Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

Birthday Ramblings - Teaching Students Of All Ages About Life

Aug 07, 2011 GMT

 Tonight is the eve of the anniversary of my sixty-first birthday. It is late at night and some birthday well-wishers on the other side of the world are already sending me birthday greetings. This has been a hard year for me, with both my mother and father having died within a few months of each other, so tonight I have been going through some of my Orkut and Facebook accounts looking at some of my friends in each. Many of the people in these “networking sites” I have never met, and some I have met only briefly. Others I know quite well, from either past jobs, past conferences or past associations. Many I only talk to through email or (even rarer occasions) telephone...
They are at it again...

Jul 18, 2011 GMT

They are at it again. The closed source companies are attacking open source, using similar tactics that they always use.This time they are using “associations of professionals” (sometimes called "lobbyists") to declare that Open Source is a failure in the software marketplace. They started in Brazil, and are now making the same claims in other countries. They claim that the governments of these countries are “fostering” open source and use statistics to show a lack of “growth” in the “computer industry” due to this "fostering".The companies behind this attack use the same tactics used before by hiring a well known research firm to do research and then...
What about sex?

Jul 17, 2011 GMT

 What about Sex? “What about Sex?” the woman sitting across from me at the dinner table asked. I felt my face start to flush. She was about my age, and fairly attractive. I, of course, am unmarried, and therefore “available”. However, her husband was sitting next to me...... “She is afraid that these young people who are in front of computers the whole day, only communicating by Facebook and the Internet do not have the social contact that people need”, her husband explained. “She wants to know if they have 'significant others'.” I explained to her that things are different now than forty years ago when I started with computers. Twenty-five years ago...
"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...

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