general


This has all been great… but I’m afraid I’m moving my blog to:

 http://blog.estebanglas.com.ar/

I hope to see you all over there, I will be upgrading and updating that place as time passes by…

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Le monde a very well known and global French newspaper is moving it’s blog engine to WordPress. You can already read about this in tons of places:

http://scobleizer.com/2006/10/30/wordpress-wins-big-le-mondefr-account/
http://toni.wordpress.com/2006/10/30/le-monde-moves-to-wordpress/

So I wont extend too much on the huge success this suposes to WordPress and open source.

What I find most interesting is the current newspapers’ tendency  to open up and become more “interactive”. What’s actually surprising is how long it took them to do so.

Mass media has a pretty interesting vice, they love the sound of their own voice; but are not too fond about listening to others. Something quite ironic if you ask me, since they are supposed to be the “reflection of reality”.

I wonder how long it will take until we start hearing about censorship of some kind.

I had a good friend of mine to dinner last Sunday. We met at university, while I studied Music he was studying social communication, it is to him I owe having read some Kant and Heidegger. I guess it was time for me to pay back.

He currently works for the Argentine Airport Authority (Policía de Seguridad Aeroportuaria) searching for it’s public perception, terrorist news, smuggling and everything that might be of interest. I felt compelled to ask how he achieved this.

So, he tells me: I usually go to major newspapers pages and start reading around.

Panic.

Shock.

WHAT?

I had to ask if he had ever heard of data feeds. Luckily for me he had; this made the following rant easier for me. I brought the ThinkPad to the table and started to show him around sites like technorati and the like. I helped him to set up various searches and feeds into google’s personalized homepage (http://www.google.com/ig?hl=en) so he can access all of them from anywhere (he told me they switch computers at his workplace). Now he has some nice tabs set up there with all the usual searches and headlines from major newspapers in them.

He told me it was a major time saver, around 1 or 2 hours / day, and it only took me one hour to show him the “tricks”.

I can’t say I’m surprised that a government agency doesen’t train it’s people in such fashion.  But I have seen similar things on the private sector as well. I think I might start some tips & tricks blog in this regard some time.

I can’t help but wonder what new technologies I’m missing out that could save me some time every day.

Suggestions?

The odd thing about Argentina is that you get to get married twice. It has to be with the same person, but it’s twice anyway. How come? Well 1 marriage is for “the law” the other is “for god”. In other words, you have to get married both by a judge and by a priest, and they can’t go together.

By law you get to go to what we call “Civil Registry” which is a badly maintained governmental location, where some judge gets to marry you. It’s quite informal and usually only those intimate to the couple go (closest friends and family). This is Friday 13th for us.

With a serious Catholic preponderance the Church marriage is the most awaited and important. Besides the whole thing is much more impressive. You get to stand in a church, the doors open, the bride comes to you while people stare and “ohs” and “ahs” sound around her. The party comes after this. Everyone’s invited here since it’s quite more theatrical as well. This is Saturday 14th for us.

Yesterday we planned the “timing” for everything for this Saturday. It is like a ballet with entrances and exits, I hope I barely notice it; it’ll probably fly past me and I’ll notice everything after it’s over.

Still much to do. Some beverages issues to be solved and other similar stuff. That besides planning my backups for my vacation next week.

I’ll probably go off-line from today till Saturday or Monday and next week I’ll try to keep away from my PC, or I’ll really piss off my wife 😉 (although I know I’ll check how things are going every now and then).

So, I’m working all this week from Junin, some 260 KM away from the noice of Buenos Aires. It is good for a change. It’s quite impressive the very different rythm and pace this place has; it only took me about two hours to sort of unplug and relax quite more. I can still get my work done, but I’m more layed back.

What is it? Is it the distance from office? Thel lack of Noices? The traffic? The people actually not yelling and punching at their car horns like crazy? It’s all of the above and more. When you walk into a store at Buenos Aires you’re allways in a hurry and so are all other customers, if you don’t get an employee’s attention in a couple of seconds you start to get frustrated. Here you walk in, relaxedly chat with other people, wait whatever you have to wait… and this is just one of many examples I can think of.

I come myself from a town called Bariloche, a place located in the patagonian Andes. I was there untill I was 17. but returned for vacations every once in a while. It was quite layed back, but not as much since in the last years before I left a lot of people from the city moved there but forgot to left their attitudes behind.

What I still miss the most is Mountain-Biking. During my last high school years I became obsessed with it and started Racing. Two serious accidents (and their injuries) forced me to stay out of the tracks for 6 months and I could never quite recover. After that I moved to Buenos Aires, where there’s nothing that even resembles a hill, so no way to do anything in that sense.

In the past couple of years I’ve increasedly felt the lack of phisical activity. And there’s no sport I’m too fond of which I can perform in Buenos Aires (no Mountain Biking, Motocross, SnowBoard, Kite surfing or the like) and I’m not too good or too much of a fan of urban sports like tennis or even jogging.

All of this sets me thinking about what it is I want and “completes” my life. I really like my job, I like what I do and I like the prospects I have, but I couldn’t be doing it from anywhere else (at least in Argentina). On the other hand I feel a need to do some sport and get some adrenalin rushes, which I can’t quite get on the city.

Fresh air or job oportunities? Sports and adventure or smog  and pollution? Trying to survive on a small town (and probably get bored jobwise) or be challenged intelectually and pushed to the limits?

Such a dicotomy… I’ll try to get both 😉

Lately I have been feeling I need 48 hour days… I know it is a common feeling as you try to “climb the corporate ladder” sort to speak. (Although I don’t regard myself too much as a climber). I tend to try to manage as much stuff as I can (or can’t) and that takes a toll.

On the other hand I must say I have a team I can rely completely on. The guys whose work I administer give 110% all the time. They are proactive and full of ideas and I try to encourage that as much as I can (which brings more work and somewhat of a hassle sometimes, but I can live with that, I’d rather have a bunch of creative, “crazy” people working with me).

Thus here is mi ussal way of doing things: From 9 to 6 I try to get all things my position require me to do (managing requests takes a lot of time!) after that I feel sort of free to try and get the “extra” stuff done.

This usually yields workdays that last from dusk till dawn (with the missus complaining that I work too much… and she’s right). Even the days I decide I’ll “take it easy” I’m still online and available in case something urgent comes up.

Once upon a time I used to be on the client side, so I know what clients usually expect. Their work is their life and when doing services their work should be our life as well. People spend quite some time planning things; so the “execution” part must be as close to perfect as can be. That is our responsibility, to make sure that other people’s hard work sees “the light of day” in the best possible way.

Having said this, what happens most of the time is that development times are short. Too short actually. This usually contradicts the principles of doing the est and most creative work. There is a contradiction with ridiculously close deadlines and quality of work. I’m amazed that things go as well as they do with the short times we usually manage (our average development time is 2 days, with things spanning from a  price change to a full sitelet creation)
How to handle this? You have to learn the hard lesson of saying “no”. From time to time it becomes somewhat visible that we have “spoiled” clients, who know we deliver and thus push and push (something natural, I guess), then comes the moment when it’s necessary to step on the break for everyone’s mental sanity.

So much to do, so little time.

The online world is in a revolution. Well, that is permanent, but now it’s serious. Really serious.

We must agree geeks aren’t that good at naming stuff, so adding a “version” to what we already know is there is the way to go now. And we’re into the 2.x era. AJAX-style web developing is the “primma donna” right now. If you make up a page with old fashioned tables (which I hate) you look so outdated and so functionality flawed that it’s almost a shame to publish it. You NEED to have all the smoke and mirrors, drag-and-drops, flying divs, colour switches and re-sizable windows even if they are of no use. With the increase in load times a “loading” or “processing request” message is a must.

Then you have Identity 2.0, a concept that puzzles Freudian Psicologists around the globe, since they could blame all of identity 1.0 problems to sex and parents. The concept behind this idea is that you can carry your identity all through the web. A nice idea, but somewhat freaky. I wonder how many people will have fake IDs 2.0; I know I will if the concept ever becomes popular. Man I have 3 different hotmail accounts to use under different circumstances. I’d rather have an official Identity for some stuff and other ones for more “obscure” matters, or just to remain anonymous (being anonymous is one of the greatest advantages of the web, although the idea of centralizing logins and sharing stuff through blogs, ebay, mac and so on sounds appealing).

Then there’s internet 2 or  www 2.0… (or should it be wwwwww?) a nice deviation of www only available at some educational institutions.  This nice thing allegedly has a bandwidth of 10 gigabit/second. So you’ll get your porn a lot faster. That is … you’ll get your porn once the lab rats are through playing with it (not the porn, the internet 2).

With all this going on I wonder how does anyone keep up… or how do companies keep up. As far as I’m concerned I’m not too much of a fan of sequels… so I’ll hibernate all the way to when everyone releases version 3 of this bizarre world.

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