Thursday, March 31, 2005

Lessons in life

Probably the best lesson in life I ever had was given to me by a brasilian friend-of-a-friend, though that was clearly not the intention.

Over 10 years ago, while I was still living near Lisbon, this friend-of-a-friend kept comparing Portugal to Brazil, and how much better Brazil was, how the sun was warmer, how the people were nicer, how the food tasted better, and so on and so forth.

Needless to say that I constantly felt like telling her to go back home and stay there, if it's that much better.

Well, now I'm living abroad, bulding a life in a country where the sun is colder, the people are definitely not nice and the food has no taste, but you'll never hear me complain about it. This we might call politeness, but I would prefer naming it "politically correct".

That's why you'll never hear me complain about the ham, dried ham, so-called "presunto", cheese (be it young, mild or old) that always taste the same. That's why you'll never hear me complain about the absolute revultion my stomach goes through everytime I see a truck driver eating a steak for lunch and drinking a glass of milk with it. That's why you'll never hear me complain about the 3 years it took me to know my ex-neighbour's first name. That's why you'll never hear me complain about the lack of choice in super(?)markets. That's why you'll never hear me complain about not being able to shop after 17:00 on any given day. That's why you'll never hear me complain about not wearing my sunglasses for 3-4 months in a row (this one is very hard). That's why you'll never hear me complain about paying 50€ for a dustbin-unworthy meal, 20€ for undrinkable wine, eating sandwiches at lunch time (you make them yourself), the "you people from the south" insinuations (from the south and very proud of it, thank you), the weirdest toilets in the world, and I could go on and on and on.

No, you have my word, I will never complain about this, I've learned my lesson.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005


  • Last weekend we went to Paris (saturday to monday). Wonderful time, great city, fantastic restaurants. I was starting to forget how food really tastes like.
  • Diddl-mania is getting on my nerves. No Diddl stuff for two weeks due to the way Morgana behaved in a restaurant. For those of you lucky enough to not have to deal with this: I envy you!
  • Spent 3 days doing customer support for Tridion, and I have to admit I enjoyed it. Good people, some time to improve my Tridion and .Net skills, and still got to solve a few tickets (about 12 IIRC).
  • Last friday went out in Amsterdam with "the brits". No ambulances were needed.
  • Got my first "real" assignment: build the new Sales Demo VMWare image. That will be a cool challenge.
And that's about it. Tomorrow back to training (TMCS again).


The most surprising is that someone *actually* reads this site... ;-)


Isn't it funny that, still today, half the problems reported to any customer support service are solved by a simple reboot?

Isn't about time this changes?

Actually, wasn't it supposed to have changed with Windows 2000?

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Longer life

Don't we all need this?

Friday, March 25, 2005

Ninja on the loose...

Breaking news:
There was some talk about some guy dressed up as a Ninja showing up on some browsers around here. I can assure you nobody else will get whacked, this ninja has been dealt with...


Have a great weekend.


Thursday, March 24, 2005

Blame Lotus?

An interesting feeling has been growing in me for the past few months. I realised how much I miss using Notes/Domino and the real power that thing really has.

A few examples:

  • The company I work for is pretty big in Web Content Management, and keeps on growing. A few days ago I had a training on a new solution, that, among other things, allows your web site content to be reused on a newsletter sent by e-mail.

    It's brilliant. But we were doing that already in 98 with Domino.
  • This week I had a good training on C#, .Net and Visual Studio. Brilliantly easy to create a web site, put your business logic, connect to databases, bring out the site.

    But we were doing that already in 99 with Domino (R5 was the first version to really allow this on an easy way, though you could argue it was already possible before this version).
  • I'm building up an "Intellectual Capital" initiative to allow us to re-use, share, peer-review our documents/code/whatever, and I have to resort to actually use a full-blown "Application Server" (be it J2EE or .Net based, that is irrelevant for now) to do this, while I could with about half the work create it in Domino.

The interesting bit is that IBM and Lotus still managed to give a bad image to this wonderful product and I can't really understand why. The fact is, everyone that does not use it is sure they don't need it...

Delegates, Events, Datagrids, C++++...

We've just finished our 1st part in .net training, and I can't really say I'm impressed. Coming from a Java background (thanks IBM for brainwashing me) I was a little bit too sceptic about .net. And, as expected, I confirmed that it is not much more than taking the JVM idea and extending it to depend on the Operating System, though that is not the official message (it does support multiple versions of Windows)...

Anyway, C# is quite good as a programming language and delegates are cool.

Another suspicion I confirmed was that Microsoft's strenght in the .net field is based on the great IDE they have (Visual Studio) rather than the merits of the language or environment in itself. It's so bloody easy for someone with just some VB knowledge to come up and built an interactive web site that it's even scary...

Update - I forgot to mention mono. I'll post something if I ever get the courage to try it out.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Another week passes by...

Just finished my 2nd week on my new job, and I must say I'm really enjoying. Some things are better than expected, others worse.

2 weeks to follow Discovery, Functional and Technical Training, 2 more weeks for .Net (!! me! following a .NET training!) and Sys Admin and I'll be ready to roll.

Meanwhile today had a short demo of TMCS (Tridion Marketing Communication Solution) and I must say I'm impressed, great-looking tool. I'll have a formal training on that as well next week.

So, such a big message only to say I'm glad it's friday, and am looking forward for this weekend. Have fun!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

O Porto foi ao ar...

... e fez Pum!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


I own a 4-year-old IBM Thinkpad A30 which I refuse to let go. It must be the most fragile Thinkpad I ever had, but I still believe I must keep on using it at all costs.

Up to now it has:
- One dead PCMCIA slot;
- Something definitely very wrong with the remaining PCMCIA slot, since only one specific card works on it;
- Half-dead video RAM;

Windows XP failed on it constantly. Bluescreens every 2 days, and one boot in 2 resulted in a frozen desktop, etc, etc, etc.

The most interesting of it all was running any program in text-mode (no graphical environment loaded, like Windows Setup): it just scrambled all characters, replacing spaces by question marks, 'a' with 'y', etc. Absolutely challenging.

Then, one day, it stopped booting. Nothing, nada, zilch. Brave as always, and committed to keep this laptop running, I decided to try Windows XP again, but couldn't get past the text-setup part (hard to read).

Filled my lungs with air, popped up a Mandrake 9.1 CD I had lying around, went to, downloaded the network install boot and gave it a try.

The following 2 hours were spent downloading and installing packages over the Internet - I couldn't help but wonder why XP would take about the same time to install from a CD...

Anyway, cutting a long story short, my PC has never failed again ever since it got Fedora Core 3 running. No more network failures (the wireless card would restart once in a while), no more screen freezes, no more refusals to boot.

And today I decided to go the extra mile and set up the machine as my home's NT Domain using Samba. And the damn thing worked. I'm now busy installing cygwin/X on my other laptop so that I don't have to use the Thinkpad at all (video still gets confused once in a while, especially while surfing or running some gnome apps).

So, I'm now busy configuring XDM and all the crap that comes with it. I must really like suffering...
Interopera... what?

XML is brilliant. The idea behind it, I mean. I don't want to get into "Michel-esque" (insiders will understand this one) discussions about XML implementations in real-life software, but the general idea of interoperability allowed by an open standard as XML is brilliant.

Kudos for XML.

And then this. What in the name of [name-your-favorite-deity] is this? Do they really think it will work?

For the lazy ones around: linked article is about New Zealand patent 525484, submitted by Microsoft and open for objections until the end of may, where M$ tries to patent the use of a single XML file for a word-processing document.

In other words, you can integrate with XML-based word documents, as long as you pay them...

Monday, March 14, 2005

Useless error message of the day

'null' is null or not an object

I would have never figured that one out...
In training...

Sometimes you just want to be alone. A lot of those times you just don't want to speak, even if it's to a dumb laptop you're speaking. Sometimes you just don't want to share how you feel and how your life is going.

I feel I'm waking up.

Anyway, new job and new training. New country. New appartment. Old family, new feeling. New car. New phone. New laptop. New shoes. New IM client (Trillian). Great mobile phone (Nokia 6230). New life?
Contact update

I've been sending messages up and down with my new contact details, but, as ever with moves, laptop changes, mobile phone changes, etc, I have certainly lost your contact.

So, here's the new ways to reach me:

Professional e-mail:
Personal e-mail:
Mobile Phone: Ask me ;-)

IM Links:
Yahoo!: nuno_linhares
ICQ: 30951875

I will not promise to update this site very often... ;-)