Thu, 31 Aug 2006

Just because I love trains

Metro lines I have used:

Got at!
Sat, 26 Aug 2006

My battery visits the West Coast

Apple has announced a new battery recall program. Last time there was one affecting powerbooks, mine wasn't on the list, although I thought my battery was clearly overheating. This time, things are quite different.

This computer is eligible for the Battery Exchange Program.
This battery qualifies for the Battery Exchange Program.

The good news is I get a brand new battery. The bad news is that I don't know how much time it'll take.

Mon, 17 Jul 2006

New SMS received

Message 1

I am in Spain!
What a fine country.
2006/07/16 18:10:18

Dear sender,
I'm happy about you being so enthusiastic about your visit to Spain. I would probably be able to share the moment with you if I had the slightest clue about your identity.
Have a great night at nearly 30°C,

Sat, 20 May 2006

Annoying software features

There are programs that get installed with defaults that annoy me day after day, but I never care to do anything to fix the configuration files across all the boxes where I use it.

For example, emacs in Debian creates stupid backup~ files by default, which after a while accumulate in my homedirs.

It's so cool when these backups I always grumble at save 2 hours of work, after misstyping “rm” instead of “less”...

Wed, 19 Apr 2006

Siemens-BenQ mobile and Catalan support

While Catalan in the computer industry slowly advances, thanks to volunteer efforts and Free Software, it's difficult to see any sign of improvement in other areas of the technology world.

Mobile phones are not an exception. In Catalunya, many people own a Siemens, Alcatel or Sagem mobile phone because they are the only companies that include Catalan as an option for their terminals. When I first got my mobile phone one and a half years ago, I chose an Alcatel, and while the phone was more or less ok, and Catalan was present in the interface, it lacked some Catalan characters like “ò”, “ú”, “í” or “ç” in the input system. The battery wasn't that good, and it was a bit slow at times, but in general I was happy.

Three weeks ago, I decided to switch to Telefónica's mobile phone provider, Movistar, because Vodafone has no network coverage in my mother's town, Vall de Almonacid, where I spend many weekends and vacations, and I was getting tired of my mobile turning into a plastic brick when I went there. I hoped the switch would be painless.

As people talked positively about Siemens, I went for one of their free Siemens offerings: the Siemens AP75. Ugh, fellow Catalans: DON'T DO IT. So, it seems Siemens has sold or merged their mobile division with BenQ. The girl in the shop said one of the cool new features was better battery lifetime. This terminal was advertised as having Bluetooth, Infrared and other goodies.

As soon as I got it (and couldn't give it back), I found out the extensive language list in BenQ mobile phones doesn't include Catalan anymore. Actually, it just offers Spanish and English. Had I known this, I would have quickly got a Nokia, which I believe are the best phones out there. But I'm silly enough not to pick the best just to support some practices, in the same way I won't but nVidia unless they do something about their drivers.

Anyway, ignoring the lack of Catalan fact, the mobile was supossed to be quite good, or so I thought, until I tried to transfer my contacts list via Bluetooth. My mobile phone wasn't able to find other devices at all, and the interface doesn't list IrDA at all. What's the story? Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to the Movistar shop, and I was told a tale about the mobile phone having those features built in, but they are deactivated by the telco.

This is pretty difficult to believe, and googling around, I haven't seen any proof about the AP75 having any Bluetooth support for anything other than voice transmission (ie, for use with headphones, etc). It plain sucks.

So, dear Catalan readers, if you're getting new phones, avoid these BenQ-Siemens idiots, as they don't have a clue about Catalan. Either choose Alcatel, Sagem, or one of the older real Siemens mobiles.

Softcatalà has a Catalan mobile phones Wiki page with detailed information of the current situation. I'll have to update it to warn about current Siemens practices. In a happy future, Nokia will hopefully support Catalan and things will be a lot easier.

Fri, 23 Dec 2005

A unexpected defeat

Last week, one of the pedals in my bike broke severily after some weeks of problems. One day, it suddenly fell off the crank, nearly making me fly in the middle of Blasco Ibáñez, a big avenue with dense traffic. Anyway, since Friday I can't cycle until I find a replacement pedal and crank for my old bicycle, so I had to go back to the annoying Metro.

On Monday, I used the magic card as usual, and so I did on Tuesday. When I left office and headed back home, something terrible happened, though. I went down to the Metro station, and introduced the Blue Gold. Instead of the usual processing sound, I was greeted with a loud beep, and my card went out through the "rejected" hole. The display read very clearly:


Surprised, I tried again. Oh no! I heard the train coming, so I used the emergency ticket and went in. A feeling similar to despair mixed with fear started to form in my chest while I ran down the stairway. During the travel, I thought this was just temporary, and other cancelling doors would accept the Blue Gold as usual.

When I got to the Aragón station, I tried going out with the magic card, with the same sad result. Defeated!

As I suspected, the card wasn't infinite at all, it just had an awesome number of rides on it (I think, in the end it must have been something like 270 or so), and I ran out on Tuesday, after 13 months of use.

On Wednesday, with my bicycle still broken, I had to go to the Metro again, and instead of just going through the gates, I had to go the vending machine to get one of those normal, ridiculous 10 ride ticket for 5.40€. Today, I've already used half of it, and the value of the Blue Gold is showing very clearly.

Ah well, I guess a lottery like that could not last forever...

Wed, 07 Dec 2005

Visual bomb

What do you get if you mix religion and the military?

Thu, 17 Nov 2005

One year of Blue Gold

Today, my magic metro card is one year old.

When I bought it twelve months ago, I never thought I'd be so lucky. I don't know exact figures, but I think I've done 200 more train rides that it should have let me, and the card should have expired the 1st of February. But it didn't, and I've been using it over and over throught the year. I only was very, very careful when inserting the card or storing it in my wallet so it wouldn't bend or be damaged in some way... it's worth a lot of money!

While my primary means of transportation is the bicycle once again, having this handy is a great way to save maybe 25€ every month.

The Blue Gold Rush is eternal, although time does leave marks on it.

The magic card, when I found its magic properties

After some hundred uses...

Go on, my blue friend!

I should find someone with equipment that can copy the data in the magnetic band. That would rock.

Wed, 26 Oct 2005


Steinar, I don't know if after our little adventure people picked up the phrase and started using it with the second or third meaning in that dictionary. :)

mdz found a great place that explains where this "Pop the trunk" stuff comes from. DO IT.

Sat, 24 Sep 2005

Fernando Alonso

I am, officially, FED UP OF THIS NAME today. I wish I had a protective bubble that could isolate me from all the Alonsomania tomorrow.

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