Mon, 30 May 2005

The French say "Non"!

Coming back with Rambonabo from the cinema, where I watched Episode III for the second time (this time I didn't pay for the ticket), we learned from the radio the results for the French referendum.

I was pretty confident about "No" winning, and I'm happy to see it was by a quite acceptable margin, given how high participation was. I don't know how the process continues now that a key member has rejected the current text. One would hope France would start pushing for changes in the Constitution with the goal of writing a new version that makes some people that today voted no happy, and that would be voted again. What doesn't sound too "democratic" is what Giscard says needs to be done: to vote over and over and over again until the "Oui" option wins.

I'm still a bit perplexed at Spain's results for the same vote. That did suck a bit. Not only for the final result, but for the overwhelming percentage of votes supporting "Sí" in our referendum. Were the 80% of the (not that many) people who voted informed about what's in the Constitution? Do they know that if they find out a bit later, after it's approved, that they don't really like this or that bit, it's virtually impossible to change it?

Tue, 24 May 2005

Upgrade to pyblosxom 1.2

Today, being on vacation and with little fun stuff to do, I decided to have a look at my old blog spam problem. Lately, I had been using a poor-man's spam cleaner for the comment spams, consisting on combining find, grep with an always growing list of forbidden patterns, and rm. This worked well for some time, and the spam problem was a minor annoyance now: I just had to check for non-removed entries every now and then and add those patterns to the regexp.

Yesterday I found out I had something like 3.000 new comments, so I thought my cheap system was broken and it hadn't deleted anything in many days. Nope, it was working correctly according to the logs, but everytime it ran it deleted something like 100 files or so. After adding the missing patterns and deleting the thousands of new files, I observed my webserver logs with tail -f for a moment and found I was getting one new comment every two seconds or so. WTF?! Are they generally getting this aggresive everywhere, or is this dude just pissed about my site? I hope the mail to the corresponding abuse@ address works.

As they submitted them quicker than the slow CPU could delete them, I removed comments temporarily, and looked at installing PyBlosxom 1.2, as people had told me there's improvements against spam in this release.

This site is now running 1.2, but I see nothing spam-oriented in the new comments plugin. Does anyone know what the Nice Way of blocking spam in PyBlosxom is, that is not too expensive CPU-wise? Comments should be working right now.

On another note, the site is crawling today because of the two triathlon pics I posted earlier, which are making people hit MaxClients quite fast.

Mon, 23 May 2005

València 2005

I did it! I managed to finish València's olympic triathlon!

On Saturday, as planned, I went cycling with Kiko through one of his secret circuits around Betera. After 30 very slow kilometres we were back at his house, got our Orca wetsuites and went to the swimmingpool to have a relaxing swim. Kiko has an Ironman wetsuite, but for this triathlon he got Vicente's Orca Speedsuit to give it a go. He was delighted with the difference, and is now thinking about getting one for next season. :) Orca just rules.

On Sunday, alarm clocks set off quite early, at 7AM. After a good breakfast and the final preparations, 4 triathletes set off from Benimaclet to the Cabanyal beach, and soon after we were queuing at the boxes entrance, with time running out to set everything up, put on our wetsuites and get started.

I somehow forgot the mandatory swimming cap at boxes, and the minutes I lost going back prevented me of warming up at all, a bad way of starting an adventure that couldn't end up well anyway. Also, my felt the wetsuite wasn't too well placed and it was a bit unconfortable around my neck and armpits.

A few minutes late, the judge let the triathlon start and people rushed into the sea. I wasn't in such a hurry, and started swimming slowly, in an attempt to get a bit warm. Sooner than expected I found myself walking out of the water after completing the first lap, and the second 750 metres were a lot better, and I even could push water a bit harder. When I got out again I looked back and saw so few people that it felt strange, as I normally leave behind a lot more people in the swim.

Got the bicycle after a clumsy transition and set off for the 40 kilometres. This year the circuit was slightly modified with respect to other editions, and we would go all the way to the West gate of the Universitat Politècnica de València and come back through Eugènia Vinyes, to the boxes area. My tactic was to absolutely not try to do anything that would consume my legs during the cycling, if I wanted to stand a chance in the run.

The idea was to do an average of 27kms/h or so, but in the end I did something like 33, as I felt it was going alright. I refused to join any packs that came from behind, because with so many roundabouts and bends it was hard to reconnect every two minutes, and I couldn't care less anyway. Of course, I was literally run over by the race leaders, which were probably cycling at 45kms/h, and other leading packs hosting some of my teammates. Another weird feeling...

When I completed the first 20 kilometres I wished it was just a sprint triathlon, because I would be so close of finishing. Luckily the second 20 felt a bit easier and soon I was in boxes, putting my running shoes on for the toughest part.

As soon as I started I thought "ok, there's no way I'm going to do 10 kilometres on these legs", as a few pains started to appear just on the first metres, specially on my left heel. The running segment was totally confusing, as you had to go back and forth 4 times just to complete one of the three laps, so at first I didn't know too well how much was left to finish the first one. When I learned that doing that 4 times was just one lap, I nearly give up, but luckily the fans at the finish line area (hi Paula and friends :) made me reconsider and start the second lap.

"Only" 10 kilometres to go

Soon after I started getting a few warnings from my right quadricep, "dude, calm down a bit or you'll regret when I explode", so I had to stop for a minute to stretch a bit. By then, most of my Komando teammates were done running and celebrating at the finish area, but I still had around 6 kilometres to go. When I completed the second lap, my quadricep was totally upset and hard as a stone, but having completed most of it there was no way I was going to stop. A bit more, and I crossed the finish line with 2:35, a lot less than what I had estimated in the case that I finished.

This is all the reward I got for finishing

Some of my teammates did quite well, specially Montxi who is demonstrating this year that he could be in elite class if he wanted. I'm happy not only for having finished the strangest race ever (before starting I had no clue of where, if I would, abandon, because my phisical condition was a mystery), but because it has given me a good deal of motivation for the rest of the season, which now starts for me.

Next races: Santa Pola in two weeks, and Antella sometime in July, both sprint distance.

Sat, 21 May 2005

Triathlon again

Last Saturday I was in Cullera's triathlon, as an spectator, as many of my teammates were going to run there. I had a great time there watching the tris, watching the swimming, the cycling, the running, commenting with people how the race went for them, etc. After watching the elite series, a wild idea started invading my mind: I wanted to come back, and as soon as possible.

Two days later I mailed the team's mailing list and asked everyone about how crazy would it be to do my return to the triathlon world during València's triathlon, just a week away, and this year in Olympic distance format. Of course, many reasonable people said it was a bad idea, with no training at all, and that I should focus on Santa Pola and Antella, which are sprint distance and later on during the season, so I have time to train a little and get minimally prepared. The major part of the people who replied told me to ignore them and go ahead and participate.

On Tuesday, first thing in the evening was to go to the Valencian Federation to do a 2005 licence. With the licence, I guess I'll have a reason to run more races because if not it'll be a complete waste of money. I also registered for València's Triathlon.

Evidence that I'll be fucked up on Sunday

My preparation for this race is: 50 minutes of running on Tuesday; 1.200 metres of swimming on Wednesday; some other 1.200 of swimming on Thursday, in the sea and using the wetsuit to get used to it again; and some cycling and swimming on Saturday morning. Not too impressive...

I've had this feeling of fear in my stomach since Thursday because I know it's going to be quite difficult to just finish it, as unfit I am right now. Just finishing the swimming will be hard, as there'll be around 400 people punching and kicking me all over the place, and the organisation makes you do 750 metres, then go out of the sea, run to the starting point again and swim the other 750, and that's exhausting.

If I manage, I'll face the cycling, in a entirely flat circuit, which doesn't suit me at all (I'm a lot better at climbing steep roads). I haven't trained the bike in 5 months, so I'm scared about this one.

Depending on how hard I need to work on the 40 kilometres of cycling, I'll "just" have to run 10 kilometres on a completely hard surface. The good thing is that for the first time, it seems there'll be quite a big number of known people spectating, something that will surely help me keep the morale up. In theory, running is what I'm best prepared for right now, but it all depends on how fucked up my muscles are after the cycling.

The only goal on Sunday is to finish uninjured. I'll have a happy week of vacation ahead to recover from the effort.

Sun, 15 May 2005


Ok, it's this day again. I feel like last time happened very recently. This last year has been full of new experiences.

Just two weeks before turning 26 I got my current job at the Conselleria de Cultura to work on LliureX. This has been my first "real job", so there have been quite a lot of experiences involved.

LliureX probably meant the end of my very active triathlon activities. Not long after starting there, demotivation appeared and I started to train less and less, until, in Oxford, I decided I would try to do a "different" season this year. The truth is that I haven't tried regularly at all, and still haven't participated in any competition.

Oxford takes me to the third of the big events of the last year. From not having travelled too much in my life, to a sudden burst of travel opportunities throughout the year. It started with Canonical inviting me to their first "official" conference in Oxford, for two weeks over August. I also was in Manresa for a few days during the summer. In December, I was happy to be invited to the second Ubuntu Conference, this time in Mataró, making the travelling not so exciting (just about 400 kilometres away :) but the conference itself was very nice, including Deaths in a bag my first experience with the Ubuntu virus, and the very early morning runs with the incredible kiko.

The 5th of March I went with Carlos to London, for more fun with the Launchpad/Rosetta people. Soon after, on late March, I took my first vacation in years when I went with Brande and Núria to the Telemark, in Norway, where I spent a fantastic week. A full blog entry on that is still being scribbled, *sigh*. Soon after I was hopping into a plane to Sydney, after a crazy travel planning. Before all of this fun I had been a handful of times outside of Spain, so I guess this year really made a difference in that regard.

Other big things happening during the year were me finally moving out to a flat with two friends, now that my economic independence let me do it. The lack of triathlon training, and the free time this provided, might have had something to do with the recent improvements in my relations with the other gender, which has had me quite happy for a few months now.

I'm not looking forward to getting closer and closer to being 30 years old, but if next year is going to be as good as this one, I'll have little to moan about...

Thu, 12 May 2005

GTetrinet and GNOME-Mud releases

In the last few days, two of the GNOME apps I'm somewhat involved in, GTetrinet, and GNOME-Mud, have released new versions. GTetrinet probably needs little introducing to many readers of the Debian and GNOME Planets as you've probably wasted one or two weekends trying to kick seb128's ass unsuccessfully.

For those who are new to Tetrinet, well, there's an old Chinese proverb which says You have not been on the Internet if you haven't played Tetrinet. Chinese proverbs are rarely wrong, so I would go play tetrinet if I were you.

GNOME-Mud is a MUD client for the GNOME platform, which according to some users that every now and then join the mailing list or the IRC channel, has the potential to become a very good MUD client for GNU/Linux. It supports most of the features you would expect to see in a MUD client: triggers, aliases, a mapper, a profile editor, etc. Oh, by the way, if you don't know what a MUD is, I think the elder Japanese think you haven't been to Uni.

What is not so cool about both of these apps is that for the last year or year and a half, the development has more or less come to a halt. The last few releases of both gnome-mud and gtetrinet are the fruit of random patches to fix bugs that keep floating around, contributed by different people (thanks guys!).

Dani, the lead developer for GTetrinet, had been working on a branch on separating some of the gtetrinet code that handles the tetrinet protocol to prepare a new libtetrinet package, which would then be used by some KDE folks that have expressed interest in writing a KTetrinet client. Some OS X people were also interested in writing a tetrinet client for MacOS X using the library, but the delays ended in them ripping most of this code into their own client Tetrinet Aqua. Dani had made lots of progress with libtetrinet before Real Life hit him hard and stopped having time to develop it. Future plans also included supporting different tetrinet protocols, most notably Tetrinet 2.

GNOME-Mud is an old project too, it's first releases date back to 1998. At that time, it was a GTK+-only application with little features. Right now, it's in the middle of a UI rewrite to make it HIG compliant and a bit more "Just Works"-like, but again, Robin has not had time in some time, and development goes on and off for one or two weeks every many months when someone in the mailing list reminds the rest that there's this or that patch available. The result is that it's taken 15 months to release 0.10.6, which has not that many changes anyway.

So, if you want to get initiated in GNOME development, this might be the tiny project that is desperately waiting for you to help. GTetrinet might involve some fun in figuring out how Tetrinet2's protocol works, and then writing a compatible client, and learning how to write shared libraries, etc. GNOME-Mud, on the other hand, might be interesting if you like app design. It really needs some usability love to re-think and redesign how it works. The current stuff is nearly 1999 stardards. :)

Feel free to join the or lists if you want to help out!

Wed, 11 May 2005

No more wisdom

Today was the last chapter of a story that started quite ok, then got a bit worse, and ended with the last of my Wisdom teeth extracted.

Again, the operation went quite ok, although this time, the doctor couldn't just cut the tooth in two and extract both pieces separately... he had to open with a scalpel, take it out and sew the crater. Oww.

Now I sit in front of the monitor, feeling how the pain killers are wearing off, and imagine how long tonight will be... :/ Officially I can't spit, wash my mouth or eat anything hot. Unofficially I basically can't eat much for now. It's great timing, as I have a dinner today, another one with my cousins tomorrow, and in a few days, hopefully a birthday party.

Next steps in my dentist adventure is probably to get some very nice looking bracers. Oh yes!

Thu, 05 May 2005

What you don't get

mako, as you didn't come to the Valencian Free Software Conference, you missed this unique opportunity to be one of the characters in this scene.

The sabdfl goes wild as he obtains PREMIUM QUALITY OLIVE OIL from a dealer

So, mako, next time, come and join the other Debian guys.