2008-08-27

He podido responder a una mujer en polaco!

No recuerdo las palabras exactas, pero me preguntó cuándo venía el autobús 111. Hasta hoy siempre que me dirigían la palabra directamente decía "lo siento, no hablo polaco". Pero ya me había propuesto intentar responder algo útil la próxima vez... así que respondí. — Przypraszam... sto jedenasty? (perdón, ¿111?) — Tak — pareció sorprendida. Quizás notó mi pronunciación o hice la pregunta de forma rara... Consulté el horario. — O... szóstej.... jeden. (a las 6:01) Me miraba atenta, quizás algo divertida. — Parlez vous français? — Do you speak english? — Deutsche? — Español? — Aaah, nie, nie... Nos sonreímos. Suspiré y lo volví a intentar. — O szóstej jeden. (a las 6:01) — Jeden? (1?) — Tak, jeden. (Si, 1) — Dzękuje. (Gracias) — Proszę. (De nada) Me alejé un par de pasos, para mirar si llegaba el autobús (¡ya eran las 6:03!). Y oí que la mujer hablaba con otra, diciendo algo de "es que es español", "ah, español... y habla polaco?", ... sonaba apreciativo. Y llegó el autobús.

2008-08-25

Truco de pronunciación para polaco

Empezó resultándome difícil de entender y de acertar la pronunciación del polaco. Pero ahora los polacos con los que intento hablar me dicen que pronuncio muy bien... y todo se debe a un pequeño truco que se me ocurrió para simplificar las normas que me daban en clase. Es muy simple, así que a ver si le sirve a alguien más (y con esto comienzo mi contribución a la mente global ;P). Se aplica a las palabras con sz, dz, rz y sus "equivalentes" (ż,ź, que habrá que "desdoblar" mentalmente). Y es tan simple como intentar pronunciar (¡con pronunciación polaca!) TODAS las letras individuales que están escritas, pero sin esforzarse demasiado. No tienen que llegar a sonar: basta con hacer el esfuerzo inicial y dejar cada letra a mitad, pasando a la siguiente. Por ejemplo: drożdżówka -> drorzdrzuwka. Terrible, ¿eh? Pues lo dicho, empiezas a pronunciar la r, y antes de que llegue a sonar una r bien formada, te olvidas de ella y empiezas a pronunciar la z (polaca!). De nuevo, en cuanto esté casi formada, te olvidas de ella y pasas a la d. Y la z final sí que llegará a sonar más o menos completa, lo cual es fácil porque después viene la vocal. Es más fácil hacerlo que explicarlo, me temo :). Empieza lentamente, muy conscientemente, y ya se irá acelerando...

2008-08-24

Wall-E (español)

Resulta interesante que, sin intentarlo demasiado (el argumento es más un cuentecito que otra cosa), Wall-E acabe siendo realista (e interesante) de sobra como para olvidarse de los trocitos más simplones. E incluso se puede decir que lleva mensaje.
He tenido que leer alguna crítica para darme cuenta de que Wall-E no habla en toda la película. Aunque claro, la he visto en polaco, y los trozos en que se hablaba apenas los podía seguir. Y por cierto, ahora tendré que buscar algún subtítulo para ver si entendí bien qué pasaba en algún momento clave.
Me encantaron los créditos finales. Una optimista visión de un nuevo comienzo para la humanidad... con robots... a través de la historia del arte... con música de Peter Grabriel. Chapeau. Y una bonita alternativa a la nueva humanidad de "Canciones de la Lejana Tierra", de Clarke (por qué no tenían robots?? no lo había pensado antes!), o a la Tierra habitada por los inútiles golganfrinchans de Douglas Adams.
Pero no nos engañemos, el final de Wall-E es demasiaaaado optimista... (gana Douglas Adams, me temo :P).
Filthy Critic ("El Crítico Mugriento") acierta de pleno, como siempre. "Wall-E es un robot, pero con mucha más personalidad que el otro robot de Hollywood, Tom Cruise". Genial.
Por cierto, según él, no debería ver Batman. Que es lo que sospechaba, tras ver la propaganda en el cine...
El corto "Presto" también muy bueno; hay más gente buscando la conexión con Portal. Hubiese sido divertido que en vez de una zanahoria hubiese sido un pastel... un delicioso y húmedo pastel. De zanahoria :D
(Parece que el público español no conoce Portal, así que.. aquí está el trailer. El juego es original, muy bueno, con un toque de humor negro, y demasiado corto (lo puedes acabar en menos de 4 horas). Se vende en la Orange Box, junto a Half-Life 2 y otros, y aunque en principio parece que era algo así como un regalito de acompañamiento a los juegos serios del paquete, ha acabado eclipsándolos...
Y si se habla de Portal, hay que mencionar la canción final, que redondea el juego de una forma genial.)

Wall-E

Interesting how without trying too hard to be realistic (the argument is more of a little fairy tale without much pretenses) it gets realistic and interesting and funny enough to forget the most simplistic parts. And to pack some message, too. I loved the final credits. A beautiful and optimistic alternative to the new human society of Clarke's Songs of Distant Earth, or the one in Douglas Adams' Golganfrinchans-inhabited Earth. Lovely quick recount of human art history - with robots. To the sound of Peter Gabriel. The Filthy Critic nails it again. (Wall-E is a robot, yet he has way more personality than Hollywood's other robot, Tom Cruise. I love you, man.) Oh, and he seems to think that I shouldn't see Batman. Which is what I was suspecting after seeing the ads in the cinema, anyway. The short Presto was also nice; looks like more people are looking for its connection with Portal. The carrot should have been a cake... a delicious and moist carrot cake (and a lie!!1!).

2008-08-22

Barajas

Half-assed regurgitation of whatever anyone said before. "Hey, but I heard someone said…".

People turning into instant experts and talking out of their asses and wild-guessing and pontificating, even when (or because?) no one knows yet what really happened. It's SO easy to want to change things a posteriori.

"Periodists" that know no better than asking familiars of the dead about their feelings - while they are in their way to the corpse recognition rounds.

News casters in the fucking national TV asking pilots and aeronautical engineers things like "why don't they make the airplanes harder?". Maybe the real newscaster was on holidays and this was some kind of retarded placeholder?

 Imbeciles coming out of the woodwork to explain why they prefer travelling by car.

 Overwhelming.

2008-08-20

Wikyblog

I started the blog at wikyblog.com, since I had some plans about the wiky part... although mostly in a single-writer way. But there were some problems (as a matter of fact, this weekend the whole domain has gone offline!, as in "domain-expired-offline"...), so let's see what happens here. The other option would be a WordPress blog, maybe even in my own hosting, but... I have more pressing things to do with my time/money/dedication. We'll see.

2008-08-15

Making a Mac OS X driver for the Toshiba G450 3G modem

About 3 weeks ago, I had to buy the 3G modem Toshiba G450 because Polish operator Play would not let me get the plan I wanted without it.

A few hours later, I had to accept that there are no Mac OS X drivers for it! Which would have made me, say, unhappy, had I not had my trusty Huawei E220. The only information I have been able to come up with are amazed reviews from gadget websites. Not even a driver for Linux... And this happens when I was thinking about polishing my low-level development powers (there is more to life than Java and C#, you know!)... so, why not take the chance to learn about what is needed to make a driver?

The modem uses the ZeroCD "trick" of appearing as a USB drive to the OS, until it receives an existent-but-generally-unused-in-USB-drives command; at that moment, the drive is "unplugged" and a new device appears in the bus: the modem. So in the USB drive that appears first, there is a driver installer (for Windows, of course). The user (or the autorun) installs the driver, and it sends the switching command to the USB drive it recognizes as the masked modem. Drive goes away, modem appears, and driver finally does its thingy with the modem.

Up to now, I have been successful in capturing the appropiate command with usbsniff and making the USB drive switch in Linux and Mac OS X, with the help of usb_modeswitch (http://www.draisberghof.de/usb_modeswitch/ , where I have already sent the info so they can use it in later versions). So now the modem is waiting for my next move. I was half expecting it to just be recognized by the serial driver, but that would have been too easy, wouldn't it?

So I have been reading about the internals of USB, now about IOKit (the driver subsystem in OS X), have re-learnt C in a rush, and now am contemplating starting with C++, of which IOKit uses "a restricted subset" (no RTTI, no templates, no exceptions... which in part I guess will make the thing easier, although I am afraid those were the interesting parts of it). And yet looks like I will have to read a bit about kernel programming in OS X. Which is also something I wanted to do, but... I was expecting this first project to be a little lighter!

On the other hand, I am suspecting this won't be THAT difficult. The Huawei E220's software for OS X (driver and app) doesn't look exactly brilliant, which makes me think someone hacked it together somewhat quickly; and it works in a similar way to the Toshiba G450. I even thought about hacking a bit the Huawei's kernel extension (looks like I should only edit an XML file in the bundle), but even if it worked I don't think I would be able to distribute it nor would I learn anything. And I don't actually need the modem ;P.

Also, the Darwin open source repositories have an example driver for USB modems. And after all we are only talking about making the OS see "the serial ports" in the USB interfaces... I mean, it should be as easy as it can get, since everything beyond that point will be taken care of by other parts of the OS. But still this is about kernel programming in C++ for a novice. Lots of little interestingly nasty ways to hose the whole OS. Nice!

Of course, no small part of the problem is making sense of all of this and still having time for language courses, travelling, personal life... and my regular job - and searching for a new one. Sounds a bit like DDoS, doesn't it? :)

2008-08-11

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

I never thought I would begin a blog talking about a movie, but so be it. After all, it has been a long time since a film didn't hit me like this one (maybe "Solaris", about 5 years ago?). And what the hell, I should start one way or another. And am missing a good debate. Let's see how this goes.
  • "Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it"
  • Those who cannot remember the past, but are informed of it (not too vividly, maybe)... can accept it? Even have a 2nd chance? (I would love that branch to be explored with the same guts)
  • "External memories": the sore fist after the punch in Memento, the attraction in ESotSM, ... (though the first is a consequence, the second a cause). Anyway, for some reason, I was (so!) thankful that the word "predestination" didn't pop up. Would have been too cheap, I guess.
(I was now looking for the word "predestination" in the english subtitles now just to be sure... but no, it is never used. But reading them I am reminded of how intimate, how simple, how painful the movie was. The parting moments in the beach house... the disarming undoing of the little initial misunderstanding ("Oh, it's ok"). Even Solaris feels cold now)
  • Even without memories, causes may still be there, like roots waiting to grow again... Memento's character tried growing new roots to be able to live on.
  • And without the wound, you can't grow a scar; you can't learn. The root will grow again eventually. Better to know that, to either attack the grow itself, or control the way it grows. Know thyself... Temet Nosce (yeah, Matrix again).
  • At the end of the deletion he (inside the "dream") still remembers what is happening... and that looks wrong. As some moments when Clem talks a bit too much to be just a memory. (Maybe looking for "errors" helps me rationalize, put some distance?)
  • Are we all, are all relationships, THAT typical?
  • It started a bit rough and wanting... maybe because I was comparing it to "Before Sunrise". But the comparison makes no sense, as one discovers soon.
  • Interesting how the seediness of the company and the process brought credibility. I read somewhere that the 70's future was clean shiny plastics, the 80's dirtyness... maybe now it is something more mundane, mediocre?
  • Funny how the lucid dreaming, the trying-to-wake up was sewn into the history. Like the deja vu in Matrix. Haunts me when makes me think about that kind of episodes.
  • And I remember myself making more comparisons with BladeRunner (Rachel), with the inverse situation in Groundhog's day (only the main character remembers), ... and the middle point which is Memento: he can't forget, he always has just-suffered the loss, "Probably burned truckloads of your stuff. Can't remember to forget you.". Lots of situations, of films to compare, too much to make a meaningful class of films: after all, how many different ways there are to say that life is a dream, that what you feel may not be Reality?
  • The reason why the relationship failed was already present in the beginning... yeah, maybe it usually is like that, but here it was interestingly explicit.
  • Michael Gondry, director of Björk's Bachelorette and Human Behaviour, is screenwriter and director!! I love when old "friends" come up by surprise like that. Maybe I should start fishing actively for my already-known likings... (though that will make me see Nolan's Batmans...)
(huh, IMDB says he also has directed videos for Chemical Brothers and Massive Attack!!)
  • On the other hand, Kaufman, also writer in ESotSM, also made Adaptation (bleh!) and Being John Malkovich. That would have made me wary. The jury is still out, I guess.
  • After having this movie immediately snap-in with me, It was interesting to read a couple of established critics with negative opinions. Enlightening actually, as in "so this is what critics are worth" (babbler and babbler and sometimes managing quite perfectly to obviate some of the best things). One of them complained about the lack of erotic tension (or some such) between them. Excuse me, are we talking about the same film??
(I think I always love The Filthy Critic opinions . Even with his nasty Matrix review... ) In case someone reads this and gets intrigued about Solaris: the book is very short and very good (too good to be that short!), and much better than the american film, which only touches half of the story and perverts the ending. I have not seen the russian one.