Fri, 30 Jul 2004

Teeth of Wisdom trouble

I went to the dentist on Tuesday and the doctor insisted on what I've been trying to ignore during the last two years: I need to have my four Teeth of Wisdom extracted.

A pitty, because I never had any kind of pain as they grew in 8 years ago or so and I thought I'd have no problems with them. Unfortunately, they never got to get out entirely, and now they are basically useless for my bite, and a potential risk area for teeth decay. They have pushed the rest of the teeth out of alignment, so I may have to get dental braces to correct this. I'm defering all of this until October, though. I don't want to be bothered during Summer with this...

My talk at Campus Party 2004

Some weeks ago, I discovered I was included in the list of people who were going to do talks in this year's Campus Party, although nobody had asked me in advance. A few weeks later I did get a mail regarding this, which I answered, but I never heard anything else, so I assumed I didn't have to do it in the end.

Well, it actually seems like they still counted on me, apparently, as I was listed in the time table to do a workshop on Debian last Tuesday. So not only they didn't call me to give me details on dates for the talk, but they also didn't remove them from their planning. I imagine participants went into the room last Tuesday, waited a bit for me, thought I was a bastard for not showing up and went back to their computers to play some more of whatever the current 3D bloodfest game is right now.

In the case that anyone at Campus Party is reading this: sorry, I didn't show up because I was never informed.

Mon, 26 Jul 2004


On Saturday, I spent all day in Antella during the class B triathlon held in the town. I didn't run myself, but helped my teammates giving them food, water and of course, support. The triathlon is quite good because the swim is held in one of the biggest rivers around the Valencian territory, Xúquer, in a place where the water is a bit more calm and the current isn't so strong. The distances are double than in a normal Olympic triathlon: 2.500m swimming, 80km cycling and 20km running. This year, it started at 15:30 instead of 8:00, as last year the running segment turned out to be hell itself, at 13:00 or so, in the middle of the heat wave. This year the only people who really suffered the heat were assistants, so that's probably ok. :)

While the triathletes concentrated for the race two hours before, the rest of us had a nice bath in the river, and killed the time jumping down from a 10 metre fall and then climbing up again.

During the triathlon, we were quite busy taking pics and helping our team mates, and after 5 hours of competition and a few more of wait for the award ceremony (we were second in the team rank), we went back to València at 23:30 or so. We should to Antella more often, having baths in l'assut is a lot more fun than the beach.

No surprises in Le Tour

There were no surprises in the Alps or the time trial, and Armstrong managed to win his 6th consecutive Tour de France. That I initially wanted Ullrich to win doesn't mean I acknoweledge there was no rival for him this year, and he's, without doubt, the best rider the History of Le Tour has know. US Postal is also with difference the best team around right now. Congrats!

Related to Lance, jfleck has been blogging about the Lance Armstrong Foundation and his LiveStrong initiative to help survivors of cancer. It's very nice to see people like Lance spending some of his time in helping others while they go through what he managed to defeat years ago. It's interesting, too, as he's a fierce competitor while riding (this year he has won in time-trials, sprinting, in mountain stages, just conceeding a victory to Basso one day), but is obviously another kind of person outside the cycling world.

During some of the mountain stages, and specially in Alpe d'Huez, you could see people booing at him as he flied past them. That wasn't good either. You might not like his fierceness or the fact that he is now the best rider, but if you don't like it just don't hail or clap. One Spanish diary translated his comments about the Basque spectators in La Mongie as if "they wanted to kill him". This probably wasn't what Armstrong said, but made many people here think he was quite idiot.

Congrats to jfleck, greg and others, too!

Sun, 25 Jul 2004

Mozilla translations - the translator POV

Chris Blizzard posted about Mozilla translation management. While I haven't been involved directly in Catalan translations of Mozilla, I maintain a few Debian packages of Mozilla translations to Basque and Catalan, and know now painful it can get to translate a Mozilla product.

The biggest problem, to the eyes of a translator completely used to gettext, is that Mozilla uses its own native i18n/l10n system and that's a very immediate barrier, as Chris points out. I think it would be very beneficial if Mozilla created an "official" bridge from their native formats to the PO format, which was integrated in the Mozilla build setup. Mozilla could distribute the POT file of their releases (alpha, beta, rcX), which translators could pick up, translate using well-known tools, and submit back to bugzilla. The po files would be integrated in upstream CVS, and could be available for the final releases. This would probably mean enforcing a string freeze of some kind in the final stage of the release process, so translations for rc2 would still be complete in the final version, like GNOME does already.

Right now, the Translate project is on the lead providing a suite of scripts that convert from mozilla to po and viceversa, but the process is still annoying enough and error prone to scare non-technical translators away. If Mozilla could take this and integrate it in their trees so that translators just need to care about translating the messages, and not about creating XPI files and so, I'm sure the translating effort would improve a lot in the mozilla world. MozillaTranslator is just not good enough anymore.

There are other minor problems, like some Mozilla dialogs having an apparent fixed size. For example, the account creation helper in the Catalan version of Thunderbird just shows half of the "Cancel" and "Ok" buttons, probably because the Catalan text is one or two lines longer than the original, and the dialog doesn't resize to fit correctly or so; you get a scrollbar instead. In other cases, like the About dialog, you don't even get a scrollbar. In some cases, the translator can define the size of the dialog, but this is just another problem in the translation process. GTK apps, for example, do resize and wrap text as needed. I don't know much about XUL, so I'm probably saying nonsense here.

Programs I'm missing

(In a GNOME desktop, really)...

The other day I was looking for some easy-to-use GNOME frontend for GNU parted, but all I could find in Debian was QtParted, which isn't quite GNOMEish at all. So I started thinking on the apps GNOME is missing and I'd like to use, besides the parted frontend.

I'm still using EPIC4 as my main IRC client, although I've started to explore irssi-text to see if I end up switching, given I still don't find the perfect epic script that makes me comfortable enough. These days I wouldn't mind switching to a graphical IRC client in some cases (ie, all except when I'm on a remote link), but XChat is too complex, and I'm used to HIGgy GNOME software now. I haven't tried gnomechat, but it seems to be a bit stale lately, and I really need Jimbob to work on other fronts. ;)

I'd like to manage some stuff like my CD collection, but GTKtalog is still using GTK+ 1.2, but it seems they've been working on a GTK+ 2.0 version. I really want to avoid dealing with GTK+ 1.2 apps at this stage, and it seems the porting work is a bit stalled in CVS. For books, I want to explore Alexandria, but haven't had time yet. It looks promising. I'm not sure what the state is for Photo managers. It seems GThumb is the natural choice (as suggested by gnome-volume-manager), but as my camera isn't supported by the "Import photos" thingy, I can't say how good or bad it is.

I had thought of a nice list of programs that I would like to see born in the GNOME world, but I've forgotten of most of them. It's lovely to be underslept.

Mon, 19 Jul 2004

Armstrong's 6th Tour

It's not a secret that in Spain, most of the people following the Tour, and cycling in general, prefer that Armstrong doesn't win his 6th Tour de France in a row.

Unluckily for us, during the stages across the Pyrenees, he has proven to be the strongest rider once again. We had hopes that after last year's very difficult victory, this year Mayo, Ullrich, Heras and others would be able to beat him in the mountain. All the contrary... Mayo seems to be about to quit, Heras hasn't been seen anywhere near the first groups in the important summits and Ullrich just doesn't seem to keep up with Armstrong. If nothing extraordinary happens in the Alps, Armstrong will set a new record in the Tour, which will be probably unbeaten for decades. Too bad for Miguel's mark...

I know a few gnomies at the other side of the Atlantic will be happy about this, though. ;)

Sun, 18 Jul 2004

Quick Debian GNOME update

While all the critical bits are in Sarge now, there are some packages like gnome-applets that still need to transition. All of the remaining stuff is waiting on gst-plugins0.8, which should be ready to enter testing tonight. The only thing preventing this is that it needs the new version of libxml2 as well, and libxml2 isn't being built on hppa due to a binutils/gcc/whatever bug. Hopefully this will be corrected soonish and gst-plugins will finally be able to get in testing, allowing me to stop these stupid posts on the matter. ;)


I got back from Vinaròs, from our second Olympic distance tri. I couldn't have gone worse for me...

Instead of waking up at 4:45AM this morning, Gabi, Pelúo and I decided to go in the caravan the day before, sleep there and have plenty of time to prepare stuff in the morning. The rest of the team came by bus at 6AM, to arrive pretty tight on time at 8:00. So, the three of us went to Vinaròs, got there at 20:00 or so. We looked for some place to park, which wasn't easy as most of the streets near the triathlon area were going to be cleared of cars to setup boxes, and the others would probably would be packed of drunk, noisy people in a few hours. So we found a nice place 1 kilometre away, near the beach. It had been a long time since the last time I went to sleep with the sound of the sea so near, it was quite relaxing. When 4 drunk youngsters sat down outside the caravan at 2AM and started to laugh and talk loudly, though, it stopped being relaxing. Happily they went away when we kindly told them to and could continue sleeping until 7 when we entered triathlon mode and didn't stop until we crossed the finish line.

During the race, all sorts of stuff happened to me... In the swim, someone managed to remove my swimming goggles entirely, and I had to stop and look for them around me before the sank. My orientation sucked and I had to correct my course several times. Then, when I got my bike in boxes, the chain got off the plate and despite me trying three times, I couldn't put it back in without getting of the bike and doing it by hand. Finally, in the running segment, my quadricep problems were back (just in my right leg this time), and I had to stop a few times. Again, I didn't abandon, but I probably should have. I ended with a very discrete time. Pics of Vinaròs are already up on our site.

I really hope my luck changes for Oliva. I have one month to prepare, as I didn't qualify for the Spanish championships in Valladolid and I'll be away for Cuenca's triathlon, which would have been good.

Fri, 16 Jul 2004

Heart or potato?

This morning I got an ecocardiogram done at the hospital. The good news is that the potato in my chest isn't exploding anytime soon.

Why I got my heart checked is a longish story. I started triathlon training last year, and these two years are by far the period when I have put most strain on my heart (and rest of my body). Last summer, I was arriving late to a training, and I was cycling fast to get there ASAP. There are about 6 kilometres from my father's house to the sports campus. As soon as I entered the city, I came across a closed traffic light, so I suddenly stopped after 15 minutes of extreme effort. A few seconds later, I started to feel dizzy, my sight started to blank a bit and most alarmingly, I felt my heart skip a few beats: pump-pump, pump-pump, pump-pump, ... pump, ... pump, ... pump, pump-pump, pump-pump.... Of course, I freaked out a bit, but mostly forgot about it when the lights went green and I had a completely normal training session. Since then, I've got the same symptoms 3 more times, so I told my mother and her husband, who casually are cardiologists. Even if they thought that could be quite normal in people doing lots of sports, we decided to do some tests just to make sure. I just don't want to collapse one day in the street. :)

On Monday I was auscultated by Adolfo, and he says he found something strange in the heartbeat sound. I had an electrocardiogram done, which didn't reveal anything bad, but hey, now I know I have 45 beats per minute when resting. Finally I got the ecocardiogram done at the hospital. The equipment they use for this is fun. It's nothing new, it's the same technique as the one used to look "inside" a pregnant woman to check the baby. I could see my heart in the monitor from many different angles, distinguishing the ventricles and valves. The two doctors started commenting something at one of the valves, but I couldn't get anything out of their medical speak. In the end, it turns out my aortic valve has a small fault and doesn't close completely, and some blood escapes when it shouldn't. They say it's nothing I should care about (yet?) and I can continue doing sport normally, but I need to keep an eye, and have it checked every two years, as the valve tends to open more as one ages. Someone else in the team had the same diagnosed for his heart, so I guess this is not too uncommon. This evening, to celebrate, I went to the river to run during 50 minutes.

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