Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

Jon
"Mom will be here any moment"

Jul 06, 2011 GMT

Over the past forty years I have written a lot about my mother and father, who were called “Mom&Pop(TM)”. They were the perfect examples of the average person who is befuddled by electronic devices and their controls. Their inability to use even the most rudimentary electronic devices has become well known in human interface design circles.As some people know, Mom died last March, and at that time I wrote about her life and death at length. I expected Pop to die soon after, as they had shared the same bed for 68 years, and I felt that the grief of Mom's passing would “do him in”. What I had not counted on was Pop's very intense Alzheimer's disease, which made him keep...
Wall Photos

Jul 06, 2011 GMT

 For reasons that I will never quite understand, people seem to like having their picture taken with me.Most of the time I do not mind the picture taking, and I enjoy meeting people, I will admit that sometimes it gets a bit tiring. Particularly when the picture-taking process goes like this:md (talking to someone, but noticing out of the corner of his eye someone fidgeting...): “Do you want to take a picture?”Other person (OP): “Yes, may I take a picture of you?”md (turning to person he was talking with): “I am sorry, but this should not take long....”The OP then: searches through their backpack for the camera tries to turn it on, finds out that the batteries are...
FISL 12 - the aftermath

Jul 06, 2011 GMT

 I have returned from FISL 12, the largest Free Software event in Brazil.This year I decided to fly to Florianopolis first, to both do work on Project Cauã and to attend the Sixth Annual Brazilian Homebrew Festival that my friend Michel Grando was organizing. I will not go into the Homebrew festival other than to state it was spectacular and that Michel did a great job setting it up. I ended up not only tasting a wide variety of beers, but coming home with a bottle of a very special beer that the brewer calls “love beer”, which I assume is because the high alcoholic content makes you feel like a lover. I can not wait to try it out.A day after the home-brew festival I got on a...
Tenting tonight, Tenting tonight, tenting on the Campus Party grounds!

Jun 02, 2011 GMT

 Yesterday I accepted a long-term, half-time contract with Futura Networks SL, the producers of “Campus Party”. I have written before about Campus Party, which started in Spain 1n 1997 and has since spread to Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Venezuela, Ecuador and Mexico. It is hard to describe Campus Party, but the formula basically is to take a very big convention hall, bring together lots of electricity, lots of Internet capacity, and many thousands of college, post-college and “older”.....geeks to share ideas and discuss what they are doing. I hesitate to use the term “geek”, because it so often gets confused with the term “nerd”, the latter being someone...
Linux Cabal

Jun 01, 2011 GMT

Yesterday evening I went to a Linux user group meeting in Guadalajara, Mexico. The name of the group was “Linux Cabal”.The meeting was held in a very large warehouse-like room with a shelf and seats placed around the wall, and convenient electric outlets and Ethernet hookups. On the walls were mounted T-shirts of many past events, as well as posters and banners from various past Linux events and diagrams of how code goes together.The organizer and host of this group was a man named Richard Couture. An expatriate from the United States, he wears colorful clothes and several earrings in each ear (who doesn't?), is helping a hawk recuperate (he has a permit from the government) as well...
Carpe Beerum: Life's Lessons

May 29, 2011 GMT

 Today I met with a person who was one of my students in an evening class at Merrimack College in 1981. At that time he was programming for Compugraphics, and eventually became a manager of thirty people at a large hardware company. Our conversation was not about “bits and bytes”, but tended to be on management style and those things that freeze a project instead of moving it forward. The parts of the conversation that impressed me the most were not things that came straight from a text book on computer science, but were things picked up over time and honed through experience. Some people would call them “common sense”, but unfortunately the points he made are not that...
The King's English....or Spanish...or Portuguese....or......

May 29, 2011 GMT

 This blog is not aimed at those people who try to speak in languages other than their own native language. For those people I have the greatest respect. This blog is aimed at people who do not take the time and effort to communicate well in their own native language. My niece teaches high school English in the Pennsylvania school system, and tells me that some of her students do not seem to know or care that there the words that rhyme with the word “to” that are spelled “two” and “too” have completely different meanings. "I have to friends" is something they would write. Recently I gently corrected a man who was studying business in college when...

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