, the interaction between a person and the thing in question. The textbook on which the course is based is Interaction Design, beyond human-computer interaction by Rogers, Sharp and Preece, on which most of these notes are taken.

Google Calendar

So, Google is preparing another web application for all of us to enjoy. A web calendar to keep track of all the things you could put on your calendar, like iCal or simmilar. It looks like it’s going to be possible to sync them from your favourite calendar desktop application. There are some good screenshots of this Google Calendar here. The cuestion is, if google is owning your email, being the internet search master, and deploying a bunch of other interesting services (Google Talk and Google maps among others)… Isn’t having all this information about you too much?


As part of another assignment for the Distributed System course at the University of Sussex we have been doing some research on Chord, a distributed hash lookup primitive, and, in the end, implement part of what is called a chord ring in java. The idea behind Chord is a research paper in which a distributed protocol for adding nodes to the system, insert data into it, retreive it and drop from the system is described.

Depeche Mode and Barcelona

Tomorrow I’m heading to Barcelona to see my first Depeche Mode concert of the Playing the Angel tour at Palau Sant Jordi sports arena, built for the 1992 olimpic games. While I am not finding this last album exciting at all (maybe I am changing musical tastes), I am really excited to go to Barcelona, as it is always a city with a lot to offer. Also, I’m seeing some of my friends as they are comming from Seville to the concert, which is going to be lots of fun.

FON, google and Skype

So, they did it Fon has just announced it would get 21.5 million dollars from Google, Skype, and Sequoia Capital. Something I already talked about a couple of days ago. Amazing. Just waiting for comments right now!.

Background briefing on FON

Some days ago I posted that I was writing a report for one of my courses at the University of Sussex. I chose to research on FON. The aim of this paper is to show a factual description of how this company is using technology in its business model, nothing more, nothing less :-) Enjoy Introduction FON is a recently created start-up company in Spain, founded by Martin Varsavsky, an Argentine entrepreneur, founder of many companies in the last 20 years, five of which have become very successful.

Computer puzzles in job interviews

Yesterday, I went to a job interview. I was asked some difficult problems and ways to solve them. One of them was: We have a list of a million phone numbers on the standard input and we have a reduced memory pc which we want to use it to sort them and use to check later if any number given is in that list or not. The solution offered was to use an array of bits and use the number as an index, so if b[1234 ] == 0 would mean that the phone number 1234 wasn’t on the input list and 1 would mean that we had it.

About FON

As part of my studies in my e-business course at the University of Sussex, I have been asked to write a report of a company that is somehow involved with e-business (e-commerce, use of technology to become more profitable or efficient, etc.). So, I have decided that I am going to do some research on FON, a company created by Martin Varsavsky who is famous for founding Jazztel and Ya.com, one of the biggest phone companies and ISP in Spain.

On Distributed Computing using RMI

Ok, so I have this assignment in one of my courses at the University of Sussex, Distributed Systems. The thing is that we need to implement a distributed event notification system, in which clients subscribe themselves to the server to which some event generators sends their events. All of this, using RMI (Remote Method Invocation) in Java. The assignment is an introduction to distributed objects in java by implementing this little system.

On XML and Java

As part of an assignment for a course at Sussex University I have to create a Servlet to run a small application, one to deal with a wedding list. It involves quite a few technologies, including XML, javascript, CSS and JAVA.So far I am not specially happy with the course as I haven’t enjoyed it as much as I thought initially. I think it is because there are so many technologies considered in such a short period of time, but I think that Java itself made me feel very uncomfortable from the very beginning (As an example, I found the Java DOM API to be quite awkward to use).

Depeche Mode sucks lately

Ok, so depeche Mode are going out on tour. Normally, this happens when some rock star or band publish a new album and they want to promote it. It’s the best way: touring around the world to make people know about it. But now, dM is just announcing a new tour for their new album… Wait! What album? … No album? This is really pathetic They haven’t even changed the font face on the website.

Apple and Intel Get Married

So, they finally are moving to intel. Amazing… I guess now there are millions of mac users completely upset

Guadalinex 2005

So, finally, the new guadalinex is going to be made by emergya, the company I worked for last year. It”s going to be made in association with some other companies: Yaco, Interactors and, also, Canonical, the creators of the Ubuntu linux distribution, on which the new guadalinex is going to be based on. Good luck to them! ‘

Apple and Oranges

On slashdot there is an interesting story about apple considering using intel chips. including links from people who predicted this. It’s interesting to think about it for a while and the effect it would have, even on all the apple lovers. If somebody thinks this way apple would be a PC maker, this is highly unlikely, as some readers on slashdot point out. The thing is that a PC is not only a processor, but also an architecture.


Hi, I am Jesús, originally from Spain. I am a computer engineer and I write about computer somtimes and about photography, which I like.

Creating images on the fly (human verification)

Ok, so yesterday I implemented all the logic behind a anti spam system for pybloxsom comments. The only thing missing was the generation of images on the fly, showing the secret number in a way that humans can read it and also making it weird enough to mess an OCR system. So, I spent some time investigating PIL, the Python Imaging Library, a set of python modules to manipulate and create images.

Adding human verification to comments

I’ve been nailed by a bastard spammer for some time at another blog I happen to run in Spanish. What he usually does is try to create hundreds of comments pointing to some kind of crappy web site I don”t intend to visit at all. All I know is he uses lots of times the word casino and grants. Investigating a bit, I learned he uses the UserAgent AIRF string, which happens to be used by this program: roboform, a program for automating the filling of forms, somehow a paradise for spammers :-( As It says in the FAQ, newer versions disable the use of that UserAgent string so it makes it virtually impossible to filter those comments from a web server point of view.