Month: January 2008

Intrade trading (1) – is there a system to be gamed?

Well, those of you who know me well have already heard my humble endorsement for this year's race: I am all for Hillary, despite not being allowed to vote as a non-citizen-permanent-resident.

Despite the fact I can't vote, I still think I am entitled to an opinion; after all, I pay plenty taxes and the President of the United States of America is the Prime Mover of all tax expenses.

According to my humble computations (aided by my faithful laptop), I personally spent tens of thousands of dollars on the War in Iraq. That's computed with the formula:



Plan of Attack (B. Woodward)

It's been a while that I wanted to read the Bush trilogy that Bob Woodward put together. In three volumes, the celebrated co-reporter of the Watergate affair describes the inner workings of the Bush administration with the kind of depth that only a journalist with access to the original sources can have.

It sounds like President Bush was eager to have this reporting going on. Maybe he was trying to ensure that there was a full account of what had been going on, so that history could judge on its own with full disclosure, instead of relying on opinions of the uninformed. In any case, the trilogy has been heralded as the definitive account of Bush at War, its tag line.


Updated com_weight

I just tried out my old component (written some time in 2005, amazingly): com_weight. It's a weight table written as a component for Joomla, as the PHP version of my programming test in different languages.

It all started with me trying to lose weight in preparation of going to the military, where I knew I was going to be subjected to a strict regime of workout. So I wrote something that kept track of how I was doing, since I really don't care about my weight otherwise.

The first incarnation was in Tcl/Tk. It was a standalone application/script, and it did its job pretty well. To this day, of all the versions it's the one that has the best UI. Later on I wanted a web-ready version and rewrote the script in Perl. At that point, I started realizing that the weight table had great potential as a test of a language and my skills in it, so I rewrote it in Java (ugly as sin) and then as Joomla component. 


Perfect Day

It's Saturday evening, and the party people in the house are not budging. There are lots of places to go, lots of booze to drink, and yet nothing moves. Why is that? Well, tomorrow is a powder day!

We decide to leave early in the morning. Whistler has this wonderful program called Fresh Tracks that gets you up the mountain at 7:30a (one hour before the general population is allowed to join). For the price of $16 (in addition to the ticket), you get breakfast and early access to the slopes.


How do I get my URL

This is a really easy one, but since I had to crawl across the gravatar site to find out how to do it, here is a quick introduction to get the URL for your gravatar. No thrills and frills, but it does what most of us will need.

First, you need to create a gravatar account, if you don't already have one. Gravatar is a site that aggregates avatar images for the different social networking sites (like Facebook, MySpace, etc.) and blogs (like Blogger). It works by storing an image of you (of your choice) and associating it with your email address.  


What Caused the Mortgage Crisis?

It's amazing to sit here, see the economy tumble down at the pace it's going, and see the connection to the mortgage crisis. My friends and my family back in Europe ask about it, want to know how it happened, why it happened, and how to get out of it. I tell them that as soon as I am President… No, ok, I don't tell them that.

At the same time, I listen to their explanations, read those of the pundits here, and particularly check the solutions proposed by people either around me or in Washington. And all of that leaves me baffled, mostly because the situation seems so much simpler than described to me. So, here it goes, Marco's Theory of the Mortgage Crisis:


Moving right with Delancey Street Foundation

{moszoomimglink:delancey_restaurant}Well, usually a move would not warrant yet another blog post – I guess everybody goes through them, and many of us have gotten used to the whole process. I wanted to highlight, though, the movers I used this and the last time, and recommend them to everybody that cares about their stuff.

Preparing for the Move 

First things first: anyone who moves has to take care of the process. Take a calendar and mark your desired move date, choose the movers and get a confirmed date. Try to get the first appointment in the day, since you don't want to be waiting in case something goes wrong with the move before you, and let that be a priority over the date.

Next, mark the period before and after the move on your calendar. If you have little to move, then a week is enough. Add 3 days for each child, 1 day for each hobby, and 2 days for each room. Not that you'll need to time full-time, but you really want to go about this without stress.



{moszoomimglink:44. house}Well, it was about time. After two years in the pretty house in Westwood Highlands, the fog and the obsessive-compulsive neighbor have finally done me in and I am moving again. This time I am going to be a denizen of an area that I've always loved but never actually lived in: SoMa. 

For those of you who don't know, SoMa is South of Market, a formerly industrial and now very lofty and trendy area of San Francisco. It's close to everything, including coffee shops and the gym, which alone covers 90% of my time outside the house. 

Write locally, deploy globally (or: synchronizing Joomla sites)

Once in a while, I am somewhere where even my Verizon USB dongle can't help me get connected: in n airplane, in a remote location, in a nuclear bunker… In those cases, I would love to be able to work on my site, but how do I do that?

Enters Blogg-X, a nifty little Java app that allows you to edit content locally, and then synchronize it globally to a Joomla site. It even allows you to synchronize to multiple sites (or at least it allows you to write for multiple sites). See: that's what open source is all about! Problem solved! 


His Dark Materials (P. Pullman)

I had completely missed out on this series, and if it hadn't been for the movie The Golden Compass and the resulting review in The Atlantic, I would have probably gone on with my life without ever getting to meet Mr. Pullman's writing.

I read the trilogy in Hawai`i, on my last trip. As a matter of fact, I spent most of my daylight time reading the three volumes, and I sincerely regret not having made more of it. Sure, the books are a good read, but they are after all for a young audience, and it shows.